Travel to Charleston:
The Charleston International Airport (code CHS) has flights to many hubs in North America. Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and United all fly to CHS.
It takes approximately 15-30 minutes (depending on traffic) to get from the airport to the downtown historic district. You can take a taxi for approximately $35 or an Uber or Lyft will cost closer to $20. There are also shared shuttles that go downtown from the airport for $14/passenger.
You do not need a car if you stay in the historic district as the city is walkable and easy to navigate.
The Conference Hotel:
Located in the center of downtown Charleston on historic Marion Square, the conference hotel is the Famous Embassy Suites in Historic Downtown Charleston. This upscale hotel is within walking distance of many tourist attractions, lively restaurant and bar scenes, and the College of Charleston. The hotel is on Marion Square and it has a large pool with a bar. All rooms at this hotel are suites with a pull-out couch should any members prefer to share rooms to defray costs. Room rates include daily breakfast and afternoon manager’s reception from 5:30-7:30 with complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres daily, and wifi access.
Group rate room rates: Wed & Thurs. night $209/night; Fri & Sat night $269/night. These fares average $239/night, and include breakfast and a daily reception from 5:30-7:30 with complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres daily, and wifi. (This discounted hotel rate does not include parking.)
To book your hotel room at this reduced conference rate, there are 3 options:
2. The Embassy Suites website: historiccharleston.embassysuites.com
Guests should click ‘Add special rate code’ and enter the Group Code: GMC
3. Telephone: Guests may call the reservations line at 800-362-2779 or call our hotel directly at 843-723-6900 and reference they are part of the GEMELA Conference.
Food and Restaurants:
Lunch, coffee/tea and snacks throughout the day on Thursday and Friday are included in your conference registration fee. Daily breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres are included in the Embassy Suites hotel rate. There will be a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres on Friday night, also included in your conference registration fee.
Charleston is a major food and wine destination! There are a number of restaurants that have received international press. We strongly encourage groups to make reservations well in advance, particularly for Saturday night.
Food and Restaurant Guide
You may want to consult recently published guides to learn more about the restaurant scene and detailed descriptions of some of the top restaurants:
Travel and Leisure
NY Times, “36 Hours in Charleston,” (published January 2017).
Among the restaurants that consistently receive the highest praise (and prices!), the following are highly recommended. Please note that reservations are required. You will likely have a memorable, delicious dining experience at any of these:
Husk • 76 Queen Street
This restaurant was acclaimed as the best new restaurant in North America in 2011. Chef Sean Brock is known for farm-to-table concept and for transforming traditional Carolina Lowcountry dishes. The restaurant is inside a converted colonial house on a charming street. A 15-20-minute stroll from the Embassy Suites (but it’s a charming stroll down King Street!)
McCrady’s Tavern • 2 Unity Alley
Tucked off E. Bay Street on a charming little alley, McCrady’s shares the same award-winning chef as Husk. McCrady’s Tavern has a warm, elegant ambience and consistently amazing dinners. A 15-20-minute stroll from the Embassy Suites (but it’s a great walk through the Market/E. Bay Street and is part of the happening evening scene).
SNOB • 192 East Bay Street
A farm-to-table restaurant with options that appeal to vegetarians, meat-eaters, seafood; small and larger plates. Consistently delicious meals and a great ambiance. A 15-minute walk from the Embassy Suites (but it’s a great walk through the Market/E. Bay Street is part of the happening evening scene).
Charleston Grill • 224 King Street
An elegant, upscale Southern-French restaurant known for amazing food and impeccable service. Fantastic wine list and pairings. A truly elegant evening out. A 10-minute walk from the Embassy Suites.
Hall’s Chophouse • 434 King Street
A traditional, elegant steakhouse. This restaurant is around the corner from the Embassy Suites (and part of the happening King Street evening bar scene).
Magnolias • 185 East Bay Street
Famous for dishes typical of the Carolina Lowcountry in a charming converted house. This upscale Southern restaurant is the oldest on this mini list and many associate it with jump-starting the Charleston culinary scene. A 15-20-minute walk from the Embassy Suites (but it’s a great walk through the Market/E. Bay Street happening evening scene).
The Macintosh • 479B King Street
Locally-sourced ingredients and intriguing dishes like gnudi, deckle, and bone marrow bread pudding. This is for those who want a delicious meal with an eclectic menu. An elegant, delicious meal but the restaurant has a casual vibe. This restaurant is around the corner from the Embassy Suites (and part of the happening King Street evening bar scene).
The following are also highly recommended and are often a little more accessible in terms of being able to get reservations:
Coast • 39-D John Street
Seafood and large selection of meat, salads, and drinks. A block from Embassy Suites.
Hanks • 10 Hayne Street
Great selection of seafood with a fun atmosphere. A 15-minute walk from the Embassy Suites in the Market Street area (with a happening evening scene).
Amen Street • 205 East Bay Street
A seafood restaurant with an elegant atmosphere. A 20-minute walk from the Embassy Suites in the Market Street area (with a happening evening scene).
FIG • 232 Meeting Street
FIG stands for Food Is Good and this Farm-to-Table concept is a laid-back restaurant with consistently excellent reviews. A 7-minute walk from the Embassy Suites.
Virginia’s on King • 412 King Street
Southern comfort food around the corner from the Embassy Suites.
The Ordinary • 544 King Street
An upscale seafood restaurant and oyster bar with a lively bar scene. The restaurant is inside a converted bank and is a cool, interesting space. Hip evening out. This restaurant is a 7-minute walk up King Street from the Embassy Suites (and is part of the happening King Street evening bar scene).
Stella’s • 114 Street Philip Street
An upscale Greek eatery with a warm, elegant ambiance. A 5-minute walk from the Embassy Suites.
Circa 1886 • 149 Wentworth Street
An elegant (and expensive) restaurant in a residential neighborhood (a 20-minute walk from the Embassy Suites, or a 5-minute ride in Lyft/Uber). The dining area is inside a converted carriage house of a mansion that now serves as a hotel. Delicious food and a sophisticated, elegant evening out.
Leyla’s Lebanese • 298 King Street
Elegant Lebanese options that appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters; there are small plates and entrees. A 7-minute walk down King Street from the Embassy Suites.
R. Kitchen • 212 Rutledge Ave
Newer restaurant on the scene. They put on their website: [We’re] “A kitchen, not a restaurant.” The kitchen is in the middle of the space, which creates an intimate atmosphere between patrons and the chefs and kitchen staff. Menu is a 5-course meal that changes every night based on locally sourced, farm-to-table options. When you make a reservation, you can let them know if you have any allergies or aversions and they’ll try to accommodate you. This is 15-20 minute walk from the Embassy Suites or a 5-minute ride in a Lyft or Uber.
Barsa • 630 King Street
A Spanish-style tapas and paella restaurant. Can seat large groups. A fifteen-minute walk up King Street from the Embassy Suites.
Prohibition • 547 King Street
A popular choice for its happening bar scene, the food here is also good. Very close to the Embassy Suites, a 7-minute walk and part of the Upper King Street happening bar scene.
Great food at restaurants that don’t usually require reservations (organized with breakfast/lunch places at the top and places for dinner at the bottom):
Kitchen 208 • 208 King Street
Delicious options for breakfast with a beautiful patio. If it’s a nice day, this is a great place to watch people stroll down King St.
Caviar & Bananas • 51 George Street
Evokes Dean & Deluca in NY; gourmet deli great for breakfast and lunch.
Butcher and Bee • 1085 Morrison Drive
Farm-to-table concept; fresh pastries, salads, sandwiches, small plates, entrees. A wide variety of options and great for weekend brunch. A 5-minute Lyft or Uber ride to the hip NOMO neighborhood, about two miles north of the Embassy Suites.
CO Banh Mi Noodles Bar • 340 King Street
A Vietnamese-inspired restaurant with Pho and Banh Mi. Small plates available here and they can seat large groups. Two blocks away from the Embassy Suites.
Le Farfalle • 15 Beaufain St
Italian Osteria in a beautiful space. A pleasant, 7-minute walk down King Street from the Embassy Suites.
Rodney Scott’s BBQ • 1011 King Street
Delicious Carolina-style BBQ in a hip, residential neighborhood. A 5-minute Lyft/Uber ride away.
Lewis Barbecue • 464 N Nassau Street
Hip, Texas style BBQ place in a hip, residential neighborhood. A 5-minute Lyft/Uber ride away.
Just because a restaurant isn’t listed here, doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! You’ll see many, many additional options as you start to look and as you walk around town. Please just contact Emily Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or need additional suggestions!