The azaleas are in bloom and the weather’s slowly starting to heat up again down south, which can only mean one thing: spring, and more to the point, Spring Break is officially upon us.
Recently named by Southern Living as the south’s best overall city for the fifth year in a row, Charleston needs little to no introduction, however if you’re looking to eat, sip and stay at some of the Holy City’s best and buzziest new spots right now, we’ve got you covered. From handcrafted cocktails at a trendy poolside motel in the historic district to the city’s first designated urban winery and the latest and greatest eateries around town, here’s how to plan the ultimate spring break in Charleston this year.
Where to Sip
Just two blocks shy of King Street in downtown Charleston, The Ryder hotel opened last summer and has emerged as one of Charleston’s trendiest spots to see and be seen sipping ice-cold cocktails right now.
The former motel turned bohemian chic hotel in the heart of Charleston’s historic district offers retro-meets coastal-chic decor and quirky amenities like the coffee bar check-in counter. However, it’s the hotels beach-y keen restaurant-bar Little Palm that’s the real star of the show here. Offering an array of delicious handcrafted cocktails and cozy digs to drink them in, word to the wise, while you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to use the pool, you do need a reservation at the restaurant and now that the word is about about this place, it’s best to make reservations and plan accordingly.
Charleston Wine Company is another newcomer to the scene this year, and as the city’s first designated “urban winery,” is a can’t miss on your next visit.
The brainchild of North Carolina native Lindsey Williams, the curated menu of tasting flights and wines made by Davidson are a great respite in this beer and cocktail heavy town.
Next, a stop by Container Bar in an up-cycled shipping container is a must-visit to nosh on the rotating menu of food trucks that roll through while sipping on local craft beer and cocktails The fact that its owned by Chief Fun Officer (CFO) and local Charlestonian Bill Murray is an added bonus (and bragging rights).
Where to Eat
Set in a renovated train museum in downtown Charleston start your day at Bodega, the new in-spot for New York meets Charleston style sandos and sammies.
Stick around and you’ll be able to enjoy Bodega’s sister restaurant Share House. The self-described “open air coastal cantina by day, and a house party by night” serves up California-cool meets Carolina coastal cuisine in this easy, breezy setting. From coconut-lime mussels and house-cut Cali nachos to seared ahi-sliders paired with a Point Pleasant Punch will have you shouting “SPRING BREAK” in no time.
Bring your appetite for dinner at James Beard Award Winner Vivian Howard’s Lenoir. Opened in 2021, the coastal Southern menu features shareable dishes and seasonal ingredients that are simply out of this world. You can expect to find locally inspired dishes from smoked fish croquettes and cornmeal crusted catfish to grits and greens and apple cabbage slaw. Grab a seat at the bar, or head to the outside patio.
If it’s some seriously great seafood you’re after, Chubby Fish is hands-down one of the best (if not the best) spots in town right now. The dock-to-table concept — who partners with local fisherman and restaurants—features a menu that changes daily and is a mouthwatering journey from start to finish.
A hop, skip and jump away on Sullivan’s Island, The Obstinate Daughter is serving up everything from Peel n’ Eat Shrimp and swordfish Siciliana to short rib ragu with French, Italian and Spanish flare. The ride out to Sullivan’s is worth it just to done diner, but why not make a day of it and swing by Sullivan’s Island Beach before or afterwards?
Where to Stay
There’s certainly no shortage of accommodations to choose from in the Holy City.
Just across the street from Charleston’s Historic Market, Emeline offers some of the most spacious one and two-bedroom suites along in arguably one of the best locations in town making this an ideal place for groups or families traveling together. Whatever you do, don’t miss a walk through through the market to peruse hundreds of local art, crafts and food vendors and if you can, get here early to grab a bakers dozen of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits. Your friends will thank you for it.
Set in a former 1930’s indigo cotton warehouse, HarbourView Inn underwent a major renovation recently, and is another solid spot to post up for a long weekend.
From an afternoon wine and cheese hour to night-time milk and cookies and one of the best private rooftops in town, don’t miss a chance to chat with the hotel’s friendly Chief Getaway Officer who’s on-hand to help coordinate activities like picnics in park, walking tours and bar crawls to spa appointments, sunset cruises and private fitness classes for you and your Spring Break crew.
Finally, inspired by the Holy City’s fabled gardens, The Loutrel opened in November and from the charming porch-inspired lobby and bar to the private Clubroom reserved exclusively for hotel guests and spacious rooftop terrace, the hotel is really living up to its reputation as “Charleston’s Finest Hour.”