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Things to do in Charleston

Things to do in  Charleston

Welcome to Charleston

Charleston is a jewel of the South, renowned for its beautiful mansions, magnolia-scented gardens, and heady mix of influences from as far away as France, Africa, and the West Indies.

Top 15 attractions in Charleston

Charleston City Market

Smack in the middle of historic Charleston, the Charleston City Market is a central landmark for Holy City visitors. In addition to being one of the most visited historic attractions in town, the City Market—opened in 1807—is also one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the United States.More

Fort Sumter National Monument

A top historic attraction in South Carolina, Fort Sumter National Monument is famous for being the site where the Civil War began. Today, the sea fort, accessible only by boat, retains much of its original stone structure—plus a few lodged cannonballs—letting visitors experience a piece of American history firsthand.More

Charleston Waterfront Park

Waterfront porch swings, a giant pineapple fountain, and grassy areas perfect for lazing the day away make Waterfront Park feel like Charleston’s personal backyard. Watch the boats float by on the river, snap photos, and enjoy the park’s family-friendly amenities—they keep this park a favorite hangout spot for locals and visitors alike.More

St. Michael's Church

Towering above surrounding Charleston, the nearly 200-foot tall white steeple of St. Michael’s signals the site of the city’s oldest church. Inside, visitors and parishioners are transported back to the colonial era: alcoves shine with Tiffany stained glass windows, the original 1768 organ still pipes tunes and creaky wooden pews have seated centuries of worshipers including notables George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The central chandelier once blazed with candles, but has since been retrofitted with bulbs. Otherwise little altered, the church has survived tornadoes, an earthquake and even civil war bombings. The pulpit still bears battle wounds suffered in the 1865 Siege of Charleston Harbor. A table in the main vestibule along the western wall details the building’s long and storied history.Choral music still emanates from St Michael’s on Sundays, and, as a still-functioning Episcopal Church, it can be sometimes challenging to tour the inside. Still, the exterior is a highlight of many historic downtown tours. It's still possible to see the old colonial clock— though minute hands weren’t added until the mid-1800s—and tour the adjacent cemetery, the final resting place of, among several other notables, two signers of the US Constitution.More

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange is one of the oldest structures in Charleston, a famous city landmark, and one of the most historically significant buildings in the United States. Once the site of important political events, the building is now open to the public for fascinating tours, including a walk-through of its haunted Provost Dungeon.More

Rainbow Row

This street of brightly colored homes in Charleston is easily the most photographed spot in the city, and it’s easy to see why. The 14 colorful Georgian row houses along East Bay Street date back to 1730, when they were built as merchant stores.More

The Battery and White Point Garden

The Battery wraps around the edge of Charleston’s peninsula, providing an elegant buffer between the city and the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Stroll and sightsee along the wide pedestrian paths, which pass by antebellum homes and historic sights, or perch beneath the live oaks in White Point Garden and watch the world go by.More

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

As the last large-scale Romantic garden left in the United States, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens seek to provide an escape from the struggles and stresses of everyday life. Unlike a formal garden that seeks to “control” nature, a Romantic garden cooperates with nature to create a peaceful landscape where people and nature exist in harmony. Magnolia’s are also the oldest unrestored gardens in the United States, and the historic house is one of the oldest in the South.More

St. Philips Church

Located in the historic French Quarter, St. Philip’s Church is home to Charleston’s oldest congregation and was the first Anglican church established south of Virginia. A National Historic Landmark, the beautiful stuccoed brick building features an impressive steeple, three Tuscan porticoes, and Corinthian columns.More

Circular Congregational Church

Founded in 1681 by an eclectic group of English Congregationalists, Scots Presbyterians, and French Huguenots, the Circular Congregational Church of Charleston is the oldest, continuously-operating house of worship in the United States. The unique meeting hall was designed and built in a circular shape to reflect the spaces’ open and free-flowing exchange of ideas.More

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

At 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the United States. It connects downtown Charleston to the city of Mount Pleasant and the beaches beyond, plus it provides bike and pedestrian paths that lead to unobstructed views of Charleston Harbor and the city skyline.More

Middleton Place

The 65-acre (26-hectare) Middleton Place is a former rice plantation along the Ashley River. Visitors to this National Historic Landmark home—built in 1755 by the father of Arthur Middleton, who signed the Declaration of Independence—can explore the Middleton Place house, landscaped gardens, and the stable yards, where staff dressed in period clothing demonstrate weaving, blacksmithing, carpentry, and more.More

Aiken-Rhett House

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.More

Charleston Museum

As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston is known for its deep history. The Charleston Museum, which marquees itself as America’s First Museum, is a great first stop for a broad overview of Charleston’s past, featuring exhibits ranging from Lowcountry dinosaur skeletons to niche Revolutionary War artifacts.More

Heyward-Washington House

The two-story brick Heyward-Washington House takes its name from its original owner, Thomas Heyward Jr., whose signature appears on the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington, who stayed at the home in 1791. The Georgian-style double house offers a veritable portal into 1700s Charleston.More

Trip ideas

A Spooky City Guide to Charleston

A Spooky City Guide to Charleston

Top activities in Charleston

Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise
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Charleston Marsh Eco Boat Cruise with stop at Morris Island Lighthouse
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Downtown Charleston Food Tour

Downtown Charleston Food Tour

Charleston City Bus Tour

Charleston City Bus Tour

Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
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Recent reviews from experiences in Charleston

Truly wonderful
kirk_h, Nov 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
The horse drawn carriage was a perfect way to see the town.
Great trip
Susan_C, Nov 2022
Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise
Just a really enjoyable relaxing way to see Charleston and the history around it.
Great way to see some of the lowland sights!
Angela_G, Nov 2022
Wine Sippin', Tea Drinkin' and Tree Huggin' Tour: The Wadmalaw Adventure
A truly wonderful way to see some of the famous sites near Charleston that would typically need a car.
Absolutely amazing tour
Elizabeth_e, Nov 2022
Behind the Scenes of Shem Creek Shrimp Walking Tour
This tour made me fall in love with Charleston.
A wild time!
Lindsey_B, Nov 2022
Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor
Was nice to see Charleston from the water.
Would definately use this tour company again
Pauline_H, Nov 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
A great way to see Charleston in a relaxing ride.
Worthwhile walking tour
Patrice_S, Nov 2022
Charleston's Hidden Alleyways & Historic Sites Small-Group Walking Tour
It was a beautiful fall day in Charleston.
Harbor Tour with Dolphins
Kristin_L, Nov 2022
Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise
I even got to see dolphins swimming!
Fun Haunted Carriage Ride
Steve_G, Oct 2022
Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour of Charleston
This was a great way to see some of Charleston.
Fantastic Tour!
Megan_D, Oct 2022
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
He was so knowledgeable and entertaining, and we got to see so many wonderful things around historic Charleston.
Great introduction to Charleston
Nick_B, Oct 2022
Charleston City Bus Tour
We had no idea what to visit or what to expect from Charleston being on a road trip from the UK.
Highly profesional photographer with a plethora of amazing stories
Ingrid_T, Oct 2022
Get a Photoshoot and a Tour in Charleston
The history she shares makes anyone fall in love with Charleston and the pictures are professional and well thought.
Fantastic experience
Nat_B, Oct 2022
Private Tour! Capture the best of Charleston with a multi-location photoshoot.
We were able to see some less traversed areas of Charleston which created beautiful backdrops for our photos.
Kathy_S, Oct 2022
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
The tour was exceptional and he gave us advice on other things to do in Charleston!
Must Do Walking History Tour
Dale_D, Oct 2022
The Best of Charleston: History, Culture & Architecture Tour
Brian, our tour guide(5 stars), was extremely knowledgeable and helpful on the tour but also with other suggestions for the best to see in Charleston.
My friend wasn’t sure she...
Evalyne_B, Oct 2022
Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Night-Time Guided Walking Tour
So interesting to see Charleston at night.
Great little bus tour
Debbie_M, Oct 2022
Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour
You get to see landmarks and interesting old homes and hear about the history of Charleston, all in an air-conditioned bus.
Wonderful experience....
Jenny_L, Nov 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
Great way to see the beautiful streets of Old Charleston.
Alan gave a great...
Stephen_F, Oct 2022
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
It gave us many ideas about what to see and do next in this lovely city of Charleston!
Incredible tour of Charleston complete with a diorama!
Toni_V, Sep 2022
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
We visited every spot that was on our to see list and our tour guide was so knowledgeable that we left the tour with a deep appreciation of the history of Charleston.
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All about Charleston

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