Image to the left of the Charleston Battery, taken from the Charleston Area CVB’s Pinterest Page
Since Charleston has played such an important part in shaping early American history, many of the attractions here tell the story in more intimate detail and can be viewed at your own leisure!
Below are our top 5 walk-through Charleston attractions:
The Battery: One beautiful place to stroll and sightsee is along The Battery (or Battery Park as it is referred to by some) in downtown Charleston. Whether you are taking a refreshing walk along the harbor or just strolling and taking in the picturesque and beautiful historic homes that line the battery or getting some wonderful pictures of Charleston harbor (and the sight of Fort Sumter in the distance), this is a perfect place to visit, morning, noon, and night! This charming seawall and promenade is a top landmark in Charleston and best of all, free of charge.
South Carolina Aquarium: The South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston harbor is also located downtown. The attractions here are indoors and partially outdoors and this beautiful aquarium should not be missed. Not only can you view the popular inhabitants of our oceans, but you can also witness the wildlife found in streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds. To lean more about this area, visit the saltmarsh and tidal creeks exhibit, featuring wildlife found right here in the Lowcountry. The kids will love the touch-tank filled with live aquatic animals from the South Carolina coast that they can actually touch! Check their website for special events and features as well as admission pricing.
The Charleston City Market: Perhaps you are in the mood for shopping. A wonderful place to enjoy a little history and shop (or just wander and look) is at The City Market located downtown. Featured here are upscale vendors with local, handmade treasures such as foods, sweetgrass baskets, pottery, clothing, jewelry, etc. This charming market has significant historic value, having been originally constructed in the late 1700s on land that was given to the City of Charleston by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney because he wanted the city to have a public market. The building that stands now was rebuilt in 1841 due to a fire in a neighboring structure. The City Market is one of the oldest structures in the country and featured in an exhibit at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. There is no admission fee for the market.
Boone Hall Plantation: Located on Mount Pleasant, and not far from downtown Charleston, is Boone Hall Plantation. This wonderful, sprawling plantation is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As you drive up to the plantation house, the long dirt road is lined on either side for nearly one mile by large live oaks, draped in Spanish moss. A truly beautiful sight! These oaks were originally planted in 1743 by the Boone Family. Although there is an admission fee, you can freely tour the plantation on your own or with a tour guide (which is included in your entrance fee). Whether you choose to walk through the plantation house, the beautiful gardens outside, or walk down “Slave Street” and enter the original cabins that were the living quarters for the slaves, there are many things to see and learn here. This is one of America’s oldest working plantations. Check their website for special events, tours, and admission pricing.
Side Note: Charleston Harbor Tours and Boone Hall Plantation have partnered to offer a combination ticket that offers admission to Boone Hall and Charleston Harbor Tours’ 90-minute historic Charleston harbor tour for one low price! Check out the details here.
Charleston Farmer’s Market: The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, located in downtown Charleston at Marion Square, is a favorite among locals and visitors. The market is currently open every Saturday morning from 8 am to 2 pm., until December 21. Farmers, food vendors and artisans are all here with a large variety of high-quality merchandise. Grab a cup of coffee and a pastry or crepe and stroll at your leisure and talk with the local artists and farmers. This is truly a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning (even if you don’t buy anything). Best of all, it’s also free!