A Guide to Charleston

Do the Charleston

For all of us who travel with our racquets, a place like Charleston is about as good as it gets—plentiful public tennis courts, a sprinkling of storied clubs to sneak into, and copious amounts of world-class restaurants to sate your appetite after hours on the court. While the city has tremendous appeal all year round, with its mild weather, explorable size and vaunted cultural institutions, one of our favorite times to visit is during the Credit One Charleston Open, when the best women in the world descend on the city for the world’s only premiere tournament on green clay. To put together Racquet’s dream Charleston itinerary, we’ve scouted the must sees (and must dos) for the ideal mix of action on and off the court.

Start your day by waking up in the immaculate and historic Charleston Place—dubbed the city’s “living room” and stop into their excellent Southern-tinged restaurant Palmetto Cafe for some shrimp and grits before you head out to play. For public hard courts within walking distance, you’ve got your choice of Colonial Lake or Hazel Parker Playground, or if you’re already thinking about lunch at the famous Rodney Scott’s BBQ or getting in some Lowcountry seafood at The Ordinary, you can hit on the way at Jack Adams Tennis Center or just north at Corrine Jones Playground.

Stop in for a bit of culture at the Egyptian Art Deco Riviera Theater and browse the works at the Gibbes Museum of Art, housed in a beaux-arts style manse dating from the 1700s. While you’re in the French Quarter, pay a visit to Sorelle for some modern Italian (and hit up their marketplace for some food souvenirs).

If you’re heading to the tournament on beautiful Daniel Island, you can sit up close on Althea Gibson court or watch a match in Credit One Stadium, which also doubles as a music venue. Hit a pop-up version of local favorite Lowcountry Oyster Company for courtside oysters. While you’re on the move, stop by Mount Pleasant and try to talk your way onto the team so you can have a hit at the College of Charleston Tennis Center, or for those truly blessed, befriend a member of I’On Club for a red clay court religious experience.

Finish strong with some locally sourced seafood at The Quinte Oyster Bar, Chubby Fish, Millers All Day for the best pimento cheese in town, a classic take on elevated Southern cuisine at Charleston Grill, or pay an epic visit to the family owned and operated Halls Chophouse—their creamed corn will change your life.

This guide originally appeared in a special edition of Racquet Magazine published in Spring 2023.