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Best Things to do in Charleston, S.C.

What you don't want to miss: Take a Plantation Tour, Visit Ft. Sumter, walk around the Battery and Waterfront, visit Patriots Point, Free Rides on Dash, Sweet Grass Basket weaving, The Aquarium of Charleston, Museums, Kid Friendly Activities, Charleston Beaches, Historic City Walking Tours

Over the Christmas Holiday, we stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel, took the Old South Horse Carriage ride, ate excellent meals at Coast Bar & Grill, Hall's Chophouse, and the Swamp Fox Restaurant & Bar. Our transportation to "all things Charleston" was the FREE DASH Trolley. We "hopped on and off" many times around the city while our car stayed safely at the Francis Marion Hotel. We walked through The Battery, White Point Gardens, the waterfront, and Charleston City Market. We visited the Apple Store where I bought a new band for my Apple Watch/ We also spent time at Belmond Charleston Place with beautiful store decorations inside and out. What a wonderful way tp celebrate Christmas!

Here's our photo gallery from our long Christmas weekend. The following includes Christmas Lights at Johns Island, something we've talked about doing this for several years, and finally our schedual allowed us this opportunity. If you're wondering about a long-weekend get-away, Charleston was the perfect place for us

More Best Things to do in Charleston:
Best Charleston Restaurants, Plantations, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, Folly Beach, Shopping in the Historic District, Patriots Point - Sweet Grass Basket Weaving - Ft. Sumter- South Carolina Aquarium - Charleston History - Charleston Culinary Tours and more
Spoleto Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, Low Country Oyster Festival, MOJA Arts Festival. And don't miss the islands surrounding Charleston where you will find the Angel Oak on James Island

Photos by Patricia Blackstock
All photos eill enlarge when clicked

CHARLESTON #2 of 15 "Cities of the World"
by Readers' Choice Awards Condé Naste Traveler

* Map of the Historic District, Charleston S.C.*

I hope you enjoy my selections for the best things to do in Charleston!

Please view the Charleston cam page for webcams and drones in the Holy City.

Best things to do - Visit Ft. Sumter
Best things to do in Charleston
Best Things to do in Charleston
Best of Charleston, things to do
Best things to do in Charleston
 Ft. Sumter canons
That's me in Water Point Gardens
The Cooper River Bridge (above) is also known as the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It is North America's longest cable stay bridge, it spans 8 lines of north-south traffic and additionally offers a bicycle /pedestrian lane. This bridge opened on July 16, 2005.

On April 12, 1861, the Confederate artillery opened fire on Charleston Harbor. Sumter was the scene of the opening engagement of the Civil War. (Photos above.) After Sherman forced the evacuation of Charleston, the United States once asgain raised its flag over Ft. Sumter on Apr. 14, 1865. Fort Sumter became a National Monument in 1948. This large grssy area houses the monuments and historic statues. My friend Bonnie shows off a Platter Magnolia, and I'm standing by the monument.

Charleston City Market / Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. The City Market is a must for anyone visiting Charleston!You will find hundreds of vendors selling sweet grass baskets with amazing designs, real southern candles, craftd, delcious local food items, art work, (painting, photography) and much more.

Best of Charleston Shopping - The Historic District
For your best shopping experience in Charleston, be sure to spend some time at the City Market located in the Historic District. This is where you find the famous hand-made Sweetgrass Baskets (sewn with long leaf pinr straw and leaves of the Palmetto tree) as well as a multitude of crafts souvenirs ,jewelry, local candies, local honey and many other items inside the covered mall area. You'll find the best of Charleston at Belmond Charleston Place If you like shopping in style you will love the Shops at Charleston Place! Even if you don't purchase anything, you'll love the polished marble floors, columns, grand staircase and the mammoth chandelier. There is something here for eveyone, including your most discriminating Aunt Tillie. t

Be sure to check Groupon.com for money-saving things to do. of Charleston!

Guide to the Shopping! It is still one of the best (and fun) things to do in Charleston. After you leave the Historic area, you'll find plenty of shopping opportunities.

Citadel Mall
Northwoods Mall
Earth Fare - The Health Supermarket
Trader Joe's - Mt. Pleasant. Whenever we are in Charlestin, we stop at Trader Joe's
Whole Foods - Mt. Plasant
Freshfields Village Shops and restaurants at the crossroads of Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Island
Mr. Pleasant Towne Center -check the link for many hourse of happy shopping
Tanger Outlets Charleston, S.C.

I often tell people that one of the best things to do in Charleston is to check out the Islands of Charleston. Kiawah, Isle of Palms, Seabrook, James Island and Johns Island are all an easy drive - and in many cases just a few minutes from Charleston. Each island has something beautiful and unique to offer visitors.

The art of basket weaving was introduced to the Carolina lowcountry in the 17th Century. Today, Sweet Grass basket making is centered in the Mt. Pleasant community area. You'll see basket stands along Hwy 17 North, allowing basket makers to compete with retail markets and establish direct contact between themselves asnd their patrons. Watching these baskets as they are being made is one of the most interesting things to do. You can watch as the baskets develope new shapes, such as roses and photo frames. The basket weavers can be found in the downtown area of Charleston, along Market, and Meeting Streets, and even on 17 Bus, leading to downtown Charleston. They will even take special personalized requests.

Charleston has so much to offer: Stop by the Visitors' Bureau to see the best things to do in Charleston. Orient yourself and learn about the best tours in Charleston. Or just start walking! We've discovered that one of the best way to get acquainted with Charleston is on foot! It's not only good for your mind, it's also good for your body! You can plot your own course after you pick up a free mp at the Visitor Bureau. This is the best way to learn about the Confederate Homes and how the Civil War affectd Charleston.

Let your feet be tour guide! You can join a guide for Charleston Walks. Plan on about 3.5 miles to coverthe best of Charleston - the Historic District. It's not strenuous, and you wukk be stopping often to view the many Charleston monuments, Rainbow Row, historic markers and much more!

Another option forwalking is the Free Tours by Foot. They provide a platform for licensed, professional, freelance tour guidesto lead you at no up-front cost so you can enjoy a quality sightseeing experience, no matter your budget. Everyone should be allowed to take a guided tour that you feel feel is worth it - even free!

Charleston Guide for Savings, Discounts and Coupons
Savings, locations, and detailed information at Tourist Pack
Discounts coupons to the best local restaurant and attractions Charleston Coupons and Discounts
Charleston, SC Discounts for attractions and dining. Charleston Coupons

Charleston's Museum Mile is locatedand along a one-mile section of Meeting Street. You will find 6 museums, 5 nationally renowned historic homes, 4 scenic parks, a Revolutionary War powder magazine, and an array of historic houses of worship and public buildings such as the Market and City Hall. To start planning your trip, simply click the banners on this map. The miles is easy to navigaqte on foot or using public transportation. You board the FREE DASH trolleys and CARTA buses to traverse the downtown area, travel to variouis sites and link with the tourist busses at the information center.

Take a Carriage Tour through Historic Charleston and the Battery, use the DASH trollys or hop on the Gray Line!

TIP: If you take a carriage first FIRST, you can park your car free (included in carriage ride price) in the lots of variius carriage companies without paying a parking meter while on the carriage.

Palmetto Carriage Tour - Charleston Guide discount coupons in the website
Old South Carriage Company - Charleston Guide discount coupons on the website
The Gray Line of Charleston offers a choice of Charleston guided mini-bus tour guides of the historic, charming city of Charleston, designed to give you an informative look at the city and its well-preserved past.

Click here to view my short photo gallery of Folly Beach!

Tour some of the best historic homes in Charleston.

South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston
Historic Charleston Foundation
Fort Sumter and take a Harbor Tour
Cypress Gardens
HL Hunley (limited dates/times)
Spoleto Festival (dates on website)
Middleton Place Magnolia Plantation

A Few of Charleston's Best Restaurants:
You will not run out of excellent restaurants, no matter how often you visit Charleston.
Hereare aq few that we think are the best restaurants in Charleston, in no particular order.
Be dure to check out the link a ove for Charleston discounts and Coupons)

Cooking Channel: Hook, Line & Dinner (Charleston, S.C.)
Ben discovers the foundations for Charle4ston''s current renaissance is the region's rustic Lowcountry cuisine, and its seemingly timeless union with all things fresh and aquatic. The host of Hook, Line & Dinner Experiences first hand the essence of the union in rustic institutions like Bowens Island Restaurant, a local marsh-side oyster house where it's a monumental understatement to say the amenities are sparse. Whether pan-searing sheepshead fish at Husk in histgoric downtown Charleston or preparing stuffed Blue Crab at T.W. Graham & Company in nearby McClellanville, Ben's ingredients are nothing if not local.

Charleston Crab House - Wonderful Southern Seafood Tommy Condon's Restaurant and Pub - Historic Downtown
Peninsula Grill -
Historic Downtown
Bubba Gump
Historic Charleston area
The Crab Shack
Historic Downtown
Wild Olive
John's Island
Pavilion Bar & Grill
Roof top diing
Circa 1886
149 Wentworth St.
FIG
232 Meeting Street, Downtown
Slightly North of Broad
Voted Best of the Year
Hank's Seafood Restaurant
corner Hayne and Churchh
Cypress Lowcountry Grille
185 E. Bay Street
Hominy Grill
207 Rutledge Ave. Charleston
Caviar & Bananas
41 George St. Charleston, SC
Cru Cafe
18 Pinkney St., Charleston
Poogan's Porch
2 Queen St., Charleston, SC
Hyman's Seafood
215 Meeting St. Charleston
Coast
39-D Charleston, S,C.
Boathouse
1
01 Palm Blvd. Isle of Palms
Fish
422 Kings St.
The Macintosh
479B King St.t
McCrady's
2 Unity Alley
The Ordinary
544 Kings Street
Five Loaves Cafe
43 Cannon St.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church is an Historical Episcopal church. It is a National Historic Landmark, built in 1836. Between 1860 and 1865, St. Philip's steeple was targeted for shelling by the invading Union Army. Ine shell exploded in the church during Sunday service.

St. Michael's Church was built in 1751, and is the oldest church in Charleston today. It towers above other historic scenes in Charleston. George Washington once worshipped in this church and General Robert E. Lee worshiped in the same pew. The two churches are one of the best landmarks in Charleston.

The two black bolts pictured on the house to the left are earthquake bolts. Charleston suffered two major hurricanes in 1885 and an earthquake in 1886. During repairs, workmen inserted long iron rods through the houses and tightened them with bolts against the outside surfaces to bring the buildings back into alignment. The houses are part of Charleston's famous Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is the name for a series of colorful historic houses in Charleston, S.C. The houses are located north of Trade St. and south of Elliot St. on East Bay Street. It is referred to as Rainbow Row for the pastel colors used to paint all of the houses. It is a common tourist attraction and is one of the most photographed parts of Charleston.

Don't miss: Sweetgrass Baskets at the Charleston Market! Arthur Ravenel Bridge, inside and outside of the Charleston City Market,our bunch at the Palmetto Cafe, tours of Charleston carriage rides, churches and cemeteries, cobblestone streets, fountains, historic homes, and more! Charleston is known as The Holy City, due to the prominence of churches and steeples which dot the city skyline. I've added some new photos of both churches and cemeteries.

I've recently discovered one of the Best Kept Secrets of Charleston - Consignment Shops! I could spend days in these consignment store3s which offer amazing bargains for the savvy shopper!
Butterfly Consignmenb Shop
Consign Charleston
Low Country Consignments
Second Hand Love
Yoogi's Closet

Below, left to right, row 1: Marble staircase in downton Charleston, Daughters of the Confederacy, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Bubba Gump's in Charleston for lunch with my sister-in-law, Granddaughter.
Below, left to right row 2: Charleston's public fountains are free and open all summer long. Cobblestone Street, Historic Charleston harbor, Paula and Wally look at the bark of a Crepe Myrtle
Below, left to right row 3: Be sure to visit some of Charleston's historic cemeteries. Wally at the Charleston Aquarium of South Carolina, ancient moss-covered oaks at the Battery

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Marble steps Charleston Guide St. Philip's Episcopal Church photo Biubba Gump
playing in the free fountain near historic Charleston playing in the free fountain near historic Charleston Old cobblestone street Charleston Guide View of Charleston Harbor- Charleston Guide Crepe Myrtle tree trunk
Old Charleston Cemetery Charleston Guide Old Charleston Cemetery Charleston Guide Charleston Guide Old Charleston Cemetery Wally at the Aquarium of South Carolina Ancient moss-covered oaks near Charleston Battery
Charleston Guide sweet grass basket weaving
Rainbow Row
Charleston Rainbow Row houses
Best Things to do in Charleston
The Aquarium of SC

Click on the Sea Turtle to view my photos of The Aquarium of SC

Best things to do in Charleston
Best things to do in Charleston
Sweetgrass baskets and flowers
Charleston Guide to Wine Shop Charleston, SC
Charleston Sweetgrass and flowers
Browse Local Wine Shops
Earthquake Bolts in house (photo above)
Be sure to take a walk on Rainbow Row
Best things to do in Charleston
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Boone Plantation & Gardens Review
SeeWee
We often stop at Seewee before returning home to Myrtle Beach. Great prices and good seafood! Click the link above to learn more.
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Don't miss the Sweetgrass baskets being woven at the Charleston Market!
Plate-sized Magnolia Blossom
Best things to do in Charleston
Bonnie with a
Platter Magnolia
Carriage Tours
If you love history, you will love Charleston! Time and time again, it has been voted best Southern City in the United States.
There is so much to do - and don't forget Ft. Sumter!
SeeWee Restaurant