Travel Tuesday: Charleston – Where Time is Measured in Moments, Not Minutes

by Marika Flatt on April 4, 2023 in Travels,

There’s lots to unpack on a trip to Charleston, Low Country living at its finest. 


Charleston is always towards the top of popular travel lists and seems to be a bucket list location for many Texans. It’s a genteel, Southern city that features coastal views, history and heaps of great food — what’s not to love. We brought you some top picks here a few years ago and now we’re bringing you a few new faves. (Let’s be honest, it’s mostly about the food!) 

Before we get started, the most important tip is to make a reservation if at all possible. These spots fill up quickly because as Charleston says, “History loves company!”

The yellow shiplap and bright florals are calling at Cru, a phenomenal lunch spot. Photo Katy Frank

Cru Cafe

Set in an old house in downtown Charleston (known as the Market District), very close to the famous horse-drawn carriage rides, this is a fantastic spot for lunch. Sit outside and watch the carriages go by. Start with fried green tomatoes (a popular dish in Charleston), and move onto the scrumptious turkey melt sandwich. Pair with a cool crisp glass of Chardonnay for the perfect start to your trip.

Sweeping interiors characterize Church and Union. Photo Katy Frank

Church & Union 

This popular restaurant, also in downtown Charleston, formally known as 5Church, sits in an actual former church building. Built in 1916 and de-sanctified in the 1960s, this gorgeous building features the words of the famous book The Art of War on its ceiling. And the restaurant’s motto, “There is only we” shines from above. Trivia tip: It was the first non-denominational church of the south. One of their chefs, Jamie Lynch of the reality show Top Chef, has a sign that says “no immunity” that harkens back to his televised competition. Sit at the bar for a cold drink on a hot day to soak up the history.

Leon’s encapsulates Charleston charm! This modern, yet rustic, oyster hub awaits. Photo Katy Frank


No frills (my guess is that this restaurant sits in a restored auto shop), just north of the heart of downtown. Get there early for a table because once you reach about 6 o’clock on a weekend, this place is hoppin’. They are known for their raw oysters and fried chicken. However, if you’re looking for something on the lighter side (because you’ve been eating since you landed), enjoy the smoked mahi dip as an appetizer and try the Siam Salad with boiled shrimp on top. They feature fruity cocktails, craft beers, and a great wine list (try the Iconic Sidekick chardonnay). If you’re looking to save on your travel budget, you can even make a selection from the menu section called “cheapish wine” or “cheapish beers.”

A picture straight out of the movie, “The Notebook.” Boone Hall Plantation is full of history. Photo Katy Frank

Boone Hall Plantation

You’ve seen it in movies — the tear-jerking scene of The Notebook when Noah races to catch Allie at her summer home before she leaves, that is the Boone Hall mansion. 

Charleston is sprinkled with historic sites all throughout the area. One of these is called Boone Hall Plantation, out towards the suburb of Mount Pleasant. This is the oldest functioning plantation in the US. The first major cash crop in South Carolina was indigo, which they grew in spades. Then, cotton was king in the 1700s and 1800s. They brought pecan trees from Texas and still grow this crop today. Hop on a tractor tour to learn all the history of this colorful site.

Charleston Wine & Food Festival

The cheese-board of all cheese-boards bestowed at Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Photo Katy Frank

There is no better time to visit Charleston than during the first weekend of March to experience the Low Country town’s incredible wine & food scene. Wine lovers, authors, artisans, and foodies flock to SC each year to ring in the first weekend of March with decadence. Plan in advance for next spring – March 6-10 – and visit their website for more information. 


Cover Photo Courtesy Katy Frank

Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career in 2002 with Austin Woman Magazine and now writes their “Texas Traveler” section. She can be seen as a contributor on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips and spent five years as the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.