Aiken-Rhett House Tours
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Charleston’s historic Aiken-Rhett House offers a rare glimpse into antebellum plantation life in South Carolina. The only surviving urban plantation, the 1818 townhouse complex remains largely intact, its rooms decorated with original wallpaper, fine art, and antique furnishings purchased by the owners more than 150 years ago.
A tour of the mansion takes visitors across the double-sided porch, into the dining room, and out to the stables. The home's very own art gallery is a must-see, featuring a collection of sculptures, paintings, and chandeliers. The carriage house and kitchen at the rear of the mansion once served as slave quarters and are among the best-preserved examples in the region. The estate is often a stop on carriage tours of historic Charleston.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Aiken-Rhett House is a must-see for history buffs.
- Combined tickets are available for the Aiken-Rhett House and the Nathaniel Russell House Museum.
- Self-guided audio tours are available.
- The house is only partially wheelchair-accessible, as visitors are required to climb up and down stairs to tour the entire estate.
- Allow 90 minutes to two hours for house tours.
How to Get There
The museum is located at the corner of Judith and Elizabeth streets, only a couple of blocks from Charleston's visitor center and riverfront. Get there on foot or as part of a guided history tour.
When to Get There
The house museum is open daily. Since the attraction is largely indoors, it’s a good rainy day option.
A Powerful Southern Family
Originally built in 1820 by a local merchant, the mansion was purchased by wealthy industrialist William Aiken, Sr. in 1827 and passed to his son upon his death. In antebellum Charleston, Governor William Aiken, Jr. was one of the city’s most powerful and affluent figures. The governor and his wife moved into the Aiken-Rhett House in 1831 and twice expanded its size. The Aiken family maintained the home for 142 years before selling it to the Charleston Museum, which opened it to the public in 1975.
Address: 48 Elizabeth Street, Charleston 29401, USA
5 Tours and Activities to Experience Aiken-Rhett House
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
Charleston sightseeing pass includes admission for 30+ top tours, attractions, and restaurants. Choose from a 1-, 2-, or 3-day option—days don’t have to be consecutive and can be used anytime within a 10-day window, making this an easy addition to your existing itinerary. Each ticket includes tours such as a carriage ride or trolley tour, plus skip-the-line access to select Charleston museums and plantations.
The Seven Eras of Slavery History & Museum Tour is an exploration of Charleston's 350 year old African community. Our experience starts at the Philip Simmons House where one of the greatest African-American artists of the 20th century created a lifetime of beauty. Led by museum docents, witness the humble life of a great Charleston artisan. We continue our experience by walking down America Street, the center of Charleston’s African-American community. Along the way, learn about and witness the trials and tribulations of the past and present. We stop briefly at the edge of the African-American community to give a powerful visualization of class division that still exists in the city today. Finally, we walk to Mother Emanuel AME Church. Learn about how free people of color came together to form flourishing communities and houses of worship. Learn how the Emanuel 9 Shooting brought the entire world together in the fight against racism.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
See top Charleston sights through the lens of black history on this walking tour of Wraggborough, a historically black neighborhood. Learn about "the other Charleston" that many tours skim over as you walk to sights such as the Citadel, Aiken-Rhett House, and Emanuel AME Church with a local guide, listening to commentary along the way. End your tour with a more complete picture of Charleston culture.
Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunt company. Walk to all the best landmarks and hidden gems, answering trivia questions and solving challenges. Work with your team or compete against them, as you learn new facts and create memorable experiences. Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunts are great as an everyday activity, or for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, corporate team building events and more! Each player chooses an interactive role, with challenges varying by person.
TOUR REFLECT The truthful acknowledgment of African American contributions to these United States of America since its founding, which is still in limbo or in denial compared to the racism that is wide spread throughout this country for the sake of its southern heritage, in step with keeping it a tradition? Why can’t Americans get with the time? We break down the other Charleston and the stereo typical mind set of the institution of slavery in this country or shall I say in the Low Country Charles Towne. Were we GULLAH? Or were we AFRICANS? What was the reward for not running? How wealthy were the free People of Color?
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Aiken-Rhett House?
The best ways to experience Aiken-Rhett House are:
- Charleston Attraction and Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days
- Seven Eras of Slavery History & Museum Tour in Charleston
- Frankly Charleston Sunday Walking Tour
- Charleston Scavenger Hunt: Castles, Cannons & Colleges
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