Things to Do in Charleston

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Much of Charleston's charm lies in waterways and barrier islands inaccessible by car or foot. Adventure Harbor Tours provides access to natural wonders... Read More

Okay, this is my hands-down favorite old house in Charleston. It’s mostly unfurnished, letting your imagination take over when you walk through the tall... Read More

Every time locals bring first-time visitors to see the Angel Oak, it’s the same story. The newcomers have no idea the tree is going to be so big.... Read More

Charleston resident Ann Long scours the globe in search of skilled realists, many of them graduates of a renowned classical atelier program in Florence,... Read More

For classical portraits, landscape works, and sculpture by living artists, this is Charleston’s go-to gallery. Hung in gorgeous frames on tall walls,... Read More

Ever since the bike/pedestrian lane opened with this new bridge in 2005, families made it an instant tradition to walk on the span together. You can... Read More

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is just 2.7 miles long, but you’ll get an incredible above-the-water view of the harbor and the city while pedaling over it.... Read More

Now part of the College of Charleston, the handsome brick building on Bull Street was originally the Avery Normal School from 1865-1954: the first grade... Read More

I remember talk that this was a wacky idea when it was founded in 2007 by editors of the local Charleston magazine, but the fest was an instant hit, and... Read More

This recommendation is for shellfish lovers. Barrier Island Eco Tours also leave from the Isle of Palms Marina, and their naturalist-led outings go to... Read More

It feels like a homecoming at this annual whirl of good eats (and drinks) for locals, chefs, and visiting food-lovers of all stripes. At Marion Square,... Read More

About 70 miles south of Charleston on the tidal river, Beaufort’s downtown shelters a marina in walking distance of everything. On shore, the “point”... Read More

Classic, cool, and laid-back, this upper King Street bar pours a beautiful drink. One specialty is its sourcing of rare, small-batch whiskeys and herbal... Read More

Photographer Ben Ham put down his roots just down the coast and captures Lowcountry landscapes in arresting, ethereal black-and-white images. Take a... Read More

Known for its impeccably tailored suits, waistcoats, and blazers—and a gorgeous assortment of elegant silk ties—this classic King Street haberdashery... Read More

The civic-minded Berlin family has created a Charleston institution over the generations with this high-service store. And they’ve helped establish... Read More

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

The Alabama designer opened his Charleston store back in 2008, and we immediately liked that you could have a sip of whiskey while shopping. Nicely... Read More

The literary line-up in the Lowcountry is impressive, from Pat Conroy to Dorothea Benton Frank, but we don’t have many bookstores—anymore. A holdout is... Read More

This daily, year-round Mount Pleasant market is best known in recent years for its U-pick fields of strawberries, pumpkins and other vegetables. You can... Read More

I first visited the bronze horses and wildcats here when I was a little kid, and I’m still amazed that the Huntingtons of New York bought about 6,000... Read More

What looks like a modern apothecary shop turns out to be a library of fragrances (more than 100 in all) with which to customize your own take-home... Read More

It is well worth the 18 mile drive up Highway 17 to reach this bucolic refuge for injured birds of prey. More than 500 bald eagles, falcons, hawks,... Read More

You’ll get a dose of history and nature on a visit to this over-600-acre park on the site of the original Charleston settlement, where English explorers... Read More

In addition to selling tackle and outdoor gear, this popular shop offers fly-fishing lessons and guided trips year-round. Take a tip from a local—pay... Read More

Local tech companies particularly love this soccer team, which makes sense since the home stadium was built by the founders of a software company ... Read More

Great beer pairs best with letting someone else to do the driving. Some of Charleston's best microbreweries are off the beaten path, so sit back in a... Read More

At the signature class “Taste of the Lowcountry,” you’ll watch a chef demo, sip wine, and taste local recipes for fish and rice or smoked pork, creamy... Read More

Go early to this Saturday downtown market, especially in summer, for the least bustle and first pick of peaches or tomatoes. You can also grab a cup of... Read More

Night after night, live jazz is played into the wee hours at this swanky, wood-paneled restaurant inside Belmond Charleston Place. For a classic... Read More

A few years ago, a recent College of Charleston grad took over bookings at this mid-1800s venue, and the terrific shows ranging from jazz to folk to... Read More

Nothing stuffy happening here… a recent College of Charleston grad took over bookings at the Music Hall a few years ago, and now the 900-seat auditorium... Read More

The swarms of sun-kissed yachting teams that gather for this April event have been growing since the mid-1990s; the races now draw international... Read More

Actor Bill Murray is a part owner of this minor-league team (his official title is Director of Fun), so you know that a night at a RiverDogs game is... Read More

This three-James-Beard-Award-winning-chef-town knows how to cook up a festival. This one has wine tastings and gourmet feasts, star chefs doing demo’,... Read More

Musicians rave about the beautiful acoustics at this unusual venue, a 17th-century church on Meeting Street with a fitting name—it really is circular in... Read More

Whether you’re running, walking or watching, this springtime 10K running race is a huge event. Almost 40,000 people take part in the race each year, and... Read More

This Queen Street gallery shows a long roster of interesting local artists and mediums spanning from representational and classic works to abstract... Read More

If you’re wed in Charleston, someone’s going to give you a long-handled silver rice spoon from Croghan’s—and you’ll love it. (I do.) Owned by one family... Read More

With so many excellent restaurants to choose from locally, choices can be overwhelming. Sometimes it helps to narrow the focus and let someone lead you... Read More

If you find Curiosity, you’ve already had a souvenir-worthy experience. The French Quarter shop is down a sweet little brick path off of Queen Street in... Read More

Okay hipsters and social media fans, this is the newbie festival that’s locked in the moniker “Silicon Harbor” for historic Charleston’s techie,... Read More

It’s a quintessential Charleston pleasure to catch a mid-day chamber music concert here during the Spoleto Festival in late May and early June.... Read More

Everything about Dock Street is special. It traces its beginnings to a 16th century theater and 17th century hotel, the cypress interior is gorgeous,... Read More

One-way streets can make things tricky in this 300+ year-old city, but the architecture and scenery is worth it. Sunday morning is the best time to... Read More

A 1742 plantation on the Ashley River run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Read More

The rooms in the stately brick house are empty now, but if you’re around Charleston long enough, you’ll eventually meet someone who remembers going to... Read More

Founded by Emilie Dulles, who was inspired by her mother’s appreciation of fine stationery, Dulles Designs sells high quality stationery and paper... Read More

This landmark shop on the corner of King and Society streets is the place to find a classic khaki or seersucker suit. It’s a favorite of guys who like... Read More

Within 50 miles of Charleston, this island is a favorite for its three-mile long beachfront lined with old-school houses and state park campsites in... Read More

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

On the famous East Battery overlooking the harbor and Fort Sumter, this circa-1825 house with wide piazzas is where Confederate General Robert E. Lee... Read More

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

Another springtime spectator option is the top-notch women’s tennis tournament at the Family Circle Cup. Yes, the Williams sisters play here (and often... Read More

The laid-back vibe and good waves at the washout to the east make Folly Beach a favorite of surfers. There’s nothing fancy on the island, just beach... Read More

Even the humblest beach houses on Sullivan’s Island are now homes to millionaires, but in the 18th century, the now-posh island was used as a quarantine... Read More

Practically every school kid in South Carolina makes at least one field trip out to Fort Sumter, the site of the first battle of the American Civil War.... Read More

Practically every grade-school kid in South Carolina (including me one year) makes the trip out to Fort Sumter, but seeing the island fort where the... Read More

Mountain biking in the no-mountain Lowcountry can be a blast on trails in this nearly 259,000-acre coastal forest north of Charleston. From the Buck... Read More

The Chippendale bureaus and pendulum-swinging clocks make Geo. C. Birlant & Co. the granddaddy of King Street antiques’ shops. In fact, Birlant’s... Read More

Charleston’s East Side isn’t as well known for its art scene, but this corner gallery on Bogard Street is home to contemporary shows with opening night... Read More

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

A friend of mine who works at this classic King Street shop is always showing up at parties wearing the greatest ties and tweed blazers. Open since the... Read More

Linked to the College of Charleston, the Halsey is a non-collecting contemporary art museum on Calhoun Street that brings in artists from around the... Read More

This 63-acre park of gardens, ponds, and oak groves is also home to a significant monument to Charleston’s pre-Civil War history. A new life-sized... Read More

Charleston's distillery scene continues to grow, and High Wire leads the pack as the first distillery to open here since Prohibition. Husband-and-wife... Read More

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

Shop for distinctive local items such as linens inspired by the houses of Rainbow Row. Read More

Spanning a large field, this is one of the newest farm markets, even though it’s set on the island that’s home to many of Charleston’s oldest and best... Read More

Introduced at pop-up shops and trunk shows downtown, this new line is a project of longtime resident Susan Hull Walker, who combines interests in travel... Read More

A newcomer in Charleston, this shop specializes in styles that come from further north (the second-generation design company was actually founded in NYC... Read More

When Indigo & Cotton opened a few years ago on Cannon Street, men found it right away for the denim and shirts you can’t get anywhere else in... Read More

IOP always reminds me of long sand beaches, live music, and all of those crazy bikini contests at the Windjammer beach club. The island’s also home to... Read More

Charleston County has an impressive park system, and this one tops the list as a fun zone. Within 10 minutes of downtown Charleston and spanning more... Read More

Reminding shoppers of West coast vintage stores, the simultaneously retro and innovative vibe of designer/founder Jamie Lin Snider adds something... Read More

Shhh… not everyone seems to know about this one. Access to most of the 10 miles of beach on naturally stunning Kiawah Island is beyond the gate. But... Read More

As if having a dedicated cookware store on North Market Street weren't sweet enough for fans of iconic cookware giant Le Creuset, foodies now get to see... Read More

This is one of Charleston’s best French connections. The new North American digs of Le Creuset opened in 2013 just across the Ashley River. Guest chefs... Read More

Definitely not just for garden art—but I happen to dig garden art—this tiny gallery shop is a local treasure for its bright adornments. (I love my... Read More

Charleston's history-steeped beauty is best appreciated by simply walking around, yet appearances are only half the charm. Guide Bill Stanton leads... Read More

It feels special to shop at this above-ground store located upstairs from King Street. Designer Katherine Mullins McDonald began her business with... Read More

Mac & Murphy is a paper goods heaven and a graphic design delight. If you’re into printed matter, this shop is full of character, color, and pure... Read More

The fantastic creations of couture milliner Leigh Magar have inspired a devoted cult following. Read More

If you ever see milliner Leigh Magar around Charleston, you’ll be sure to notice her style—hat askew, belt-less dresses, hand-dyed colors.  A South... Read More

Walk in the door, and you’ll probably notice the mini Ferris wheel or giant gumball machine. This indie shop is not like any chain toy store—on purpose.... Read More

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

Somewhere in the groves of camellias is a blush-pink variety named for Brenda Beach, a lovely Charleston grandmother I met several years ago. Heirloom... Read More

About an hour north on US-17 from Charleston (depending on the traffic in Mount Pleasant), this charmer of a fishing village is situated in the middle... Read More

Built in 1788, with an entrance on an alley, parts of McCrady’s feel like an elegant cave, but then the bar ceiling soars to high windows. I recommend... Read More

Since the completion of Memminger’s multi-million dollar renovation, I often pass by the massive columns on my way to a concert or charity ball, but I... Read More

This 1741 historic plantation has an exquisite formal garden. Read More

Local designer Mary Norton's scarves, brooches, and handbags have attracted the likes of Sharon Stone and Oprah Winfrey. Read More

This town built permanent sheds for its open-air market a few years ago, making it a centerpiece of Coleman Boulevard (the main drag of Mount Pleasant).... Read More

On lower Meeting Street, the circa-1808 Nathaniel Russell House has the most impressive curved staircase I’ve ever seen, but it’s also known for its... Read More

Rent a paddleboard to mosey down Shem Creek and hang out with giant blue herons, pelicans, dolphins, and egrets. Or canoe out to the mouth of Shem Creek... Read More

The Schuck brothers who founded this paddleboarding outfitter are longtime local surfers, and they make fitness lessons and tours easy and fun, starting... Read More

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

For the pampered gentleman (or the man who craves to be pampered), Old South Barber Spa offers hot blade shaves, custom cuts, manicures (emphasis on ... Read More

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

Philip Simmons (1912 - 2009) was a giant in the world of Lowcountry ironwork. Many of the remarkable iron gates in Charleston were made by Simmons, who... Read More

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... Read More

Yes, it’s another King Street bar not far from the college, but there’s no kid stuff here. Known to serve the city’s best gin and tonic, Proof’s long... Read More

This thriving contemporary art center transforms a cinderblock structure tucked off St. Philip Street. On any given day at Redux, you'll hear whizzing,... Read More

In a city whose galleries overflow with portrayals of marsh scenes, shorebirds, and Lowcountry skylines, Robert Lange Studios (RLS) blazes a singular... Read More

Every month they’ve got something new on the brick walls of this Queen Street gallery that’s known for works of realism and surrealism. Group and... Read More

Set by the railroad tracks on out-of-the-way Morrison Drive, this place opened a few years ago and proudly bills itself as a dive. Local live music acts... Read More

The Charleston harbor just wouldn’t look the same without this tall-mast schooner skimming around with wind in its sails. If you’re close enough to see... Read More

First, you’ll need to be an owner or registered guest to get inside the gate and to the beach of this community—a condo or house rental does the trick.... Read More

This monthly pedestrian takeover of King Street from Queen to Calhoun is officially a hit. You feel so free not worrying about cars, and it’s like one... Read More

Nearby barrier islands offer up some of the best surfing waves in the state, particularly the Washout on Folly Beach, which is teeming with avid surfers... Read More

All is cool and dim except for floor lights and the soft glow of the blue-lit domed ceiling above the audience. Then the show starts. For Charlestonians... Read More

Set right along the harbor in a slick modern building, this aquarium is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon (local parents often buy... Read More

Bright, busy and new—this popular food and cookware shop in Mount Pleasant is offering classes almost daily in everything from how to roast fish or bake... Read More

The specialty food store Southern Season sprawls with aisles and aisles of southern goods, rare wines, fashionable cookware, and foodie gift baskets,... Read More

Parties fill Charleston gardens and music flows from piazzas and open windows during the late-May and early-June weeks of the Spoleto and Piccolo... Read More

Except for two or three primary streets, this three-mile-long island has low traffic roadways, perfect for pedaling between the beach houses, bars, and... Read More

At this beautiful, three-mile stretch of beach, you can lounge barefoot and bikini-clad alongside millionaires. Whether historic, tiny, mod, or massive,... Read More

Each Sunday, farmers bring fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, and local food trucks gather under the oak trees, in the Riverland Terrace neighborhood... Read More

No other ice I’ve had (yet) compares to the single, perfectly round and clear, ice “sphere” perched in your whiskey glass at this historic house-turned... Read More

Built in 1882 as a cotton mill and converted for cigar making 20 years later, the massive brick building on East Bay Street that’s currently being... Read More

The address is on busy East Bay Street, but this little bar set back from the street by a patio feels far from the tourist scene. It’s fun to play ... Read More

Follow Maybank Highway until you see the large, low-slung shack painted in swirling, overlapping murals. Shows (some are free) are held outside on the... Read More

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

Featuring an anchor, antlers, and skull, Troubadour has one crazy logo. But the clothing designs to be seen at the Meeting Street showroom are lovely... Read More

Local Scout troops often camp overnight on this massive World War II aircraft carrier, which is permanently docked on the Mount Pleasant side of the... Read More

Sweet grass is gathered from low-country marshes and then woven into baskets, bracelets, pins, barrettes, and earrings by traditional weavers, all sold... Read More

There are no restaurants or retail shops here, rather Wadmalaw’s draws are its farms. We go to Irvin House Vineyards for the annual grape stomps, and to... Read More

Tucked behind Charleston City Hall at Broad and Meeting streets, this 1.4-acre park showcasing a statue of George Washington is a peaceful urban retreat... Read More

Though a Great Lawn invites group activity, Waterfront Park was intended to remind Charleston of its place in the natural world—its proximity to... Read More

My family has a special love for this harborside park. In summer, there are always kids dashing through the fountain, and whole families can fit on the... Read More

During the summer, kids are always dashing through the fountain here, and whole families can fit on the wide bench swings that face the harbor. The... Read More

For an urban/suburban ride that highlights marsh views, try the West Ashley Greenway. On the path of a former rail line, it extends 10.5 miles from the... Read More

For more than 20 years, this unlikely King Street boutique in a 19th century seed store has filled its wooden display cabinets and vintage-industrial... Read More

The kitchen at Zero George is inside a circa-1804 carriage house, and you’ll want to sit awhile, watch the chef’s technique, and smell what’s cooking.... Read More

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