How to Be a Tourist in Your Own City


If this summer has you longing for a vacation while on a staycation budget, don’t fret. You don’t need to leave Charleston; you just need to dig a little deeper into the city that we all love so much. The Holy City has an endless array of great spots to experience that will leave you feeling like you just had a wonderful trip to a new city, when really you just rediscovered your own.

Ditch Your Car

My favorite part of traveling is to walk or bike all over a new city. You see so many things you would miss from your car, plus you have more time to stop for pictures or easily veer off your initial course. Charleston offers flat terrain and such an easy to navigate layout, so I can’t think of a better way to tour your own city than from a bike. Affordabike has some great rental options, even a tandem bike! My friends, Jordan and Marcus Amaker, let us tag along to capture them on their bikes as they checked out some great spots for food and culture around the Cannonborough area. The Amakers are a pair of Charleston locals that I often spot biking around town, so I immediately thought of them for this feature.

(All Images by Jennifer Collins)


573 King Street
Open Mon-Sat 10-7, Sun 11-5

Visit a Cafe

Starbucks is great and all, but there is nothing better than a new-to-you coffee shop if you want to feel like you’re a visitor. Brown’s Court is the perfect spot to unwind and make yourself nice and cozy with some coffee, a book, and maybe a donut while you’re at it. Use their restroom as an excuse to sneak a peek at the bakers hard at work in the back of the cafe. Their baked goods are sold all over town, and you will see why when you try some of their bread or pastries. Enjoy the ambiance in this 1800’s former home and take advantage of their version of Happy Hour with discounted baked goods daily from 5-7pm.


Brown’s Court Bakery
199 St. Philip Street
Open daily 7am-7pm.

Enjoy a Fun Meal and Drinks

I think by now most locals have enjoyed Warehouse for an awesome brunch or a fun evening out, but you may have overlooked their charming sister restaurant, Parlor Deluxe. This is my go-to date night spot (see #charlestondatenight) or a cool place to hang with the whole family. PD took all of the most fun food and beverages — ice cream, tots, waffles, hot dogs, bubbly & beer — and put them under one roof! I would go just to see the cool design details that make you feel like you’re in a 1950’s soda parlor, but then there’s the fact that they have sour cream and onion tater tots and the best waffle I have ever had that make me return as often as I can. Grab a gourmet dog, a waffle, and a root beer float with two straws, and you’ll definitely forget you aren’t actually on vacation.




Parlor Deluxe
207 St. Philip Street
Open Wed-Sun 11-11

Get Artsy

Shopping at a local store is a must for any tourist, so check out a place that will give you more bang for your buck. Open Door Shop is actually a home store with a bridal registry option, and bonus: there’s a beautiful art studio in the back of the shop. Harrison Blackford creates some stunning, colorful Charleston doors that I love, along with other abstract impressionist pieces that will knock your socks off. You can make an appointment to see her art, browse pieces throughout the store, or currently see it hanging in the windows of Open Door. Grab a little souvenir for yourself while you’re there; their mini wooden pineapple bowls are the perfect treat for $8, or a Charleston coloring book for adults will definitely help you commemorate your day of touring your own city!



Open Door Shop & Harrison Blackford Art Studio
78 Line Street
Open Tues- Fri 11-6, Sat 11-5

Liz Martin [Charleston Weekender]

Liz began offering interior styling services in April 2015, then opened an online shop later that year. She offers products that help make every day feel more like the weekend and enjoys blogging about travels and other weekend activities.


About Liz Martin

Liz Martin began offering interior styling services in April 2015, then opened an online shop later that year. She offers products that help make every...

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