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Top Things To Do In Charleston

The Holy City earned its name from the high churches that adorn the skyline. Centuries-old mansions, cobblestone walkways, and lamp-lit streets make Charleston feel like a city lost in time. Its rich heritage influences everything from the smallest establishments to the most culturally significant points of interest in Charleston.

This southern port city booms with more than just The Battery. Restaurants, boutiques, bars, distilleries, and local barbecue add modern charms to the historic city of Charleston. The best things to do near Charleston include:

  • City Market, a landmark 4-block city market
  • Waterfront Park, which is filled with walkways fountains
  • The Ravenel Bridge, to feel on top of the world
  • The Charleston City Marina will give you chills
  • Folly Beach, which boasts loads of surfing options

When you visit Charleston, do as the locals do: dive into the live music scene, eat good food, and save money when you can. There are many cheap things to do near Charleston:

  • Stop and smell the roses at Middleton Place’s gardens
  • Take in the ocean air from Vendue Wharf
  • Explore the lush green campus at College of Charleston
  • Tour Charleston’s French Quarter for funky galleries and shops
  • Visit King Street, a popular strip dotted with shops

If you find yourself this side of the Mason-Dixon line, swing into Charleston to experience some of the best the South has to offer. Put on your Sunday best, arm yourself with a mint julep and strut down the cobblestone streets. Charleston has several popular attractions:

  • Book a walking tour through centuries-old mansions and cobblestone streets
  • Start a tour of the city from The Battery overlooking the Charleston Harbor
  • Sign up for a boat tour for a view of Charleston Harbor from the water
  • Visit The Charleston City Market’s many boutiques for local goods  
  • Swing dance through the crowd at King Street’s Prohibition bar

Charleston is defined by its waterways — it bridges the Ashley River, Cooper River, and the Atlantic Ocean. South Carolina’s Colonial port city boasts gorgeous views and scrumptious seafood. From historic tours to fun on the water, there’s many things to do in Charleston. Here are a few ideas for exciting activities :

  • Get your hands dirty and shuck oysters at Charleston Oyster Roasts
  • Reserve a table at Sean Brock’s flagship restaurant, Husk
  • Sample a meat plate at Spring Street’s Artisan Meat Share
  • Keep it low-key at Closed for Business, a Charleston beer haven
  • Relax at King Street Grille with 36 flat-screen TVs and gametime menu options


Looking for southern ambience with your seafood? There are plenty of places to visit in Charleston that feature live music with good food. There are plenty of nighttime activities near Charleston:

  • Jam out at How Art Thou Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • Try the meat-infused whiskey at Faculty Lounge
  • Stop by Bowens Island Restaurant and watch the sunset with your all-you-can-eat oyster table
  • Visit F.I.G., one of Charleston’s hottest restaurants
  • Take on the patio games at Bay Street Biergarten

It’s hard to tire of the city’s charm. Explore all there is to do during a weekend in Charleston. Here are some ideas for weekend activities:

  • Order biscuits and gravy at Hominy Grill
  • Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables at Marion Square’s farmer’s market
  • Civil War buffs should head to Fort Sumter, where the first shots were fired.
  • Tour antebellum mansions and ride on horse-drawn carriages
  • Grab dessert at Beardcat’s

Charleston and its surrounding area has a variety of adventure for the whole family. Whether your kids have a green thumb or they if they are interested by an interactive history lesson, Charleston has a lot to offer. Here’s a sample of family-friendly things to do near Charleston:

  • Young thrill-seekers will get a kick out of Charleston Zip Line Adventures
  • Tom’s Toys has lots of room for kids to play
  • Treat yourself to the menu at Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe
  • Cool off with gelato from Paolo’s
  • Visit Republic Ice cream for a homemade cone  

There’s plenty to get to know during Charleston’s sunniest hours and lantern-lit evenings. The Holy City’s walkable streets are lined with restaurants, live music, and shops galore. Charleston offers plenty of date night ideas:

  • In the winter, catch the Holiday Festival of Lights
  • Take your date to The Dock Street Theatre
  • Grab tickets for two to The Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre
  • Drive 25 minutes outside the city to visit the well-preserved artifacts at Boone Hall
  • Go dutch with the homemade pasta found only at Fulton Five

Charleston is more of a foodie town than a sports one, making for some seriously good pub grub. Bring friends together around a good meal for an unforgettable Charleston experience. Try these things to do with your friends:

  • Book a sunset tour with the crew of Harborview Charters
  • Buy tickets to a Charleston Battery soccer game at Blackbaud Stadium
  • Work together at Escape In 60, located in Charleston’s French Quarter
  • Sign up for Charleston Brews Cruise, a 3-brewery tour
  • Get spooked by Charleston ghost stories on Bulldog Tours

There’s plenty of things to do in Charleston on a rainy day or gloomy night – explore historic buildings or grab a cozy cup of coffee. Here are more ideas on things to do indoors:

  • Marvel at antique furnishings at Aiken-Rhett House Museum, originally built in the 19th century
  • Explore the historic home of Nathaniel Russell, now immortalized as a museum
  • Give Edmund’s Oasts many beer selections a try
  • Try the evolving sandwich menu at Butcher & Bee

Sightseeing & Things To Do OutdoorsView All

Whether you’re visiting Charleston as a regular or a first-timer, you’ll find that The Holy City has plenty of places to visit outdoors. Endless sand and lush green parks color Charleston’s main attractions. Here are some active things to see in Charleston:

  • Explore the city on Meeting Street’s horse-drawn carriage tours
  • Visit the many beachfronts of Sullivan’s Island
  • Walk along East Bay Street to see mansions from one Charleston Harbor to the other
  • Enjoy Charleston’s wild side with a Nature Adventures Outfitters guided tour
  • Climb up James Island County Park’s 50-ft rock climbing wall

Charleston’s foodie culture creates a better-than-average craft burger scene. Round out your trip with gamete pretzels and laidback local hangouts. Here’s a few must-see places near Charleston:

  • Enjoy a lavender latte at Black Tap
  • Stop by The Mezz on King Street, a hidden-to-the-naked-eye second-floor jazz club and lounge
  • Try the okonomiaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake found at Xiao Bar Biscuit
  • Visit Cypress Gardens, a swan-filled park located just outside of Charleston city limits
  • Hit up the beach then grab a meal at The Obstinate Daughter