By Bailey Laskowski
The holidays are right around the corner, which means tons of amazing events here in the Charleston area. Make the most of the fall season with our tips for what to eat, drink, do and see this month. Join us in our holiday countdown and prepare for the many exciting adventures to come this month.
Good times, good food, good cause! With live music and all-you-can-eat barbecue and oysters, the Friends of the Hunley fundraiser has become one of the best annual events in Charleston. The event also features a popular silent auction, filled with weekend getaways, Lowcountry arts, gift certificates and more.
The Harvest Festival at Johns Island County Park is perhaps known best for its foot-stompin’ showcase of Charleston’s own bluegrass talent. Five bluegrass bands will perform throughout the day: Blue Plantation, YeeHaw Junction, Southern Flavor Bluegrass, Marshgrass Mamas and Boss Hawg. No Harvest Festival is complete without a feast! Dine on Southern barbecue, roasted and boiled peanuts, kettle korn, and traditional favorite festival fare, plus cold beverages. After feasting and dancing, festival-goers are invited to stop by the crafters’ market to get a jump on holiday shopping.
No other food combines love, comfort and Southern roots like mac and cheese. Enjoy a favorite cheesy event: Charleston Mac Off on Nov. 4 at The Grove at Patriots Point. This year’s festival will feature 20 mac and cheese restaurants, a free Kids Zone, live music, beer, wine, cocktails and a kitchen demo space, The Mac Kitchen, with free programs and food demonstrations.
It’s time to dig out your plaid shirts and cowboy boots and prepare for a boot stompin’ good time. The sixth annual Lowcountry Hoedown is the evening of Nov. 4 at the Visitor Center Bus Shed in downtown Charleston. This all-inclusive event showcases the best of the South with dozens of Southern distilleries, craft breweries, and restaurants, plus lively entertainment from Red Top Ramblers and Common Ground. Take your turn on the mechanical bull, strike a pose in the photo booth, and compete in the cowboy hat toss. All proceeds will benefit The Harbor Entrepreneur Center dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston region. (21+ only)
Charleston is well known as a foodie town. We have amazing restaurants with award-winning chefs that draw visitors from around the world. What many are now discovering is that Charleston is also home to an emerging craft coffee culture. The fourth annual Charleston Coffee Cup will celebrate this burgeoning culture on Nov. 5 at Memminger Auditorium. The event features local coffee shops, roasters from all over the Southeast, favorite local brunch purveyors, artisans, live music and kids’ activities.
Find some pants with an elastic waistband for the launch of Charleston Burger Week 2017. From Nov. 8-14, sample some of the best burgers the Holy City has to offer as part of a citywide celebration. We’ll give big love to burgers in every part of town from Sullivan’s to Summerville. Grass-fed, bison, black bean, and everything in between, this is a meaty celebration you won’t want to miss.
Holy City Hospitality, one of Charleston’s largest locally-owned hospitality groups, is hosting Taste of Hutson Alley on Nov. 9. The celebration will take place under the lights of the historic alleyway with chef-attended stations from six restaurants, a bourbon bar, Freehouse Brewery and live music provided by The Midnight City Trio.
The sixth annual Smoke on the Harbor BBQ Throwdown returns for two days of top-notch wing and barbeque competition, a large vendor village and plenty of entertainment. This culinary event – sanctioned by The Kansas City Barbeque Society – is set for Nov. 10-11 at the Lookout Pavilion at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina. The Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina will also host a food drive benefiting East Cooper Meals on Wheels. Patrons are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to receive $5 off the $10 admission.
Each year, thousands of families create lasting memories at the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. Journey through 3 miles of over 700 magical light displays of all shapes and sizes. Park your car and enjoy family activities, shopping, food, entertainment and more.
Looking for even more holiday fun? Check out our list of the top 15 holiday events around the Charleston area.
The harvest is over at Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island, so it’s time to celebrate. A huge part of that process is asking a priest to come and bless the property, vines and business – and everyone is invited. Enjoy cornhole, football on the big screen, face painting, slushies for the kiddos, wine-a-ritas for the big kiddos, and, if the weather cooperates, hot mulled wine and hot cocoa.
This fall, join Garden & Gun magazine for the ninth annual farm-to-table field experience benefiting Lowcountry Local First. Guests and families are invited to spend an afternoon enjoying Charleston food, drink, and live music on the beautiful Kiawah River, all for a good cause. This year, the James Beard Award-winning team of FIG and the Ordinary come together with Limehouse Produce and Edmund’s Oast to create an exceptional food and drink experience, enhanced by the musical talent of Gaslight Street.
Head to the Plantation at the Stono Ferry Racetrack on Nov. 12 for five horse races and big hats. Be sure to check out the Vendor Village for shopping and food trucks. Gates open at 9 a.m.
Served among the ancient Live Oaks of Middleton Place in the Pavilion and under a graceful sailcloth tent, Thanksgiving at Middleton Place promises to be a wonderful gathering for families who are invited to stroll “America’s oldest landscaped gardens” before and after dinner. Make plans to spend Thanksgiving Day at Middleton Place with a traditional buffet meal by the Middleton Place Restaurant.
Restaurants You Have to Try
Gillie’s Soul Food, 805 Folly Road
Check out this brand new soul food restaurant, Gillie’s Soul Food, on Folly Beach. Customers are raving about this old-fashioned style restaurant near the ocean. When Chef Sean Mendes envisioned this restaurant, he wanted customers feel like you are at Grandma’s house … a place full of love, warmth, wisdom and a good meal for your soul.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar, 701 East Bay St.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar is nestled in a 19th-century cigar factory along Charleston’s Cooper River on East Bay Street. The ambiance is spectacular, but the food is what keeps bringing people back. Try the shrimp & grits or stuff yourself on selections from the oyster bar. Selections change daily, so you just have to visit again and again.
Juliet, 654 King St.
Inspired by classic Italian dishes, this King Street hot spot is serving up gourmet pizzas with a hint of simplicity. Juliet’s small menu offers room for explicit dedication to each item, and the Italian style drink menu will have you convinced you at a local restaurant in Italy. The pasta is handmade and the sauce has been deemed the “best jarred pasta sauce” by top chefs. See for your yourself.
Places to Grab a Drink
Pour Taproom, 560 King St.
Imagine a beer and wine festival shrunk down into one room – that’s Pour Taproom. One of the most unique drinking spots in Charleston, you only pay by the ounce. Just open a tab and you’re free to taste 70 of the most unique craft beers, wines and cocktails in Charleston. Located on the ninth floor of Historic District Hyatt, it is the tallest rooftop bar in Charleston.
The Gin Joint, 182 East Bay St.
The Gin Joint is a local favorite. Tucked off East Bay Street, there’s no shortage of booze here. Pick from their seasonal drink menu or if you’re feeling lucky, order the “bartender’s choice.” Not only are the cocktails aesthetically pleasing, but they are absolutely delicious.
Make Room For Turkey Day @ Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park: Nov 22
Join Wild Blue Ropes for a Thanksgiving tradition that keeps the kids off the electronics and the extra pounds off our collective waistlines. Grab your friends and family and head to Charleston’s ropes challenge course on Nov. 22 for a fun day on the ropes challenge course. Challenge passes are just $35 each for this event.