Most attractions are south of the U.S. 17 bridges over the Ashley and Cooper rivers; the city’s heart is the mile from Calhoun Street down to the Battery, on its tip.
Get out and walk: Charleston is a place for pedestrians.
King Street is primed for funky and fashionable shopping, from John Street south to the bend near Wentworth and on to Market Street and a little beyond. The open-air City Market offers everything from Charleston refrigerator magnets to jewelry and paintings by local artists. Near the sea-facing Battery, the landscape turns residential, with block after block of narrow two-and-three story homes and shops, many from the 1700s and early 1800s. Behind some beautiful wrought-iron privacy fences are another Lowcountry touch: small, elaborate gardens.
You can stroll the compact downtown, contact a walking- or carriage-tour operator, or get directions for a self-guided tour. An easy and inexpensive alternative is to simply ride around on the downtown DASH Trolley ($1.50; (www.ridecarta.com).
For breathing room downtown, try White Point Gardens at the peninsula tip, or 10-acre Brittlebank Park, on the Ashley River. Close by and also on the river is Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park – “The Joe” – home field of the Riverdogs, Charleston’s minor league baseball team. (www.riverdogs.com)
Hungry? The “2010 Best of Charleston” rankings in Charleston City Paper (www.charlestoncitypaper.com) include these staff/reader picks for dining: Basil Thai Cuisine (best downtown restaurant), FIG (best restaurant), Fulton Five (best romantic restaurant) and Carolina’s (best restaurant you haven’t been to in a while).
Thirsty? The rankings make note of Gene’s Haufbrau (best cold beer), Midtown Bar & Grill (best new bar) and Muse (best place to drink 100 wines by the glass).
Area info: www.charlestoncvb.com