The holiday season has officially arrived! This is such a great time of year in the Charleston area because the event calendar is packed with events of all kinds that will undoubtedly put you in the holiday spirit. In addition to our own seasonal harbor tours and dinner cruises, we’ve put together a list of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas in Charleston.
Holiday Festival of Lights: Now through Dec. 31. James Island County Park is a sea of lights depicting everything from Santa’s village to Charleston imagery. Plus, visitors can enjoy a holiday market, visits with Santa, train rides and hot chocolate.
Award-winning restaurant Circa 1886 hosts a Dickens Dinner on Dec. 11 with storyteller Tim Lowry and a four-course dinner inspired by the novel and prepared by Chef Marc Collins. The restaurant also has a Progressive Dinner beginning Nov. 29 and continuing on select dates in December. circa1886.com | 843-853-7828
Middleton Place Holiday Market: Nov. 29-30. Explore a favorite historic plantation while live musicians perform carols, enjoying complimentary hot cider and treats and local artisan displays.
Christmas 1860 at the Edmondston-Alston House on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 at 21 East Battery in Charleston. Living historians in period clothing tell the story of Charleston’s last opulent Christmas before the start of the Civil War and Christmas traditions of the day.
Perfect for holiday shopping, the monthly 2nd Sunday on King has been expanded to the third and fourth Sundays of December. The street is closed to vehicular traffic from Queen Street North to Calhoun Street. Look for shopping deals, special events and plenty of activities.
The Charleston Christmas Special beginning Dec. 6 and continuing on select dates in December. Family friendly variety show with holiday songs, dancing and skits at the Charleston Music Hall.
Reindeer Run on Dec. 7 through downtown Charleston. It’s a family and pet-friendly 5K benefiting the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston.
Holiday Market & Craft Show on Dec. 7 at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market Pavilion with locally grown produce, baked goods and homemade preserves along with crafts from local artisans.
Holiday Parade of Boats on Dec. 7. Boats decorated for the holidays will make their way down the Cooper River, starting on the Mount Pleasant side and ending in the Ashley River. Have a front-row view of the decorated boats during our Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Enjoy a two-hour cruise on The Carolina Queen during the Parade of Boats plus blues music from Shrimp City Slim and a barbecue buffet.
Grand Illumination at Middleton Place on Dec. 19-20. The gardens are illuminated by torchlight, candlelight and starlight as costumed interpreters along the way tell stories of the joyous holiday season when the British evacuated Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War. The event concludes with a Southern Buffet dinner.
Lightings and Parades:
- Charleston Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 30 in Marion Square.
- Chanukah in the Square on Dec. 1 in Marion Square.
- Summerville Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 3 in downtown Summerville.
- Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade & Tree Lighting on Dec. 8 beginning on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant followed by a tree lighting and fireworks display at Moultrie Middle School.
- Summerville Christmas Parade on Dec. 8 in downtown Summerville.
- Lighting of the Kwanzaa Kinari on Dec. 26 in Marion Square in downtown Charleston.
And be sure to join us for a two-hour Holiday Dinner Cruise on The Carolina Queen with a buffet holiday dinner and music by The Plantation Singers.