We just finished a 4-day weekend, our first trip back to Charleston in 22 years! Why did it take us so long to get back? We had an absolute phenomenal time. Our main reason for being there was to attend a wedding on Saturday night.
We flew into CHS on a direct flight out of Newark on United. Great airport, small and easy to maneuver through. Our soon-to-be the Groom friend picked us up and drove us to our hotel, the Homewood Suites Historic District (part of the Hilton family.) The hotel is new, rooms are all suites and quite spacious, service was good (except during the last half hour of breakfast - a mistake we did not repeat the following day!) There is a small gym and outdoor pool with sun deck as well.
While I wouldn't say the Homewood Suites Hotel is really in the historic district, we did walk just about everywhere. It is 1.8 miles to the very tip of the Battery. But there were tons of restaurants, bars, shops very close by. We loved staying in that area.
I won't go though a play-by-play because many of our activities revolved around wedding festivities (rehearsal dinner BBQ, wedding on Spirit Cruiseline, etc.) but we had carved out a lot of time for ourselves as well.
We did the combo ticket for the Aiken-Rhett and Nathaniel Russell homes ($18 per person if you buy a ticket to visit both places, you do not have to do both properties on the same day.) It was very interesting to see a "preserved" house (Aiken-Rhett) vs. a "restored" property (Nathaniel Russell). They were both interesting in their own way.
We also did a walking tour with Michael at Charleston Footprints (I did a review on TA.) It was excellent! He has a wealth of information and anecdotes on everything from history, architecture, flora and fauna. Highly recommend.
We did a ton of walking every morning - pretty much everywhere from north of where we were staying all the way to the east by the MUSC campus, through College of Charleston, down through the neighborhood south of Colonial Lake, and of course, all through the South of Broad area to East Bay St.
Our favorite dinner restaurant was The Darling, an excellent oyster bar with a great vibe. Leon's, on north King St (a converted gas station) was definitely great for lunch. We sat outside - go for the oysters, fried chicken and roasted brussels sprouts. And our favorite bar was The Dispensary. We heard great live music there Sunday afternoon and Friday night. The Vintage Lounge was a close second, an understated retro cocktail bar atmosphere - perfect for an after-dinner drink.
We went to a bunch of other places, but those are the ones I would highly recommend.
I swear it won't be another 20 years until the next time we visit the Holy City! Can't wait to come back.