Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
Day 3 You'll See:
Charleston is a southern comfort culinary legend, you probably already knew that, but did you know that Charleston is also one of the most expansive foodie-friendly cities in South Carolina? Get ready to see (and taste) why!
Downtown Culinary Tour - The perfect first stop to break your students into the culinary world of Charleston sits on Market Street, one of the most influential culinary communities in the city. This company provides tours that combine the best of Charleston history, food, and drinks in a manner that is entertaining and, above all, really delicious! All tours offered here allow you to sample some of Lowcountry's finest foods and even meet the owners, chefs, and mixologists behind it all. The Downtown Culinary Tour will run about 2.5 hours long and take you through the Old and Historic Districts, filling you with traditional favorites and recent innovative creations along the way. The tour is mostly walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you travel to the 3 to 4 restaurants on the schedule. Note that the restaurant lineup will change often, depending on seasonal availability and level of crowds that day.
Fat Hen - Dinner tonight will be a true Lowcountry treat at a locally loved establishment that provides the finest French-influenced southern fare, Fat Hen. Head chef Fred Neuville has put together a traditionally Southern yet French-sophisticated menu that has blown up in popularity in Charleston, a foodie haven for those looking for something that encapsulates the essence of Charleston as a whole. One of the greatest things about this place is that it places a heavy emphasis on remaining local, meaning that it uses local farmers for produce and local breweries and distilleries for drinks. One of the most popular dishes here is the Flounder Nicoise with bacon cheese grits, but some close seconds on the menu include the Steak Tartare, Boiled Peanut Salad, Farmer’s Plate, and of course, fried green tomatoes. For those a little less adventurous there are the American staple foods as well, such as hamburgers, ribs, brisket, pasta, and pork chops. They are just a bit more elevated in their taste and presentation than most!
South Carolina Aquarium - Situated right on the Charleston Harbor, the South Carolina Aquarium is the ultimate destination for fun, education, and a wild assortment of spectacular marine creatures. (Plus, it makes for a great activity to really work up your group's appetite!) Enjoy up-close encounters with the animals, see underwater creatures you've never even heard of and find yourself oohing and aahing at adorable and interesting marine creatures all day long. Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, the South Carolina Aquarium has certainly earned a place on your Charleston trip itinerary! Feed stingrays, marvel at massive herons, explore the Great Ocean tank (385,000 gallons of salt water), and try to attend a daily feeding by the on-staff divers! Before you go ahead to the Touch Tank and get the chance to view hermit crabs, sea urchins, starfish, horseshoe crabs, and Atlantic stingrays up close and personal (you can even hold them!).
Fort Sumter Cruise and Tour - Fort Sumter is a must-see while in Charleston, and you’re going to want to tour it the right way; a cruise! In business since 1961, this company has a long-standing history of showing it’s guests, well, more history! You will be able to see ‘where the Civil War began’ as well as enjoy the raw and seemingly unchanging beauty of this Southern city. Your group can choose to depart at Liberty Square or Patriot’s Point. Once at the location you can explore the fort ruins, discover the bridges and monuments, and hear stories from the men who fought here in the beginning! On the cruise, you will see Battery Park, the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, Fort Moultrie, and maybe even a few dolphins! For more in-depth educational experiences here head to the Education Center and/or bookstore before you go.
Glass Onion - As you can probably already tell from the crowds around this place, the Glass Onion is one of the most popular local Charleston eateries by far. This eatery is run by well-established owner and executive chef Chris Stewart, a successful endeavor he began in 2008. Since then both the crowds and the reputation surrounding this spot have grown extensively, locals and tourists alike eager to taste the ‘refined, locally-sourced soul food favorites’ inside! Not only is it delicious and upbeat in the atmosphere, it is also local and sustainable! The menu changes daily, updated online or onsite by 4:30 pm. Though we don’t know what the menu will be when you get there, we can give you a good idea with today's (March 9, 2017) sample menu: Blackened Ribeye with sprouts, red cress, and blue cheese or Atlantic White Shrimp with Braised Root Veggies and Grits. (Yum!) Reservations are recommended here, but you just let us handle that!
Ghost and Graveyard Tour - Bulldogs Tours presents this entertaining and educational nighttime stop, the Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour. This tour departs at 5 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:30 pm nightly and takes your group into this city’s "beloved pockets" of history within some of the oldest graveyards, each being such lovely parts of this area’s culture that they are oftentimes just referred to simply as gardens. There are several different themed tours offered through this company for an affordable price, but the one you will be embarking on tonight is the Ghost and Graveyard Walking Tour, an up-close and personal journey through one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. Your group will learn that Old Charlestown doctors were so feared of a contagious disease that a majority of those sick were actually buried alive, as well as the origins of terms such as "saved by the bell" and "graveyard shift." Don’t forget to bring your flash camera to try and capture your own spooky spirit, and also bring a jacket for the chilly Charleston evening air!
Chef’s Kitchen Tour - Foodies rejoice! You are going to start your day out with a 3-hour walking tour of Charleston’s downtown district to meet the ‘talented chefs behind some of the greatest restaurants and gain insight into their ideas, methods, and creativity.' Get tours of their kitchens, hear the stories of their humble (or not so humble) beginnings, and hear what influences their dishes the most. Throughout the tour, you will see a total of five different restaurants, though the choices typically rotate daily or weekly according to restaurant availability. Along your culinary course of stops, you will sample various delights such as coffee, pastries, biscuits, and other typical small southern bites that we know you are going to love. Meet and greet with the chefs, give the owners a Q & A, and even get a narrated tour of the streets in between eatery stops. This tour will happen rain or shine, and the streets you will be walking are cobblestone and uneven in places, so be sure to come weather-prepared and in comfortable shoes!
Battery - In Charleston, The Battery has two different meanings. One is a professional soccer team based in the city and the other is a defensive seawall built during the Civil War to protect the city of Charleston from enemy invaders. Stunning views, historic sites such as cannons and weaponry, and stately mansions, Battery Park is a wonderful place to spend a few hours in Charleston. Like many sites in Charleston, you get equal portions of history and relaxing scenery here, a great place to just enjoy the scenery and soak in the culture. The Battery Park is also the place to tour the elegant manor homes full of southern grace including the Villa Margherita, the William Ravenel House, and the Charles Drayton House, all of which are historic landmarks. You can also visit the White Point Gardens at Battery Park, the site of a former Revolutionary War fort as well as one used during the War of 1812. White Point also has a history of pirates as well as war intrigue, making walking tours extra interesting. You'll be able to see wonderful views of Fort Sumter and the U.S.S. Yorktown from the park's shores beneath the swaying palmetto trees.
Charleston Museum - This next stop is quite a spectacular one, though if you are short on time before you have to leave you may want to skip it and head to the market, we just can’t leave it out of any Charleston Itinerary! This is America’s very first museum, founded first in 1773 and then opened to the public in 1824. Here you will see various impressive exhibits showcasing relics from South Carolina and Confederate history, as well as have access to many different surrounding historic homes. This popular and historically iconic establishment strives to study, document, preserve, interpret, and share the important local history and does so through stories of South Carolina scholars, scientists, scribes, and socialites. The melting pot of cultures and customs within is perfectly mixed with the surrounding Joseph Manigault House, a gorgeous antebellum home, as well as the Huguenot and Heyward-Washington Houses.
City Market - The Charleston City Market, or Centre Market more officially, is the widely popular four-block city market sitting in downtown Charleston. This historic market complex makes up the cultural heart of the city and is actually one of the nation’s oldest public markets, opened in 1804. The entire complex is over 13,000 square feet and contains over 300 vendors weekly selling wares of food, arts and crafts, and other local treasures. This building was designed originally by architect Edward Brickell White and is so popular today that it is considered Charleston's number one most visited location. While here you will be able to meet locals, shop for souvenirs, take a tour of the neighborhood, or sample local cuisine, none of which you will walk away dissatisfied with. Look for the Certified Authentic Handmade seal on each product, ensuring one hundred percent that it was made locally, by any of the many passionate entertainers, artisans, or artists that each do their part in supporting and boosting the local economy.