Voices    CHS Guides    Food + Drink, Lifestyle

An insider’s guide to Charleston

charleston, sc

This is a contributer-submitted Voices piece from Patrick Gallagher, creator of the LGND travel app. Based out of Charleston, LGND matches up each user with one of 30 local guides who will provide recommendations on restaurants, bars and nightlife, activities, and insider tips – all up-to-date, and curated to the user based on how they answered a few easy questions.

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The secret is out. Everybody wants a taste of the Lowcountry. When visitors come to the Charleston area, odds are they do some research for the top things to do or the best places to eat. And they’ll find article after article, list after list, and guide after guide, claiming to know definitively what to do and where to go.

Unfortunately, there is an element missing from these resources – they are geared toward providing a universal experience versus preparing specific recommendations based on that reader’s preferences.

According to a recent Post & Courier article, a record 7.3 million visitors came to the Charleston area in 2018. However, the top 17 area attractions only saw about 2.5 million visitors, down about five percent from the previous year. What does that mean? Visitors are looking to experience our city as locals – not tourists.

With the help of LGND’s tour guides, we came up with three sets of recommendations for exploring Charleston. Each one is made up of places you might not find on your average guide to Charleston – and each tailored for a specific kind of traveler.


For the lovebirds spending a long weekend:

Eat: Trattoria Lucca“A wonderful neighborhood Italian restaurant that transports you out of Charleston. It’s a little off the beaten path, but worth the journey. Explore the whole neighborhood! Monday night family pasta night is a must. Show up hungry!” – Matt P

Drink: babas on cannon“Relatively new to the scene is Babas, a European-inspired cafe that pairs mostly wines and cocktails with unique bar snacks. This is a great option for a mid-afternoon break or for a nightcap after dinner.” – Britney G

Explore: Wine Blending at the Grand Bohemian“A great activity for a couple or a group of friends. Learn about and sample different wine varietals and take home your very own blend, complete with a personalized label. This is a one-of-a-kind, fun experience.” – Ryan S


For the budget-minded beach bum:

Eat: Jack of Cups“The treasure of Folly Beach: plant-focused menu (that serves meat, too) – a constantly evolving seasonal menu made up of funky, fun, thai-inspired dishes. Also their McVeggie burger is unreal. Usually music playing on the back patio Saturday nights.” – Shelby R

Drink: Salty Mike’s“Open daily at 2:00pm (well, unless they just don’t open on time), Salty Mike’s is a bar right in the middle of the Charleston City Marina. It brings in an interesting crowd, but there’s not much better than a late afternoon at Salty Mike’s after a beach trip or when you have no plans afterwards.” – Mike H

Explore: Kayak Rentals“There are many creeks in the area that make for great kayaking or paddleboarding. I love grabbing a kayak out of Shem Creek so I can enjoy some food or drinks afterwards at any of the waterfront restaurants there.” – Matt P


For a bumpin’ bachelorette party:

Eat: goat.sheep.cow.north“This is the newer, sister restaurant to the amazing cheese shop on Church St, south of Broad that I’m fortunate enough to live near. Don’t leave without ordering the “Crack” Cheese with Crudités.” – Sara R

Drink: Saltwater Cowboys“Surprisingly, Charleston has very few waterfront restaurants but on Shem Creek, you will find several restaurants and bars. Saltwater Cowboys is the newest of those restaurants that serves up good food and great cocktails with a picture-perfect backdrop.” – Julie & Stacey

Explore:  Edmund’s Oast Exchange“Yes, we’re telling you to go a beer and wine store! Head over to EO Exchange for their daily tastings, then buy some beer or wine to take home with you to enjoy before you head out to the bars.” – Katherine & Ashley


Want to find out what kind of traveler you are? Download the app now for free to take the quiz. Or celebrate its arrival with the app’s creator at its launch party tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. at Revelry Brewing.