Charleston is one of those Southern coastal towns you don’t want to miss because it comes with history, culture, great food, shopping and entertainment to keep visitors happy for days or even weeks on end. Here are some of our staff’s favorite places to go in downtown Charleston, where that charming Southern hospitality is all around.
1. East Bay Street
This scenic area is one of the first places to go in downtown Charleston after you arrive in the city. Here you can take in the harbor lined with shops, restaurants, and colorful historical buildings to admire. Take a stroll, stop for tea and buy some souvenirs for friends and family back home.
2. Rainbow Row
The prettiest collection of pastel-colored Georgian homes makes Rainbow Row a major photo op. From there walk along the seawall for a couple blocks and explore the historic area known as The Battery . The waterfront village is well-known along with many other notable architectural landmarks around Charleston.
3. Places To Go In Downtown Charleston – White Point Gardens
Right in the heart of the town’s historic district, these public gardens overlook Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. Look out for old mortars and canons amongst the blooming flowers and lush green paths.
4. All The Scary Locations On The Charleston Ghost Tour
During the spooky fall Halloween season, this may jump all the way to number 1! For some freaky fun in Charleston, a ghost tour can’t be missed. With such a rich history, it’s not surprising some supernatural activity is active around the churches, old jails, graveyards and old buildings in town. But are parts of Charleston really haunted? Find out when your guide takes you around the darkest corners of Charleston at night and tells you some truly original Lowcountry stories!
5. King Street For All The World-Class Shops
Retail therapy on King Street is an exciting and vibrant experience with trendy boutiques, retail stores and antique stores selling beautiful things you will fall in love with. The street is divided into three districts: antiques, fashion and design and dining to make your shopping spree effortlessly fabulous.
6: Places To Go In Downtown Charleston – Upper King Street For Delicious Food
For foodies, Charleston offers some of the best cuisine in the States with everything from Mexican, fresh seafood, traditional classics, classy grills, fine dining and sweet treats. Upper King Street is the place to sample all the flavors that will have you looking forward to every meal. Don’t miss The Darling Oyster Bar, Felix, Leon’s Oyster Shop, and Melfi’s.
7. Explore Old Churches
Visiting the churches of Charleston to see the gorgeous exteriors, ornate interiors, and old cemeteries is one of our favorite things to do! And the Holy City has an impressive collection of ancient well-preserved churches and graveyards dating back to the 1700s. While Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church is the oldest in town, we say some of the most beautiful ones have to be Grace Church Cathedral, St. Phillips, and St Michaels. Another one we love visiting is the French Huguenot Church. Although the exterior may not be as grandiose as the others mentioned, the interior of this one is absolutely stunning! With over 400 churches in Charleston, you can usually see one anywhere you go.
8. Take In City Views
If you are a fan of rooftop hangouts, Charleston has many to choose from. The Grand Bohemian Charleston, The Vendue and The Dewberry Rooftop are some of our top picks. If you prefer not to be on the rooftop and would rather see the city from below, the Waterfront Park is a great place to see various aspects of Charleston from The Battery to the Ravenel Bridge and across Charleston Harbor to the neighboring town of Mt. Pleasant. Afterwards, make your way to East Bay for great restaurants or Market Street for shopping.
9. Places To Go In Downtown Charleston – Stroll The Hidden Alleyways
Exploring a new destination by foot is always a good idea and Charleston turns on the charm with hidden pathways like Bedon’s Alley, Philadelphia Alley and Unitarian Church Graveyard. The scenic alleyways reveal hints of Charleston’s deep history with brick walls, iron gates and little garden areas decorated with old architectural details. These are some of my favorite places to go in downtown Charleston when I am visiting. You can find some peace and quiet and feel like you are in a different time.
10. See The Gibbes Museum Of Art
Love art? Certainly then this might be at the top of your places to go in downtown Charleston list! Open since 1905, this sophisticated museum features 6-8 exhibitions per year as well as permanent collections covering photography, painting, sculpture and illustrations. Visiting artists, lectures, classes, workshops, and events are listed on the museum’s website.