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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
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
#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
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
#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
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
#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
St. Philips Church

St. Philips Church

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Located in the historic French Quarter, St. Philip’s Church is home to Charleston’s oldest congregation and was the first Anglican church established south of Virginia. A National Historic Landmark, the beautiful stuccoed brick building features an impressive steeple, three Tuscan porticoes, and Corinthian columns.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 Harbor Sunset Cruise
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Magnolia Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston
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Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour of French Quarter & City Market
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Middleton Place All-Access Admission & Guided Tour with Lunch from Charleston
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2-Hour Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Charleston
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Private 2.5-3 Hour Sailboat Harbor Cruise
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Private 2.5-3 Hour Sailboat Harbor Cruise

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Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor
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Recent reviews from experiences in Charleston

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BEAUTIFUL SUNSET CRUISE
Karen_P, May 2022
Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise
I was visiting my son who had lived in Charleston for several years, and I finally put together a trip with 3 of my girlfriends to visit Charleston.
star-5
Excellent Tour
Gary_W, May 2022
Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise
Wonderful way to see Charleston from the water.
star-5
Summer was an excellent...
Vanessa_M, May 2022
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour of French Quarter & City Market
Summer was an excellent hostess.
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History
Robin_G, May 2022
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
Great to see historical places in Charleston.
star-5
Tom and Eli were great!...
Jordan_M, May 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
We learned so much about downtown Charleston, and got to see some of the best views!
star-5
Much fun, great food and learning experience
Patricia_R, May 2022
Undiscovered Charleston: Half Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class
We'd live in Charleston and we learned so much and I'm going to reboot with every guest that comes to visit me I'm also going to place information on this tour in our airbnb
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Very Glad we did this Tour
David_S, May 2022
The Best of Charleston: History, Culture & Architecture Tour
Really valuable because this gave us a real understanding of the layout of the city and helped us figure out where in the city to visit next
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Great way to get an overview of the city
betsy_b, Apr 2022
Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
Without him we would have never seen the Citadel, learned about it and gotten to see all the various communities around Charleston.
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Amazing
Jennie_B, Apr 2022
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
It was amazing, informative and a wonderful to see the town.
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The Carriage driver/tour...
Catherine_J, Apr 2022
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour
Great way to see historic Charleston
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Amazing
Ronnie_C, Apr 2022
Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston
I will highly recommend to friends and family to visit Charleston.
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A highly informative tour…
Marina_B, Apr 2022
Charleston in a Nutshell Private Tours
The whole tour was about 2 hours and hit every part of the city we wanted to see in the time frame we had to hang out in Charleston.
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Jim’s wide based...
suzanne_M, Apr 2022
Charleston's Alleys & Hidden Passages Guided Small-Group Walking Tour
Only disappointment was that I was hoping to see a little more of gardens In all though, it was a very educational and enjoyable tour and our guide was amazing
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Fun and Informational tour with a few Cocktails mixed in!
annmartere, Apr 2022
Charleston History and Hops Tour: Bar and History Walk
This was a very fun way to see the beautiful city of Charleston, and Captain Brian provided SO MUCH HISTORY about this amazing place.
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the best tour crew
Haley_I, Apr 2022
Sunday Funday Cruise in Charleston
I was able to see the battery from a new angle, go underneath the Ravenel & drink limitless mimosas!
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Loved our tour with Shawn
Terry_D, Apr 2022
Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour
We enjoyed the easy way to see parts of Charleston and learn its fascinating History.
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Learned alot and got to...
Virginia_M, Apr 2022
2-Hour Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour
Learned alot and got to see alot my favorite parts were the alleys and gardens we passed.
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Charleston 2022
Robert_M, Apr 2022
Charleston Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Fun to see Charleston in a different way...
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Katie was an amazing...
Amanda_W, Apr 2022
2-Hour Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Charleston
We were able to see lots of wildlife including dolphins!
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Fun Ghostly History
Martha_V, Mar 2022
Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour of Charleston
Relaxing way to see a little of historic, Charleston.
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