Ye Ole Fashioned, with its Neapolitan ice-cream scoop sign and blue-striped awning, is the landmark that let's you know you've arrived in West Ashley from downtown. The nostalgic cone and sandwich emporium has been around since 1972 and is located at a branching off point: You can continue down Savannah Highway toward Avondale or veer off toward South Windermere.
We decided to keep driving straight ahead for this first installment of our Charleston Scene neighborhood guides, which will be released a few times a year.
Avondale is a favorite location in the Lowcountry for hip young professionals and families looking to live near some fun restaurants, boutiques and bars just outside of downtown Charleston. It's a quaint Y-shaped commercial hub of colorful storefronts decorated with perhaps the greatest density of art murals and sticker art in the Lowcountry. And locals frequently call it one of the best places to live, a favorite factor being its whimsical charm.
We decided it was a good place to start for our guides, which will walk you through different Lowcountry neighborhoods and fill you in on all the fun things you can do there.
We'd be remiss not to mention some nearby notable places outside of the "Y," both within walking distance and just beyond.
There's Tin Roof, a favorite watering hole and music venue, next to lip-licking Home Team BBQ, Taco Spot and a few boutique shops. The Harris Teeter and Whole Foods shopping centers are also within walking distance, dotted with cute local stores like Music & Arts and a new gardening decor shop (owned by a former member of party band Plane Jane) called Slate Works, along with gyms, coffee shops and popular lunch spots like Hubee D's and East Bay Deli.
We know there's much more beyond, but we're keeping things to the "Triangle," the hubbub at the corner of Savannah Highway and Magnolia Road. Here are the happenings there.
Beauty + Health
You can keep calm and get your namaste on at this yoga studio in Avondale. There are a variety of classes for beginners to experts and even a happy hour power flow.
Get a facial, lash perm or therapeutic massage at this boutique named after one of Charleston's most famous pirates.
You can also try BodyWorks for a 60-or-90-minute massage, with hot stones, aromatherapy and other soothing options.
Need a cut or color? The Lava Salon in Avondale has been rated as one of the best in town, and it has some pretty groovy decor.
If you're looking for a "treat yourself" day out in Avondale, consider starting at this other top-rated salon in the neighborhood.
Any fellas out there wanting a fresh cut? The crew at Barber & Shave Shoppe will get you a stylin' new do.
Looking to work on your psychological and spiritual health? Maybe a tarot card reading from this Avondale psychic will help. It's also a fun date activity in between dinner and drinks.
Want to class up your pooch with a doggie bowtie or belle bow collar? Find spiffy pup accessories at this cute stop, which even has its own Charleston Collection with Rainbow Row, pineapple, palmetto tree and seersucker designs.
For some antique chic furniture, artwork and other interior home decor, head to Seventeen South. It's been a central spot for the Lowcountry's leading antique dealers and designers since 1998.
If you're looking to go clothes shopping, one place in Avondale to visit is Consigning Women. There are both women's and men's resale clothes here, from cocktail dresses to jeans.
Resale stores seem to be a theme in the neighborhood, which is great for the thrifters out there. This European-inspired shop includes clothes, jewelry, handbags and other accessories.
This large store on the Avondale block is kind of like a Goodwill, with racks of used clothes and a whole section for furniture and books. It's fun for sifting and finding that one-of-a-kind item, and you know you're giving back to a good cause as you shop.
This Charleston gift shop has everything from sweetgrass baskets to local cookbooks and recipes.
Herbs, spices and handcrafted tea blends await at this Avondale shop dedicated to inspiring the use of natural alternatives to typical store-bought items. A beginners' course in herbalism is offered here.
Outdoor Recreation + Fitness
West Ashley Greenway
Another great feature of the Avondale neighborhood is the West Ashley Greenway, a 7.8-mile trail for walking, running or biking that winds through the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods.
West Ashley Bikeway
The Greenway turns into the West Ashley Bikeway for its most scenic section, across Highway 61, back along a wooded path and down to a dock on the Ashley River. If you're planning on a workout after your 9-to-5 job, then this is a beautiful place to view the sunset at the end of your journey.
This little green space along Magnolia Road is just a short walk from the main strip in Avondale, and it's the location for the weekly Wednesday evening West Ashley Farmers Market, which runs from 3-7 p.m from April to October. In addition, it also hosts a dog park and skate park.
A newer addition to the main Avondale stretch is F45, a fitness studio that features high-intensity training. And there are options: 31 different 45-minute workout experiences. Get your sweat on!
Well, lucky you! Avondale Restaurant Week is going on right now, and several of the restaurants on our list are participating (we put a star next to them). You can enjoy deals, which include three courses for $20, three courses for $30 and four courses for $40, Jan. 21-27. There will be complimentary valet parking on Magnolia Road near the Strawberry Blonde Salon.
Looking for a date-night dinner spot? Look no further than the Avondale Wine + Cheese Bar, with romantic mood lighting, an intimate atmosphere, shelves lined with bottles of wine and divine charcuterie boards.
Al Di La *
Another great date night spot, featuring Italian cuisine, is Al Di La. The intimate trattoria offers pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas and craft cocktails.
For a scrumptious 'za, Mellow is the way to go in Avondale. The chain restaurant has a funky local location, featuring psychedelic artwork, two stories and a cool bar for watching sports games.
Looking for seafood in Avondale? Pearlz offers some top-rated dishes, including a raw bar with oysters, clams and jumbo shrimp and entrees like fish and chips or shrimp and grits. You can also get an oyster shooter here, featuring pepper vodka, an oyster and spicy cocktail sauce.
Now that the Mount Pleasant location has closed, you'll have to head to Avondale to dine at the Triangle Char & Bar. Both Taco Tuesday and Sunday Funday brunch are options here, along with regular menu options, from burgers and salads to nachos and tacos.
You'll recognize D.B.'s by the colorful octopus mural on the building's facade. Inside, you can order Philly cheesesteaks, hoagies and other sandwiches.
Trying to stay healthy while enjoying a day of shopping or running the Greenway in Avondale? Try Verde, the clean and fresh customized salad stop-in.
Coffee + Desserts
Formerly Classic Coffee, the newly named Highfalutin Coffee Roasters has ditched elaborate, syrupy drinks to focus on simple, high-quality blends. With a great outdoor patio to accommodate Charleston's good weather, the shop is a nice place to sit and write or mingle with friends.
This European-style cafe with light pastries, decadent desserts and an espresso bar is a favorite neighborhood locale, not only for its sweets but for hosting a monthly storytelling series called "Truth Is."
Another dessert shop in Avondale is next to the laundromat on Magnolia Road. With a location downtown, Kaminsky's has expanded to this neighborhood as well, featuring late-night cake slices, ice cream creations, coffee cocktails and more.
Drinks + Nightlife
The Cannon Distillery is open 1-7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for vodka cocktails, tastings and tours.
This quaint neighborhood brewery features local brews on tap, board games, a trivia night on Wednesdays and a small open kitchen. Get your drink on with craft beers like the tropical Sungazer IPA, French oak Loire saison and Present Use cream ale.
The Voodoo Tiki Bar + Lounge is a favorite nightlife destination in Avondale, featuring tropical beverages like a Dark and Stormy or Mai Tai, a delicious home-crafted pecan bourbon (you've gotta try it) and sliders and tacos. The bar bites include cheeseburger egg rolls, fondue and potstickers.
You can also enjoy wine or craft beer at Avondale's Oak Barrel Tavern, which offers a relaxing atmosphere and good pours.
Charleston's oldest still-operating bar is in Avondale. Gene's Haufbrau has been around since 1952, and it offers an extensive beer list, classic American bar fare and a homey atmosphere. You can play pool or board games here and have a good conversation.
The Roost is the neighborhood's Gamecock bar, so University of South Carolina fans and grads, head here for all the big games. There's trivia and half-price burgers on Mondays and Sunday brunch (except during NFL season).