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Charleston, South Carolina
The Top 10 Things To Do in Charleston, South Carolina

The Top 10 Things To Do in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is a beautiful city with a rich history and lots of exciting activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach, a historical tour of the city, or an adventure through the Lowcountry, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Charleston. Here is a list of some of the best things to do in Charleston, SC!

about matthew
Updated February 7, 2023
Hey there! I'm Matthew, I'm a passionate traveler who loves to explore the US with my family. I'm excited to share my experiences and tips on how to make the most of your trips while traveling in the US.
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1. The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773, is America’s first museum and has been a treasure trove of history and culture for over two centuries. As the oldest museum in the United States, it has been dedicated to discovering, preserving, interpreting, celebrating, and sharing the rich history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Visitors can explore a wide variety of exhibits and collections that highlight the unique culture and heritage of this region, including artifacts, artifacts, and artworks that date back to the 18th century.

In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events designed to inspire curiosity and conversation about the Lowcountry and the stories that make it a special place. From lectures and workshops to guided tours and special exhibitions, there is always something new and exciting happening at The Charleston Museum. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture lover, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, The Charleston Museum is a must-see destination for visitors of all ages. So pack your bags, and come discover the rich history of the South Carolina Lowcountry at America’s first museum.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 722-2996

Address: 360 Meeting Street Charleston, SC 29403

2. Charleston Symphony Orchestra

Charleston Symphony Orchestra

The Charleston Museum is a cultural gem in the heart of the Lowcountry. As the oldest museum in South Carolina, it has been a vital part of the community for over 200 years, and continues to offer a unique and enriching educational experience for visitors of all ages. The museum is committed to providing free or low-cost educational opportunities to the community, with a special emphasis on reaching Title I schools and underserved areas.

The Charleston Museum offers a wide range of programs and exhibits that inspire, challenge, and educate visitors through musical experiences. From introductory performances for children who are experiencing music for the first time, to mentoring the region’s top student instrumentalists through the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra, the museum’s programs are designed to engage and inspire young people through music. The museum’s dedication to education is evident in the fact that it invests over $500,000 annually towards its educational initiatives, allowing its musicians to engage with thousands of students throughout the Lowcountry.

Whether you’re a student, teacher, or simply a lover of music, the Charleston Museum is a must-see destination. With its rich history and commitment to education, it is the perfect place to experience the beauty and power of music. So come and visit us soon, and discover the magic of music for yourself!

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 723-7528

Address: 95 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401

3. South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is a leading destination for visitors looking to connect with the natural world. With over 5,000 animals on display, including species native to South Carolina, the Aquarium offers an awe-inspiring journey through the state’s mountains to the sea. Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits, including the Sea Turtle Care Center™, and learn about the Aquarium’s conservation efforts to protect local species.

Located in the beautiful and historic downtown Charleston, the Aquarium’s waterfront location on the Charleston Harbor offers sweeping views of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the USS Yorktown and more. During your visit, take a break on one of the open-air decks and spot wild dolphins and birds throughout the Harbor. The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which means that the Aquarium is among the best in the nation when it comes to animal welfare, care and management. They were also honored with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 577-3474

Address: 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401   

4. Middleton Place

Middleton Place

Middleton Place is an American treasure located along the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina. This National Historic Landmark is a rare survivor of American history, including the American Revolution, Civil War, and natural disasters. The property, first granted in 1675, is a microcosm of United States history and is focused on the contributions of the Middleton family as well as the enslaved Africans and African Americans who lived and worked there.

Visitors can stroll through the vast garden rooms and visit the heritage breed livestock in the Stable Yards. Guests can also learn skills performed by the enslaved through live demonstrations by the resident blacksmith, potter, and other textile workers. The daily outdoor tours reveal three centuries of stories of men and women, free and enslaved, who participated in the building and stewardship of this American icon. This is an essential American experience and is a must-see destination for visitors from all over the world.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 556-6020

Address: 4300 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414   


5. The Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art is a unique and exciting destination for art lovers of all backgrounds and experiences. This museum is dedicated to enhancing lives through art, by providing visitors with opportunities to learn, discover, enjoy, and be inspired by the creative process.

At the heart of the museum is its collection of American art, which tells the story of Charleston and its rich artistic heritage. The museum’s collection spans from the 18th century to the present day, and includes works by renowned artists such as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Mary Cassatt.

In addition to its impressive collection, the Gibbes Museum of Art also offers a variety of educational programs and events, including lectures, tours, and workshops. Whether you’re a student of art history or simply someone who appreciates beauty, the Gibbes Museum is the perfect destination for you. So come and explore the museum today and discover why art is the difference between merely existing and being truly alive!

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 722-2706

Address: 135 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401    

6. Historic Charleston City Market

Historic Charleston City Market

The Historic Charleston City Market is a must-see destination for visitors to the charming city of Charleston. Located in the heart of the city, this open-air market is a vibrant hub of activity, where locals and tourists alike gather to shop, dine, and explore.

One of the highlights of the market is the opportunity to meet and interact with passionate local entrepreneurs and artisans. Visitors can browse a wide variety of certified authentic handmade items, including traditional sweetgrass baskets, which were originally used to winnow rice on local plantations. Today, these baskets are considered works of art and are highly sought-after souvenirs.

In addition to shopping, the Historic Charleston City Market also offers visitors the chance to take a tour and learn about the market’s rich history and traditions. Visitors can also sample delicious local cuisine and check into a hotel with a view of the market for the ultimate Charleston experience. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, the Historic Charleston City Market is a must-see destination for anyone interested in experiencing the best of Charleston’s culture and heritage

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 937-0920

Address: 188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401   


7. Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row, located in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the most iconic views associated with the city. The area, however, was not always so picturesque. In the years following the Civil War, much of Rainbow Row fell into disrepair and was considered a slum. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that efforts were made to revitalize the area.

Susan Pringle Frost, the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, now known as the Preservation Society of Charleston, bought six of the buildings on Rainbow Row in the 1920s. However, she lacked the funds to restore the properties. Around the same time, a woman began renovating the Charleston row houses, including painting the buildings she owned (numbers 99 through 101) a beautiful pastel pink color. This stems from the use of colonial Caribbean color schemes at the time. As more people moved into the area and worked to improve the overall condition of the neighborhood, many chose other pastel colors to paint their homes. By 1945, most of the houses had been restored. It’s worth noting that the coloring is not just for aesthetics, in fact, it’s often used in tropical areas because the light colors help to keep the homes cool.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (803) 528-8317

Address: 83-107 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401   

8. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is an iconic stop for any traveler to the Lowcountry. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and been witness to the history of the United States. Recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of “America’s Most Beautiful Gardens,” it is the only garden honored with this distinction in the State of South Carolina. 

At Magnolia Plantation, you can experience the beauty of thousands of flowers and plants in its famous gardens. Enjoy a leisurely stroll as you take in the sights and sounds of this historic site. You can also learn about the history of the plantation and the Lowcountry, from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. 

So come to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the Lowcountry. There’s something for everyone, from the avid gardener to the history buff. A visit to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will be a memorable experience you won’t soon forget.

Contact Information

Phone Number:  (843) 571-1266

Address: 3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414  

9. Charleston Harbor Tours

Charleston Harbor Tours

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Charleston, South Carolina. As the largest and most storied plantation in the area, it offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich history and natural beauty.

One of the main attractions of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is its stunning gardens. With over 140 acres of gardens, visitors can explore a variety of different landscapes, including the famous Romantic-style gardens, the African-American history garden, and the nature train. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the gardens to learn more about the history and significance of each area.

In addition to the gardens, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens also offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the plantation and the Lowcountry region. Visitors can take a guided tour of the main house, which dates back to the 18th century, and learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked on the plantation. The plantation also has a museum dedicated to the history of the Lowcountry, which is a fascinating look at the region’s culture and history.Overall, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a great destination for those interested in history, nature, and culture. The plantation offers a unique and immersive experience that cannot be found anywhere else in South Carolina.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 722-1112

Address: 10 Wharfside St, Charleston, SC 29401   

10. Old Slave Mart Museum

Old Slave Mart Museum

The Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, is the first African-American slave museum in the United States. Open sporadically since 1938, the museum is a living reminder of the history of slavery in America and its impact today. With an estimated 35-40% of enslaved people entering the United States through Charleston, the museum provides an opportunity to learn about the history of slavery in the area. 

The museum is staffed by individuals who trace their history to the enslaved people of Charleston and features an interview with a former enslaved person. Inside the museum, visitors can expect to find informative posters, evoking an uncomfortable feeling of the past. Though there are some artifacts, visitors looking for items from the slave trade may be disappointed. 

Plan on spending at least an hour in this museum, as the experience is not intended to be entertaining. As such, this museum is most likely not suitable for children. If you are looking to learn about the history of slavery in the area, a visit to the Old Slave Mart Museum is a must.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (843) 958-6467
Address: 6 Chalmers St, Charleston, SC 29401

About the Author
about matthew
Matthew Mellinger
Hey there! I'm Matthew, and I'm a passionate traveler who loves to explore the US with my family of four. I'm excited to share my experiences and tips on how to make the most of your trips while traveling in the US.

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