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Old 04-01-2014, 05:12 PM   #1
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Charleston

Planning to visit Charleston for 1-2 nights ...

Would it be a good idea to stay in Mt Pleasant and drive into Charleston? Seems like that would be a less expensive option than staying in the historic district. Or is it worth the extra bucks to stay in the district? Is Mt Pleasant nice?

I also read some blogs (albeit about 7 years old) saying that North of Calhoun Street is unsafe to walk at night. Anything to be concerned about regarding safety?
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
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We spent a couple days in Charleston last spring and stayed at the Charleston Harbor Resort in Mount Pleasant. Nice property in a nice location and nice views. A short drive to historic district (we parked at the Visitor Center) and IIRC there is a water taxi from near the hotel to the historic district too (it just didn't fit our schedule).

We enjoyed the buggy ride and the harbor tour. Nice area. But the historic district hotels were a bit pricey.

Still trying to figure out where the Mount in Mount Pleasant is. To my eye the whole area was as flat as a pancake.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:50 PM   #3
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We've been to Charleston on multiple occasions when my son's choir sang at the Spoleto festival. The first time, we stayed near the Citadel and drove to downtown. Parking was a bear. The next couple of times we stayed in the historic district and walked everywhere. The car stayed in the hotel lot except when we drove to Folly Beach. For our purposes, staying in the historic district was a lot better. That part of town is very walkable.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:25 PM   #4
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I remembered seeing another thread not long ago
Charleston SC and Savannah Ga
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Earl E Retyre View Post
Planning to visit Charleston for 1-2 nights ...

Would it be a good idea to stay in Mt Pleasant and drive into Charleston? Seems like that would be a less expensive option than staying in the historic district. Or is it worth the extra bucks to stay in the district? Is Mt Pleasant nice?

I also read some blogs (albeit about 7 years old) saying that North of Calhoun Street is unsafe to walk at night. Anything to be concerned about regarding safety?
Once you get north of Calhoun, it can get shady, but crime's not a big issue there. Just not a part of town you want to be in anyway.

I'd stay downtown. Mt Pleasant is fine, but it's residential or strip mall depending on where you stay. There might be a boutique or B&B in "old town" that's worth a shot, but if you're only there for 1 or 2 nights, splurge and stay downtown. Great restaurants and plenty of walking.

Check out the Doubletree downtown. It's right across the street from the French Quarter Inn (which is awesome), and costs a lot (a LOT) less.

Stay away from Hyman's Seafood. Go to Hank's right down the street (and right near the Courtyard). Hyman's is garbage. Hank's is where it's at.

Any other questions, I lived there three-plus years, and visited again last year. Love it.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:12 PM   #6
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Hi Nash:
What do you think about the Peninsular Grill, Fish, and Mc Grady's?

Any good BBQ in the historic district?
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:12 PM   #7
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What ya need to know? I was born here, lived here my whole life.

Depends on if you want to walk to restaurants as to whether to stay downtown. Mt plastic is fine otherwise.
I work over there.

Feel free to PM me with any specific questions. And yes, please don't go to Hymans. There are so many awesome restaurants in Charleston to choose from. Yelp is good for picking good ones.

Doubletree is nice downtown, and I also like the embassy suites down on Marion square but a bit of a hike from the market area.

Def see some plantations, a garden tour, heck, take a ride to Fort Sumter. This is a wonderful town! We appreciate you wanting to visit.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:32 PM   #8
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Hi Nash:
What do you think about the Peninsular Grill, Fish, and Mc Grady's?

Any good BBQ in the historic district?
I don't recall any good BBQ downtown. There are little shacks all over Charleston that are pretty good. Sarah might know more downtown.

Peninsula Grill is very good. My personal favorite is Cypress.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:38 AM   #9
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I'd check the Historic District inns/hotels for any specials. Mt P is OK, but it's nice not to fight traffic, search for parking and be close to your room after a nice dinner.

There's everything from old B&Bs, to fancy boutique hotels to the normal chains (Days Inn, etc) within walking distance of the main attractions and they come at various prices. Just be sure they have their own parking areas.

We lived in the Charleston area for 13 years and our list of restaurants to visit just kept getting longer...many wonderful places and more opening every year. Some moderately priced ones we consistently liked were Magnolias and High Cotton on East Bay St and Poogan's Porch on Queen St.

Enjoy your visit.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:01 AM   #10
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When are you going? It's been decades since I was last there, but I will be in Charleston Apr 8-14 and I'll be able to report on a few choices after that. We're spending most of our time in a vacation rental home out on Isle of Palms and then a few nights at Mills House in the historic district. Dinners at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina (Mt Pleasant) most nights, but taking DW to dinner at Husk on our last night. I am sure we'll do a carriage ride while we're there too.

I'd welcome any local knowledge on our trip plan too.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:29 AM   #11
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Hi Midpack, We are going to be there the 1st week in May ... so, yes, please let me know how your visit went. Have fun!

And thanks, all, for your awesome replies. This post has been very helpful.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:55 AM   #12
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When are you going? It's been decades since I was last there, but I will be in Charleston Apr 8-14 and I'll be able to report on a few choices after that. We're spending most of our time in a vacation rental home out on Isle of Palms and then a few nights at Mills House in the historic district. Dinners at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina (Mt Pleasant) most nights, but taking DW to dinner at Husk on our last night. I am sure we'll do a carriage ride while we're there too.

I'd welcome any local knowledge on our trip plan too.
I'm volunteering for Race Week btw, got roped into it by my old boss in the sailing business. I better get to see you!

It's funny about the local restaurants. Most of us frugal types never eat at the super fancy, much-hyped ones, but tend to go to the more moderate ones when we go out downtown at all. I've only eaten at a handful of the ritzier spots, so even I go for the Yelp reviews when trying to help others.

The only BBQ in downtown is Sticky Fingers, I think, and something called Jim and Nick's. Sticky Fingers is ok, and I've heard good stuff about Jim and Nick's, but BBQ is a singular thing, and I think my favorite local spot is HomeTeam. They have one on Sullivans Island and one in West Ashley (Charleston).

The nicest thing to do in Chucktown is just walk around. You get to peer into the pretty gardens, window shop random antique places, and admire the beautifully restored old houses.

Pro tip: Don't ask anyone about that idiotic reality show Southern Charm. We are uniformly mortified. And pick up a copy of the Charleston City Paper (or read it online). Good info there on stuff.

The funkier spots now are out of the historic district, up on North Morrison. If you want to see some hipper, non-tourist locales, that's where I go for drinks, music, and to see how unhip I really am.

You don't have to spend a mint on dinner to get a good meal in Charleston, that I do know. But the fine dining places will rarely disappoint. It is a very competitive town as far as the restaurant business goes, so if they are still open after a year, you can bet there's a good reason. With the exception of Hymans, lol.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:59 AM   #13
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Still trying to figure out where the Mount in Mount Pleasant is.
Perhaps Pleasant was a hooker...
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:18 AM   #14
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Hi Sarah, Which moderate restaurants in the historic district do you recommend? DW and I do not really like seafood ...
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:33 AM   #15
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I've had a really good steak at Coast recently, which is more known for seafood.
Cru has done catering for us before and they are also quite good.
I've sent folks to the Fleet Landing place who raved about it, but it is mostly seafood, in a pretty location.
Hominy Grill is a good breakfast and brunch spot, though their best item is shrimp and grits, not for the non-seafood lover.
Basil is good for Thai food, if you like that stuff.
For pub food in a cool atmosphere, the Blind Tiger is a good choice. Go out back.
I'm not a French food fan, but Rue De Jean is highly regarded.
Latest "new" restaurant I've been to is LeeLee's, which is not walking distance from historic district, but is moderate but fancy Chinese food over by the Citadel.
Hope these help. But mostly, just wander down the street and stop where the menu board looks good. An oldie but goodie is Poogan's Porch--I used to splurge on lunch there when I worked on Queen Street.
Have a great visit!
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:42 AM   #16
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Very helpful, Thanks again.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:46 AM   #17
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Some moderately priced ones we consistently liked were Magnolias and High Cotton on East Bay St
THANK YOU! For some reason I couldn't come up with High Cotton last night when writing about Cypress. High Cotton and Cypress were my two faves, Mag's is good too, and I stand by my Hank's recommendation for seafood downtown.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:54 AM   #18
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I've had a really good steak at Coast recently, which is more known for seafood.
...

Hominy Grill is a good breakfast and brunch spot, though their best item is shrimp and grits, not for the non-seafood lover.

Basil is good for Thai food, if you like that stuff.

For pub food in a cool atmosphere, the Blind Tiger is a good choice. Go out back.

I'm not a French food fan, but Rue De Jean is highly regarded.
Coast is a great place for moderately priced seafood and they have a cool bar/public seating area, and it's right by Rue de Jean. Word of caution at Rue: do not get the sushi; not good quality nor value. For some reason, people seem to like it perhaps because good sushi is nigh impossible to find in Charleston.

A few restaurants that we've mentioned have long "bench" tables in their bar area that are first-come, first-served. I always liked sitting there because you can talk to people who may be visiting or find some locals and pick their brains. I used to go to Hank's and Coast and sit at those tables a lot and give recommendations to visitors.

I endorse the rest of the above recommendations, and would add one more: if you're looking for a good brunch, try to get in at Post House over in old town Mount Pleasant. Cool place with good fare. I found Hominy Grill overrated, and you usually have to wait to get in on the weekends, but it is still good.

For cheap lunch or drinks, I liked King Street Grill, both in Mount Pleasant and on King Street. Good sports bar, and I love - LOVE - their spicy chicken sandwich with waffle fries.

I'm going to check out Poogan's Porch next time we're there...
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:04 AM   #19
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It's funny about the local restaurants. Most of us frugal types never eat at the super fancy, much-hyped ones, but tend to go to the more moderate ones when we go out downtown at all. I've only eaten at a handful of the ritzier spots, so even I go for the Yelp reviews when trying to help others.

The only BBQ in downtown is Sticky Fingers, I think, and something called Jim and Nick's. Sticky Fingers is ok, and I've heard good stuff about Jim and Nick's, but BBQ is a singular thing...

The nicest thing to do in Chucktown is just walk around. You get to peer into the pretty gardens, window shop random antique places, and admire the beautifully restored old houses.

You don't have to spend a mint on dinner to get a good meal in Charleston, that I do know. But the fine dining places will rarely disappoint. It is a very competitive town as far as the restaurant business goes, so if they are still open after a year, you can bet there's a good reason. With the exception of Hymans, lol.
Sticky Fingers is generic BBQ. Not worth wasting a meal if you're only there for a day or two. Jim and Nick's is better but still not great, IMO. Either place you can stuff your face with meat, though!

I love dining in Charleston because there are a lot of very, very good options in a small area with a relatively small population. Even the ritzy places in Charleston aren't nearly as pricey as what we have here in San Diego (or certainly NYC, SFO, and places like that). I'd put a place like High Cotton up against any place here in San Diego, and you can get out of there for about 60% of what you'd pay for the same meal here.

I think that's because you have the Culinary Institute there, so there are a lot of chefs that just stay there and compete with each other: good for us foodies!

Concur with Sarah's walking around recommendation - you can kill two days doing so.

I say again: stay away from Hyman's.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:50 AM   #20
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Good points, nash. Not a sushi eater so I'll believe you about that tip.
We forget in Chucktown that our prices aren't high compared to other metro areas, so I will agree with you there. Post House is good in the village, and though I can't stand the TVs, King Street Grill is good for nicer bar food or a quick lunch. And boy, locals can't stand to wait for a table.

And I've had an amazing meal at High Cotton on someone else's dime. Ditto for DH at Oak Steakhouse. Not likely to go when I'm picking up the tab.

That Charleston City Paper I mentioned has a "Best of" reader's choice awards issue that just came out (and available online) that has some good categories and reviews. They are usually good choices.

BBQ to me almost needs to be out in the country somewhere, eating off a paper plate, in the shade of an oak tree. But having said that, Hometeam does a brilliant appetizer I've never seen anywhere else: pimento cheese served with great big housemade pork rinds. Dayum, that's good stuff!!

Nash, when you come back, check out the new places up on Morrison--Edmund's Oast is the latest "see and be seen", though I took one look at the crowd and headed up to Tattooed Moose. Lots of beer themed places opening up, and quite a few new breweries if you are into that sort of thing.
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