Charleston’s Chronicles

This Southern jewel blends Old World charm and cosmopolitan sophistication into a style that’s all its own. We asked one local expert to translate.

In the Holy City, the region’s often knotty history is as ever present as the steeples that dot the skyline. With its unique architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and cobblestone streets lined with grand oaks, Charleston may march to the beat of yesteryear’s drum yet nothing about this city feels stuck in the past. The Charleston of today is brimming with alluring options. We tapped Kim Hopkins, owner of an eponymous travel agency and a seasoned journalist, for popular local sights that define her favorite city.

DO The best neighborhood to stroll through is the residential section known as South of Broad to peek at quaint carriage houses, lush gardens, and grand estates. Don’t miss Zig Zag Alley and Rainbow Row — a pretty stretch of pastel homes that dates back to the 18th century.

STAY Zero George Hotel is made up of five restored historic homes that converge around a quaint courtyard. The architectural details of the property showcase all the charm of old Charleston, paired with oversized contemporary rooms. The original 1804 carriage house plays host to the charming lobby and open kitchen, where you can watch award-winning executive chef Vinson Petrillo hosting cooking classes and a small bite happy hour.

LOUNGE Camellias, Charleston’s premier Champagne bar, features an extensive collection of bottles and by-the-glass offerings paired with a selection of caviar and desserts. Break out your old-school dance moves at The Commodore, a retro dive club with a bluesy vibe. “It’s very intimate. It’s got a cool little stage and has great local, live music and dancing. So much fun,” shares owner and “Southern Charm” star, Shep Rose.;

EAT Leon’s Poultry and Oyster Shop is a relaxed joint serving oysters, Southern-style seafood, famous fried chicken, and cold beer in a rustic, retrofitted auto body shop. Chez Nous, a southern French-style gem, is nestled in an 1835 historic home with a cozy bar and a menu announced daily on Instagram.;

SHOP A King Street staple for more than 20 years, Worthwhile is located in the old “general store” McIntosh Seed House. The offering here is eclectic, and you’ll find everything from Isabel Marant to cool local brands, plus a great selection of home goods and beauty products.

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