"America's Top City" to visit: That's how Conde Nast Traveler's readers rate Charleston, its palmetto-lined streets and historic homes, fine dining, distinctive shops, great beaches and boating, famed tennis, golf, and spas.
No other city more lovingly preserves its past than Charleston, evident in its houses, churches, and cobblestone streets. Magnificent historic homes are seen at every turn in the large Historic District, from the Battery to the French Quarter.
From the front doors of Renaissance Weekend's designated hotels, guests can enjoy leisurely strolls or stunning jogging routes through some of America's most beautifully preserved antebellum architecture. Historic plantations and gardens are a short drive away. Nearly every downtown block boasts renowned restaurants, from Southern comfort food to New American fine dining.
Golfers can play more than 20 courses in the area, including the legendary Kiawah, Wild Dunes, and Arnold Palmer Rivertowne courses. A 15-minute drive puts beach-lovers on pristine white sand beaches perfect for kayaking, fishing, sailing, or simply watching dolphins play.
The Holy City, steeped in history and culture, is often referred to as "America's most beautiful small city":
- #1 in Travel + Leisure's "Top American Destinations"
- #19 City in Travel + Leisure's "World's Best"
- Family Fun's "Top Three Cities for Family Vacations"
- Travel Holiday's "Top Five Romantic Destinations"
- Tennis' "Best U.S. Tennis Town"
- #4 in Food & Wine's "Top Food & Wine Destinations"
- #5 in Parade's "Best American Cities"
- #6 in Outside's "Best Towns Ever"
- #8 in Forbes' "Smartest Cities in the World"
- Southern Living's "Favorite Southern City"
Renaissance Weekend is comprised of hundreds of programs and shared meals in which participants with in-depth knowledge reflect off-the-record on a wide variety of current issues. (See Content) Lively discussion by all participants is encouraged, and the tone is decidedly relaxed.
Two meals "on-your-own" — Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch — allow participants to sample local restaurants and dine with fellow participants and new friends, if they choose.
Participants' program assignments are based on information provided on the Participant Profiles page of their online registration, which should be completed as early as possible. Please email the Renaissance Weekend team if changes have been made to your Participant Profile after your registration is confirmed and before we distribute the Tentative Program.
In mid-December, the Tentative Program and other materials will be sent to each registered party's lead participant, who is asked to share it with other members of his/her party.
Registration opens on December 28, 2023 at 2:00 P.M. at Charleston Place, where participants pick up their materials and the Final Program. Participants must check in separately with their respective hotels. Some Committees, including Music, Fun & Sizzle and Proctors & Moderators, meet between 4:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. The first program begins at 6:00 P.M. that evening at Charleston Place.
Early arrivals are invited to help with Registration and to notify the Renaissance Weekend staff of their availability.
The program will feature some 500 lectures, Academies, seminars and discussions principally in Charleston Place and the adjacent Riviera Theatre.
The program ends by noon on January 1, 2024.
Conversation over meals is an important part of the Weekend, and all guests are expected to participate in the Common Meals. Only children under three are not charged for Common Meals. The "on-your-own" meals, Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch, are designed so participants may enjoy Charleston's renowned cuisine. Meals & Meeting Services Fees may not be reduced for late arrivals, early departures or absences from meals.
Sports & Recreational Activities
Some time will be set aside for afternoon recreation and for enjoying some of historic Charleston’s highlights, such as Middleton Place, Fort Sumter, the South Carolina Aquarium, or a walk along the Battery.
New Year's Eve will be celebrated with a gala international feast, a champagne-and-dessert party, and dancing well into the morning.
The Health Club and Spa at Charleston Place is available to Charleston Place guests.
To explore Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry, participants may arrive early or extend their stay, and Renaissance Weekend room rates may be available upon request to the hotel.
Participants arriving after 7:00 P.M. on December 28, 2023 or departing before 9:00 A.M. on January 1, 2024 are requested to advise Renaissance Weekend staff. The hotel concierge can assist with any transportation needs.
Charleston International Airport (CHS) — located 15 miles from Charleston Place and Renaissance Weekend's other designated hotels. Amtrak provides regular passenger service to the Charleston area.
App-based car services and Taxis are regularly available at the airport, but during holiday seasons and given the large amount of attendees arriving on December 27 and 28, specific shuttle and taxi reservations are encouraged.
Airport shuttle service between the Charleston airport and downtown hotels should be booked well in advance. There is no designated or preferred airport shuttle service for Renaissance Weekend participants. Among those offering transportation from the airport to downtown hotels besides Uber and Lyft is Marquee Limo.
Rental cars are not necessary as all Renaissance activities will be within walking distance of the designated hotels. If you choose to rent a car or will be driving to Charleston, self-service and valet parking are available at Charleston Place. Daily parking rates range from $17 (self-service) to $34 (valet).
Located at the very heart of downtown Charleston, in the historic district and within walking distance of all the major attractions, Charleston Place is the perfect base for a city adventure. The hotel effortlessly blends gentility and old-world charm with both a leading-edge spa and innovative cuisine, and has been the principal meeting site of the New Year's Renaissance Weekend program for the past 20 years. Room rates begin at $449/night (not inclusive of taxes and fees) and can be secured at the group rate using this link or by calling 800-611-5545 or emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) the Charleston Place Reservations Office. Please reference the group code: 5611260
Given Charleston's holiday-period popularity, ONLY A VERY LIMITED NUMBER OF ROOMS ARE OFFERED AT OUR GROUP'S PREFERRED RATE. To qualify, use the reservation links below or mention "Renaissance Weekend" when making reservations. Once the hotel's Renaissance room-block is depleted, rooms will only be available at a substantially higher cost. FOR THE PREFERRED ROOM RATE TO HOLD, YOU MUST ALSO BE FULLY REGISTERED WITH RENAISSANCE WEEKEND BEFOREHAND OR WITHIN FOUR DAYS OF YOUR LODGING BOOKING.
All programs, except New Year's Eve, will be held at The Charleston Place Hotel. Additional room blocks have been secured at nearby hotels. The rates at the hotels, listed below, reflect a limited number of rooms at the Renaissance group rate. Once these room blocks have been filled the hotels will charge their respective social guest rates:
- Hotel Emeline - The significantly upgraded former DoubleTree, located 2 blocks east of Charleston Place, and recognized as one of "Travel & Leisure" Magazine's "It List 2021" and "Conde Nast Traveler's" Best New Hotels 2021 "Hot List." Room rates forthcoming. Starting at $399 night (not inclusive of taxes and fees), rooms can be secured at the group rate here.
- Francis Marion - Located 6 blocks north of Charleston Place, a 10-minute walk along Charleston's celebrated shopping street. Rooms starting at $289/night (not inclusive of taxes and fees) and can be secured at the group rate using this link or by contacting reservations: 843-722-0600 (Group Code RENAISSANCE23).
- Meeting Street Inn - Located 1 block south, across the street, from Charleston Place. Rooms starting at $229/night, but increase to $289/night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (not inclusive of taxes and fees) and can be secured at the group rate by contacting reservations: 843-723-1882 (Reference Renaissance Weekend when booking).
- Indigo Inn - Located 1 block east, across the street from Charleston Place. Rooms starting at $229/night, but increase to $289/night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (not inclusive of taxes and fees) and can be secured at the group rate by contacting reservations: 843-577-5900 (Reference Renaissance Weekend when booking).
- Hyatt Place - Located 14 blocks north of Charleston Place Hotel. Rates start at $355/night (R/W does not have a block of rooms at Hyatt Place, but recommends the property).
- Hotel Bennett - Located 7 blocks north of Charleston Place, rooms starting at $877/night (R/W does not have a block of rooms at Hotel Bennett, but recommends the property).
- The Dewberry - Located 7 blocks north of Charleston Place, rooms starting at $685/night (R/W does not have a block of rooms at The Dewberry, but recommends the property).
To qualify for the preferred rate, note the requirements posted above this list of lodging alternatives.
Camp Renaissance, Teens & College Students
Camp Renaissance— an active program tailored for children ages 3-12 — typically includes presentations by fascinating adult participants, hands-on experiments, indoor games, musical performances, story-telling, and arts-&-crafts projects. These activities are supervised by the Camp Renaissance Counselors, with involvement from adult Renaissance participants whose experiences are of interest to young people. Camp Renaissance runs concurrently with the adult program and will be located in the Riviera Ballroom, across the street from Charleston Place Hotel. It is not designed to provide full-time child care.
Young people are welcome at all functions. Most teens and college students participate in the Weekend's scheduled program. In addition, they often have designated gathering places, assigned programs, and their own activities and discussions. Teens and college students are usually placed on panels related to their interests, as indicated on their Participant Profiles.
College students integrate themselves into the scheduled program. Many form strong bonds and even lifetime friendships during evening social events and programs planned specifically for them.
Parents are expected to oversee their sons' and daughters’ comings and goings throughout the Weekend. Renaissance Institute and Renaissance Weekend, and its staff, assume no liability regarding children or teens, including on New Year's Eve.
There is no organized program or child care provided for children under the age of three. Younger children are welcome at Camp Renaissance programs when accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Participants should make arrangements for babysitters at least three weeks prior to arrival at the Weekend by phoning the Charleston Place concierge (843-722-4900) for assistance. To maximize their enjoyment of the program, families with very young children are encouraged to bring a baby-sitter or au pair. Although there is no Registration Fee for babysitters/au pairs, they must register for meals at the children's rate, attend solely for child care, and, if practical, may assist periodically with Camp Renaissance. Baby-sitters/au pairs are free to attend programs and panel discussions designed specifically for Camp Renaissance participants.
Charleston temperatures in December typically range from the 70's during the day to the 40's or, very occasionally, the 30's at night. Check weather reports shortly in advance of the Weekend.
Dress is informal, resort casual, during the Weekend. Jeans are acceptable for day-time programs. Men typically wear coats and ties for dinners. New Year's Eve is black-tie-optional, including Camp Renaissance, teens, and college students.
All Registration and Meals & Meeting Services Fees will be refunded — less a $250/party processing fee — for cancellations received by Renaissance Weekend in writing via e-mail, fax or mail, sixty days in advance of the first night of the Weekend. No refund is available for cancellations communicated less than fourteen days in advance. Cancellations received in the intervening period are eligible for 50% refunds. For a one-time transfer of fees, however, payments can be applied towards any of the three immediately following Renaissance Weekends, subject to a $100/party transfer fee, if space remains and such notice is received. No refund is available after a payment has been transferred and applied to a new Weekend.
Meals & Meeting Services Fees may not be reduced for absences from meals.
Lodging cancellations are handled directly by your hotel subject to its specific policies. Be sure also to advise Renaissance Weekend of cancellation.
Vaccination, up-to-date boosters and self-checking for COVID-19 and flu-like symptoms is strongly encouraged. A PCR test is encouraged within 24-96 hours prior to departing your home; if a PCR is not readily available, a pre-departure self-administered rapid test is strongly suggested. Such testing helps prevent "on-site" quarantining, and as a caring community, helps us prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flu.
Among America’s finest hotels and the most convenient to enjoy Renaissance, the luxurious Charleston Place Hotel, the Weekend’s principal meeting-place, embodies Southern charm, timeless elegance & holiday festivity. Charleston's holiday popularity permits only a very limited number of rooms to be available at preferred "Renaissance Weekend rates" here and at nearby lodging alternatives, as noted on this website's secure Lodging Information page. Those participants who wish to take advantage of these significantly discounted room rates must be FULLY registered for Renaissance Weekend and make lodging reservations considerably in advance of the event.
No wonder that, for the 11th straight year, national travel magazines' readers voted "the Holy City" the top American city to visit: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through cobble-stoned streets of the country's largest historic district. Chat with locals famed for hospitality. Explore hidden alleys to savor hidden gems & 350 years of tradition. Sacred sites; a distinctive heritage.
Old-&-new friends. Poinsettias and piazza flower-boxes everywhere. Scents of Southern cooking, sea marsh & sweetgrass baskets. The music of church bells & concert rehearsals, rustling palmetto fronds & garden-party laughter. Quaint shops' after-Christmas retail sales. A mammoth miniature-train display beyond childhood dreams at Charleston Place. The lure of oven-fresh biscuits, shrimp-&-grits, collards & shucked oysters. Culture, diversity, memories.
Come early, stay later to relish the sweater weather and all Charleston has to offer. Tour revered mansions, their hidden gardens, nearby historic plantations, and Gadsden's Wharf — the exact spot where countless ancestors of African-Americans first set foot in this country and now site of the new International African American Museum. Browse legendary antique stores. Marvel at America's oldest landscaped gardens. Stroll or bike Kiawah Island and Sullivan's Island's acclaimed beaches. Taste why the award-winning chefs’ Southern delicacies have made this a major “foodie-town."
Children ages 3-12 years can immerse themselves in hands-on experiments, indoor and outdoor games, nature walks, musical performances, story-telling, arts-&-crafts projects, and presentations by fascinating adult participants who are major authorities in their fields.