City Cheat Sheet: Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is an excellent destination any time of year thanks to its history, beauty, and impressive restaurant scene. And thanks to an ever-growing slate of events encompassing fashion, food, music, and more, the Holy City truly offers something for everyone. To help visitors enjoy the town like an insider, we asked The Scout Guide Charleston Editor Courtney Brown for advice on where to shop, eat, and explore during their stay, and the result is a day-long walking tour that showcases some of the best stores and sights the city has to offer. Consider yourself warned, however: Courtney gave designer and author Charlotte Moss and Leontine Linens founder Jane Scott Hodges a sneak peek of this list when the two tastemakers stopped through Charleston during their Southern Tour road trip earlier in the spring. So if you have a soft spot for great design, your pocketbook might take a hit.
BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY at Workshop (609 King Street), a home furnishing store that showcases the work and wares of local artisans, created by the founder of The American College of Building Arts.
Next, stop by Fritz Porter at The Cigar Factory (701 East Bay Street, #106). The newly renovated Cigar Factory mixed space is a must-stop for any curator of décor. Definitely allow ample time for this interiors shop, which offers antiques, contemporary furniture, custom lighting, and more.
Back on King Street, continue your tour of gorgeous décor at Ro Sham Beaux (493 King Street). Be sure to pause to check out their beautiful chandelier lighting composed of natural elements.
Across the street and one block down, pay a visit to Mitchell Hill (438 King Street). Highlights include a newly introduced furniture line and the contemporary art gallery inside their chic design showroom.
Treat yourself to a first edition or an unusual treasure from Blue Bicycle Books (420 King Street). If you’re interested in reading up on the historic city, you’re in luck: the store has an extensive collection of Charleston-focused material.
Take a break from your walking tour for lunch at Chez Nous (6 Payne Court), a pint-sized neighborhood spot located in an old house in a little alley that features food and wine from southern France, northern Italy, and northern Spain. The restaurant’s indoor space and outdoor courtyard are charming, and well worth the dip off of King Street.
Post-lunch, head to the Halsey Institute (161 Calhoun Street), the College of Charleston hot spot for contemporary art (Sheppard Fairey did several street installations during Spoleto last year, one of which is near the gallery).
Next up is Shoes on King (335 King Street), which carries a stunning selection of footwear. Chances are you’ll walk out with at least one pair of new shoes.
Take a detour off of King Street to visit the College of Charleston (66 George Street). There, you’ll see the arch at Porters Lodge that students pass through on their first day to enter the Cistern Yard, and later pass through again on their way out into the world on graduation day.
Take a quick snack break at Caviar & Bananas (51 George Street), and be sure to grab something sweet to keep you going (you’re going to need it). You can’t go wrong with any of their cookies or brownies, but the s’mores bar is not to be missed.
Head back to King Street where nearby Hampden Clothing (314 King Street) is a must-stop. Owner Stacy Smallwood stocks the store with an expertly curated collection of high-fashion finds.
Nearby, Croghan’s Jewel Box (308 King Street), which has been in the same family for four generations, is the “jewel” of King Street. Be sure to stop in to browse the stunning estate jewelry and silver, contemporary jewelry lines, and the exclusive Charleston-inspired Goldbug Collection.
Housed in the 19th-century McIntosh Seed House, Worthwhile (268 King Street) offers thoughtfully designed fashion and objects against an engaging architectural backdrop. The shop is unlike any other store in Charleston.
The King Street stretch that spans from Market Street to Queen Street is home to five wonderful businesses worth perusing: Christian Michi (220 King Street), which offers fashion, linens, and home goods; George C. Birlant & Co. (191 King Street), which also sells fine antiques and gifts; RTW (186 King Street), which offers women’s clothing; John Pope Antiques (180 King Street), a great spot curated by an owner with a fantastic eye; and Tucker Payne Antiques (169 King Street), a keystone of antiques shopping on King Street.
Also not to be missed in that section: Across the street from John Pope Antiques and up a flight of stairs is iBU Movement (183B King Street). Owner Susan Hull Walker has spent years studying and collecting global textiles that are transformed into gorgeous pieces to wear and accent the home.
Pop off of King Street for an architectural treat—walking through the cemetery at Unitarian Church. A small alleyway marked with a quote indicates you’ve arrived.
End your King Street stroll with a stop at the Preservation Society of Charleston (146 King Street). Their shop has a collection of products made by local artisans—be sure to check out the Old Whaling Company Soap and Landrum tables—plus a great library in the back where coffee is always brewing.