My Town: Charleston, S.C.

Top picks from Budget Travel readers who live in some of our favorite places.

By , Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

The Meeting Street Inn (Courtesy The Meeting Street Inn)

You'll find Southern grace and hospitality, and a lesson in history—all at a slow pace. I like to take visitors to Hominy Grill. The shrimp and grits are to die for, but it's the chocolate pudding that keeps me coming back. —Kim Rich, 42, 10-year Charleston resident

Firefly Distillery, just 30 minutes south of the city, infuses its sweet tea vodka with tea leaves from a nearby plantation. I mix it with lemonade on hot days (fireflyvodka.com, $17). —Tracey O'Brien, 43

For the best views of the Cooper River and the city, stroll over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It leads to the town of Mount Pleasant, but the diamond-towered Ravenel is a worthy destination in its own right. —Haley Abbott, 26

Expect to see benne wafers at any gourmet-food store in town. Benne is an old Southern term for sesame seeds, and, legend has it, these cookies bring good luck. But watch out—they're addictive. —K.R.

It may seem like an unassuming seafood dive, but don't be fooled by Bowens Island Restaurant. This cash-only oyster bar recently won a James Beard Award. Sit on the dock and order a bottomless tray of steamed oysters when they're in season (months with an r in the name). (843/795-2757, $23). —Pat Votava, 55

The Meeting Street Inn embodies Southern charm. Its 56 rooms all open to a courtyard, and wine and cheese are served every afternoon at 5:30 (meetingstreetinn.com, from $119). —Anna Hitchins, account executive