Hi friends! As I’ve mentioned, I’m heading to Charleston to celebrate Christmas with my whole family (6 Horans + 3 Beuttenmullers + 4 Driscolls + 1 Mehlman + 4 Stanley-Browns = 18 total!) and I am so excited for the warm weather and quality time with my favorite people in the world.

We are renting a house in Isle of Palms (~30 minutes outside of town) but plan to spend at least one day in Charleston proper and would love any recommendations for where to eat lunch, grab coffee, shop, take pictures, etc.! It’s been two years since my last trip to Charleston and I’m sure there are so many cute new places to check out. I’ll be sure to report back after our trip with all my new favorite spots — thank you in advance!

P.S. One of our traditions is a lobster dinner on Christmas Eve and we’re having trouble finding lobster in Charleston! If anyone has any ideas (preferably for cooked and cracked, not live), I would be so thankful!


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  1. Y’all will have so much fun!! Here are my top picks:

    – 167 Raw
    – Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits
    – Hominy (dinner>>>>>brunch)and great for big parties!)
    – Leon’s
    – Monza (so underrated and it’s my fave restaurant)

  2. The Isle of Palms is my family’s vacation spot every year!! You much check out all the restaurants on Sullivan’s Island – about a 10-15 min drive from Isle of Palms! The Obstinate Daughter is amazing – make sure to make reservations. If you can’t get in for dinner, lunch is also excellent. Sullivan’s Seafood is amazing as well – family run, very casual and amazing southern style seafood – definitely not for those looking to stay healthy. Taco Mamacita is another great option on Sullivan’s! Also Paige’s Okra Grille in Mount Pleasant is great for brunch. IOP is the best – have fun!!

  3. The Vendue is a great hotel with fun art and a beautyful rooftop bar. I also love the obstanant daughter an the ice cream shop next door to it! FIG is also great for dinner!

    Sugar Bakeshop has amazing sweet treats. I think about their Vanilla blueberry cupcakes almost daily.
    Have fun!

  4. I visited Charleston with my family last summer and we loved it! Everything you eat will be delicious, but we loved Hominy Grill, Jeni’s for ice cream, Leon’s (the chargrilled oysters were amazing), and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.
    In terms of what to do, the city is very walkable, and we did all of King Street, Legare Street for seriously beautiful houses, and of course Rainbow Row. We also took a morning to go see Boone Hall Plantation (full of history, but also the spot where Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds got married so you know it has to be gorgeous). We did another daytrip to Savannah, GA as well since it is pretty close and we had never been.
    Hope you and your family love your trip!

  5. There is an adorable little breakfast/lunch/coffee spot on Folly Beach called Lost Dog Cafe. The walls are covered with pictures of people’s dogs that they have given them and they make a delicious cappuccino chocolate chunk muffin. My own goldendoodle’s picture is hanging on the wall 🙂

  6. The Grocery on Cannon St. in the King St. area has an amazing brunch! If you’re still up for dessert afterward, there’s Glazed Gourmet on King. I have family there, and they’ve recommended Poogan’s Porch and Eli’s Table in the past. Love Charleston! Enjoy 🙂

  7. I’m a local to Charleston and agree with everyone’s recommendations! Coda del Pesce on IOP is to die for as well and is the sister restaurant to Trattoria Luca which is amazing downtown! Seabiscuit is also the best little breakfast place on IOP (it’s cash only though as a heads up!). Leon’s Oyster Shop downtown is amazing for oysters, fried chicken and frozen rose! And Poe’s Tavern has the most to die for shrimp tacos and burgers. Merry Christmas!

  8. Wild Flour Pastry is a great little coffee shop and has the most amazing Raspberry Nutella turnovers. I went to Charleston for my honeymoon and we kept going back to get more turnovers!!

  9. My husband and I just got back from Charleston yesterday! We’ve been several times before as my college roomie and bff’s parents have a house there. Definitely pack your walking shoes, to walk all over south of Broad. We ate at Husk, Pane e Vino (also heard amazing things about Le Farfelle for italian), Callies Hot Little Biscuit (cinnamon is amazing), Hominy Grill, Brown Dog Deli, Goat Sheep Cow, Jim and Nicks BBQ (different than Texas bbq!), Vintage Coffee in Mt Pleasant (would be on your way from Isle of Palms into Charleston- Acai bowls!), Jeni’s Ice cream, Black tap coffee for lavender iced lattes, Little Jacks Tavern, and coconut cake from Peninsula Grill- we loved it so much we had it shipped as our wedding cake!. Palmetto Carriage tour is a really fun way to see the city and hear the history of different houses and streets. You can rent bikes all over the city as well.

  10. Definitely check out Coast Bar and Grill on John Street. It is super close to King Street, and has the best food. Try the peach sangria, the truffle fries, and the okra salad to start- SO yummy 🙂

  11. Charleston is darling! I moved here ~3 months ago from Massachusetts, and the weather is just dreamy this time of year. I would definitely recommend Leon’s on upper King! They have amazing oysters and great salads. Also, 167 Raw has amazing lobster rolls (not cooked, but delicious nonetheless!). Other places I’ve come to love include Park Cafe (avocado toast), Black Tap Coffee, Poogan’s Porch, and Goat Sheep Cow.

    Re: Alexa’s comment — I work at Candlefish; maybe I’ll see you there! 🙂

      1. I live in Savannah and hopped over to Charleston for a night recently and happened to go to Poogan’s Porch twice in one day because it’s just so darn yummy!

  12. Have so much fun! It’s supposed to be 70 degrees on Christmas so it’s definitely not Connecticut weather 🙂 This isn’t lobster country so you’re going to have a really hard time with that one – Mt Pleasant has a Whole Foods which might be your best bet for something cooked. Huff’s and Crosby’s are my picks for fresh local seafood but it won’t be cooked and it probably won’t be lobster. However, if you called them they might be able to direct you better.
    If you like biscuits, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is on King Street and is fantastic to-go biscuit sandwiches. Sullivan’s Island is over one hop from IOP and has several fantastic restaurants – Poes is great burgers (with some veggie options), Obstinate Daughter is GREAT, Mex One is good casual southwestern food and Home Team is THE place for South Carolina BBQ, get the mac n cheese, you won’t regret it.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Morgan! Thanks so much for your recommendations. My mouth is watering at your biscuit rec! We are thinking of buying the lobster in CT and transporting it chilled down to Charleston… Never a dull moment 🙂

  13. 167 Raw for lunch! Nantucket-owned (but they only do catering and a food truck at Cisco on ACK) and the food is out of this world. I think you guys will love it. Edmond’s Oast for dinner. Black Tap for coffee. Have fun!

  14. Sounds you have a wonderful holiday planned with family! That’s the best way to spend the holidays in my opinion.
    Charleston is so cute! My best friend moved down there about a year ago now and I love visiting her. Check out the rooftop at the Market Pavilion Hotel (where my best friend works!) for great views of the city. I also highly recommend Bin 152 for wine and cheese. The guys who bartend there are some of the nicest, welcoming people I’ve met plus the atmosphere is so cozy (perfect for the holidays). I’ve also had great brunch at Poogan’s Porch.
    Have an amazing trip!

  15. Bookmarking this purely for the forthcoming comments – I’m planning on a bachelorette in Charleston next summer and would love to read about recommendations!

  16. Hi Mackenzie, that sounds like such a fun place to spend the holidays with family!

    I recently visited Charleston with a group of friends and we loved: The Ordinary, The Darling Oyster Bar, brunch at The Grocery (I loved their Peach Fuzz Cocktail!), and 167 Raw. A few places we want to try on our next visit are: Zero George, Husk and The MacKintosh.

    Also, a visit to Candlefish should definitely be on your list – they have the sweetest gifts and candles. Right across the street is Sapphire Boutique which has the cutest clothes! Have a Merry Christmas! xoxo

  17. we stayed at IOP over the summer two years ago. loved it!

    you will get plenty of great recs for things to do in charleston. for IOP, i would say get your groceries in mount pleasant before you drive over the bridge. they have a harris tetter there, but it’s an island – selection isn’t as good and prices are higher.

  18. Eeee my pretty little hometown!!

    Lunch places: Minero for the best tacos ever, Xiao Bao Biscuit, or Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for something fast. I also will always love Five Loaves Cafe (there’s one downtown and one in Mt. Pleasant so it’s closer to IOP).

    Shopping: all up and down King Street and Market Street!

    Photo ops: Rainbow Row on East Bay Street, Waterfront Park (where the pineapple fountain is), The Battery/White Point Gardens (where the cannons are) and any of the pretty residential streets south of Broad Street and close to those two parks.

  19. Hi Mackenzie! I’m a Nantucket and Charleston artist and have been following your blog for a while! I also got married at the Chanticleer last Fall, so it’s been extra fun reading about your upcoming festivities.
    Check out the George Gallery on Bogard St. for some great contemporary local artwork. Then head down the block to Trattoria Lucca for the best Italian cuisine in town. Also, check out the new impeccably curated (by my good friend Laura) Garden & Gun shop located in the lobby of the Dewberry Hotel. And be sure to have a cocktail and some oysters in their retro cocktail lounge.
    Have a great time & Merry Christmas!!

  20. I just spent a long weekend in Charleston in October and we also stayed out on Isle of Palms! We really liked The Refuge out there for a breakfast/ coffee/ lunch spot! Also we had no problems getting Ubers quickly to get downtown almost everyday.
    Sullivan’s Island is close and has so much good food- Obstinate Daughter, Taco Boy (can not miss!) and Poe’s Tavern are all great.
    In downtown Charleston Poogan’s Porch is a personal favorite, as well as drinks on the rooftop at Vendue or in the Mills House courtyard.
    Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

  21. If you happen to eat dinner in Charleston, The Ordinary was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – I even loved the oyster sliders and I am not an oyster girl! I didn’t make it to 167 Raw, but it looked wonderful for lunch. Leon’s is great for lunch as well! Definitely stop by Candlefish and Beckett Boutique as well! Enjoy – I absolutely love Charleston!

      1. My pleasure. I read through the other comments and second making a visit to Candlefish. Also be sure to check out Candy Shop Vintage and pick up a strand (or two) of Charleston Rice Beads. I wear mine as a necklace or wrapped as a bracelet. Roberta Roller Rabbit is a cute shop with fun bathing suit cover ups, tunics, textiles and more.
        A few of my favorite bloggers live there and have great recs: Ashley at Sweet Southern Prep and Natalie at Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers.
        My hubby and I celebrated our first anniversary there this past May and ate at the McIntosh and really enjoyed our meal. I also had Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and Butcher and Bee on my list, but alas, we never made it.
        Lastly, I lived in Rowayton for four years, and my dad is in New Canaan still. I love seeing your pics from Darien and Nantucket especially- I feel like ACK is kind of a Yankee Charleston 😉 You’re going to love it

  22. Don’t miss Prohibition for the best cocktails, The Rarebit for brunch, Edmund’s Oast for dinner. Lewis BBQ is amazing, Butcher and Bee is great, 492, Leon’s Oyster, I could go on and on! I’ve lived here four years and we have the best food on the east coast, hands down!

  23. Stay away from the market, don’t waste time on that!!! . Definitely eat at High Cotton, Magnolias, Husk, and The Ordinary. Butcher and Bee also awesome. So many places on Upper King. If you can get into the Gospel Brunch at Hall’s on Sunday, try!!!

    Highly recommend a trip to Goat, Sheep, Cow on Church St.

    Whatever you do, tour “south of broad” area by foot!!! If you don’t see the houses on Tradd, Legare, Church, S. Battery….you are wasting a trip!

    Highly discourage visiting the Calhoun Mansion (grotesque!) but insist you tour N. Russell House and Aiken Rhett House!! Edmonston Alston also worth it! We go about 4 times per year, so if you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

      1. Wishing you a perfect Christmas! Have been meaning to email you as your one post helped me more than you can imagine. Sending you my love!