Sustainable City Guide: 12 Places To Eat, Stay & Shop In Charleston, South Carolina

The Best Of Southern Sustainability In Charleston

Founded in 1607, Charleston is one of the nation’s oldest cities— yet it exudes a timelessness that celebrates preservation of the past and cultivation of the present. The Holy City boasts her southern culture and history in stunning antebellum architecture, wobbly cobblestone streets, and Civil War-era landmarks.

Whether you’re visiting to catch some waves, explore the historic Old District, or find the very best shrimp and grits in town, you’ll find yourself enchanted by Charleston’s southern charm and hospitality. Charleston makes sustainable travel easy in her own historical preservation and environmentally conscious efforts. Experience all the richness of the city while returning the favor. Let’s give Charleston at least another 400 years.


S T A Y


The Inn at Middleton Place

Why We Love It | The modern design and bright green vines that crawl along this natural retreat make The Inn at Middleton Place feel like part of the environment itself, sitting amidst the low country’s large oak trees and Spanish moss. Designer W.G. Clark’s vision in designing The Inn was to make it blend effortlessly into the surrounding land, as if the hotel had sprouted up along with the rest of it. Clark managed to execute that vision with environmental sensitivity and left as much land as possible undisturbed. But The Inn isn’t merely green on the outside—Middleton Place maintains its “green” efforts through initiatives in recycling, water and energy conservation, and environmental sustainability. 

Where To Find It | Middleton Place

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The Restoration

Why We Love It | The Restoration takes southern hospitality to a new level by making community and cultural experiences a top priority. Located in the hub of Charleston on King Street, the hotel provides luxurious suites that celebrate Charleston’s eclectic culture and history. The Restoration wasn’t constructed as a traditional hotel; it is made up of five repurposed buildings, each of which bears one-of-a-kind charm. They partner with Martone to offer complimentary bikes so that guests can explore the sights, sounds, and history of the city in both an environmentally friendly and immersive way. The Restoration donates and/or recycles unused materials, uses water-efficient bathroom fixtures, and gives guests the option of a towel reuse program. 

Where To Find It | Harleston Village

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HarbourView Inn

Why We Love It | Located in the middle of Charleston’s historic district, the HarbourView Inn is merely a launchpad for exploring the city. The HarbourView didn’t open as a hotel until the late 1990s, but parts of the building itself date back to the 1800s. Indeed, the Inn does boast stunning harbor views along the Battery that echo the Holy City’s 300+ years of history. The HarbourView is a member of the Green Hotels Association and is constantly taking steps to decrease its carbon footprint. With recycling initiatives already in practice, the Inn also works with the Clean the World Foundation to recycle used soaps and shampoos.

Where To Find It | The French Quarter

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E A T


 

FIG

Why We Love It FIG stands for “Food Is Good,” a sentiment embodied in every facet at this Meeting Street eatery. You’ll experience the bright, bursting flavors of the city in a modern setting, and the impeccable service of FIG’s staff only enhances the experience. FIG’s menu changes with the seasons and seeks to serve only the freshest ingredients. Food is prepared with its origin and cultivators in mind, creating a beautiful marriage of farm and table: “We have curated a family of purveyors. Paying respect to their efforts and traditions is essential to our mission.” A meal at FIG is a unique experience, blending Lowcountry culture, flavor, and hospitality.

Where To Find It | Ansonborough

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The Ordinary

Why We Love It | An old bank on King street was repurposed into The Ordinary by the owners of FIG, creating an ocean-to-table restaurant that gives seafood an entirely new meaning. All oysters, fish, and crabs are sourced locally, as are vegetables and other ingredients on the menu. The Ordinary’s extensive drink menu is curated to enhance and complement their food’s many facets of flavor. 

Where To Find It | Cannonborough Elliotborough

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McCrady’s Tavern

Why We Love It | Nothing says “fresh” like McCrady’s rooftop garden, where many of the restaurant’s ingredients are grown. With a commitment to supporting local farmers, fisherman, and food artisans, McCrady’s changes its menus daily to serve only the freshest seasonal dishes. Chef Sean Brock prepares historically southern dishes with innovative flair (caviar comes with tater tots), leaving guests with empty plates, full bellies, and a meal they won’t soon forget.

Where To Find It | The French Quarter

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Gnome Café

Why We Love It | Gnome Café takes us back to the earth, exclusively serving plant-based creations. This breakfast and lunch cafe serves up hearty vegan dishes that prove how delicious and sufficient a vegan meal can be. Gnome Café also serves high-quality coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a company that ethically sources coffee in an effort to support and cultivate more sustainable farms. 

Where To Find It | Cannonborough Elliotborough

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Five Loaves Cafe

Why We Love It | This casual yet satisfying cafe is exclusive when it comes to ingredients. With a commitment to serving only fresh, local ingredients and Carolina-raised, organic meats, Five Loaves makes sustainability taste exceptional. Just about anything on the menu can be prepared gluten-free, and the kitchen staff is sensitive to the food allergies or dietary restrictions of any guest. All building practices and materials, in addition to take-out containers, are environmentally- and ecologically-friendly. In addition to their customers, Five Loaves seeks to serve the earth itself. 

Where To Find It | Cannonborough Elliotborough

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S H O P


 

Proud Mary

Why We Love It | Proud Mary has a passion for global artisans, their cultures, and the unique crafts they produce. Selling vibrant textile goods produced by global artisans from seven different countries, Proud Mary seeks to provide a market for traditional, quality craft, create jobs, and improve sustainability in the lives and communities of their artisans. While sales provide income for those who produce them, they also affirm the dignity and beauty of the traditions, cultures and skills that shape them. Artisans propose their own terms of payment. The long-term relationships built through Proud Mary are sure to spark positive change in both the fashion industry and the people who produces the clothes, shoes, and home goods Proud Mary sells.

Where To Find It | Cannonborough Elliotborough

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The Contents Co. 

Why We Love It | The Contents Co. is a local apothecary that focuses on the enhancement of personal wellness through the pure and natural benefits of nature. Candles, soaps, room sprays, and bath salts are made entirely from ethically-sourced raw materials and compel us to return to our roots, providing a natural and chemical-free approach to wellness. 

Where To Find It | Eastside

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Francis + Benedict

Why We Love It | If the stunning skirts at Francis + Benedict aren’t already enough to entice you, their mission as a non-profit organization surely will. Handmade by a group of nine seamstresses in Togo, F+B’s  boldly patterned fabrics garner profits that are returned entirely to their producers. Along with partners Francis and Benedict Avoyi in Togo, Charleston-based founder Katie Walters’ goal is to empower and support the Togolese community. In addition to creating and maintaining sustainable jobs, F+B creates initiatives to improve the lives of those in poverty.

Where To Find It | Online

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Ibu

In Indonesia, the word “ibu” translates to “a woman of respect.” In the world of fast fashion, Ibu seeks to bring dignity and fair compensation to the women who design and make Ibu’s clothing, accessories, jewelry, and home goods. Ambassador designers work with women in over 30 different countries to preserve their unique stories through craftsmanship, provide sustainability, and help meet their financial needs. Artisans are paid fairly and adequately for their work in an effort to celebrate, elevate, and cultivate their skills. 

Where To Find It | King Street Historic District

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