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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
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
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
Circular Congregational Church

Circular Congregational Church

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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
#6
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
#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. 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
#9
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
#10
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

Trip ideas

A Spooky City Guide to Charleston

A Spooky City Guide to Charleston

Top activities in Charleston

Charleston Harbor Sunset 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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Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor
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Supernatural Charleston Tour

Supernatural Charleston Tour

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2-Hour Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Charleston
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Undiscovered Charleston: Half Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class
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Recent reviews from experiences in Charleston

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Short getaway from NY
Jeanmarie, Jul 2021
Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
All in the comfort of a air conditioned on a very very hot & humid summer day!
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Fun Fun Fun
Maria_D, Jul 2021
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
Very relaxing way to see what Charleston is all about
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Private Charleston tour
DWIGHT_Y, Jul 2021
Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
We were able to see much more of Charleston, and in an air conditioned vehicle.
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Charming historical tour!
Caroline_J, Jul 2021
Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Night-Time Walking Tour
So cool to see the dungeon and hear about the old ghosts of Charleston!
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Ghostly Good Fun
Stephanie_Z, Jul 2021
Ghosts of Charleston Night-Time Walking Tour with Unitarian Church Graveyard
This was a super, fun, easy way to see the history and popular areas of Charleston.
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Day-time horse drawn carriage ride.
Rbx, Jul 2021
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
We were able to see the horses in the barn prior to the ride.
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Good first time experience
Madison, Jul 2021
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
I feel like we learned some good historical information and got to see the main points of the city.
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A must do tour ride!
Virginia_B, Jun 2021
Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour
It was great to see the downtown area of Charleston and not have to drive or navigate, just sit back and enjoy.
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Worth while. Informative. Entertaining.
Darlene_M, Jun 2021
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
Evan was a local teaching us very interesting facts about the history and fun things about Charleston.
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Great tour given by Ross
Cory_F, Jun 2021
Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour
Lots to see in the historic district of Charleston.
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Fabulous experience.
Ann_L, Jun 2021
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
Great way to see Charleston.
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A super fun time!!!
Katie_F, Jun 2021
Charleston Terrors Walking Ghost Tour
A great way to see Charleston’s history with some exciting stories at the same time!
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Great tour
Sharon_B, Jun 2021
Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour
It’s good to see all the charm Charleston has
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History and ghost stories
cat, Jun 2021
Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor
Kimberly seemed very knowledgeable about the area and the history and paranormal activities in Charleston.
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Great way to see the city
Lori_L, Jun 2021
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
I was so glad that I chose to use the trolley to see the sights.
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Fun, informative tour
Jessica_M, Jun 2021
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
Walking is the best way to see Charleston
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Well worth the $$$
Lynn_F, Jun 2021
Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise
Great way to see Charleston by water.
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Great time
Margaret_F, May 2021
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour of French Quarter & City Market
Not only did we get to visit 4 places for food, but our tour guide, John, also gave us so much information.
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Excellent Adventure
Dennis_K, May 2021
Private 3 Hour Charleston Sailing Charter
Great way to see Charleston Harbor without the crowds.
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Great tour with an entertaining guide!
Carol_H, May 2021
Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour
We got to see several of the highlights of Charleston and hear a lot of history as well.
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