Our trip to Charleston was all too short and all(most) too fun! The historic city is beautiful around every turn with so many fun things to do – in the city itself and just a short drive away. I covered all our delicious food stops in Where to Eat in Charleston post, but now it’s time to share more about what to do in Charleston! The great thing about South Carolina’s Holy City is that there’s something for everyone – history for the Civil War buff (hello History PhD – yes, I was in 19th century heaven), great architecture, a revived and delicious food scene, fun shopping, beautiful plantations and gardens, and a city full of life!
Before getting to any specifics – Charleston is a beautiful city full of older buildings, robust architecture, lush greenery, and weeping willows. Wandering around the city (on tours and on our own) was so fascinating and we took photos on just about every block!
I always recommend taking a tour of a new city on the first day of arrival. Taking a unique tour is always more fun too. We took a carriage ride through the city through Palmetto Carriage Rides. Carriage rides are always a treat and in a city so full of history, it was perfect. We meandered the streets at the horses’ pace, keeping cozy under blankets and hearing/seeing everything Charleston!
What to Do in Charleston
A few highlights of the trip included a ghost walk one chilly night with Charleston Strolls. They do offer non-ghost tours, however, and next time I’d probably opt for one of those (I’m not a creepy story kind of person). The walk in the evening along with the history was quite fun though.
If you haven’t read my post on our cooking classes at Zero George, you absolutely should. This was my first cooking class and I really had no idea what to expect. The experience was truly remarkable and so memorable! I now wholeheartedly recommend cooking classes for everyone from novices to chefs. You can always learn a little more and your food will be part of an experience instead of just a meal!
Having written my dissertation on The Civil War and having started countless papers with “As shots fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor” in grad school, a visit to the federal fort in Charleston Harbor was a must. You can grab a boat ride to Fort Sumter through Charleston Harbor Tours. The tour of the harbor and the view of Charleston from Fort Sumter is wonderful. If you aren’t a huge history fan, however, the trip out to the island probably shouldn’t be high on your list. The historian in me hates to say that, but it’s really designed for people who love US history and Civil War history in particular.
Plantations Near Charleston
One of my favorite days during our stay in Charleston was a short day trip we took to Magnolia Plantation. The Drayton Home tour was nice, but what I really loved was walking the grounds. The gardens, water features, buildings, weeping willows, and meandering paths were beautiful – picturesque, South Carolina scenery at its best. We stopped for lunch along the way (at the Tattooed Moose in the food guide), but there is a restaurant on the grounds you can eat at for breakfast or lunch.
Wondering what to do in Charleston when you just wanna hang around old-town Charleston? Get ready for a fun day on King Street – shopping central. King Street runs right through town and offers an array of shopping. Two highlights for us were local spots. We got our makeup done at Pink Dot Beauty Bar (seriously the cutest decor ever), which specializes in organic, natural beauty products. Talk about a fun treat! Then we headed off to Luna Boutique – a clothing shop with a great selection of denim and accessories – difficult to walk out without anything in hand! Wandering down King Street, stop in at Moon & Lola, and Goorin Bros. (my favorite hat shop)!
outfit photography by Terrence Edwards. other photography by me.