Top Things to See and Do in Charleston SC

By  | 

Discover Charleston’s diverse coastal culture through a host of impressive activities, from breathtaking landmarks to mouthwatering meals – this list of must-dos will surely make your trip one to remember!

Explore moss-draped oaks and historic houses by foot or bicycle tour, before learning about Gullah culture from your guide through food, folk stories, and “Bruh Rabbit” songs.

1. Take a Tour of a Plantation

Charleston’s historic antebellum houses may no longer refer to themselves as plantations houses, yet their legacy is an eye-opener to Charleston’s dark past. Whitney Plantation provides one of the best examples for confronting this history, featuring exhibits containing firsthand accounts from slaves as well as personal items from those who resided on its grounds.

Angel Oak, a massive tree believed to be haunted by the spirits of slaves who once worked its canopy, can also be found nearby. Additionally, don’t miss visiting Charleston Waterfront Battery’s historic seawall and promenade, featuring USS Yorktown as its anchor point.

Old South Carriage Company offers relaxing carriage tours through Charleston’s cobblestone streets that take you back 300 years, as you cruise 30 blocks of its Historic District. Their experienced guides can share over 300 years of history while you ride.

2. Take a Ghost Tour

Charleston is known for its rich ghost history and several tour companies offer ghost tours. Lance, one of the tour guides at Old Charleston Walking Tours, is well known for keeping guests engaged throughout his tours with his captivating storytelling abilities and can keep children interested while keeping things fun! While these experiences may be tailored toward adults, children who can handle terrifying tales are welcome as well.

Bulldog Tours also offers ghost tours to provide guests with insight into Charleston’s darker history. Tours visit popular spots like Provost Dungeon and Old City Jail where criminals spent their final days. TripAdvisor rates these tours 4-stars; Groupon and Living Social also often feature them as special offers.

Gullah Tours provides an engaging learning experience about Charleston’s Gullah, also known as Sea Islanders. Their guides share cultural and linguistic highlights such as Denmark Vesey’s house or quarters where slaves once resided; it’s an adults-only tour but an engaging way to gain more insight into this vibrant city.

3. Visit the City Market

The Charleston City Market is a hub of activity since 1804 and spans four blocks, so you’ll easily be able to spend some time exploring. Plus, here you’ll find the Daughters of Confederacy museum!

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry offers visitors who prefer a combination of learning and shopping a must-see attraction. Packed full of interactive exhibits and educational activities that encourage curiosity while playing, as well as a pirate ship and other fun spaces designed to keep children occupied, it makes an educational trip worth their while!

If you love jazz music, be sure not to miss the annual Charleston Jazz Festival. This annual event attracts international headliners as well as providing local musicians an outlet to share their talents. Don’t miss this great chance to experience world-class music, delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and sense of community!

4. Go Shopping

No matter your style – vintage clothes, handmade jewelry, urban wear – Charleston has everything a shopper could possibly need. Make sure to explore its malls, local vendors and food courts as you shop; all this activity may work up an appetite so consider booking one of Charleston Food Tours as well.

Citadel Mall features not only boutiques and brand-name stores, but also an expansive food court featuring over 100 different restaurants and vendors. Furthermore, it features an impressive collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire engines dating back as far as 1780!

The city’s historic district is an exquisite treasure chest of stately mansions, fragrant gardens, and colorful Rainbow Row houses. History lovers should also visit the Old Slave Mart Museum – located in an auction gallery where slaves were sold – while art enthusiasts should check out performances at the annual Spoleto Festival featuring internationally-acclaimed artists. Finally, shoppers will always find something great at Charleston Farmers Market held each Saturday between April and November for some unique souvenirs or local community engagement opportunities.

5. Enjoy the View

Charleston offers the ideal blend of small-town charm and metropolitan amenities and offerings, providing something for every type of visitor. History buffs will find plenty to explore from historic walking tours to beautiful old homes; not to mention Charleston’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant culinary scene.

Sullivan’s Island is a favorite among Charleston area locals for its unspoiled views and great dining options, making it the perfect beach escape close to home. Make plans now to take a day trip north of Charleston harbor to this barrier island for an enjoyable beach experience!

The Powder Magazine Museum, housed in one of Charleston’s oldest public buildings that served as a gunpowder warehouse, offers an abundance of historical information about this vibrant city. Ranging from antique textiles to Lowcountry Native American history, the museum provides a wealth of resources for anyone interested in learning more about Charleston’s past.

Take in the breathtaking views of Charleston by traveling across Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge spanning Cooper River between downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant, offering impressive panoramic views from its eight lanes of traffic. Plus, Wonders’ Way offers 12 foot path for pedestrians and cyclists!