A perfect day in Charleston

Architect and realtor Chris Bonner shares his ideal 24 hours in the Holy City
Chris Bonner

Photo by Renee Dolin Photography

An architect and realtor in Charleston, South Carolina, Chris Bonner has visited more than 40 countries. But the principal of B Studio Architecture and president of Charleston’s American Institute of Architects chapter contends his city holds its own among the world’s top destinations. From culinary offerings and outdoor recreation to culture and (of course) architecture, Bonner shares his picks for building a perfect day in the Holy City.

Rise & Shine
Marina Variety Store is an old-school spot where you can get a hearty breakfast. Their Lowcountry Hashbrowns dish comes with grilled shrimp, eggs, and hollandaise.”

Battery Park

Photo courtesy of Explore Charleston, explorecharleston.com

Morning Stride
“Charleston’s a great strolling city. You can see the progression of architectural history from Upper King Street to Lower King Street and down south of Broad. You see great historic residences near the Battery, progressing to smaller historic commercial buildings, to eventually more modern, taller structures. The street, in some ways, is a physical manifestation of how Charleston has progressed architecturally over time.”

City Gallery

Photo courtesy of City Gallery

Cultural Encounter
City Gallery at Waterfront Park near Pineapple Fountain has rotating exhibits by contemporary artists from the Lowcountry and the Southeast. You can always see something different there.”

Midday Munch
Ted’s Butcher Block on East Bay Street is a local butcher with a tasty gourmet cafe that’s great for grab-and-go items. I like the house-roasted Wagyu beef panini with the fruit salad for a healthy side.”

Afternoon Adventure 
“I love boating and sailing, but kayaking is the best way to get on the water quickly and easily, and Shem Creek is a great place to do it. Being secluded from the city by tall marsh grass is a great experience. There are a lot of things hiding in the marshes. Sometimes you come across dolphins strand feeding, shrimp dancing and jumping out of the water, and tall birds slowly stalking dinner.”

Shem Creek

Photo courtesy of Explore Charleston, explorecharleston.com

Pre-Show Bite
“Charleston has an amazing diversity of restaurants. I’m a big fan of FIG—which stands for Food Is Good—on Meeting Street. Their tomato tart is kind of a take on tomato pie, and it’s just phenomenal.”

Evening High Note
“Although most of the big acts come to Gaillard Center, which was masterfully renovated, I also like Charleston Music Hall. It’s a more intimate venue where you get to be really close to the performer.”

“There’s a bar called Felix on Upper King Street. They have a deep, interesting menu of drinks and a great atmosphere. Try the Vieux Carré cocktail with rye whiskey and cognac.”

This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of Southbound.