"Been there, done that" might be your initial reaction to the usual list of places to visit in Charleston, South Carolina. But we're not going to limit our suggestions to taking a carriage ride along the Battery or shopping for antiques on King Street.
We asked three in-the-know local couples to show us their favorite spots, and they provided some delightful alternatives to the typical tourist fare. Read on for an undiscovered look at one of our favorite cities.
Market Pavilion Hotel
Locals Mason and Jay Ward epitomize the youthful side of Charleston, and they enjoy taking in the view over drinks and dinner.
"The absolute best place to enjoy rooftop dining is here," asserts Mason as she gazes over the sky-filled expanse of Charleston on view from the beautiful Pavilion Bar, high atop Market Pavilion Hotel. Located downtown on the corner of Market and East Bay Streets, the luxurious spot, with its softly lit pool, exquisite topiaries, and low-level buzz emanating from a young Charleston clientele, conjures up notions of a hip, big city hangout.
Husband Jay agrees. They both love ending a hectic day here atop their world, watching the sun slide into the horizon and toasting each other and their good fortune.
You can see a myriad of church steeples from this perch, as well as gardens and painted tin roofs. Look for the lighthouses in the harbor, and have a glass of champagne ($9.50), a house martini ($6.50), or a light meal while watching dusk settle quietly around you.
If you're hungry for more substantial fare, go down to the hotel's four-star restaurant, Grill 225, where you'll find quality seafood and USDA Prime steaks prepared by chef Demetre Castanas. Both the Pavilion Bar and the main restaurant are open for lunch as well as dinner.
And don't worry if you don't want to leave. Just check in to the beautiful hotel; its 66 rooms are as lovely as the rooftop view. Crown molding; rich, crisp bed linens; and superior service make it a top-notch stay.
Market Pavilion Hotel: 225 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401; (843) 723-0500. Pavilion Bar: Open 11:30 a.m.-until. Grill 225: (843) 266-4222. Room rates: begin at $299.