Charleston city in South Carlina, known for its old architectural beauty was founded in 1670. Nowadays, it’s a living piece of history that thrives. Visitors are immediately taken to a different era once they set foot in this old and classical city. Ride horse-drawn carriages and appreciate the stunning beauty of the well-preserved pastel antebellum houses. Moreover, the city has an impressively rich culture for those who appreciate the arts. This is the only place you can find old houses and cobblestone streets preserved in style in America. Travel through time and explore the historical gem of South Carolina. Check out these best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the oldest plantation in the South. The Plantation offers timeless southern charm and stunning beauty. There is no doubt that this property had a lot of historical significance to offer since 1679.
Plant and flower enthusiasts visit the plantation to see magnolia and award-winning camelia gardens bloom. Couples love the place because of the romantic bridges and old oak trees. Plus, there’s no need to worry about navigating around as there are guides and transportation provided.
There’s a beautiful historic house there which you’ll find on the Ashley River west of Ashley, Charleston County. One of the most popular events there is the Chinese Lantern Festival, held at intervals throughout the year. Admission’s open every day of the year, including holidays.
The longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States is located in Charleston. Rainbow Row is one of the best places to walk around the city for travelers. The pastel-colored row houses are just irresistible. In fact, Rainbow Row is the most photographed location in Charleston.
This is one of the best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina for many reasons. Walk through East Bay Street 79-107 for an out-of-this-world experience amidst the most aesthetic infrastructure in the city. Prior to 1931, the homes looked rather drab. But after one house got painted, the rest followed.
Families can take good pictures together, exterior design enthusiasts can take inspiration, and historians can stare with amazement at the sight of this spectacular display of authentic historical houses. Tourists can also walk around Charleston’s alleys and hidden passages on a guided small-group tour that will take you to Rainbow Row.
Dock Street Theatre
On February 12, 1736, The Dock Theatre became America’s first-ever building only for theatrical performances. The theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic places because it stands as the first building of the Thirteen Colonies. Since its renovation in the year 2010, the theatre, above all, sparked Charleston’s love for theatrical performances. As a result, the rich arts scene and culture emerged in the city.
Spoleto Arts Festival became a must-do festival if you are into performing arts. Patrons and students gather all year long to witness and experience world-class performances. Enjoy modern and soulful performances in a classical venue with a rich heritage to offer.
Located at 135 Church Street Charleston, SC 29401, they hold over 100 top performances every year, with an annual visitor number of 45 thousand people.
Joe Riley Waterfront Park
Popular, people enjoy the Joe Riley Waterfront Park as they can relax and have picnics with a stunning view of the city. Tourists go to the park to indulge in the Lowcountry vibe while stretching and doing recreational activities.
The view at Waterfront Park showcases the beautiful view of the Charleston Harbor, Cooper River, and Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Newcomers easily fall in love with the park because of its romantic serenity. You can take in sights of the Ravenel Bridge, Patriots Point, and other places along and near the Cooper River. You can book a room at the French Quarter Inn if you want to be close to this simple yet beautiful park.
Grand and old, Middleton Place is a one of a kind rice plantation from the 18th century. This National Historic Landmark is comprised of 65 acres of America’s oldest landscaped garden. Tourists visit the rare camellias blooming during winter and the azaleas blanketing the hillside at the Mill Pond during spring.
Surrounded by parterres, reflection ponds, and terraces where swans and other animals hang out, its natural beauty is incomparable. There are even old architectural infrastructures that you should not miss like Eliza’s House and the Plantation Chapel. Horses can be found at the Plantation Stable Yards.
Lunch is luxurious and worth it at Middleton Place Restaurant. Therefore, Middleton Place is one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC to feast both your eyes and your tummy.
Folly Beach is a top travel destination for people planning to take a step back. Parents love bringing their children to the beach because it has a family-friendly atmosphere. Travelers who love food and drink by the white beach find themselves in a perfect place.
Fishing and surfing are some of the top attractions of the sea. The laid-back culture at Folly Beach makes it easier for every tourist to do all of the seaside activities in peace.
Do not forget the business district and the culture the community has to offer. Finally, take wonderful pictures of the sunset with the beachfront in the frame. Laying back with a breathtaking view of nature is just the best thing to do on a splendid beach.
Charleston brings an opportunity to discover and explore the historical military might of America. Patriots Point is the best place to discover old military equipment and even touch some of them. Experience, feel, see, and touch what the real crew members experienced in ship life.
History comes to life at Patriots Point and it is surely an eventful trip worthy of placing on a list of things to do in Charleston, SC. The USS Yorktown, World War II-era destroyer the USS Laffey, and 28 historic aircraft are displayed.
The Vietnam experience is one of the most war experience displays in the whole country. Using state-of-the-art technology, Patriots Point with its four helicopters and an MK1 boat bring the war back to life.
Fort Sumter National Monument
Located on the banks of the Cooper River, Fort Sumter is an iconic piece of architecture. This historical site represents the event that marked the official start of the American Civil War. It’s definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Charleston, SC.
The fort also stood its ground during the Second Battle of Fort Sumter against the Union Army. The history of the island is uplifting for visitors who have high respect for the rich past of the country. Tourists can walk around the island as they learn about the history of the island.
From the island, appreciate the view of the Ravenel Bridge and Patriots Point. Located on a small island southwest of the city, access is via ferry Ferries which leave from the Liberty Square Visitors Center.
This 340-acre uninhabited island in Charleston Harbor holds the stories of heavy fighting during the Civil War. The most notable and picture-perfect remnant of this fortified island is the Morris Island Lighthouse.
Walk around the island or get on an eco-cruise to get a closer look at the lighthouse. Moreover, witness birds and dolphins play around as you take pictures of this biodiversity-rich location in Charleston.
Visiting the island is one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC because of its historical relevance and architectural beauty. Finally, taking a picture of the lighthouse during the sunset could end up Instagram-worthy.
Calhoun Mansion’s elaborate gardens are just the beginning before entering this grand mansion in Charleston. Its aesthetic is seen inside and out as guests are welcomed and toured around.
The place was built in 1870 looks exactly the way it was centuries ago, making it one of the best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina. The mansion is the city’s most celebrated house with 35 rooms that visitors can admire. The ceilings are furnished with ornamental decorations and Tiffany lighting relating to the time the house was built.
Walk around through decades of ancestry and heritage. People who love classical architecture make this one of their favorite things to do in Charleston, SC.
Just So You Know:
- Charleston was the first city to establish a golf club in America during the year 1787.
- Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is the longest cable bridge in North America. It connects Charleston Harbour and Mount Pleasant
- In colonial America, Charleston is the fourth largest and the wealthiest of all cities.
- Gullah language is an official language in the Lowcountry.
- Charleston is the first city to have a theatre in America.
Where to Stay:
- ⭐⭐⭐ Staybridge Suites – If you are looking for a hotel with a beautiful view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Staybridge Suites is the best hotel. Near Patriots Point and other attractions, the hotel is perfect for people who love harbors and museums. Clean rooms and beautiful exterior design are some of its key strengths. Needless to say, it’s one of the best hotels in Charleston.
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Francis Marion Square – Located in the heart of Charleston, you will not run out of things to do. This historic hotel offers a spa and an on-site restaurant with Southern cuisine specialties. The hotel is near malls, markets, museums and some of the be best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina less than a mile away.
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hotel Bennette Charleston – In the center of Charleston, all you need in a grand and elegant hotel is provided by Hotel Bennette Charleston. Some rooms offer a terrace to view the heart of Charleston.
- There are plenty of pet friendly hotels in Charleston, perfect for those traveling with pets.
Get Some Culture:
- Picollo Spoleto Festival – One of America’s major art festivals is the Picollo Spoleto Festival. The festival creates programs of high artistic caliber while prioritizing young artist participants. The festival showcases contemporary arts and unusual performances from established artists. Therefore, the festival gives the best opportunity for young and beginner performers to work with veterans of the arts.
- Charleston Coffee Fest – Everyone loves coffee! Charleston takes it to another level and celebrates their thriving coffee culture. Above all, they also create interesting events to celebrate coffee. There are latte art events, fun activities for children, and more.
Grab A Bite:
- Charleston Grill – One of the most noteworthy elegant restaurants in Charleston is the Charleston Grill. This award-winning restaurant has their signature crab cakes as their bestseller. Dine at one of the most sophisticated and high-class restaurants in town.
- Hank’s Seafood Restaurant – Near the Cooper River and close to the seat, the charming ambiance and great food will surely fill the spot. Dining here is one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC as the food has Southern roots incorporated in it.