Hard to believe, but I recounted all of them.
Here's what I've learned over that time frame:
1. The flow of tourists within its confines closely follows the posted reviews of previous travelers. If it's ranked #1 through #5, expect to be sitting outside on a bench or standing in line within the establishment for up to 1 hour.
2. Many great restaurants/options are overlooked which creates a real pleasant opportunity for those not following the pack.
3. City Market, and its seller stalls, was setup for tourists in order to relieve traffic (foot/vehicle) from other parts of town.
4. Some of the very best restaurants are found in hotels. These include:
Incidentally, they are all located next to the City Market area. I will eat at any of these over Magnolia's, SNOB, Amen, etc any day.
5. Stay off of Bay, Broad, Meeting and King St if possible while walking. Stay on Church, Legare, State, and any other north/south running streets. Meeting and King below Broad are OK.
6. Definitely walk every "Aly" (Alley) between the aforementioned streets. They are quiet, secluded, beautiful, quaint and the reason you came to Charleston. These would include Stolls, Elliott, Unity, etc.
7. Legare St is the best walking street in the area. Magnificent homes and gardens. Quiet, shaded, peaceful, relaxing. It is where the international wealthy tend to have their 2nd or 3rd or 4th home.
I also like Church, King and Meeting below Broad St. Tradd is excellent as well and fewer vehicles traveled than Broad.
8. If you are planning any kind of hardscape or interior renovations; DO NOT begin until you've visited Charleston and walked the streets, took a few house tours and taken lots of pictures for ideas.
9. Charleston is a town of old bricks, old shutters, Pennsylvania bluestone walkways, and many garden delights. Observe the door knockers as the American Eagle means that house supported the separation from the British, and those with a lion’s head, meant they wanted to remain with the Brti's.
10. Walk into the old cemeteries and read tombstones from the early 1700's. The inscriptions and ages at death tell you about the hardships of living back then. The many Captain's and Colonels of the Revolutionary War are to be found as well.
11. Tourists all wear shorts, printed t-shirts, and sandals. If you want to look like one, then dress accordingly.
12. Grab you breakfast and head over to the Water Front Park off of East Bay or South Battery and relax under a shade tree enjoying the cool breeze in the morning. Sure beats sitting on the street waiting to get ham & eggs at Joseph's for 45 minutes.
13. Make sure to visit the roof top bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel. Great breeze and views at sunset.
14. If you see a long line outside a restaurant, don't assume it's the "best" simply because so many tourists read the same reviews. Avoid Lyman's Seafood, Jestine's, Jospeh's, Magnolia's, SNOB if there's a wait list. Far too many good places to eat to have to wait in line anywhere.
Don't run past Grill 225 at lunch in your race to wait in line at Magnolia's. It's not that good! I seldom find any restaurant that will not take reservations and prefers for you to "wait" on them to be worth anything.
If your budget is an issue, then eat lunch at the nicest places and go very light at dinner.