With a flourishing arts and fashion scene and centuries of deep-seated tradition, this coastal Atlantic town is elegant to its core.

Charleston Style
Stacy Smallwood, owner of Hampden Clothing, at The Ordinary in Charleson.
| Credit: Photo by Chris M. Rogers

See and Be Seen
Charleston Fashion Week and international arts festival Spoleto keep the city in the news and the local culturati engaged. Upper King Street has exploded with design stores, galleries, and a slew of hot new eateries such as FIG owners Adam Nemirow and Mike Lata's The Ordinary, a modern riff on a classic oyster bar. Middle King claims fashion-forward boutiques, such as Hampden Clothing and James next door with its killer accessories. In the quickly gentrifying Cannonborough/Elliotborough area, neighbors have united to create green spaces, public murals, and other multi-use community areas.

Dress Like a Local
Manly men aren't afraid of pastels and ladies revere their grandmothers' pearls in this town where classic, windblown preppy rules. Younger generations wear each with designer jeans and well-intentioned irony. With textiles as Stacy Smallwood's family business, it makes sense that the owner of Hampden Clothing sets the style here.

Stay Here
In the "Historical Theme" rooms at Vendue Inn (rooms from $155) find antiques, local art, and working fireplaces. The Rooftop Bar has views of the city's famous harbor.