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 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.

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

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

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

This 1741 historic plantation has an exquisite formal garden.

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

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

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