Charming Charleston: What to Eat, Where to Go, and What to See

This South Carolina city is so much more than cobblestones and seersucker. Local chef Sarah Adams talks about her fave spots in the town she calls home.
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FIG

“I’m biased because it’s my alma mater, but FIG never disappoints,” says Adams of this James Beard Award–winning restaurant in downtown Charleston. Be sure to order Adams’s favorite ricotta gnocchi and dive into the acclaimed wine list overseen by another boss lady, Morgan Calcote.

Candy Shop Vintage

Deirdre Zahl’s jewelry boutique is known for its beaded necklaces made of Charleston rice, but you can find loads of statement pieces like bracelets with horse heads and rosé-bottle earrings. “If you’re a vintage junkie like me, you’ll love her unique finds,” says Adams.

Charleston Historic District

“You can’t miss Rainbow Row, one of the city’s most iconic string of homes, but you should also visit the Doc Street Theatre for its architecture,” says Adams. Don’t forget to stroll past the Pirate House: “It used to have a secret tunnel system used by smugglers.”

Redux Contemporary Art Center

A nonprofit that aids the city’s arts scene, “it not only exhibits local, national, and international emerging talent but also offers affordable studios for artists of every level,” says Adams. Plus, the mural exterior make for a colorful selfie backdrop.

Bertha's Kitchen

“One of the best spots for soul food in the city, Bertha’s is a no-frills institution run by a team of badass women,” says Adams. Opened by the late Albertha Grant (whose daughters now run the counter-style spot), it has turned out comfort food, like Adams’s fave fried pork chops, for nearly four decades (843-554-6519).

The Vendue

“After its recent renovation, the Vendue has become one of my favorite spots to send Charleston visitors,” says Adams. The artsy boutique hotel is within steps of some of the best dining in the city, and the lively rooftop bar gives great views of the French Quarter.