82 Wentworth St., Harleston Village
While there's no lack of great restaurants in this city, we long anticipated the opening of Basic Kitchen since we first heard it was in-the-works. Entrepreneurs Kate and Ben Towill, the married duo behind creative design/development company Basic Projects and lauded restaurants The Fat Radish and The Ferry Boat Inn, have created a downtown neighborhood spot that serves local, clean, healthy food (think: wild-caught fish, whole grain bowls, and fresh juices) that still manages to satisfy in that Southern way. In tandem with a stellar menu, the vibe is inviting and relaxed, with custom streamlined furniture punctuating the bright, light-filled historic space. A perfect neighborhood spot for a cozy dinner or killer weekend brunch.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
161 Calhoun St., Harleston Village
Conveniently located on campus, very close to King Street, the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute is one of the city’s only institutions exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Their program is targeted at mid-career artists, which means that you’ll inevitably see someone for the first time that you’re likely to see again at a larger show. Look out for their student retrospectives, artists in residence program, and collaborations with other departments—they also do artist lectures and film screenings that are open to the public.
Charleston Farmers Market
329 Meeting St., Harleston Village
If you’re wandering through Charleston on a summer Saturday, you’re likely to come across this busy farmers market without looking too hard—its hosted in Marion Square, a super central green space that’s flanked on one side by King Street and the College of Charleston and the other by Museum Mile. The market runs every Saturday from April through November (it really even extends into December, when it converts into a holiday market). There are plenty of prepared foods vendors, and it’s undeniably fun to peruse and taste local bounty like peaches, muscadine grapes, and okra. Definitely pick up some boiled peanuts to snack on while you’re strolling.
149 Wentworth St., Harleston Village
Proof that you don’t have to go too far to be completely transported, a stay at Charleston’s Wentworth Mansion is the closest one might come to traveling back in time. The 126-year-old property makes exceptional use of its historic elements, opting to set up the spa—where you can indulge in everything from a couple's massage to a detoxifying seaweed wrap—in what used to be the stables and the famed Circa 1886 restaurant in the former carriage house overlooking the garden. Most of the 21 rooms come complete with original fireplaces and porches, while the rooftop cupola offers unbeatable views of the city.
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