City Break: Charleston — TripIt Blog

City Break (noun): A short vacation spent in a city, such as business travel.

Before there was leisure travel, there was the city break – the short space of leisure time that gives you access to the cultural and culinary amenities that big cities offer. In this series from TripIt, we explore some of the world’s best cities for planning a quick vacation or extended business trip.

Here are our tips for making the most of your Charleston city vacation.

Where do you fly

Charleston International Airport (CHS) serves Charleston, which is located only 12 miles north of the city. CHS consists of one main terminal building, with flights departing from two concourses. Although it is the busiest airport in South Carolina, it is relatively small, and therefore easy to navigate.

Once on the grounds, travelers can catch the Charleston Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) public bus service outside the baggage claim area to head into town. CARTA’s Airport Express is a direct link between the airport and downtown Charleston.

Taxis and ride shares are also available from CHS. Alternatively, a rental car pick-up service can be found right after baggage claim before exiting the premises.

Where do you stay during your city break

In search of some southern hospitality? Look no further than the colorful The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel. Here, you’ll stay in the heart of Charleston’s historic district, steps from fine-dining restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, and charming shops. Or, the equally luxurious Belmond Charleston Place, also on Central Meeting Street, offers three on-site restaurants, a pool (and a poolside bar), and a full-service spa.

If you are looking for a hotel in a prime location in Charleston, look no further than the Andrew Pinckney Inn. This four-star hotel is within walking distance of major attractions such as Waterfront Park, Charleston City Market, College of Charleston, and more.

Looking for the charm of a boutique hotel? Check – well, check in a-to Emlyn. Located in historic downtown Charleston, this hotel is a great place to call home while exploring the city. Grab a coffee from the on-site Clerks Café before heading out; Return in the evening for a glass of wine on the patio. The twinkling lights are waiting for you.

In Charleston about business and need a space for events? The Francis Marion Hotel offers 19,000 square feet of meeting space, including a conference center. Business travelers will also appreciate the free Wi-Fi, on-site business center, and express check-out.

How do you go around


Part of the charm of Charleston is its ease of walking. Plan accordingly by packing comfortable shoes for walking from place to place. your reward? An unobstructed view of colorful Charleston homes filled with yards and ornate plants.

When walking isn’t possible, Charleston’s CARTA bus system can be your go-to for getting around. The express one-way fare is $3.50 and can be purchased online or from the bus driver (exact change only). Alternatively, a daily ticket costs $7; Multi-day passes are also available at a reasonable discount. You can purchase passes online or at the Charleston Visitor Center.

Alternatively, Uber is available in Charleston, which is probably your best option for getting around the city in a jiffy.

professional advice: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to search for transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide the best option. You can find the Navigator under the flight, hotel, and car rental details screens. Plus, if you’ve added a restaurant reservation to your itinerary (more on where to eat below), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options to get to your table.

where do you eat

Charleston City Break

If you only travel to Charleston to eat at its restaurants, I can’t blame you. A city known for collecting Lowcountry flavors – from land and sea – Charleston is sure to satiate any type of appetite.

If you only have time for one meal in Charleston, make it to Husk. This award-winning restaurant serves seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. You will definitely need to book (Seriously, make one now, I’ll wait…). Did you crash one in time? Wait at the bar and enjoy a classic cocktail, or opt for a specialty drink prepared by Husk’s expert mixologists.

Just a few doors down from Queen Street, 82 Queen is another delicious fine dining option in Charleston. Aiming to celebrate all that Lowcountry has to offer, 82 Queen is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Looking for the best seafood in Charleston? Head to Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, which has earned the nickname the A seafood spot in Charleston for 18 years running. We recommend that you start with the tuna tartare while you peruse the menu.

Have a new client (or a new date) to impress? Book a reservation at Maison. This French restaurant offers a seasonal inspired menu and happy hour $5 for champagne. the win? accommodate!

Craving a Southern barbecue in a casual setting? You came to the right city. Choose from delicious places like Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Lewis BBQ and Home Team BBQ.

What do you do in your city break

Charleston City Break

If this is your first time visiting Charleston, start the hour at the Charleston City Market. Stroll through the large hall and the outdoor parasols – some dating back to the early 1800s – which now house local vendors selling handicrafts and goods.

Once you fill up the market, get on a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of the city. During your one-hour tour, you’ll learn about the city’s history, and how earthquakes, great fires, and two wars shaped its development. Transfers can be obtained right next to the city market. If you only have an hour of free time in Charleston, I highly recommend spending it here.

There are also plenty of kid-friendly activities to do in Charleston. Take the ferry to Fort Sumter to learn about its place in American history, particularly the fort’s role in the Civil War. Or, head to Folly Beach, about a 25-minute drive from downtown, for some family fun in the sun.

for adults only? By day, wander down King Street and Queen Street to shop the city’s many antique stores and art galleries. At night, head to The Gin Joint in downtown or HandCraft Kitchen & Cocktails in Mount Pleasant for –you guessed it—Unique handcrafted cocktails.

Looking for a different kind of soul? Book a ghost tour with Bulldog Tours for a short guided tour through the city’s tombs, prison, dungeons, and more.

Note: With cities around the world reopening, be sure to consult and adhere to all local guidelines and travel restrictions, as they vary widely and will continue to change. One way to stay on top of the changing guidelines is to consult COVID-19 Travel Advice A feature in the TripIt app for destination-specific information, including current infection rates, quarantine rules on arrival, testing requirements and other information you need to know before visiting the area.