Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Charleston? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina?”
Charleston has some history. Founded in 1670, it’s been home to British loyalists who named the city in honor of the king, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution, pirates like Stede Bonnet (who was famously executed here) and thousands of enslaved Africans who worked the nearby plantations. The American Civil War started here at an island fort in the harbor, too.
But, today, it’s not all “old South” imagery. The International African American Museum, which enshrines the far-reaching legacies of the enslaved people and Black Americans, now calls Charleston home. That legacy is obvious in the area’s Lowcountry cuisine, which was heavily influenced by the African foodways of enslaved people. Seafood, heritage grains like benne and vegetables like okra and eggplant are all common, and they’ve become integral to a food scene that has received wide acclaim from both industry bigwigs and locals.
As you traverse the cobblestone streets, past the grand, pastel-hued homes of Rainbow Row, the trendy new restaurants and the eateries that have been around for decades, remember all who made this American city what it is, and let Charleston soak into you like butter into grits.