15 Best Things To Do in Charleston

Charleston is located in South Carolina, where the Southern hospitality can be experienced firsthand! From parks to historical attractions, Charleston is full of tourist places. Moreover, foodie travelers will find this place heavenly because of its restaurants and buzzing bars. Charleston is well known for its rich culture and has some of the finest art galleries in the region. Also, theatres and museums further give some sneak peek into the town's local culture.

Let's explore Charleston points of interest and 15 best things to do in Charleston:

1. Extinguish all your firefighting curiosities in the Fire Museum

Looks like a fire station and is operational since 2007. This museum explains its visitors all about the history of fire service in Charleston. There is also a fire prevention theater that gives you an experience of live smoke. From vintage firefighting vehicles to firefighting equipment, this museum displays all their firefighting equipment for visitors. If you always were curious about firefighters, their life and their heroism, this place will give you the thrills!

2. Pay tribute to all the naval sailor in the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial 

greater Charleston naval base memorial - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

To honor the local veterans, this naval base that was operational for over 95 years was turned into a memorial. This place is all about tradition, with the walls been covered in historical stories. Also, a stream makes its way through the memorial that is a beauty in itself. There is a 7-foot-tall “Lone Sailor” statue here that was also built as a tribute to all sailors. 

3. Be one with Nature in the Riverfront Park 

Riverfront park - ImageImage  Source: flickr.com

This beautiful park is thronged by locals and visitors alike. It is located on the banks of the Cooper River that adds to its beauty.  From tall and beautiful oak trees to lush green meadows, nature is at its peaceful best in the riverfront park. There is also a performance pavilion that is present in this park to keep the entertainment game strong. Here, live music shows and other cultural events and competitions (like art and sculpture competition) take place. A beautiful walk down the river bank is what you are to expect from this park.

4. Pay an artsy visit to the city gallery

If you are an art lover, you will appreciate the exhibits in the Charleston City Gallery. Here pieces by local, international and national artists are exhibited. The exhibits stay on a rotational basis here to keep the collections updated and fresh all-round the year. Some of the exhibits are put on sale in their on-site store too. 

5. Catch a show in this majestic entertainment center, The North Charleston Coliseum 

Tourist attractions in charleston - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

This hosts some of the city`s largest live entertainment programs with a capacity to seat 13,000 guests at a time. All sorts of art performance happen here, including musical concerts, comedy shows, family shows, and sports events (like hockey).  

6. Spend some time relaxing and fishing in the Down south fishing

If you are a fishing enthusiast or if you are keen to try it for the first time, Down South Fishing will give you a chance to explore the aquatic life in Charleston on your plate. The boat day-trips that are organized here, will take you for fishing expeditions, which are also worth a sightseeing visit. Also available are night trips for people who would love to spot some sharks or dolphins in the waters of Charleston. In their excursion menu, down south fishing also offers eco-tours (educative about the underwater environment) and photography excursions.

7. Get some local flavors in the North Charleston Farmers Market

If you are in Charleston between May to October, you need to visit the Felix C Davis Community Center to get a unique farmers market experience. This market is ‘fresh’ personified. The local farmers sell their fresh produce in this market. Everything from fruits, vegetables and freshly baked goods are available here. Also, local arts and crafts of the craftsmen are up for sale in this market. So, if travelers are looking to buy a trinket or two as a take-home souvenir, this is the place to be. The cultural and arts department of the city makes sure that shoppers are kept entertained with live musical performances in and around the farmers market. To experience the laid-back cultural vibe of Charleston, farmers market is a must-visit.

8. To mingle with the elite golf fans of Charleston, drop by at the Wescott golf club 

Charleston attractionsImage Source: flickr.com

Wescott Golf Club of Charleston, like any other golf club, is covered with lush green plantations and a carpet-like 27-hole course. Since the course is covered with all-weather Bermuda grass, it can be played on all throughout the year.

9. Turn back some pages of history when you visit the Fort Sumter

During the Civil War, Fort Sumter was an important landmark in the city. It was constructed in the 19th century but was never completed. Fort Sumter is located on a little island and to reach this picturesque historic monument, you need to go by ferry or a boat. The ferry ride is all of 30 minutes but might stay closed in rough weather. 

10. Take a sneak peek into the H.L. Hunley Submarine

The H.L. Hunley Submarine is a Confederate vessel of the times of the American Civil War. The remains of this historically significant submarine come among the oldest surviving submarines of the world. With its first launch in 1863, this naval craft is almost like a ‘submarine-fossil’ that you must witness.

11. Witness this age-old architectural beauty called Drayton Hall 

Places to visit in CharlestonImage Source: pixabay.com

John Drayton had built this grand house way back in 1739, but looking at this house today, you will not be able to believe your eyes! Even after 300 odd years, it stands tall, showcasing its Georgian Palladian architecture of ancient times. The drive to Drayton Hall is also picturesque.

12. Treat the foodie in you by taking up a Culinary tour in Charleston

Charleston Culinary Tours are perfect if you would like to combine history, food and culture. The tour takes you through different restaurants, markets and bars of the city to taste what Charleston serves best. The tour guide also gives you the required dose of touristy history. Each time you stop at a bar or restaurant, you get to sample the local cuisine and chat-up with the chefs and owners of the places. It is indeed a unique experience that foodies will love!

13. Take a tour of the luxurious Calhoun Mansion

This mansion is a massive 35-room house that dates back to 1876. George W. Williams was a businessman who built this place to live with his family. This is the largest house of Charleston that is private, and also one of the most beautiful one. Since it is open to the public, you can witness this grandeur in the city`s downtown area. Its Italianate architecture has a grand ballroom, multiple terraces, elevators, Japanese gardens, piazzas along with a koi pond. Preservationist Howard Stahl is the proud owner of this mansion now (since 2004), who has tastefully renovated it to display his collection of artifacts.

14. Shop your heart out in the Charleston city market

This is said to be one of the oldest public markets of America. It is always bustling with locals and forms the heart of the city. This market runs all year-round that has everything from clothes to antique collectibles by local entrepreneurs. There is also a running night market (Thursday to Sunday) that features local handmade items. Food and drinks stalls are also a part of this market set-up.

15. Get high on the local brew in the Charleston Brews Cruise tour

All the local craft breweries put up their samplers in this cruise. In this cruise, you will also get educated about the science that goes into brewing your favorite beer. This tour includes complimentary samples of beers along with snacks. This tour runs daily and is quite an experience of beer fanatics!

Author: Ketki Hanamshet
Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask...

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Top Charleston Activities And Tours

Explore the best things to do in Charleston. These are the most preferred tourist activities.

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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Charleston, South Carolina

Must see places in Charleston ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Charleston and point of interests to visit.

  1. Magnolia Plantation And Gardens

    # 1 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1809 times in trip plans
    Magnolia Plantation And Gardens

    Tags: Wildlife Sanctuary , Garden, Zoo, River

    Address: 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Registered in the list of National Historic Landmarks, this garden and plantation was built and modified by the Drayton family in the early 18th century. There is an old house and extensive portions o...Read more

  2. Charleston Waterfront Park

    # 2 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1723 times in trip plans
    Charleston Waterfront Park

    Tags: Outdoors, Waterfront, Entertainment, Picnic Spot

    Address: 1 Vendue lane, Charleston, SC 29401

    Timings: 10:30 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This is rated as the most beautiful park in the equally beautiful city. The place where the park is situated was once the centre of maritime trade in the city. The whole square got devastated in a pai...Read more

  3. Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

    # 3 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1767 times in trip plans
    Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

    Tags: View Point, River, Bridge, Architecture

    Address: Charleston, South Carolina, US

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    This is a cable- stayed bridge that has been constructed over the beautiful Cooper River. The bridge was formerly known as John.P.Grace Memorial Bridge, after the name of the former Mayor of the city....Read more

  4. South Carolina Aquarium

    # 4 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1207 times in trip plans
    South Carolina Aquarium

    Tags: Aquarium

    Address: 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    North American River otters, loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, hawks, owls, lined seahorses, jellyfish, pufferfish, green moray, eels, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, pythons, sharks ...Read more

  5. Calhoun Mansion

    # 5 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 866 times in trip plans
    Calhoun Mansion

    Tags: Landmark, Architecture , Mansion

    Address: 16 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This Victorian manor house that is now open for the public was once upon a time built for a very rich businessman named George W. Williams. It was later inherited by his son-in-law, Patrick Calhoun an...Read more

  6. Charleston Cooks - Maverick Kitchen Store

    # 6 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1358 times in trip plans
    Charleston Cooks - Maverick Kitchen Store

    Tags: Food And Drinks

    Address: 194 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 09:00 pm Details

    This is a culinary school with a difference and this is what best defines this amazing place. This is a place where you can learn cooking, buy stuffs to make your food taste heavenly and also get advi...Read more

  7. Old City Market

    # 7 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1741 times in trip plans
    Old City Market

    Tags: Historical Site, Market

    Address: 188 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 09:30 am - 10:30 pm Details

    This is the one of the city’s most colorful and vibrant places. The market is also known as the Historic City market or the Center Market and is declared a National Historic Landmark. If you wan...Read more

  8. The Old Exchange And Provost Dungeon

    # 8 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 1322 times in trip plans
    The Old Exchange And Provost Dungeon

    Tags: Landmark, Historical Site

    Address: 122 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This is one of the oldest buildings of the city that has now been declared as a National Historic Landmark. This building has been renovated several times being hit and damaged by natural calamities a...Read more

  9. College Of Charleston

    # 9 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 757 times in trip plans
    College Of Charleston

    Tags: Educational Site, University

    Address: 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, United States

    Timings: 07:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This college is the oldest higher educational institute in the state and the oldest Municipal College or university in the whole country. According to statistics it is the 12th oldest college in the w...Read more

  10. Old Slave Mart Museum

    # 10 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 789 times in trip plans
    Old Slave Mart Museum

    Tags: Art Museum, Art Gallery, Historical Site

    Address: 6 Chalmers Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    As you must have seen in movies or read in old stories, slavery was a common phenomenon in the countries ruled and lived in by the Whites’. This place is one such where the slaves were set for d...Read more

  11. Charleston Water Taxi

    # 11 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 375 times in trip plans
    Charleston Water Taxi

    Tags: Outdoors, Waterfront, Entertainment, Boating

    Address: 10 Wharfside Street, Charleston, SC 29403, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    This is one awesome opportunity to explore the beautiful city by means of water transport. If you want to enjoy the sight of cute dolphins playing in the water, there cannot be a better way to do so. ...Read more

  12. Sound Of Charleston

    # 12 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 725 times in trip plans
    Sound Of Charleston

    Tags: Entertainment, Performance, Concert

    Address: Charleston, South Carolina, US

    Timings: 07:00 am - 09:00 pm Details

    These are amazing musical concerts and shows that bring out the best of the traditional musical culture of the city. They perform music in sets to put light on the history of the city. You will get to...Read more

  13. The Citadel

    # 13 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 305 times in trip plans
    The Citadel

    Tags: Educational Site, Military Area

    Address: 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409, United States

    Timings: 08:00 am - 04:00 pm Details

    This is the military College of the state that is run and administered by the State Government of South Carolina. The college provides under graduate and graduate courses to all cadets who are would -...Read more

  14. Cathedral Of Saint John The Baptist

    # 14 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 255 times in trip plans
    Cathedral Of Saint John The Baptist

    Tags: Religious Site, Architecture , Cathedral

    Address: 120 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 04:00 pm Details

    This is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston. The church was built on the foundation ruins of the 19th century original church named Cathedral of St. Johns and Saint Finbar. T...Read more

  15. Charles Towne Landing

    # 15 of 1073 Things To Do in Charleston | Added 236 times in trip plans
    Charles Towne Landing

    Tags: Art And Culture, Garden, Town, Archaeological Site

    Address: 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston, SC 29407, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This is an initiative to preserve the first site of Colonial settlement in the city. The place was opened to mark the 300 years of colonial settlement here. The place that covers a large area has ever...Read more

Find Your Charleston Attractions on Map

Find more places to see in Charleston

  • Calhoun Mansion

    14-16 Meeting St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Middleton Place

    4300 Ashley River Rd

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • McLeod Plantation

    325 Country Club Dr

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Aiken-Rhett House

    48 Elizabeth St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

    122 E Bay St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Drayton Hall

    3380 Ashley River Rd

    Historic and Protected Sites
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  • James Island Creek

  • Headquarters Island Plantation

  • Pepper Plantation

    1215 Chandler Rd

  • Wakendaw Lake

  • Dorchester Boat Club

  • Whitney Lakes

View On Map
  • American Military Museum

    2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd

  • Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

    25 Ann St

  • Heyward-Washington House

    87 Church St

  • The Citadel

    171 Moultrie St

  • Powder Magazine

    79 Cumberland St

  • Avery Research Center

    125 Bull St

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  • M & A Amusements

    3527 Mary Ader Ave

    Amusement Parks Arcades
  • Coastal Carolina Fair

    9850 Highway 78

    Amusement Parks
  • Beach Bingo

    4307 Rivers Ave

    Amusement Parks
  • Splash Island Waterpark

    444 Needlerush Pkwy

    Amusement Parks
  • Frankie's Golf Range

    5000 Ashley Phosphate Rd

    Amusement Parks Arcades
  • Sky Zone Charleston

    411 Wando Park Blvd

    Amusement Parks
View On Map
  • Bohemian Bull

    1531 Folly Rd

    American Burgers Bars
  • Triangle Char & Bar

    828 Savannah Hwy

    Burgers American Bars
  • The Cocktail Club

    479 King St

    American Bars
  • Voodoo

    15 Magnolia Rd

    American Bars
  • Tabbuli Grill

    6 N Market St

    Middle Eastern American Bars
  • Tommy Condon's

    160 Church St

    American Seafood Bars
View On Map
  • Old Fort Bingo

    10040 Dorchester Rd

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Big Money Bingo

    5640 Rivers Ave

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Village Square Day Bingo

    119 N Goose Creek Blvd

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Casino Express

    1205 Two Island Ct

    Casinos and Gaming
  • B & L Bingo

    408 Red Bank Rd

    Casinos and Gaming
  • American Bingo

    119 College Park Rd

    Casinos and Gaming
View On Map
  • Magnolia Plantation And Gardens

    Natural Parks
View On Map
  • Bees Landing Dog Park

    1580 Ashley Garden Blvd

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • West Ashley Park

    3601 Mary Ader Dr

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • Ackerman Dog Park

    Dog Parks
  • Jack's Shack

    49 Spring St

    Dog Parks
  • Wannamaker County Park

    8888 University Blvd

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • Riverfront Park

    1001 Everglades Dr

    Dog Parks
View On Map
  • Nassau, Bahamas

  • Sullivan's Island Beach

    100 Station 19 St

  • Lighthouse Inlet

  • Isle of Palms

    1400 Palm Blvd

  • Goat Island

    2407 Captain John Hutt Rd

  • Station 22 Sullivans Island

View On Map
  • West Ashley Greenway

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What To Do in Charleston: Day-Wise Ideas

Find what not to miss in Charleston! Recommended Charleston itineraries and vacation ideas created by travelers across the world.