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Carriage ride in Charleston, South Carolina
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Fishing boats at the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina
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Fine dining in Charleston, South Carolina
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Enjoying a sunset over Charleston, South Carolina
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Charleston fishing pier in South Carolina
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Shops on King St. in Charleston, South Carolina
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Rainbow Row carriage ride in Charleston, South Carolina
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Fishing in Charleston, South Carolina
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Rooftop bar in Charleston, South Carolina
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  • States:
    South Carolina

It’s no wonder Charleston was recently named one of the top destinations in the world by Condé Nast Traveler.

With gourmet dining, a host of cultural attractions and beautiful, historic architecture, Charleston meets every requirement for the ideal holiday destination. The unique mix of traditional and modern is the essence of Charleston’s unique atmosphere. Check top things to do in Charleston, South Carolina, during your next visit.

The Historic District

Charleston is filled with early 20th century architecture that is renovated and perfectly maintained. Nowhere is this more evident than at Charleston’s historic King Street. This historic shopping, dining and design district is defined by three distinct areas: the Upper King Street Design and Dining District, the Middle King Street Fashion District and the Lower King Street Antiques District. So, you can find everything you could possibly want, from electronics to crafts.

Stroll past many familiar brands along with dozens of unique local retailers. Many are housed in historically significant buildings – a Charleston convergence of old and new. Expect to see many familiar brands such as Anthropologie, Apple, Banana Republic and Gap. But also visit the many local establishments that offer a little piece of Charleston to take home with you. Blue Bicycle Books is a local favorite, offering new and used books and supporting local authors. At King Street’s Antiques District, check out notable George C. Birlant & Co., which has been selling upscale antiques from around the world since 1922.

If you’re in the mood for a bite to eat, King Street is also the place to find amazing restaurants, ranging from fine dining to authentic South Carolina favorites. Stop at Kaminsky’s for tempting desserts such as pies and cakes, followed by drinks at the bar.

To continue your tour, climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage, which will take you through 300 years of history and by many historic structures and sights unique to Charleston.

Iconic Sites

After you’ve shopped through the Historic District, make a visit to the Charleston City Market. In the different halls of the market, you can find many local products, like hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, soaps, jewelry, clothing and much more. You can also find nice espresso bars and food stands.

The Battery at Charleston Harbor features cannons and cannon balls from the Civil War and many statues, along with stunning Southern-style waterfront mansions.

Or, walk among the double rows of towering oaks at the famous Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Planted in 1743, this row of trees happens to be the nation’s most photographed. Though the house isn’t the original, this stately place is quite authentic and reminiscent of a time long gone. Observe the Gullah (descendants of African slaves who have maintained their own language and culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry) women making traditional baskets, and explore the slave cabins. You can also take the plantation coach tour or visit the Butterfly Pavilion.

Dining and Accommodations

For dinner, visit The Charleston Grill with Chef Michelle Weaver at the Charleston Place Hotel. The restaurant is a venue for world-class jazz performers. Music accompanies your meal every evening, and the kitchen serves delectable dishes from four menus.

For accommodation, enter a top-ranked inn by the readers of Travel + Leisure, the Market Pavilion Hotel. From the chic lobby and upscale restaurant up to the Pavilion Bar offering panoramic views, a cascading pool and delectable food and cocktails, this is a hotel in a class of its own.

Another local favorite spot is The Elliot House Inn, a bed and breakfast in the beautiful downtown district of Charleston. This historic building dates back to 1861. Enjoy the continental breakfast delivered to your room on a silver tray and the quaint and welcoming courtyard in the center of the building.

Charleston Events

Charleston hosts a number of exciting and interesting cultural events throughout the year. The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, showcasing wildlife exhibitors and experts is the largest of its kind in the nation and takes place in February. The Charleston Wine + Food Festival in March, showcases the area's many culinary specialties and delectable beverages. Beginning in late May and into the first part of June is the Spoleto Festival and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Held concurrently, these festivals highlight performance art, visual arts and cultural performances. Charleston Fashion Week is another exciting event, and the Annual Fall Tours of Homes and Gardens is a wonderful way to explore the centuries-old local history during late September and October.

Charleston is a city that easily charms even the most seasoned traveler. You will love every moment in this wonderful city, so start planning your trip to Charleston, South Carolina today.