Charleston

Things to do in Charleston

From strolling around the city’s quaint streets to sunbathing in one of its beautiful beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Charleston. Check out the impressive stained glass windows at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which tell the story of Christ. The church is especially stunning when it’s decorated for Christmas. The oldest landscaped gardens in the country are at the Middleton Place, an 18th century rice plantation with carefully manicured lawns, colorful accents of magnolias, roses and camellias, and elegant swans swimming across its lakes.

If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, where they can pretend to be swashbuckling pirates, try on a fireman uniform, or explore the secret passageways of the Medieval Creativity Castle. Family fun is also guaranteed at Charleston’s beaches. Surfers shouldn’t miss Folly Beach, the home to dolphins, turtles and bald eagles, while couples won’t want to leave the serenity of Seabrook Island’s sand dunes. Explore the city’s historical district, and marvel at the antebellum mansions, the historic churches, gardens and courtyards, and don’t forget to take a photo at Rainbow Row, a series of 13 colorful houses on East Bay Street.

This hangout is all about atmosphere—a martini bar with velvet curtains, hookah pipes, and bed-sized couches.

A classic men's store with its own line of seersucker suits.

A Barcelona-inspired wine-and-tapas bar: the back room has DJ's and a throbbing young crowd on weekends.

Edgy King Street outpost for trendy clothes and gear.

The society runs several historic properties and conducts tours of private homes in the fall. Also has a great book and gift shop for all things Charleston.

Founded by Emilie Dulles, who was inspired by her mother’s appreciation of fine stationery, Dulles Designs sells high quality stationery and paper products from its studio on Church Street in The Battery.

An intelligent museum in a former slave-trade sales room.

For furniture, handmade jewelry, vintage lighting fixtures, and regional cookbooks.

This 1676 spread has welcomed visitors since shortly after the end of the Civil War.

Operates the Nathaniel Russell and Aiken-Rhett houses and sponsors the Festival of Houses & Gardens every spring. Advance tickets available.

Panoramic views. This rooftop bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel offers a panoramic view of Charleston Harbor, the Cooper River Bridge and, in the distance, historic Fort Sumter.

The Greek Revival Edmondston-Alston House, which is open for public tours throughout the year.

The designs of Billy Reid—whose boutique empire stretches from Charleston to Dallas—would have looked just as dashing on your great-grandfather.

Though a Great Lawn invites group activity, Waterfront Park was intended to remind Charleston of its place in the natural world—its proximity to the Copper River and the harbor, and the borderline between civilization and the wild.