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swampfox43

Looking for that little known, must see thing in Charleston

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Hello everyone. I believe this is my first time straying from the Charlotte, NC forum to another cities forum, but with my upcoming vacation to Charleston on July 31-Aug 2 (wish I could stay longer), I would love for some of you that really know every nook & cranny (so to speak) of this incredible city to let me in on a few of Charleston's best kept secrets. I have only visited Charleston several times in my 48 years and have never done an overnighter so I am really, really excited. I am going with a couple friends who are also from Charlotte but they have stayed in Charleston before and have done all the touristy things. We have a hotel already picked out in the historic district. One that my friend has stayed in before and was fine. And seeing how we plan on spending very little time there, the location on Meeting St seemed to fit the bill. Not particularly interested in great, little known bars or pubs although if unique enough, maybe so.

When I say "best kept secrets", I suppose that could come in various forms. Really unique views, must see home, a particular store or restaurant, a certain home with unusual ties, gosh I am sure that everyone has their favorite Charleston visual that isn't listed in the books.

Hope to hear from ya!

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Well, everywhere will be packed out because its the height of tourist season. Personally, one of my favorite spot that is off the primary tourist route (but still gets a lot of them) is the Blind Tiger, which is on Broad Street between Church and State Streets. If you go there, go to the outdoor area in the back.

As you're walking around, make sure you go down some of the alleys in the South of Broad neighborhood. Longitude Lane, Prices Alley and Gateway Walk are good ones. Another bit of info for you- if the gates are open to a garden in Charleston, I'm told that it's permission to step in and look around at the garden.

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Well, everywhere will be packed out because its the height of tourist season. Personally, one of my favorite spot that is off the primary tourist route (but still gets a lot of them) is the Blind Tiger, which is on Broad Street between Church and State Streets. If you go there, go to the outdoor area in the back.

As you're walking around, make sure you go down some of the alleys in the South of Broad neighborhood. Longitude Lane, Prices Alley and Gateway Walk are good ones. Another bit of info for you- if the gates are open to a garden in Charleston, I'm told that it's permission to step in and look around at the garden.

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The College of Charleston campus is nice, There are some broad live oak lined pedestrian areas between the buildings that are really nice. I'll have to look up the location but it is in the heart of the campus were the original campus building is.

I remember now, I believe it its George Street. There is a yellow 2.5 or 3 story victorian home that is a most see. You can't really see it from the road though.

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Swampfox43, the suggestions thus far have been right on. To them I would add one casual restaurant that is a must when in Charleston, Juanita Greenberg's on King Street (Upper King). For Thai food, Basil's is great, and for Mediterranean, Sermet's Corner (King and Wentworth) is fabulous and very reasonable. Also, Five Loaves Cafe on the corner of Cannon Street and Coming Street (a bit off the beaten path) is well worth the jaunt.

I lived in Charleston 1981-1987, and also 2003-2005, and travel there frequently. The best advice I can give you, like anyone will tell you, is to walk the side streets and alleyways, leaving the car in its parking spot. Buildings that are must-sees include the Aiken-Rhett House, a house musuem with original slave quarters and authentic patination throughout (i.e., not gussied up), and the 1765 Miles-Brewton House (seen from the street as it is not open to the public), on King Street (a few blocks north of the Battery)--a premier example of early American architecture. The view from a rooftop bar such as the Library Rooftop over Vendue Inn, or atop the Pavilion Hotel (both on or near East Bay Street), are splendid. Of course, walking (if not oppressively hot), or better yet biking, over the new Ravenel Bridge is a unique experience with awesome views. There is a bike shop on Meeting Street near the corner with George Street that rents bikes per day or hour at an affordable rate. This would perhaps be the best way to see the out-of-the-way streets and beautiful houses along Legare Street, Tradd Street, and the many others. Just be careful--the streets are narrow and the car still rules, unfortunately, downtown. Once you get off the main thoroughfares, though, Charleston is heavenly on a bike! If you can, just take your own and save the $$ for rental.

One interesting and free tour is to explore the length of the Gateway Walk through several cemeteries downtown, form St. Philip's to the Unitarian Church (open daily, but that's best with all the ghosts of the old city!) Here is a link to a brochure about this well-kept secret: http://www.stjohnscharleston.org/index.php...2&Itemid=76

Have fun, and remember to pack your camera and your appetite!

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Thank you all so much for these awesome tips. I am going to use each and every one of them. I am so excited about this trip and I would hate to get back, only to hear about all the things I missed.......

If anyone can add to the list it will be much appreciated!

PS: The bike rental idea sounds superb! I was planning on walking to the halfway point on the bridge, but maybe I will bike it instead.

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Thank you all so much for these awesome tips. I am going to use each and every one of them. I am so excited about this trip and I would hate to get back, only to hear about all the things I missed.......

If anyone can add to the list it will be much appreciated!

PS: The bike rental idea sounds superb! I was planning on walking to the halfway point on the bridge, but maybe I will bike it instead.

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Don't forget the Angel Oak ... it's a bit off of the beaten path, too, but really cool.

Also, on the Mount Pleasant side of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a really great new Memorial Waterfront Park, with a pier that jets out along side the bridge, among other features. It's free other than a small parking fee ($0.50/hour).

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These sound like great ideas. Sunrise Park looks like the view I've been wanting to see, so thank you for that.

The Memorial Park is very doable so that will be on my list.

Where is Angel Oak? Is that something most locals would know if I were to ask?

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These sound like great ideas. Sunrise Park looks like the view I've been wanting to see, so thank you for that.

The Memorial Park is very doable so that will be on my list.

Where is Angel Oak? Is that something most locals would know if I were to ask?

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thanks for the tip. I am staying on Meeting St so hopefully the Visitors Center is nearby. I'll check it on the google maps.

Ya'll are really getting me excited now! I really appreciate the help.

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I have to say the new Memorial Waterfront Park under the bridge in Mt P is awesome, and the fishing off the new pier is superb....take your camera up onto the Ravenel Bridge...the views up there are spectacular, and it is great exercise...one thing I always enjoy doing, though it's not off the beaten path is to just sit on the swings on the Pier at Waterfront Park at the end of Vendue Range and just people watch and if you get up early enough, the sunrise there is gorgeous...another thing to do is go to Shem Creek in Mt P and go on one of the kayak tours (if your into that sort of thing)...or another thing that I like doing is heading up to the Francis Marion National Forest and hiking up there, or taking the boat ride out to Capers Island and the Cape Romain NWR, but I'm into doing a lot nature stuff, so that may or may not interest you....another nice area over in Mt P is Alhambra Hall....it has great views over the harbor and the Old Village of Mt P is very walkable and also has beautiful old houses and the Pitt Street Phamarcy has an old Soda Fountain....it's popular, but my friends that live down there and who I hang out w/ when going down there and I always enjoy spending Happy Hour at Red's Ice House on Shem Creek...and also in the Shem Creek area is my favorite seafood restaurant called "The Wreck" (it is hard to find, and only accepts cash, and doesn't look like much at all, but man is it good).

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I have to say the new Memorial Waterfront Park under the bridge in Mt P is awesome, and the fishing off the new pier is superb....take your camera up onto the Ravenel Bridge...the views up there are spectacular, and it is great exercise...one thing I always enjoy doing, though it's not off the beaten path is to just sit on the swings on the Pier at Waterfront Park at the end of Vendue Range and just people watch and if you get up early enough, the sunrise there is gorgeous...another thing to do is go to Shem Creek in Mt P and go on one of the kayak tours (if your into that sort of thing)...or another thing that I like doing is heading up to the Francis Marion National Forest and hiking up there, or taking the boat ride out to Capers Island and the Cape Romain NWR, but I'm into doing a lot nature stuff, so that may or may not interest you....another nice area over in Mt P is Alhambra Hall....it has great views over the harbor and the Old Village of Mt P is very walkable and also has beautiful old houses and the Pitt Street Phamarcy has an old Soda Fountain....it's popular, but my friends that live down there and who I hang out w/ when going down there and I always enjoy spending Happy Hour at Red's Ice House on Shem Creek...and also in the Shem Creek area is my favorite seafood restaurant called "The Wreck" (it is hard to find, and only accepts cash, and doesn't look like much at all, but man is it good).

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If you want a real hole in the wall sea food shack, I recommend Bowen's Island Restaurant. They serve locally harvested oysters mainly, but other local seafood too. It is a cinderblock shack, and they serve your oysters with a shovel. Its not classy, but it IS an experience.

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I'd like to thank everyone for these fine suggestions. I have them all listed on a simple printout. Not sure I'll get to all of them, you know how it is when you are with other people, they all want to do their things too. But these are great suggestions and with my unfortunate time limits.....well....gotta relax a little too. I'll be heading out tomorrow in the am.

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I agree about Red's Ice House--a GREAT place to have a cold one and chow down under the sun or on the deck--and the view from up high is the best! The burgers, etc. are awesome, and they will even have shish-kebobs grilling behind the outdoor tiki bars at night after they have closed the kitchen. Those were the best before hitting the road after hitting back a few.

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