Top 16 Things to Do in Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC , is a gorgeous place to visit any time of year. It's just minutes from the beach on Sullivan's Island and has great shopping along King Street. Explore and experience these amazing Charleston, SC, attractions.

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Travis S., Flickr

Photo By: Charleston's TheDigitel, Flickr

Photo By: Charleston Area CVB

Photo By: Joe Vaughn/ Orient-Express

Photo By: Panoramic Images/ Getty Images

Photo By: Rani Robinson

Photo By: South Carolina Aquarium

Photo By: Rani Robinson

Photo By: Rani Robinson

Photo By: Cindy Robinson/Moment/Getty Images

Photo By: Aimintang/iStock/Getty Images

Photo By: Richard Cummins/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

The impressive Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge not only offers a beautiful drive across the Cooper River, it also makes for a nice walk or bike ride in the early-morning and late-evening hours.

Isle of Palms

A popular destination for many visitors and residents in Charleston is the Isle of Palms, which offers plenty of vacation rentals. Only about 25 minutes from downtown Charleston, it is a great spot for a quick walk on the beach -- and you’ll be back just in time for dinner.

Charleston City Market

Situated along the “beaten path” -- but still definitely worth a visit -- is the Charleston City Market. Go shopping for handmade baskets, Southern spices and more.

Fort Sumter National Monument

The monument marking the official location of the start of the Civil War is accessible via ferry from downtown Charleston or Mount Pleasant.

Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon

This is a must-see in Charleston. Take a tour and learn all about the rich history of the site, where President Washington greeted locals, assemblies were held in the 18th century and a prison operated during the American Revolution.

Charleston Farmers Market

Located in Marion Square, the Charleston Farmers Market is open every Saturday from early April through mid-December. The market sells fresh produce and specialty items, including homemade candles, textiles and jewelry. Local vendors serve breakfast and lunch. 

Battery Park

So-called Battery Park, aka White Point Garden, is a bucket-list item for all Charleston visitors. Cornered by the Cooper River on 1 side and the Ashley River on another, it is home to gorgeous Southern mansions, as well as American Revolution and Civil War history.

Belmond Charleston Place

Belmond Charleston Place is a luxurious hotel option for those visiting the city. It includes wonderful dining options, such as the Charleston Grill and the Palmetto Cafe, as well as high-end shopping.

King Street

The place to be in Charleston is King Street, where much of the action occurs between Calhoun and Market streets. The area is home to a handful of cute boutiques, mainstream shops and mom-and-pop restaurants.

 

Hyman’s Seafood Restaurant

A favorite among out-of-towners, Hyman’s Seafood is a great place for low-country cuisine. Be prepared for a long wait to be seated — not uncommon for several restaurants in Charleston.

South Carolina Aquarium

This attraction on Charleston Harbor is a wonderful stop for the family. See the renovated Saltmarsh Aviary; the Coastal Plain exhibit, which houses a rare albino alligator; and a 4-D adventure theater. 

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Located in downtown Charleston, this museum is a must for the kids. Children ages 10 and under interact with 9 hands-on, interactive exhibits, including a “true-to-size” grocery store.

Rainbow Row

Established in the 1700s, the area now known as “Rainbow Row” was the center of Charleston’s commerce district. Today, it’s all residential, but it’s a beautiful place to see before you leave the city.

Colonial Lake

Explore historical Charleston in a mini coach to see sights such as Rainbow Row, the Joseph Manigault House and Colonial Lake (pictured). The tidal pond with walkways is a popular park area and hangout for locals.

Folly Beach

Take a private charter from Charleston and sail to Morris Island and Folly Island. And don’t forget to make a stop to visit quaint Folly Beach to enjoy sun, sand, fishing and a leisurely stroll along the pier.

Joseph Manigault House

Take a step back in time at the Joseph Manigault House, one of Charleston’s most fascinating antebellum homes. Built in 1803, this residence was the home of a wealthy rice-planting family and its African-American slaves. Gabriel Manigault designed the home for his brother, and most of its rooms have been restored to their original color schemes, with furniture dating back to the early 19th century.