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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
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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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
#8
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
#9
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
#10
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

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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

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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Charleston's Pleasing Terrors Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Charleston

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So Great!!
Meghann_D, Feb 2022
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
This was a wonderful way to see and learn about Charleston!
star-5
A must in Charleston
Terrance_G, Feb 2022
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
Very informative and got to see a lot in only one hour.
star-5
A starter tour of Charleston
Amy_L, Feb 2022
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
A wonderful way to see the city and learn about its history!
star-5
Remarkable carriage ride
Wendy_T, Feb 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
Go prepared with gloves/coat/ear muffs & blanket for cold winds along the waterfront during winter days.
star-5
Great tour!
Jon_M, Feb 2022
Charleston's Alleys & Hidden Passages Guided Small-Group Walking Tour
We got to see some Out of the way places that showed the beauty of Charleston outside the crowds.
star-5
Very nice overview of Charleston
Sharon_L, Jan 2022
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
We got to see all the high points that we wanted to see.
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Charleston Bus Tour
Theresa_A, Dec 2021
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
This tour gives you a good idea of what you would like to see and do in Charleston on your own.
star-5
touring Charleston by...
kateandbud82, Dec 2021
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
We were in a lottery so didn't get to see what we were hoping to see but our guide made what we saw most enjoyable.
star-5
A must see and do! Great hosts!!
Susan_S, Dec 2021
Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston
Loved to see it decorated.
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Wonderful way to see...
Mary_D, Dec 2021
Charleston's Alleys & Hidden Passages Guided Small-Group Walking Tour
Wonderful way to see 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.
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.
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Amazing guide! So...
Laurie_S, Nov 2021
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
A great way to see Old Town in Charleston!
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Great history tour
Kath_P, Nov 2021
Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour
Nice way to see parts of Charleston
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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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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!
star-5
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 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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