CharlestonUnited States of America

4.7/5Top Destination

Trip time! Discover the history, churches, and architecture in Charleston.

Charleston is best explored on a walking tour or in a horse-drawn carriage with your driver telling stories about city landmarks. Learn about military history and the Southern way of life. Sample local foods of shrimp and grits, Lowcountry barbecue, collard greens and sweet pralines.

The American Civil War began here, when the seceding Confederacy fired upon and overtook federal Fort Sumter in the Charleston River. A later Union attack reduced the fort to rubble. Take a ferry to see the historic site, which also contains a complete timeline of U.S. naval activities along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Across the harbor, walk along The Battery and White Point Garden to gaze at the fort, now a national monument. Reflect on this pivotal moment in U.S. history. Turn around to view pretty antebellum houses surrounded by flowers in this neighborhood known as South of Broad. The writer Pat Conroy lived here. Many of his popular novels reveal not only Charleston’s geography, but also its cultural nuances.

To the west, the brilliant white Romanesque architecture of The Citadel gleams against a bright blue Charleston sky. Watch military cadets in dress uniforms during weekly parades or competing in weekend football games against other Southern colleges in the fall.

Nearby visit Middleton Place, a 1755 plantation with one of the nation’s earliest landscaped gardens. Something blooms here at any time of year. You might see an alligator sunning itself next to the Ashley River.

To the east, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is an impressive modern structure, especially with its triangular arches illuminated at night. Walk, bike or drive across for excellent views of the river and harbor or run across during the Cooper River Bridge 10K Run in early April.

Spring’s Spoleto Festival offers opera, theater, dance, music and artist talks. Throughout the year, visit the Charleston Historic Market to purchase locally made handicrafts. Famous hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, once used during rice harvesting, are still made by locals and treasured as artworks.

Known for

Historical Buildings, Tours and Architecture

Explore map

Where to stay in Charleston

Charleston Historic District
Charleston

Charleston Historic District

Known for Historical Buildings, Churches, Tours

4.5/5(2,658 reviews)

The fantastic nightlife and popular shops are just a few highlights of Charleston Historic District. Make a stop by Charleston City Market or Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal while you're exploring the area.

Downtown Charleston
Charleston

Downtown Charleston

Known for Historical Buildings, Churches, Cathedrals

4/5(429 reviews)

Downtown Charleston is known for its fantastic nightlife, and with sights like Charleston City Market and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Charleston.

French Quarter
Charleston

French Quarter

Known for Bars, Historical Buildings, Dining

A noteworthy feature of French Quarter is its popular shops. While you're in town, be sure to stop and check out Waterfront Park and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal.

North-Central
Best brisket ever.
trover photo by Ruby Hart

North-Central

Known for

While North-Central might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Charleston Music Hall and South Carolina Aquarium.

Old Village
If your looking for an evening sunset and a cold drink look for the Shark Fin bar... Outdoor and super small but great views.
trover photo by Meghan hernandez

Old Village

Known for

5/5(1 review)

If you're spending some time in Old Village, Mount Pleasant Sports Complex and Pitt Street Bridge are top sights worth seeing.

South of Broad
Nathaniel Russell House featuring interior views

South of Broad

Known for

While visiting South of Broad, you might make a stop by sights like White Point Gardens and Nathaniel Russell House.

Top Hotels in Charleston

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
4 out of 5
115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
$186
per night
Nov 10 - Nov 11
4.4/5Excellent! (1,971 reviews)

"beautiful and perfect central location in Charleston"…"

Reviewed on Oct 14, 2019

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
4 out of 5
20 Patriots Point Rd, Mount Pleasant, SC
$119
per night
Oct 23 - Oct 24
4/5Very Good! (2,322 reviews)

"Beautiful clean room's, lovely view of the inlet."…"

Reviewed on Oct 11, 2019

Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
3.5 out of 5
560 King Street, Charleston, SC
$155
per night
Nov 10 - Nov 11
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,129 reviews)

"The hotel was located in a prime location and about a mile from the market area. This was a prime location ata great price"…"

Reviewed on Oct 15, 2019

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

Popular things to do in Charleston

USS Yorktown
Image for USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown

4.5/5(724 reviews)

Tour an aircraft carrier that earned its battle stars in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal
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Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal

4.5/5(511 reviews)

Explore the waterfront in Charleston with a trip to Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal. Wander the area's beautiful beaches or simply enjoy one of its lively bars.

Charleston City Market
Image for Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market

4.5/5(2,540 reviews)

Purchase food, jewelry and handicrafts in the market and learn about local tradition, the Civil War and slavery at its museum.

Patriots Point
Image for Patriots Point

Patriots Point

4.5/5(880 reviews)

Learn about American military heroes, climb aboard the vessels in the harbor and sleep the night in the quarters of a ship.

Waterfront Park
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Waterfront Park

4.5/5(1,695 reviews)

Stroll the city’s waterfront esplanades at sunset, when the afternoon sun begins to dip and the harbor is lit with soft colors.

South Carolina Aquarium
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South Carolina Aquarium

4.5/5(391 reviews)

See an array of aquatic creatures, including an albino alligator, in underwater habitats ranging from salt marshes to coastal plains.

Top activities in Charleston

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
Image for Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

$28

Sit in the lap of luxury as you cruise the streets of Charleston in style and comfort, on an amazing carriage ride. Expert guidance, professionalism and knowledge await your arrival to explore this iconic destination.

Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour
Image for Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

$32

Immerse yourself in the colonial past, American heritage, and pre-war beauty of Charleston on this tour of the city's historic heart. After scoping out landmarks from Rainbow Row to the City Market, visit a restored mansion for a true glimpse of what life was like here in the country's early days.

Historic City Walking Tour
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Historic City Walking Tour

$18

Encounter the best that Charleston has to offer on this informative and memorable walking tour devoted to the city's history.

Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise
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Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise

$45

Feel the magic of Charleston on a pair of tours that show you the best of this venerable city. A relaxing ride takes you to the historic homes and landmarks that fill the town, and then a boat cruise on Charleston Harbor shows you the gentle waters that helped shape American history.

Savor the Flavor Walking Tour
Image for Savor the Flavor Walking Tour

Savor the Flavor Walking Tour

$65

Taste your way through the flavors, savors, and aromas of Charleston on this guided walking tour of the city's favorite eateries and cuisines. Explore the city's history and culture as you sample grits, pralines, sweet tea, and other delicious Lowcountry specialties.

The Tragical Hystery Tour, A Walking Tour of Charleston
Image for The Tragical Hystery Tour, A Walking Tour of Charleston

The Tragical Hystery Tour, A Walking Tour of Charleston

$25

We start at 4 p.m. Eastern at 158 Church Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401. We will see such sights as St Phillips, The Dock Street Theater, Chalmers Street and the Pink House, Shepherd's Tavern, Daniel Ravenel house, St. Michael's and the four corners of law.

Reviews of Charleston

4.7

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1956
5 - Excellent 70.56277056277057%
4 - Good
730
4 - Good 26.334776334776336%
3 - Okay
73
3 - Okay 2.6334776334776335%
2 - Disappointing
12
2 - Disappointing 0.4329004329004329%
1 - Terrible
1
1 - Terrible 0.03607503607503607%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 16, 2019

Magnolia Plantation totally Disneyfied. Did everything to minimize the horror of slavery

5/5 - Excellent

Lauren

Oct 15, 2019

Loved it!! We enjoyed several tours learning more about Charleston and their rich history. Definitely recommend doing the walking tours!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 14, 2019

Charleston is beautiful!! People are super friendly and food is Delicious!!!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 14, 2019

I will be back and not enough time to see it all in 2 days

5/5 - Excellent

Jenny

Oct 14, 2019

Great place to explore downtown with remarkable architecture, elaborate residences and gardens.

5/5 - Excellent

Kimberly

Oct 14, 2019

Charleston is a great weekend getaway spot! Save time for a plantation tour! Food is amazing!

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Charleston

10 can’t-miss restaurants in Charleston
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10 can’t-miss restaurants in Charleston

Making a menu of one of the premiere foodie destinations

Four fun day trips from Charleston
Image for Four fun day trips from Charleston

Four fun day trips from Charleston

Hitting the road (or water) for day trips from Charleston

Charleston two ways
Image for Charleston two ways

Charleston two ways

Experiencing the charm of Charleston, his way and her way

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