If Venita Aspen looks like a professional model, that's because she is one. The triple threat stylist was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and still calls the city home. "My favorite thing about living here is that no matter where I am, it only takes me thirty minutes to get to a beach," she says, flashing her thousand watt smile. We spent the day biking around Charleston with Venita to get the inside scoop on the best things to do in Charleston -- including exactly where to stay, eat, drink, and shop. It's a city bursting with hospitality, particularly in the form of very good meals. If this Southern spot isn't already on your bucket list, it certainly will be after discovering Venita's guide to the best of Charleston. Scroll down to see why Charleston is one of the best cities to visit in the United States, and start planning your next long weekend getaway.
86 Cannon for stunning interiors in a sweet spot location.
The Dewberry for elegant modern chic.
The Spectator Hotel for modern charm in the heart of the city.
"There are so many wonderful places you can stay in Charleston, but my number one recommendation would have to be 86 Cannon. The charm that this boutique hotel has is like no other in the city. Located on Cannon Street, it's within walking distance to many locally owned shops and eateries. You leave 86 Cannon feeling a like a part of the family, and that's my favorite part about staying there!"
The Darling Oyster Bar for fresh seafood and pretty design.
Dellz Uptown for down to earth, satisfying vegan food.
The Establishment for fine dining in a very historic space (built in 1791!)
Felix for a Parisian inspired menu and creative cocktails.
Minero for casual Mexican food.
Malagon for all-day Spanish tapas.
"Eating is something you will do your entire time in this city. We have some of the best food -- and I'm not just saying that! A few of my favorite places are Dellz Uptown and the Darling Oyster Bar. Dellz is a cool, laid back vegan/vegetarian spot on Rutledge Avenue. My favorite things to order are the "snobby nachos." It's another one of those places in Charleston that makes you feel like family."
"When The Darling Oyster Bar opened up I felt like I was there every weekend. It has to be my favorite spot on King Street. From the windows that light up to the raw bar to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant, you'll for sure fall in love. They have one of the best happy hours in town. I always order one of the following: raw oysters + shrimp cocktail, the garden salad, or the clam chowder served over fries. Oh -- and for the drinks, the "London Fall" is equally delicious."
The Harbinger Café for fresh baked goods, tea, and coffee in a charming setting.
The Daily for fresh juice, craft beer, and gourmet coffee.
The Citrus Club for citrus inspired cocktails and rooftop views.
Graft Wine Shop for the best bottles in town, in a cool space.
"A few of my most visited spots for coffee or tea would have to Harbinger Café and the Daily. If you want more of a quaint coffee shop, Harbinger is your spot. They have some of the yummiest sweets in town. It's another great spot that makes you feel like family. When I'm ripping and running and want more of a hardy (but healthy) breakfast I head over to the Daily. They have a vanilla simple syrup that I add to every one of my drinks, be it coffee or tea."
"If I'm not grabbing a drink at the bar for happy hour at the Darling, I'm spending my time with two of the coolest somms in town over at Graft Wine Shop. Femi and Miles really make you feel like you know a thing or two when it comes to drinking wine. It's honestly the coolest spot in town."
Amanda Lindroth for beach inspired prep.
Maris DeHart for a pretty clothing boutique driven by makers and local designers.
OOBE for a fresh take on classic menswear.
Roadside Blooms for fresh flowers in the heart of Park Circle (another walkable shopping strip).
"Amanda Lindroth just opened a store in Charleston about a month ago and it is a DREAM. When you walk in you feel like you're in a cabana in the Bahamas... all of your worries go away. They really do! Not only does she design items for the home, she also makes some of the cutest straw bags."
Rent a bike from Holy Spokes.
Catch live music at The Charleston Pour House.
Visit Sullivans Island.
Tour Cypress Gardens (It's where they filmed The Notebook!)
Visit Neema Gallery on Broad.
Attend Second Sunday on King Street.
"You must rent a bike and explore the city! It's one of my favorite things to do in my down time. Riding bikes is just such a therapeutic thing to do."