Food and Family Fun in Charleston's Downtown
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims | June 01, 2023
Are you eating out in Charleston? Here are some nearby attractions and convenient food places to try in historic Charleston.
39 Rue De Jean
39 John St.
Looking straight out of 19th-century Paris, this brasserie built circa 1880 as a warehouse serves classic French cuisine with impeccable service and style. Despite the upscale appearance, this is a great lunch spot while you’re traveling with kids. It offers a children’s menu that ranges from chicken tenderloins to grilled hanger steak. Grown-up options include a quiche du jour or even beef Bourguignon. For date night, walk next door to Music Farm, which provides things for couples to experience like live music. Daytime visitors will appreciate eating out by the Charleston Visitor Center and the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry.
Charleston City Market
188 Meeting St.
There are plenty of things to see, including sweetgrass baskets—a traditional craft passed down generations from West Africa—and, of course, food within the stalls of this historic market that’s been in its current form since the late 18th century and has survived earthquakes, fire and even Hurricane Hugo. No wonder it’s an enduring must-do for any vacation. If you’re hungry, food places are scattered around the market and in the great hall. For snacks, Sweet Charleston features everything from candy to dried okra.
186 Concord St.
This historic local restaurant, once a ferry and 1940s naval debarkation point, is now known for delicious seafood and Southern favorites; sometimes they’re one and the same if you order shrimp and grits, the fried shrimp platter or even seared Atlantic salmon with Charleston red rice. Though it can be crowded—Charleston City Market, Waterfront Park and Port of Charleston and its cruise ships are all within a couple of blocks—the food and views attract everyone from day-trippers to local foodies. It is one of the few places to go to enjoy waterfront dining in Charleston.
155 Meeting St.This favorite brunch spot, known for the bottomless mimosa, is on busy Meeting Street near Charleston City Market and The Gibbes Museum of Art, a AAA GEM. Though breakfast is understandably popular and served all day, the restaurant offers a variety of salads, soups and specialty sandwiches, such as the “Crab Cake Sammie.” Be sure to grab a latte to go; several flavors like crème brûlée offer a frothy spin on a classic hot beverage.