Don’t let the old moniker fool you, what Charlestonians worship the most is a good party. At its busiest during wedding season and the summer months, this tourist town is worth visiting year-round with various festivals, galas, events and shows. The climate is often blessed with bouts of 70-degree weather in the dead of winter, ensuring that there is a party going on somewhere every single night of the week in any given month.
Bordered by King, Calhoun, Meeting, and Tobacco Streets, Downtown
Charleston puts this open space to good use with a farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, Cinema in the Park in October, Fashion Week in March, and Spoleto in May and June. Even without all these scheduled events, it’s just as fun to take a date to sunbathe in the summer months or sit on the fountain with matching lattes for a cozy winter outing.
|The Pour House
1977 Maybank Hwy.
(843) 571-4343, CharlestonPourHouse.com
A great live music venue often featuring local talent like Red Handed, Crowfield, and Cary Anne Hearst. With indoor and outdoor dancing and lounging space, it’s a roomy live music experience for two. The drinks are cheap and the crowd is raucous but friendly.
211 Rutledge Ave.
(843) 737-5959, FuelCharleston.com
If you’re in town during one of Fuel’s insanely fun block parties, you’re in luck. The last winter block party had live music, photo ops with Santa, and a snowboarding competition. That’s right. They made it snow in the Chuck! Even if you’re not in town for a block party, the fantastic Caribbean-inspired food is reasonably priced, making this the ultimate cheap date location.
|Francis Marion Hotel
387 King St.
(843) 722-0600, FrancisMarionHotel.com
Location, location, location! A great spot to set up shop if you want easy access to King Street shopping and Upper King nightlife. The Francis Marion also has the best day spa in town, Spa Adagio, for the relaxation and recovery you’ll need after all the shopping and late-night debauchery.
|Market Pavilion Hotel
225 E. Bay St.
(877) 440-2250, MarketPavilion.com
The Market Pavilion Hotel has somehow melded Southern historic charm and modern luxury into one. An added bonus: The Pavilion Bar located on the rooftop keeps the hotel swarming with the city’s young, schmoozy, and decadent.
|The Mills House
115 Meeting St.
(800) 874-9600, MillsHouse.com
A genuine historic hotel, built in 1853 and located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Charleston. This hotel embodies historic Charleston. Preserved Victorian-style architecture and authentic antiques from the 17th and 18th century transport guests back to the idyllic past.
|ROMANTIC DINNER A DEUX|
432 King St.
(843) 722-6261, LaFourchette.com
A little French bistro offering the most authentic French cuisine in Charleston and an extensive French wine list to boot. The style and spirit of the place offer a certain je ne sais quoi you’ll love. Be sure to order the pommes frites double fried in duck fat. The best and most chic fries in town.
224 King St.
(843) 577-4522, CharlestonGrill.com
The award-winning, French-influenced Southern cuisine is only half the reason to eat at this restaurant. The highly acclaimed Quentin Baxter Ensemble provides live jazz to enjoy while you savor the fabulous food. Stay for dessert! Selections like the milk chocolate mousse are absolutely worth every calorie.
|Pane E Vino
17 Warren St.
(843) 853-5955, ItalyDiscovered.com
This adorable little restaurant looks like a charming cottage from the outside. The intimate ambience and delicious rustic Italian food makes this a romantic choice for an evening out. Try the duck or lamb creations, but even with an old stand-by like lasagna, you will not be disappointed.
|Upper King Street
King Street and Radcliffe Street or King Street and Cannon Street
You can hustle and bustle with the rest of the tourists on East Bay Street, but the hip action is on Upper King. Places to hit are Chais, Rue de Jean, or Raval, to mingle with the fresh liberal minded up and coming of Charleston.
Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, or Isle of Palms
If you’re into hard body surfers, head to Folly. Go to Sullivan’s if you like to dip into a more sophisticated crowd. The touristy of them all is Isle of Palms, if you happen to be into that. Whatever your fancy, the beaches have the best legal half-naked action in town.
|Mad River |
32 N. Market St.
(843) 723-0032, MadRiverCharleston.com
If it it’s the meet/meat market scene you crave, go no further. This club, once a historic church, seems to spur the most mischievous of behaviors despite its virtuous décor. There’s dancing, drunken banter, and plenty of meat to go around.
|Bits Of Lace
302 King St.
(843) 577-0999, BitsOfLace.com
This dainty shop boasts an ample assortment of fine European lingerie in luxurious satin, silk, tulle, and of course, lace, to match any girl’s sexy personality and shape. The staff is attentive and will help fill your boudoir with delicate underthings that you won’t actually want to wear under anything.
47.5 Spring St.
(843) 720-3611, SuiteSole.com
Charleston’s King Street has an array of fancy shoe stores to check out, but Suite Sole is the sexiest sneaker shop for kicks. Get a graphic t-shirt to match your new sweet soles. A taste of big city shopping, reminiscent of San Francisco and New York City, but with a Southern tang.
275 King St.
(843) 805-8462, ShopBiton.com
The sexiest boutique on King Street offers hot designer lines like Zac Posen, Rock & Republic, and Caroline Herrera to eager Charleston shoppers. This sleek shopping space favors the look and feel of South Beach boutiques, which makes sense since this retailer is based in Florida.