Searching for a long weekend getaway destination or a world-renowned travel destination? Move Charleston, South Carolina, to the top of your list. The skyline of the peninsula city showcases modern hotel towers and restaurants with rooftop bars, but none rising above the historic church steeples that deem Charleston “The Holy City”. Rich in history, and well known for its cuisine and boutiques, this southern charmer provides plenty options for an action-packed stay or a laid back visit.

Start a long weekend on Friday and rent a bike at Affordabike, 573 King Street. Ride and explore the downtown area by heading southeast down King Street to take in a tableau transforming from bars and restaurants, to shops nestled into original historic buildings, on to the Charleston Single Houses. Continue on to The Battery and Waterfront Park for sweeping views of the harbor, the iconic Pineapple Fountain, and the occasional bottlenose dolphin. After a leisurely ride to Waterfront Park, dine on the deck at Fleet Landing, located at 186 Concord Street. The stuffed hush puppies are a local favorite!

Witness a tradition with deep roots by visiting The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, on Friday afternoon at 3:45PM. Watch in awe as the corps of cadets march with incredible precision in a retreat parade. The parade deck is located in the center of the campus surrounded by static displays of military aircraft and artifacts. A parade announcer narrates the meaning and history behind each parade movement. Afterwards, head down the street to Rutledge Cab Co. at 1300 Rutledge Avenue to dine away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Serving up a mix of finer fare and southern comfort food, try the red-eye burger or the shrimp and grits for something traditionally southern.

Start your Saturday morning with a trip slightly outside the city center to the Plantation District. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the nation’s oldest botanical garden and is home to magical swamps, gardens, and Spanish Moss draped live oaks. Choose a boat tour through the low country swamps, walk through the plantation house, and guide yourself over the bridges and through the gardens’ walkways. Don’t miss the Saturday night scene with dinner in the heart of downtown. Grill 225, located at 225 E. Bay Street in the Market Pavilion Hotel, fits the bill with an extensive wine list, exceptional service, and an intimate atmosphere, serving prime steaks as well as other delectable fare. The prime filet foie gras and creamed spinach are the stuff of legend.

Before saying goodbye to your new favorite city, enjoy Sunday morning brunch with eggs benedict at Virginia’s on King, located at 412 King Street. Charleston’s perfect mix of southern hospitality, scrumptious food, and historical architecture will encourage you to plan your next trip before your first is halfway finished!

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