Charleston, South Carolina, is the place where snowballs come to die. It is where the wind feels like it is blowing out of a hand-dryer in the public restroom. Actually, Charleston also smells like a public restroom. There are small sidewalks, almost no bike lanes, and absolutely NO elevation gains. This city taught me about how to be an adult. That is, how to properly and quickly consume alcohol. How to pay an enormous amount of rent for a “Charleston Charm” house. (That means it’s guaranteed to have exactly a million window units and a delightfully out-dated kitchen from the 20’s, complete with absolutely no washer and dryer.) Charleston never stops refining my reflexes, with the quick slap on the leg (or your friend’s face) to kill a mosquito. pauli26 But I sort of love this place. There is a sense of community here that I take for granted. In a way, the whole downtown peninsula of Charleston is one big neighborhood, and everyone surely acts like it. Art and music shows are plentiful and diverse. Don’t fret if you have no one to go with, because you will certainly know someone once you get there. And the food! Oh, the food. I have dreams of the Okonomyaki from Xiao Bao Biscuit. I drool a little bit when thinking about the AutoBahn food truck’s fresh Bahn Mi’s. Have you been to Panne Vino? No? Check their patio out on a Friday night where you can eat traditional Italian and listen to jazz that will have your rump moving. It doesn’t get any better than that. I think I’ve fallen for Charleston so hard, that I’ve come up with my own rules about how I live life in this city. Take it or leave it.

1. Bikers are friends, not foes.

It seems to me that there are some angry people in this city. And not just it’s-the-summer-i’m-a-grumpy-cat angry. It’s year ’round anger directed towards bikers. The Charleston I live in is filled to the brim with bike commuters. Sometimes I wonder if our politicians live in the same city, because they seem to not know this fact. But I digress. When I do hop in my car to drive, I always, ALWAYS, give a wide berth to anyone on a one, two, or three wheeled vehicle. They are humans, just like the ones inside cars. So next time you are out driving around on our 7.6 square miles of city, just remember patience when you pass a biker. And also, we are all living in one big neighborhood. There is no need to go 50 miles an hour downtown. Ever.

2. Eat your heart out.

The places to dine in Charleston are numerous, but not all are created equal. Hyman’s is not on the same level as Fig. Even if the tourist brochures tell you it is. You will never eat a brunch like the one at Tattooed Moose. (You won’t come out of there sober, either.) The Mapo Dofu from Xiao Bao Biscuit sets my face on fire. But I eat it anyway, I can’t help it. Monza is our favorite date night spot, complete with a tiramisu at the end of every meal, always. Butcher and Bee is God. If you come to our fair city, don’t waste your time Googling or Yelping or Urban Spooning what the top restaurants are. Go to the nearest local coffee shop, or perhaps even the local outdoor shop, and ask the residents their opinion. Like I said, we are a neighborly group of folks. We won’t steer you wrong.

3. Must Love Dogs.

I think we can all agree that dogs are humans. Not just humans wrapped up in a furry body that walks on all fours. Actual humans, with soul searching eyes and a love that really can’t be matched. Well, my Canis lupus fimiliaris is at least. What really broke Dorian and I down in the end about getting a dog was how pup-friendly Charleston is. You can’t walk around this city too long without seeing dogs in the stores, on the floors, at the doors! Just everywhere. There are also a few parks downtown that cater to dog-owners, such as Brittlebank Park. Our go-to of course is Hampton Park Dog Run, (where’s the grass at over there, Charleston?) and that place is packed with humans and canine-humaniods by 5pm. BYOB. If you’re feeling feisty, you could even travel over to James Island (gasp!) and go to Yappy Hour once a month at James Island County Park. Free music and cheap beer make it worth it. Also, last I counted there were 944,373 dogs there for my pup to play with. Just enough.

4. Drunken beach goers suck.

{insert youtube link} Seriously? bridgenowhere 5. Don’t miss an art show.

It’s hard not to miss an art show, because they proliferate here. Dorian and I find ourselves on many weekends going to one art show at 6pm, and then hitting the tail-end of the next one at 8pm, trying eyeball everything in one night. We love checking out what Redux has going on, as there is constantly something new and exciting. The Queen Bee of the art of art-showing in Charleston? The Halsey. So many incredible artists that are different inhabit Halsey for a stint of time. We try to hit the opening night of a new instillation here every time there is one. Not only to see the art, but also to connect with the community and drink free wine. Now, that’s a Thursday night. Gris Gallery is always something to look out for. With no concrete space to host a showing in, Elizabeth Bowers and Gregg Colleton have to become crafty and find the coolest places to host the artists. My favorite place Gris Gallery has been so far? An old funeral home. It’s never boring. However, I think the most desirable place for us to go to for all things artistic would have to be King Dusko. Poetry readings? Check. Comedy shows? Check. Local bands no one has ever heard of? Double check. This place is just a little different than all the rest, and that’s exactly what we like about it.

I hope you find this useful if you are planning to come to Charleston any time soon. If you live here and don’t agree with me, then, ok, listen. I know these are just my opinions. Don’t try to run me over on my bike if you don’t like them. I am a fragile, non-fuzzy human. We are all neighbors after all, right?!



P.S. (As always.) The black and white photos in this post? Taken by my fella Dorian Francis Warneck. Because duh, he’s the best.



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