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Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

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Smithfield, Virginia
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Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

We will be stopping in Charleston only one day/night sometime during the end of May or beginning of June. I want to get the real feel of the area. If I like it I can come back soon! Where would you recommend staying? I've seen the posts about where to eat for a casual meal...which one restaurant do you think would be the best (under $30 for a 2 person meal, no drinks) for the Charleston feel? I think we'll probably do a tour of the city as well.

Has anyone ever been to Williamsburg? Is it anything like there?

Thanks for any and all help I can get.

Savannah, Georgia
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1. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

How would you define "the real feel?" I am always curious when that phrase is used.

Charleston, South...
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2. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

Sounds like you'll be hitting Charleston right in the middle of Spoleto (www.spoletousa.org) which runs May 26 - June 11. During this time hotel rooms and prices are at a premium so depending on your budget, you may want to look at West Ashley or Mt. Pleasant as the downtown hotels will be pricey. Based upon your budget, we can make recommendations.

As far are restaurants, AW Shucks is good for seafood...its on the corner of State Street and South Market Street. While I'm not a fan of Hymans (on Meeting Street just north of Market Street), a lot of folks like it for seafood. Another seafood spot is Noisy Oyster (a local chain) which is on the corner of East Bay and Market Street. Poogan's Porch on Queen Street (btwn Meeting and King) is good for southern food but it may be pushing it to have dinner for 2 for $30.

Hope this helps...enjoy your visit!

Las Vegas...
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3. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

Too bad you've only got one day. When I visit my family it seems like the trips are never long enough. Not for visiting, but because there are so many wonderful things to do and see in the Charleston area.

I have to agree with Aileen about the "real feel," never understood that one either!

I'm assuming your question about Williamsburg has to do with the historic area with the people who are in costume and character. If that's the comparison you're asking about, the two are completely different. Charleston is very, very rich in history but there really isn't that type of experience in Charleston, at least not that I'm aware of.

For a quick overview of the city I'd suggest taking one of the many tours, you'll see more on the motor tours, but I personally like the walking tours. I think you'll get more of the "real feel" that way. You'll then have part of thay free to either go back and do some more exploring or spend time doing some shopping.

But be prepared for a return trip because once you've been biten by that Charleston bug you'll be back! And you'll probably want to see more of South Carolina! It's a beautiful place!

Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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4. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

Unlike Williamsburg, Charleston is not a museum. Charleston is a real, living, albeit very historic, city. To get the 'real feel' (whatever that is) walk around as much as you can in the historic district.

You can save money by staying outside the historic city and driving in for sight seeing. Public parking is readily available. The restaurants are wonderful and worth a bit of a splurg.

charleston, south...
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5. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

There is such variety in the city it is difficult to have a 'feel'. If you are interested in history, old houses, then I would concentrate downtown. You will be traveling during one of the busiest times of the year (Spoleto fesitval) so I would book my room well in advance. Visit www.spoletousa.org/ for information on the festival. There are several free events that are worthwhile. For one night, it may be easier to stay in the downtown/historic district. Parking may be an issue during Spoleto so I would stay downtown near the historic district. It's easy to walk around that area. Planter's Inn is a great location with an 'old southern' feel. It is located near the Market so may be a little congested. I had friends that liked the French Quarter Inn as well. There are great 'small hotels' and B and Bs in that area. You have several options. I agree with kiawahvilla--splurge on dinner--there are many excellent restaurants. It's hard to be disappointed.

Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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6. Re: Only One Night, but want to Experience the real Charleston

Upon reflection, I realize that dining in Charleston is absolutely essential to getting the "real feel".

An amazing variety of seafood comes from local waters - the ocean, the creeks, and the marshes. Traditional "lowcountry" (Charleston) cooking features lots of shrimp, crab, oysters, and grouper, but these are just the beginning.

Local dishes not to be missed include "shrimp and grits" and "she crab soup".