This week on Hack Your City, readers made Charleston sound real inviting. “You know when you meet someone’s grandma and you instantly become her grandkid? That’s Charleston,” says rn3279. “I am a transplanted Northerner and I have never been made to feel unwelcome or out of place,” says reader Magnolia34. We collected all the best tips under the Staff tab in the original comment thread; here are some highlights.

Each Monday on Hack Your City, we ask readers for your best tips on a city: driving tips, restaurant recs, things to do, and any other advice for visitors and locals. Then on Thursday, we present the best comments. We’re working our way around the U.S. and around the globe.


Places to Go

  • “Voodoo. Pearlz. Gene’s. Tin Roof. Proof. Dave’s Carryout. Jack of Cups. Obstinate Daughter. If you visit these places, you will meet wonderful people, have great conversation over cheap drinks, and eat delicious food.”—Voltz
  • “Go to Persimmon Cafe downtown and get the basil limade and greek sandwich. It’s delicious and cheap.”—ericxboba
  • “The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene is definitely better than the yelpers would have you believe. It’s a dive, but the seafood is pretty good.”—DrCos
  • “Hidden gems: The Old Slave Mart museum, The Powder Magazine. Both are small and relatively uncrowded. McLeod Plantation if you’re interested in Reconstruction history. The Children’s Museum if you’ve got kids.”—HielandLass
  • “Check out Tattooed Moose, The Griffon, The Obstinate Daughter for excellent affordable food and nice people.”—AspenRS
  • “I am gonna point out the opportunity to check out Gullah culture on St. Helena’s Island! It’s real people living there- not a museum- but there are artisan and craftspeople who keep traditional Gullah/GeeChee crafts going!”—pdxwhy


Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island, Charleston HarborPhoto: James Willamor

  • “All our beaches have their own personalities: Folly is a laid-back, casual, partying and surfing kind of place (though a little less so since they banned alcohol in the beach). Sullivan’s Island, you’ve got the rich and beautiful conspicuously enjoying themselves. Isle of Palms, little bit of both, more your garden variety plain vanilla beachgoing experience.”—jpr776
  • “On Sundays, go to Hall’s Chop House for Gospel Brunch.”—Magnolia34
  • “There’s a raptor/birds of prey rehabilitation center about 40 minutes outside the city, I believe it’s the Avian Conservation Center, that gives great tours and ‘demonstrations’ of their beautiful birds.”—JoshMC
  • “Middleton Gardens are a must see, especially in March when the azaleas are in bloom.”—Ellen
  • “In Charleston it is also very easy to get a liquor license so every restaurant and shop almost seems to serve booze. If you want to do bar hopping the two main areas are Upper King and East Bay/Market. My favourite bars: Rarebit, Cocktail Club, Gin Joint, Blind Tiger, Closed for Business, The Griffon. I would also check out Shem Creek for Happy hour. Several bars next to each other all on the water.”—RAK
  • “I’d give a shout-out to Escape in 60, the escape room just off the open air market.”—jpr776
  • “Coffee: Second State Coffee. Neat spot a bit off the path.”—tomparker7
  • “Go to the Tattooed Moose for a duck club and duck fat fries. Butcher and Bee offers Israeli food with a Southern twist. Stella’s has amazing Greek food with massive portions. Little Jack’s Tavern has the greatest burger in the world, Dellz Uptown has amazing vegan fare. And if you don’t get brisket at Lewis BBQ, don’t even go to Charleston.”—Bob Mills
  • “If you like golf, Kiawah has amazing courses if you can get on. Rivertown, Patriots Point, and The Links at Stono Ferry are also very nice.”—gthrift


Slave cabin on Boone Hall PlantationPhoto: denisbin

Tips and Hacks

  • “The best time of year to visit Charleston is October-November (although you do run a minor risk of a hurricane) or March-April. This is when you get the warm days and cool nights.”—RAK
  • “Parking is limited. Be prepared to walk or bike. Plan a stroll through the historic colonial district, the homes are just beautiful.”—Stephen
  • “Parking in an off-street near downtown in a residential area is the best. I am pretty sure it is ok on the weekends. Keep your tennis shoes on because almost everything is within walking distance.”—Duke the Nuke
  • “If you have children, I cannot stress this enough: there are no restrooms south of Broad Street. That one has bit us a number of times.”—Nate
  • “If you’re staying on the peninsula there is an express bus from the airport, and the drivers don’t seem to mind letting half the people ride for free if they don’t have exact change. There are also several free shuttle buses around in the peninsula.”—ShanePrime
  • “The radio stations don’t call the highways by their numbered names. For example the 526 is the Mark Clark Expressway.”—nuke-guy
  • “If you go to Folly Beach make sure your tires are OFF THE ROAD or you will definitely get a ticket. This has been happening for as long as I’ve been driving and they do not joke around.”—rn3279
  • “Don’t go downtown if it’s high tide and raining. Seriously. You will regret it. I had many times walking to work with my pants rolled up to my knees because I forgot boots and I’ve seen a few cars get flooded.”—ericxboba
  • “Horse & carriage tours are a great way to get some different looks at the city, take in a little history, and rest your legs. Get an early morning tour if it’s a hot season. Different guides have varying focuses or tell different stories, and the city prescribes each carriage a different route to break up congestion, so repeat visits are actually worth it!”—mfga


Tips have been edited for clarity.

Go read the other tips, leave your own down here, and come back Monday when we’re going south of the South.

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