Touring historic cities without proper guidance can distort a person's views, like watching an inaccurate documentary, reading an error-ridden biography, or getting trapped in a snow globe. Get unobstructed directions with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a walking tour of Charleston for two people from Old Walled City Walking Tours (up to a $36 value).
Equipped with more than 30 years of touring experience, guide and Charleston native Al Ray shepherds day-trippers through the city's rich history during informative Old Walled City walking tours. During each 1.5-mile trek, fleets of pavement pounders will weave through cobblestone streets as the amiable educator illuminates facts about pre- and post-colonial homes, storefronts, and churches. A general overview of historic sites will transform legendary tales into visible vestiges, and noted moments chronicle Charleston's ascension from a small pioneer city in the 17th century to its election as "most popular" in various Revolutionary yearbooks. To further personalize each voyage, tour members are free to suggest any topics or special interests they would like the guide to cover, such as architecture or the evolution of the area's tanning salons since the antebellum period. Tours begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday–Sunday and last approximately two hours.
Charleston Old Walled City Tours
Al Ray's enthusiasm for Charleston's history is infectious. This passion carried him through the rough-going early days of his tour-guiding career, which started in 1980, he says, “with a pitchfork atop a pile of hose dung in a carriage barn on State Street.” Today, the Charleston native—whose forefathers arrived in the city in 1792—shares his deep knowledge while touring Charleston's oldest neighborhoods. He and his personally trained and vetted guides are your best choice for a great tour experience.
Tours casually wind down the city's cobblestone streets, past precolonial and postcolonial buildings that display a confluence of architectural styles, from Georgian to Greek Revival. As tourists snap pictures of wrought-iron gates, classical columns, and carbonite-encased cotton gins, Al shares stories about the people and events—such as the approximately 40% of slaves who entered the United States through Charleston—that transformed a 1670 pioneer settlement into a cultural hub of the South by the mid-1800s.