If you're planning a destination bachelorette party, this chic city in South Carolina is the place to go.
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If you're planning a bachelorette party and want to make a weekend of it, consider Charleston, South Carolina. With a bustling historic district, pastel-colored buildings, palm tree-lined beaches, and an unparalleled food and drink scene, Charleston is the South's ultimate (but non-touristy) destination for your pre-wedding getaway.
We tapped Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits cofounder Suzanne Pollak to learn everything a bachelorette needs to know about visiting the city with her best friends. We took all of her tried-and-true hotel, food, drink, and activity recommendations and packaged them into this comprehensive guide. Categorized by where to stay, where to eat and drink, and what to do, there's enough here to fill several days worth of fun. Inside, you'll find a little bit of everything, from crispy oyster sliders and historic home tours to must-visit rooftop bars and a nightclub to rival Las Vegas' entertainment scene. No matter what your party style is, you'll leave this city wishing for more time.
Make the most of your long weekend by packing your itinerary with Pollak's picks: Check in at one of her favorite hotels, visit the boutiques on King Street, a famed shopping district, snack on truffle fries at The Watch rooftop bar, and then take a walk across the famous Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. If you’re not jet-lagged, get dressed up after dinner at FIG and head to Trio lounge for cocktails and dancing. Sound like a plan? Scroll through to plan the rest of your stay, with a Charlestonian as your personal guide.
Photography: Courtesy of The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina2 of 22
Where to Stay: The Beach Club
Located on Mount Pleasant's waterfront, The Beach Club is a living homage to Charleston. Each of the property's 92 rooms is designed in the low-country aesthetic, and the hotel also boasts classic wraparound porches perfect for sunset gazing and cocktail sipping. In addition to its grand views—which include sights of the marina, historic homes, and the city's skyline—The Beach Club also offers a full-service spa, an intimate movie theater, and private pool-side cabanas.
Rates start at $197 per night, charlestonharborresort.com.
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Where to Stay: The Restoration
Since your bachelorette weekend is all about celebrating with your best friends, getting in girl time is essential. According to Pollak, this hotel's sprawling suites were designed for sharing, which allows you and your friends to enjoy your stay together, sleepover-style. The hotel's very layout also fosters that community feel. Guests are invited to visit and explore each of the hotel's five adjacent 19th-century buildings—each with a history of their own.
Rates start at $249, therestorationhotel.com.
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Where to Stay: The Dewberry
The hotel's founder, John Dewberry, had a simple vision when designing his mid-century-inspired lodge: "Southern reimagined." After an eight-year-long restoration project—which repurposed the L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building landmark into a bustling home away from home—it's safe to say that his mission was accomplished. While the luxe spa, rooftop terrace, in-house mixologist, and complimentary bike rentals are standout amenities, the main star of this 155-room beauty is its restaurant, Henrietta's, which serves French-Southern fusion cuisine in a Parisian-style bistro setting.
Rates start at $249, thedewberrycharleston.com.
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Where to Stay: Zero George
Named for the property's street address, Zero George is comprised of sixteen studio-style rooms in three restored historic residences. With period millwork, contemporary art, and original pine floors, the hotel walks the fine line between the old and the new. And if location really is everything, you're in the right place—the residence is within walking distance of all Charleston has to offer. Upon arrival, inquire about the hotel's sailboat, house tour, and helicopter tour packages—they shouldn't be skipped.
Rates start at $239, zerogeorge.com.
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Where to Stay: The Spectator Hotel
If you and your girls are looking to be pampered, check into The Spectator Hotel at the intersection of the City Market and the historic French Quarter. The hotel boasts an old-school butler service, welcome cocktails, and hand-delivered breakfasts. Designed and decorated with the Jazz Age in mind, the art deco residence is also beautiful—you don't want to miss the hand-painted wallpaper in the lobby.
Rates start at $269 per night, thespectatorhotel.com.
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Where to Eat and Drink: The Ordinary
Pollak recommends visiting The Ordinary for their crispy oyster sliders, which are "amazing with a rum cocktail." The American seafood brasserie, located in an old bank, also serves up the freshest catches from local and regional fishermen and crabbers, making for an authentic Charleston dining experience.
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Where to Eat and Drink: The Belmont
While The Belmont is predominantly known for its "small, chic, and creative cocktails," the King Street restaurant also offers a broad selection of cheese imported from all over the world. Nosh on Wisconsin's Cacao Cardona or France's buttery Belletoile with a mute black-and-white film in the background. Best of all, the intimate cocktail bar seats just 40 at a time, which makes it a perfect place for an evening out with close friends. Before you call it a night, be sure to share a homemade pop tart (we're partial towards the "Nutella and Banana" flavor).
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Where to Eat and Drink: The Watch
If you choose to lodge at The Restoration, you're in luck. Their rooftop bar and restaurant, The Watch, offers a full panoramic view of Charleston's architectural history, from its iconic church steeples to the Greek Revival-era buildings. The menu standout? The truffle fries, says Pollak. Be sure to pair yours with a bespoke cocktail, made from recipes that are centuries-old.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Hominy Grill
Hominy Grill opened their doors in 1996, but their menu and homey vibe makes it feel as if it's been passed down through the generations. With renowned chef Robert Stehling at the helm, the small restaurant makes some of the best Low Country classics in Charleston. Pollak says a breakfast of grits and mile-high biscuits can't be beat.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Butcher & Bee
If you're a sandwich fan, you can't leave Charleston without a visit to Butcher & Bee. The renowned shop opened in 2011 and began serving "Middle Eastern food that can be summed up in one word: perfection," says Pollak. Today, the shop has grown into a mini market, full of locally-sourced veggies, meats, beer, and wine.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Christophe Chocolatier
When a sugar-craving hits in the middle of your King Street shopping excursion, let it guide you to Christophe Chocolatier, a shop owned and operated by third-generation French chocolatier, Christophe Paume. Famous for his hand-painted treats, chocolate sculptures, and truffles, Paume is also a bread and pastry chef. His Hollande cookies are to die for, says Pollak.
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Where to Eat and Drink: FIG
FIG, an acronym for "Food Is Good," holds itself to its title. Head chef Mike Lata—who's also responsible for the cuisine at The Ordinary—offers a rotating menu of seasonal dishes. From fresh snapper to bone-marrow salsa verde, the food is surprising, but still familiar. Just a heads up: The restaurant doesn't accept large reservations, so be sure to show up for an early seating if you're dining with a big bachelorette group.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Edmund's Oast
A combination of a brewery, seasonally-focused kitchen, and bar program, Edmund's Oast is unlike any other restaurant in Charleston—all of the menu's food was inspired by the beverage list. While this means that it's important to sample your way through the beer hall's libations, it's also worth asking your waiter about food and drink pairings. Be sure to post up at one of the long outdoor tables.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Stella Greek and Mediterranean
While Stella made this list for serving up some of the best Greek food in Charleston, the restaurant's backstory is just as impressive. Owner Stella Dikos, who was born in Nazi-occupied Greece in 1942, immigrated to the United States after an arranged marriage and worked in her husband's Greek restaurant. After perfecting her craft, she opened her own restaurant in the '80s and now runs three eateries. To this day, she can be found cooking in the kitchen. Luckily, one of Stella's restaurants now stands in Charleston's upper-King neighborhood, serving sharable meze (small Greek plates) and other classic Greek dishes.
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Where to Eat and Drink: Le Farfalle
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Where to Eat and Drink: Cannon Green
Plan your trip to coincide with one of Cannon Green's Sunday "Beats and Brunch" events, where a local DJ spins music as guests dine on Mediterranean-inspired fare in the courtyard. Book seats at the "Chef's Table" and enjoy the prix-fixe brunch menu.
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What to Do: Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits
There's nothing like authentic southern hospitality, but Pollak's Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits will teach you how to replicate it back home. With entertaining, cooking, and etiquette classes, the Academy's curriculum shows you how to "use every inch of your house," says Pollak. It's a fun (and useful!) place if you're about to move into your first home, but it's also the perfect activity for a bachelorette party. You can all take turns throwing picture-perfect house parties when you return home.
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What to Do: Nathaniel Russell House
If you want to see what an 18th century wedding present looked like, visit Charleston's Nathaniel Russell House. After five years of construction (which cost the equivalent of $80,000), the home was completed in 1808 and served as a wedding gift for merchant Nathaniel Russel's new wife. The magnificent three-story staircase, geometrically-shaped rooms, and formal gardens made it well worth the wait. Today, the property has been restored to its original splendor and serves as a public museum. If you're a group of 12 of more, be sure to call ahead to reserve a time slot.
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What to Do: Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
If you're looking to burn off your shrimp and grits, hop on a bike and pedal across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The cable-stayed landmark connects downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant, which means there's plenty to do on either side. Just be sure to get a group shot with the sparkling Cooper River in the background.
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What to Do: Carolina Queen Riverboat
For the history buff, a paddle-wheel riverboat ride is an absolute must. Cover over 75 landmarks on a relaxing 90-minute tour, with epic views of the marina. Want to make a night of it? Inquire about private charters and dinner cruises, which can be arranged ahead of time.
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What to Do: Trio Lounge
At Trio, you'll find a little piece of Las Vegas embedded into Charleston's historic district. With expansive dance floors, master DJs, private VIP tables, and a large outdoor patio, the dance club is perfect for a classic bachelorette night out. If Trio makes your list, definitely don't think twice about bringing along a cute cocktail dress, says Pollak.