Named simply the “best city in the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine this year, Charleston is a place everyone should take a visit to, but it really shines as a bachelorette getaway destination. This medium-sized city has sunny skies and close proximity to the beach, plus incredibly quaint and cozy historic homes and cobblestone streets. Throw in gorgeous Southern scenery and some amazing restaurants and bars, and you have the ideal location for celebrating your girl’s last days as a single lady.
Our guide will give you the lowdown on how to get the most out of the Holy City on a day- or weekend-long trip here. Check out the suggestions below for the best accommodations, dining, nightlife, and daytime activities in the city that invented Southern charm.
Luxury at the Belmond Charleston Place
Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel – The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel definitely has iconic status in Charleston. Located along Museum Mile right downtown, this 150-plus-year-old brick beauty embodies the city’s antique feel and is bound to get you into the Charleston spirit. Its prime location offers easy access to city hotspots, while sophisticated service and amenities like an outdoor pool mean you can keep the party going without even walking out the door.
Belmond Charleston Place – The Belmond is another luxurious Charleston hotel, with chandeliers and swanky décor throughout the lobby and rooms. Also a downtown hotel, here you’ll find loads of bachelorette-friendly features, such as a stunning indoor pool, modern fitness center, and full-service spa.
The Restoration on King – While the previous two choices are strictly Old Charleston, the Restoration marries classic and contemporary in a chic boutique hotel. Located on legendary King Street, at this hotel, the allure is in the details. A curated monthly events calendar is given out to guests, a complimentary bike share program is available, and the hotel has both a rooftop terrace and a dedicated nail bar. Yes, please!
Francis Marion Hotel – The Francis Marion was built in the 1920s, and despite the fact that many years have passed, it still holds on to the Gatsbyesque atmosphere of this bygone era. The only high-rise hotel in Charleston’s historic district, the rooms here have great views, and the on-site day spa and Starbucks will be just what your crew needs after a night out on the town.
Get snobby at Sligthly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.)
Graze – Graze brings together a host of different cuisines and palates from all around the world in its eclectic menu. The variety here means there’s something for everyone, from the pickiest to the most adventurous bridesmaid. Dishes range from lobster mac and cheese to Korean beef barbecue, and there is even a “Tiny Grazing” section in case someone has trouble choosing just one entrée.
Indaco – Indaco blends tradition with contemporary updates to create a classically hip setting in this heavenly Italian restaurant. Exposed brick keeps the authentic Charleston feeling, while the dishes served here will transport you straight to Italy. Favorites include thin crust pizzas made in a wood-burning oven and agnolotti stuffed with braised short rib. Your mouth will start watering as you watch the chefs prepare these wonderful creations in the restaurant’s semi-open kitchen.
Slightly North of Broad – Although this restaurant’s name may abbreviate to snob, its atmosphere is exactly the opposite. Slightly North of Broad is a friendly, inviting venue that exclusively serves dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients and many of which include fresh-caught fish and seafood. In terms of atmosphere, the nineteenth-century building housing the restaurant and the choice of décor harken back to the olden days of Charleston gentility, offering sophistication without pretension.
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar – As you might be guessing, Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar is the place to go in Charleston to enjoy fresh seafood and fish. The raw bar fare here includes oysters prepared in just about any way imaginable, while the creamy she-crab soup and seafood platter are not to be foregone among the fish and shellfish specialties.
Look out over the city at The Rooftop at Vendue
The Rooftop at Vendue - Locals love the newly-renovated Vendue rooftop for its stunning city views and extensive cocktail and craft beer menus. This is a great spot to gaze at the Charleston Harbor underneath the stars as you sip on drinks before heading out to dance all night.
The Cocktail Club - The Cocktail Club is the perfect place to hit for a taste of the Prohibition-era South. This club almost feels hidden, with exposed brick interiors that scream 1920s. As the name suggests, this is also where to go for some of the city’s best cocktails. The roof terrace is a nice added touch and houses an adorable herb garden where fresh ingredients for the club’s drinks are grown.
First Shot Lounge - First Shot Lounge is the venue of choice if you’re looking to take your soiree up a notch in terms of sophistication. The lounge is located in the Mills House Hotel, which was built in 1854 and has classic, charming Charleston interiors. A prime spot for hobnobbing with Charleston’s elite, this upscale cocktail bar is perfect for the classy bride who wants touches of elegance in her bachelorette getaway.
Fish - Technically a restaurant (one of the best for seafood in Charleston), Fish changes its mood every Saturday night, when its tables are cleared out to make room for a dance floor and a DJ is brought in to create a club-like atmosphere. Perfect for transitioning between dinner and going out, come here for a late Saturday meal and then stay for the party, which fortunately, is frequented by a post-graduate crowd with few college students in the mix.
Pavilion Bar and Café - Pavilion is another wonderful cocktail bar option with great city views. One of the best parts of having a bachelorette party in Charleston is the great weather here, and the outdoor terrace will let you make the most of the city’s mild, breezy nights. Order a specialty cocktail or a bottle of champagne for the group and soak in the polished atmosphere of this high-elegance bar.
Take a stroll down the gorgeous Rainbow Row
Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States and has rows of historic homes, many of which are architectural gems from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Venturing out just beyond the city limits also leads to some lovely natural areas and even the beach, which you’ll certainly want to visit to soak in the Charleston sunshine. These are a few suggestions for daytime fun in and around the city during your bachelorette party.
Rainbow Row – Rainbow Row is the name given to a beloved row of colonial-era Charleston houses that run along East Bay Street, which used to be the absolute center of the city’s life. Each of these fourteen gorgeous homes is painted in a different pastel color, making them a delightful place to stop for a few photo ops among the palms.
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens – Given its location deep in the South, it makes sense that the area around Charleston has a number of plantations that can be toured. Boone Hall in nearby Mount Pleasant is one such place, with a vast, beautiful territory and the famous Avenue of Live Oaks. If you’re into history, tours that talk about the estate’s past and the slave experience are available. But even if history isn’t your thing, Boone Hall has plenty to offer to fill a day. The plantation has a butterfly pavilion, extensive gardens, seasonal fruit picking, and its own dedicated farmer’s market where you can sample all kinds of local fruits, cheeses, and wines.
Colonial Lake – Colonial Lake is a wonderful open green space located in the heart of downtown. Perfect for a group run or a daytime picnic, its banks are verdant and grassy and scattered with palm trees. Recently renovated, this pretty area is a good spot for a low-key afternoon after a late night at the bar.
Captain Jack’s Sailing Charters – With Charleston’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, it would be a shame not to get off land and enjoy some time out on the water. Captain Jack’s Sailing Charters based in Bohicket Marina just south of Charleston takes groups of two to six on private sailing and dolphin-watching tours around beautiful Kiawah Island. Away from crowds, you and your girls can have a sailboat all to yourselves for a taste of exclusive luxury in the sweet Southern sun.
Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island – Another nearby option for relief from the South Carolina heat is the beach at Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island, about 40 minutes outside the city. Most of the territory on this famous island is privately owned, but the public beach at Beachwalker Park is a fortunate exception to the rule. Beachwalker is a clean, calm beach with white sands that lead out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s perfect for getting that pre-wedding bronze glow.
Charleston is a city of complements: it has big city fun with a small town feel and historical roots combined with a modern chicness, all of which blend to create the perfect setting for a bachelorette party. Start packing your bikinis and sundresses—this Southern paradise awaits.