Charleston, South Carolina Wandering Charleston Mini Guide by Tara Anbudaiyan

This itinerary from Compass & Key allows you to explore the beauty of this Low Country gem through well-known attractions and some spots you probably haven't heard of. Views are central to this itinerary, whether admiring the calm waters of Charleston Harbor, an 18th-century mansion, or uninhabited barrier islands. And we haven't forgotten the incredible cuisine that makes this city so special. As always, wandering is encouraged. Transportation is needed to reach Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island - rental car or taxi should suffice.

 
Start your day in the Upper King district with Low Country traditional Southern biscuits. Callie's Hot Little Biscuit churns out classic (buttermilk, cheese & chive) or filled (black-pepper bacon, blackberry, cinnamon) biscuits, fresh and by the pair, in their grab-and-go shop. Stroll south along King Street as you enjoy a true taste of the South.

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit

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source: Triposo

 
Walk ten minutes to reach the moss-draped oaks of the College of Charleston. Gracing the George Street side of campus is National Historic Landmark Porters Lodge (c. 1850), with its Greek inscription for "Know Thyself" on the facade. Walk through the Porters Lodge archway into the lovely park. On your left is Towell Library (c. 1855), built as the first campus library. Straight ahead is Randolph Hall, one of the oldest college buildings in the US (c. 1828), originally serving as the main academic building. Go left through another archway, turn right along the brick walkway until you reach an iron clock. Looming large behind it is the Sottile House (c. 1890), considered one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in Charleston. Previously serving as a residence hall for female students, today it houses college offices. If it's open, peek in to view the Tiffany stained glass windows and detailed woodwork. Head back the way you came but instead of turning into the park, go straight until you reach George Street. Continue ahead on Glebe Street until you reach #6. This grand brick building is the President's House and the oldest building on campus, constructed in 1770 as a parsonage.

College of Charleston

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From campus, an 8-minute walk takes you to the Unitarian Universalist Church, the second oldest church in Charleston, founded in 1772. Just to the right of the church, though a bit overgrown, the church cemetery offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Legend has it that the ghost of Annabel Lee, the love of poet Edgar Allen Poe, still haunts this graveyard.

Unitarian Church in Charleston

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source: Triposo

 
Wander past Queen Street and cross Broad Street to reach the Nathanial Russell House, considered one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the country. Step back in time as you enter the house, which was restored to appear as it did in 1808. Leave time to view the formal gardens surrounding the house.

Nathaniel Russell House

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Goat. Sheep. Cow.

 
Back track five minutes to reach Goat. Sheep. Cow., a small neighborhood shop specializing in cheese. Grab their daily sandwich or some wine and cheese to enjoy on an impromptu picnic at the next stop. Head south on Church Street.

Goat. Sheep. Cow.

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source: Triposo

 
Enjoy the colorful mansions and historic buildings of the South of Broad district as you make your way to the southernmost point of Charleston, White Point Gardens. First used as a public garden in 1837, you will find Civil War artifacts throughout the park as it was used as a fortification point. Find a shady spot to spread a blanket and enjoy your picnic provisions overlooking Charleston Harbor.

White Point Garden

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source: Triposo

 
As you make your way back north, walk about ten minutes to reach Rainbow Row. Numbers 79-109 East Bay Street represent the longest cluster of Georgian houses in the country. After falling into disrepair after the Civil War, several concerned citizens began purchasing and restoring the homes in the 1930s and 40s. While there are several legends as to why these houses are so brightly painted, the trend originated when a Judge and his wife painted some of the homes shades of Caribbean pink during restoration in the 30s.

Rainbow Row

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source: Triposo

 
A quick five-minute walk north from Rainbow Row takes you to the French Quarter art district and the Vendue Hotel, with its award-winning rooftop bar and restaurant. This is a perfect stop for a cocktail-with-a-view. After a $5M restoration in 2013, this boutique hotel transformed into an art hotel, featuring its own gallery and residence artists. Guided art tours are available for hotel guests daily. If you're up for more art, explore the surrounding galleries via a guided tour or on your own.

The Vendue

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source: Triposo

 
Another five minute walk and you will find the Charleston City Market, one of the nation's oldest public markets. The market is centered around its Great Hall, an 1841 Greek-Revival building that was renovated in 2011. Visit gourmet shop Caviar & Bananas for an afternoon treat, don a sun hat from Charleston Hat Man, and tote your treasures back to the hotel in an authentic sweetgrass basket. If you're in Charleston on Friday or Saturday, check out the Night Market with over 100 artisans showcasing their work.

City Market

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Barrier Island Eco Tours

 
Head out of the city to explore the area's natural wonders. A 30-minute drive takes you to the barrier island Isle of Palms. From the marina, Barrier Island Eco-Tours offers 2.5-hour sunset tours to observe bottlenose dolphins and threatened loggerhead sea turtles, and discover the unspoiled beauty of Capers Island. Tour times vary based on time of year but generally begin around 5:30 or 6 pm. Picnic provisions are welcome to enjoy on the boat.

Barrier Island Eco Tours

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Stay oceanside for a late dinner after your sunset tour. The Obstinate Daughter, a 15-minute drive east of the Isle of Palms marina, pays homage to the Revolutionary history of Sullivans Island. Enjoy rustic Italian cuisine, such as the wood-fired pizza with clams. Open Mon-Fri, 11a-10p; Sat-Sun, 10a-3p (brunch) and 4-10p

The Obstinate Daughter

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Back across the bridge and just north, end your day at craft brewery and restaurant Edmund's Oast. This local favorite brews a variety of innovative beers onsite with outrageously fun names, including brown ale Tweed Jacket, sour beer Voodoo Child, and a favorite of Top Chef Gail Simmons, Peanut Butter & Jelly. Bar opens daily at 4:30p, dinner begins at 5:30p, and Sunday brunch is 10a-2:30p

Edmund's Oast

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