Healthy in the Holy City
Charleston has always and will always be one of my favorite places in the world. Not only does it have some of the most unique history and beautiful landmarks, but truly, the southern charm is out of this world. There’s no doubt why it was voted #1 city in the US… from the food, the beach, the people- it’s the total long weekend/week getaway. If you live in Charlotte, it’s right around a 3-hour drive right down the highway (trust me, I’ve done it about 375 times).
After living there for over 4 years, I definitely took it for granted. Especially when I lived in downtown, the amount of shopping, restaurants, and tours are incredible. Now I’m all about treating yourself on vacation and you know you can’t get out of Charleston without eating a few fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits plates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the rest of your day under control. One question I get about this city quite a bit is how to navigate it for the “health conscious”. So here are a few tips about the Holy City that’ll keep you and your waistline happy.
Five Loaves Café
One of the freshest true “farm to table” restaurants in the city. Although they’ve won an award for their salads, you can’t go wrong with anything on that menu. Make sure to let your server know of any dietary restrictions because they will TAKE. CARE. OF. YOU. My fiancé and I were recently here and it reminded me of the consistency this place has of always having great service and even better food.
- Cobb Salad
- Salmon Entrée
- Taking advantage of their specials
The Park Cafe
Off in Hampton Park, this chic location is nothing short of relaxing and light. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, so change out your biscuits and gravy for this place one morning.
- Avocado Toast w Egg
- Zucchini Bread
- Grain Bowl
You’ve probably recognized this place by their “Instagram-worthy” acai bowls- but that’s definitely not all they serve. Along with fresh cold pressed juices, smoothies, sandwiches, and salads, this vegan spot has it going on. This walk-up restaurant is a little on the smaller side so pick a nice day to grab a snack and sit out on their back patio.
- Green Bowl
- All Day Burrito
- EAT Sandwich
Another small but killer local joint. Don’t let place fool you, they’ve got some of the freshest ingredients on their salads, bowls, wraps, and yes, PIZZA- and us lactose-intolerant friends, they even have dairy-free cheese. If you go here, plan to get it to go or find a nice shaded place to sit because seating isn’t a thing there. But trust me, days of sitting on the sidewalk of Dell’z have me back in heaven.
- Kitchen Sink Overload Wrap
- Jazzy Pizza
This Mount Pleasant gem wasn’t on my radar until just recently. Really set up as a natural supplement store, housed inside is Elixir Bar- with all types of smoothies, bowls, and tonics full of goodies like adaptogens and mushrooms. Skip the typical smoothie bar and check this place out.
- Blue Majik
- Beauty Burst
- The Great Tumeric
Walking around Charleston, you’ll notice some of the best-looking people (seriously, don’t know if it’s just me or what) and I’m sure they didn’t get there by eating Charleston’s food every day and sitting on the couch. Charleston is home to some of the best activities and workouts I’ve ever experienced. If you haven’t started researching workouts on your vacations yet, it’s time to catch up. If you want to make the most out of your trip, don’t rely on coffee to give you the energy you need. A quick workout will not only help you feel better but can help you meet some of the locals who have no problem pointing you to the best spots around the city.
Not only was I a founding member here when I lived in Charleston, but it truly felt like family. This is a no-brainer workout to get into for me, but you’ve got to experience the atmosphere yourself. With a mix of treadmills, rowers, and weight room- you’ve got the best of all worlds. A certified personal trainer gets you through all 60 minutes while wearing a heart-rate monitor for real-time results as you are working out. You definitely don’t need to be a member to stop in, but if you are- your workout is free with your membership. If you plan on going, call ASAP to secure your spot- they fill up quickly!
One of the first people I met when I moved to Charleston was co-owner,Joey Welling, and he has continued to prove his expertise and knowledge at this gym from then. Since they started a signature class, RUSH,this place revived as a powerhouse in James Island. RUSHpacks in 45-minutes of full-body interval training for all fitness levels. With a focus on strength and conditioning, you’ll move through stations of dumbbells, kettlebells (watch out Welling’s favorite), bikes, rowers, treadmills, and a prowler. This is one workout everyone needs to check out.
This relatively new facility consumes you by the time you walk in the door. The all white and glass exterior already has you feeling like you’re in a museum. But don’t let it fool you- once you step foot in one of their classes, the ambiance is quickly forgotten due to the incredible energy throughout the entire studio. After trying out one of their crushing 50-min HY classes (high intensity/low intensity classes), you can walk upstairs and check out their LO classes (hot barre, yoga, stretch, etc) which is what I absolutely love about this place. The mix between work and recovery is exactly where the industry is heading and they are already way ahead of the game. 2 memberships for the price of one? Sign me up.
This indoor cycling studio is another one of the “fam” to me. After spending 3 years teaching at this place, it was extremely bittersweet to leave. These classes are nothing less than SWEATY and incredible. Very similar to HYLO, the look is extremely chic and clean and the instructors are just straight up KILLER. If you’re looking for something a little different- take a spin at this studio (AKA- highly recommend Katie Blaylock, Katie Penta, & Chandler’s classes!) as you also get a little bit of strength training while getting some miles in one that bike.
The Battery, the beach, the bridge- this place is incredible and a car doesn’t do it justice. I definitely recommend taking a walking tour of downtown to get some extra calorie burn while vetoing those horse carriages!
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Especially in the summer, it can get extremely hot walking around. Lots of restaurants have free water available or you can just ask. Stay hydrated, folks.
Be a Beach Early-goer
I personally recommend Sullivans Island’s beach, but whichever one you go to, get there early. The beach will tend to fill up quickly and so will parking. Also, bring tons of water and your own food! But if you decide to go to SI and forget your lunch, don’t fret because you can go ham on a burger from Poe’s or nachos at Home Team and I wouldn’t even sweat it- TOTALLY worth the splurge.
This is one place I will never stop taking pictures of. It truly is one of the best places in the world for a reason and you will look back and remember all the memories you made. So enjoy it!
If you have any other recommendations, comment below! If you check out any of these places, make sure to tag me on IG at @hallehillman!