If you’re a single girl in your twenties, you’re sure to attend a bachelorette party, or weekend, at some point. I’ve been to my fair share and even planned one. So I’ve taken what I’ve learned to put together this post on how to have your own pre-bridal bash in the Holy City, my former home.
Where to Eat
Let’s be honest: this is most of the reason why you chose to have a bachelorette weekend in Charleston. Everyone and their mother will make suggestions to you, but there’s only so many hours in the day. Also consider making dinner reservations early as many of the hotspots like The Ordinary and Husk will be booked months in advance. Scour OpenTable and read up on Eater for even more recommendations, especially as new places are opening constantly.
Best for breakfast: Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is one of my favorites for a quick but delicious meal. She makes traditional styles, like pimento cheese and fried chicken, as well as sweet options. During the spring, check out the farmer’s market in Marion Square where you’ll find Charleston Crepe Company, a local favorite. The Marina Variety Store Restaurant is another local favorite, which boasts river views.
Best for lunch: Save the cash you’ll spend on dinner there and instead go to 82 Queen for lunch, especially for the she crab soup. If you’re spending the afternoon on Folly Beach, you’ll be glad to know that Drop In Deli delivers to the beach. Poe’s Tavern is my favorite on Sullivan’s Island.
Best for dinner: There is no shortage of great places to eat dinner in Charleston, but reservations are almost required. But if you don’t want the hassle, there are a few places you can go. Bowen’s Island Restaurant is my all-time favorite, a dive that has fresh seafood. Taco Boy has locations downtown and on Folly and is known for their tacos and tasty margaritas. Xiao Bao Biscuit has Asian-inspired small plates. You still might need a reservation at Edmund’s Oast, but the beer-focused restaurant is worth it. If the restaurant is crowded, opt for the brewery.
Best for brunch: Expect to wait just about everywhere downtown, especially at somewhere like Hominy Grill. Lowcountry Bistro comes recommended by friends, but I like to head out to the ‘burbs for cheaper prices and shorter wait times. The Early Bird Diner, The Glass Onion, and Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails are great alternatives just over the river in West Ashley. Fat Hen is worth the drive to Johns Island and you can go see Angel Oak afterwards.
What to Do
Don’t plan too much during your time in Charleston because most of us are there to relax. But pick one or two things to do on Saturday morning as a group. That might be roaming the stores of King Street or day tripping out to the barrier islands.
For active bachelorettes: Enjoy beachfront yoga with Serenity Tree Yoga. Kayaking on Shem Creek is another outdoor activity and there are a number of companies that run tours and rent kayaks and paddleboards on the calm creek water. The Alley has bowling downtown, but with great food and drinks.
For crafty bachelorettes: Head to Candlefish to create your own signature scent for a unique souvenir. And while you’re there, browse the boutiques of King Street for Charleston’s best shopping. It’s easy to spend hours here.
For boozy bachelorettes: Visit Irvin House Vineyards and Firefly Distillery on Wadamalaw Island where the beloved sweet tea vodka is produced. While you’re in the area, check out the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only American tea plantation. If you prefer breweries, go to Westbrook Brewing Company in Mount Pleasant or Palmetto Brewing Co downtown.
For pampered bachelorettes: Treat yourself at one of Charleston’s many spas. The Spa at Charleston Place is the top-rated, but a bit pricey. Urban Nirvana Spa At Wentworth Mansion and Stella Nova Spa, Salon & Beauty Boutique | Mt Pleasant are good alternatives. Tease Blow Dry Bar can get your hair party-ready. Sweet 185 does sugaring, a natural alternative to waxing.
Where to Drink
Come nightfall, the city of Charleston transforms into one big nightlife district. Revelers line the even-mediocre bars along King Street, waiting to pay an entry fee. If you come to this area or Market Street, expect to wait. Try Upper King, Elliotborough, or other neighborhoods to skip the lines.
For swanky rooftop views: It’s nice to have at least one drink at a rooftop bar when the sun is setting, assuming weather allows. Roof Top at the Vendue Inn is the original and overlooks the harbor with Market Pavilion Hotel just across the street. Stars is another Upper King favorite.
For craft cocktails: The boom in craft cocktail joints in Charleston means you’ll have plenty to choose from. The Gin Joint is tucked away from the chaos of Market Street and creates seasonal drinks inspired by the Lowcountry. Located in the Charleston Place hotel, the Thoroughbred Club is an old-school drinkery where you may just meet a rich husband. The Cocktail Club is in a prime spot on King Street and is both a craft cocktail spot that teaches classes and, at night, more of a club. Around the corner, The Belmont and The Rarebit are both cozy. If you’re willing to make the trek to West Ashley, share a flaming tiki bowl at Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge.
For dive bar vibes and great music: Cool bars with cheap beer and even better tunes are popping up around the city, especially around Morrison Drive. The Tattooed Moose and Royal American are neighbors, each with their own atmosphere. The Tattooed Moose has board games and a menu of bar bites. You might have to pay a cover charge if there’s a band at The Commodore, but the atmosphere can’t be beaten. Ignore the smell in the dank alley that takes you to UPPER DECK TAVERN. They have beer bingo and karaoke.
For craft beer: Not only is Edmund’s Oast one of the city’s best restaurants, but they also have a top-notch beer menu and an in-house brewery. Closed for Business has rotating taps of unique brews from around the world. Bay Street Biergarten has tasty food alongside rotating beers and craft cocktails. Across the river, Gene’s Haufbrau is one of the city’s oldest watering holes. It has an extensive beer menu and fun games to keep you occupied.
For bars to mingle with the college set: At its core, Charleston is a college town, home to my alma mater, the College of Charleston, and a number of others. A C’s Bar & Grill and Silver Dollar are King Street staples where you can get cheap beers and flirt with fratties. Recovery Room Tavern is popular with the fixed-gear bike crowd, while Blind Tiger Pub sprawls across a massive courtyard. Leave a dollar bill with your name on it to staple on the wall at The Griffon, a chef hangout.
Where to Stay
Accommodations will definitely be your biggest cost when planning a bachelorette party in Charleston. It’s rare to find a downtown room for less than $200 per night, especially during the high season which is almost year-round. If you’re willing to take Lyfts where you need to go, the area around Lockwood Drive is much more affordable. Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina is another good option, just across the river in Mount Pleasant.
If you do want to stay downtown and don’t mind spending a bit, Zero George, Vendue Inn, and The Restoration on King are three stunning boutique hotels. Don’t forget about the smaller inns that are downtown as well, usually tucked in residential areas.
But if you really want a local feel for Charleston during your bachelorette weekend, rent a house or apartment. Airbnb is a good resource if you have a small group, but HomeAway is better for beach rentals. I stayed at this one on Folly Beach.
Plan for an early night on Friday since everyone will likely be traveling. This is the perfect time to enjoy games and chill drinks. I found this wedding-style Cards Against Humanity (Cads Against Matrimony) that was a hit with the group. I printed it off at home and cut up the cards myself for free. At other bachelorette parties, we’ve done the game where you guess which pair of panties represents which guest and the bride keeps them all.
You can also create your own photobooth and use the Podo as your camera with help from Pinterest. Keep the party going with this awesome playlist from PopSugar. Pick up some custom temporary tattoos to keep your group together as well as some phallic paraphernalia online. My crafty friend made cutout faces of the groom to carry around as well as tote bags and tanks for our most recent bachelorette. We even made a Snapchat filter that worked around the house and the beach.
If you’re renting a place, cut costs by eating a few meals in. You might want to have a lowcountry boil on Friday night to welcome the guests. If you have the right kitchen equipment, pick up fresh seafood from Crosby’s Seafood Co.. I also made a breakfast dish, hashbrown casserole, to enjoy in the mornings as well as bagels. Split the snacks between the group. Make splitting costs easy by making everyone download Splitwise and Venmo before you go.
Stop drinking early enough in the day that you can rally at night! I’ve been to a fair few that ended in extended naps. Take Lyft everywhere and don’t risk DUIs. Charleston is a somewhat dressy city, so rent something fabulous from Rent the Runway. And thanks to those cobblestones, bring a pair of extra shoes in case your feet hurt. Tieks are my personal favorite.
Are you ready for a bachelorette weekend in Charleston?
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