7 local non-touristy hot spots to visit in Charleston

Planning a trip somewhere new is always exciting, but finding the “best spots” can serve as a challenge.

Over the past few years, Charleston has repeatedly earned the title “No. 1 U.S. City,” bringing in tourists from around the world.

Those of us lucky enough to live here have learned the best local spots to grab a drink after a long work week, or where to take the family when they visit for the weekend.

If you are vacationing to the Holy City, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which places you have to hit. Avoid the tourist traps and become a Charleston local with this list.

Charleston’s Brewery District Beer Trolley

The Brewery District of Charleston has finally come together to create its very own Lowcountry beer trolley, hitting some of the most popular breweries downtown. The trolley runs every Saturday afternoon and gives patrons an hour at each brewery, providing a chance to try multiple local hot spots all in one day, like Revelry and Palmetto Brewing.


This place is hidden off of King Street Extension, which is why it is not an easily found spot. Workshop has lots to offer, whether it’s trying one of its  alternating restaurants, popping into Ohm Radio 96.3FM studio to talk live on air, listening to live jazz music every Friday night or enjoying a local beer with Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. The Workshop  also has a great community outdoor seating area in the middle to enjoy happy hour.


Marina Variety Store

If you want a great local brunch spot with an even better view, this is it. Marina Variety Store is always full of people enjoying southern hospitality and good cooking, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sunday brunch is by far the most popular time to eat, so make sure to get there early to enjoy warm cinnamon rolls or shrimp and grits.


The Windjammer

Live local music, beautiful beach view, yummy bar snacks, beach volleyball and a good time. If those are all things you’re interested in, then definitely check out The Windjammer on the Isle of Palms – just a 15-minute drive across the Peninsula.

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Open for take outs only. Giving this thing a try.

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The Shelter Kitchen and Bar

Anywhere on Shem Creek is always a good time, but one of my favorites has to be The Shelter. If you have an itch to play corn hole, watch a big game, enjoy a mimosa carafe or pet the cutest puppies, head on over.

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Curbside menu 4/15. Steak Pita back by popular demand!

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Bowen’s Island Restaurant

If you are looking for some authentic seafood and brews, look no further. Bowen’s Island is one of my all-time favorite places to go after a long week to relax and enjoy the sunset. It’s a great hidden getaway on the way to Folly beach.


Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails

Handcraft is a relatively new place, but it has quickly made a name for itself in the food and bar scene. “Drinks are the major player at Handcraft, but the elevated bar food is worth an order too,” said Mary Scott Hardaway from Charleston City Paper. Try one of its classic cocktails or get adventurous with the “Turkey Dew.

by Annamarie Bell

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