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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 10 attractions in Charleston

#1
Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market

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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
#2
Charleston Waterfront Park

Charleston Waterfront Park

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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
#3
Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument

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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
#4
St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church

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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
#5
Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row

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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
#6
The Battery and White Point Garden

The Battery and White Point Garden

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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
#7
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

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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
#8
St. Philips Church

St. Philips Church

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This historical church is home to the oldest religious congregation in South Carolina. The first St. Philips Church was a small wooden structure built in 1681, where St. Michael's Episcopal Church stands today. The church withstood hurricane damage in 1710, was reconstructed, burned to the ground in 1835, and finally rebuilt to the present day church in 1836. Before it burned completely, it was saved from one fire by a slave who was granted his freedom for the act. Notable South Carolinians such as John C. Calhoun are buried in the old cemetery on the grounds.Architect Joseph Hyde incorporated some design elements from the previous structures as well as adding in new features to the stuccoed brick exterior, such as the three Tuscan porticoes and Corinthian columns. The church’s impressive steeple that towers over Church Street was added over a decade later. Today it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.More
#9
Middleton Place

Middleton Place

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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
#10
Aiken-Rhett House

Aiken-Rhett House

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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.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 Harbor Sunset Cruise
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Charleston Marsh Eco Boat Cruise with stop at Morris Island Lighthouse
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Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
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Evening Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Downtown Charleston
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Recent reviews from experiences in Charleston

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Funtime!
KarenM_L, Nov 2021
Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise
Traveled to Charleston to visit grandson in Navy.
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Fun walking tour, small group
Jessica_L, Nov 2021
Charleston's Alleys & Hidden Passages Guided Small-Group Walking Tour
Great way to see the city and hear the history of the area.
star-5
Extremely enjoyable
Matt_S, Nov 2021
Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour of Charleston
This is the perfect way to see the city, and learn about some of the more interesting history.
star-5
Amazing guide! So...
Laurie_S, Nov 2021
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
A great way to see Old Town in Charleston!
star-5
Excellent tour of Charleston
Mary_M, Nov 2021
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
We got to see more of Charleston than I ever expected.
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A very nice relaxing way...
Barbara_S, Nov 2021
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
A very nice relaxing way to see parts of Charleston.
star-5
Great history tour
Kath_P, Nov 2021
Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour
Nice way to see parts of Charleston
star-5
Our guide John was...
Jessica_W, Oct 2021
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
We had a great time and got to see parts of Charleston we wouldn’t have otherwise!
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Highlight of our girls trip
Rebecca_V, Oct 2021
Charleston's Alleys & Hidden Passages Guided Small-Group Walking Tour
You get to see things off the beaten path while learning some cool facts and history at the same time.
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Nice tour…a lot of Charleston in a short time
Joseph_K, Oct 2021
Sightseeing Tour of Charleston by Bus
Great way to see a lot of the city in a short time.
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The tour guide was very...
Larry_B, Oct 2021
Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission
Got to see parts of historic Charleston we've never seen before.
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Fabulous tour
Amy_V, Oct 2021
Historic Charleston Walking Tour: Rainbow Row, Churches, and More
She was very knowledgeable and showed us a ton of sites and suggestions of other places to visit in Charleston!
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Amazing water taxi experience
Myriam_R, Oct 2021
Charleston Water Taxi Cruise with Dolphin Sighting
We also got to see dolphins, our driver was super nice and even stop a few minutes for us to take pictures.
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Great Tour
Heather, Oct 2021
Historic Charleston Walking Tour: Rainbow Row, Churches, and More
We were able to see parts of the city we wouldn’t have been able to on our own.
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Great kick off to Charleston
CONNIE_A, Oct 2021
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
Would tour this again, and recommend it to visitors.
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Touring Charleston in a buggy!!
Kim_B, Oct 2021
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
The only thing I would suggest would be to add 30 minutes longer to see more of downtown.
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Great first thing to do
Matthew_S, Oct 2021
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
Who better to tell you what to do and what to see.
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Great Experience!
Megan_D, Sep 2021
Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Night-Time Guided Walking Tour
It was a fun way to see Charleston and hear some of the stories of the city.
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Summer was a very...
Bethany_h, Sep 2021
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour of French Quarter & City Market
Summer was a very knowledgeable and attentive guide of both Charleston history and culinary history!
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Sunshine, champagne and Sails!
Dana_M, Sep 2021
Private 3 Hour Charleston Sailing Charter
Fun to see the beautiful town of Charleston from the water.
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