What is fun to do in Sumter SC

Things to do and see in Charleston SC

This post covers things to do in Charleston with tips on free, nighttime, and family-friendly activities.

We also include links to our posts on activities by month or season.,

  • Top 10
  • Night activities
  • family friendly
  • Free things to do
  • day trips
  • month
Disclosure: We think you should consider our Free Tours, but we have other options. While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small portion of the sales for you free of charge through some of the links below. View the full text.,


Here is our top 10 list of things to do in the city of Charleston, including tours, family-friendly activities, attractions, and free activities to do.,

Take a look at our other popular Charleston posts here:

  • Charleston Pay-What-You-Wish Walking Tours
  • Charleston on a budget
  • Aiken-Rhett House Museum
  • Charleston City Market
  • Boat tours in the harbor
  • Tourist attraction discount passes

Visit Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter has only one tour company that is allowed to offer tours of this exciting island.

It takes a 30-minute ride on the water to get there, and once you get there, a National Park ranger will give you an intro before you can look around.

We have a post that covers how to get to Fort Sumter.

And check out our post comparing all of the Charleston Harbor Tours for more information.

See a concert

Charleston regularly tours musical acts nationally and internationally and has a large local music scene.

No matter what time of year you visit, if you are a fan of live music there are plenty of events to choose from.,

If you're keen to attend a concert, be sure to check out what's going on at the following venues:

  • Charleston Music Hall
  • Music Farm
  • North Charleston Coliseum
  • Gaillard Auditorium

Here you will find all the concerts in the city.,

Visit the theater

From the historic Dock Street Theater to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, there are several venues in the city that consistently produce great plays, musicals, and comedy shows.

  • Dock Street Theater
  • Gaillard Auditorium
  • Charleston Music Hall
  • North Charleston Performing Arts Center

Find all the events happening here in Charleston.,

Go on a sightseeing tour

A great way to see more of Charleston is on a sightseeing tour.

Of course, we recommend you take a paid city tour with us or let one of our guides take you on a GPS-guided audio tour.

Other tours to consider:

  • Bus tours
  • Ghost Tours
  • Carriage rides
  • Port cruises
  • Food Tours

There are also many plantation tours that will take you to the popular Magnolia, Boone and Middleton plantations.,

Visit the battery

The battery is a coastal peninsula in Charleston that gets its name from a civil war-era defense artillery battery was placed there.

Now the area is full of stunning homes and the public White Point Garden Park.

The beautiful houses in this area are a must see. Not only are the houses beautiful, but the harbor views are breathtaking.

Read our post on Rainbow Row to learn more about beautiful historic homes.

Take a look at the free things to do section for more budget-friendly outing ideas.,

Take a ghost tour

Considered one of the most haunted cities in the United States, Charleston is a great place for a ghost tour!

Choose from a number of haunted tours, including the ghost carriage tours, the dark side of history tours, pirate ghost tours, and more traditional ghost walking tours.

If you are traveling with children, check with each company beforehand to ensure that the tour is family-friendly.

Read our post on Comparing the Best Charleston Ghost Tours to find out more.,

And if you're looking for more fun after dark, check out our nightly activities section.

Take a boat trip on Charleston Harbor

Charleston is right on the coast and home to some great waterfront attractions, including boat tours, dinner cruises, and sightseeing excursions from Charleston Harbor.

Get an interesting perspective of the city from the water with daily Charleston Harbor tours that include live commentary from your captain.

If you want to relax on the water with a nice meal, why not take a dinner cruise ?,

Enjoy a carriage ride

Charleston's historic carriage rides are a favorite with visitors! If you're in town in the summer, beat the heat and opt for a tour at sunset or just after dark.

Evening tours are proving to be popular with those who want to explore the city while the sun goes down or those who want to see the city lights come on.

There are currently two different companies that offer night drives. Both are 30- to 35-minute tours and cost $ 15- $ 16 per adult.,

Read our post comparing the best Charleston carriage tours to find out more.

Restaurants and food tours

Visiting the Southern United States is complete without enjoying some delicious Southern cuisine, which is why we recommend taking one of Charleston's popular food tours.

These food tours introduce you to classic dishes such as grits, collard greens, various fried treats, and sweet tea.,

If you're looking to make your own city tasting experience, be sure to check out our post on The Best Lowcountry Foods In Charleston.,

You don't want to miss these popular restaurants either:

  • High Cotton Maverick Bar & Grill
  • Husk restaurant
  • How Art Thou Cafe
  • Circa 1886 restaurant

Save money with a Charleston Tour Pass

One of the best ways to save money while sightseeing is to buy a tourist attraction discount pass.

These passes work by bundling tickets and discounts together so you pay less when you prepay.,

There are two types of passageways and which one you choose should depend on the attractions you want to see.

One focuses on house museums, the other on popular tours, plantations, and restaurants.,

included in the scope of delivery included sights on various passports included:

  • Charleston Tea Plantation
  • Charleston harbor boat tour
  • Nathaniel Russell House Museum
  • Deep Water Winery Free Tasting
  • Lewis Grill Voucher
  • Free Glazed Gourmet Donut
  • Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Check out our full comparison post to see what will happen, saving you the most money.,


While Charleston may not be known for its nightlife, it is a city that really comes to life after dark!

From ghost tours and pub crawls to theater performances and comedy performances, there is a wide range on offer at night.

Below are some of our favorite night activities.

Comedy night

looking for a laugh during your visit? There are several different Comedy Club venues in Charleston that feature comedians from all over the country.,

Among the most popular are the Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theater and Theater 99 - the second of which is entirely improvisation and costs just $ 5 on Wednesday nights, $ 12 on Friday nights, and $ 12- $ 14 on Saturday nights.

The Dock Street Theater

Catch a show in this beautiful theater.

This building was beautifully restored in the 1930s as a result of new W. P. A. efforts to get the nation back on its feet after the market crash of the Great Depression.,

The original theater opened in 1736 and the building was later converted into a hotel so that a colonial-style theater was rebuilt in the room in the 1930s.

This is the home theater for the Charleston Stage Company.

If you don't have tickets to a show, don't worry!

Walk down Dock Street on a couple of tours so even if you don't catch a show you will still steal, sneak peek!

The Ravenel Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

The Cooper River Bridge was completed in 2005 and was the longest cable car bridge in North America at the time.,

The bridge has a hiking and biking trail, the view (and height) of which will leave you breathless.

This photo of Ravenel Bridge is courtesy of TripAdvisor

While the bridge and surrounding trails are great for a run or bike ride during the day, we recommend visiting at night as the bridge and cables are nicely lit.

Visit the Ravenel Bridge on a city bus tour or boat tour of Charleston Harbor.

Take a pub crawl

If you're looking for a little adult fun, why not opt ​​for a pub crawl Charleston !,

For a more traditional pub crawl experience, join Bulldog Tours on their Upper King Street Pub Tour, which tells the story of Prohibition, pirates, and pubs in Charleston.

Alternatively, take a mixology tour with Charleston Culinary Tours and visit 3 different bars that are highly regarded for their exquisite cocktails.

Click here to read a comparison of Bulldog Tours and Charleston Culinary Tours' pub crawls.,

King Street Shopping District

King Street is a busy commercial corridor with plenty of boutiques for those who want to do some shopping during their visit.

But it also has great historical significance: "With more than 300 years, King Street is the second historically and architecturally most important street in downtown Charleston.,"

This photo of 235 King Street at sunset is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Once the shops close, head to one of the many art galleries, bars or restaurants - all of which promise to keep you busy until late at night!

Charleston City Night Market

Every Friday and Saturday evening between April and December there is the night market at the Charleston City Market.

Open from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, it's completely free and open to the public.,

The night market showcases more than 100 talented artists and craftsmen and offers live music and entertainment.

Take a dinner cruise

Although Charleston Harbor is beautiful, all hours of the night time is the best time to relax on the water and enjoy the city lights.

From the harbor, you can see Fort Sumter and the Ravenel Bridge, as well as several other landmarks illuminated from a distance.

SpiritLine Cruises offers a nightly 2.5-hour dinner cruise with 3-4 courses and special amenities.,

These are extremely popular experiences so make sure to book in advance.


Charleston is a city that really has something for everyone!

Below we list some of our favorite things to do with kids, although most (if not all) of these suggestions are enjoyed by adults alike.

Find more inspiration for things to do with your family in Charleston here.

Charleston Riverdogs Baseball

Take the whole family out to the ball game for a Charleston Riverdogs minor league baseball game.,

Sports fans can enjoy the fun atmosphere, hot dogs, and 7th inning stretch games with volunteers from the crowd.

The regular season runs from late March to early October, so there's plenty of time to find tickets to a game!

If they make it to the playoffs, the games could still take place in early November.

Charleston Battery Soccer

Football fans will love to know that Charleston has a professional football team called the Charleston Battery.

It was founded in 1993, making it one of the oldest professional football clubs in the country.,

This means that their fan base is loyal and the atmosphere of the games is fun and exciting!

The regular season runs from the beginning of March to mid-October.

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is a very popular aquatic center in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the aquarium features marine animals traditionally found in the coastal waters of South Carolina and beyond.

Two of their most popular creatures are a rare albino alligator and a bald eagle named Liberty.,

Admission is $ 29.95 for adults and $ 22.95 for children.

Read our post on the aquarium for more information.

Charleston Museum

Described as a "must-see" in many reviews, the Charleston Museum is a small but powerful natural history museum with exhibits that highlight the city's long and complex history.

Children are encouraged to take part in the museum's scavenger hunt, which includes questions about each of the permanent exhibits.

Visit the Charleston Museum website to learn more.,

the Charleston Museum is on the Heritage Pass.

Frankie's Fun Park

Frankie's Fun Park is just a short drive from downtown Charleston and is an extremely popular destination for families with children of all ages.

They have mini golf, a street course, batting cage, bumper boats, and a host of other fun games and attractions.

You pay per activity so families don't have to worry about paying a huge entrance fee up front.

Find out more about Frankie Fun Park on their website.,

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "spark imagination and stimulate curiosity about the performance of games."

The museum has various interactive rooms such as the art room, the ideas factory, the medieval creativity castle and the kindergarten.

It welcomes children of all ages, although the museum caters specifically to children under 10.,

This photo of the Lowcountry Children's Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Ticket prices:

  • Children under 12 months: FREE
  • Scouts - Children & Adults: $ 10.00
  • Non-SC Residents - Children & Adults: $ 12.00

Cypress Gardens

This is another historic property to visit.,

The most popular attractions for families are the butterfly house, hiking trails, and boat trips through the swamp where you can look for wildlife such as alligators, birds, and turtles.

Check out their website to learn more about Cypress Gardens.

Ticket prices:

  • Adults: $ 10.00
  • Seniors: (Age 65+) $ 6.50
  • Children: (Ages 6-12) $ 5, 00
  • Children: (Age 5 and younger) Free *

Example of free pralines

During your visit to downtown Charleston, be sure to pop in one of the many chocolate candy shops to try some free samples!

Both children and adults love to indulge in this special southern delicacy.

You are not expected or required to buy chocolates after taking a sample, but we must warn you that it is difficult to resist!

USS Yorktown and Patriots Point

This is a must for any war history buffs, would-be shipmates, airplane fanatics, and, of course, kids!

The Yorktown is deceptively big and is really a small town with maze-like paths, a dentist's office, a prison and much more!

Not only is the "city" interesting, but there are all kinds of planes and even a flight simulator for you to try out.,

This photo of Charleston is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Plus, with a view from the deck of downtown Charleston, you can see why we are known as the Holy City.


You don't need to break the bank to have fun and explore Charleston.

We have a list of parks and markets to explore, as well as churches, houses, and other architecture to admire here.,

Waterfront Park and the Pineapple Fountain

This is a beautiful park, voted one of the 25 most important public parks in the US by Trip Advisor, and the fountain is a nice place to cool off (the fountains are wading fountains).

The park is just a few blocks from the market and some of our tours end here.

The park is located at the mouth of the Cooper River and is a great setting for a picnic with a view!

The entire inner harbor is in front of you.,

There is a sunny side, but if it's too light for you just go to the benches under the trees on the other side of the park - it doesn't obstruct the view and the foliage blocks the rays.

Admire the houses of worship

The Houses of Worship, from KKBE Synagogue to St. Michael Episcopal and the Unitarian Church, will stop you in your footsteps; its history and beauty are unmatched in our country.

In one of the oldest cities in the country you will find churches built with care comparable to European churches.,

Many of the churches and synagogues here let you in awe-organs, carved mahogany, Tiffany windows ... come see it for yourself!

Angel Oak Johns Island

The oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River is a sight to see! You won't believe your eyes. Photos don't do it justice.

This photo of Angel Oak is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It's just a short drive from downtown Charleston and is definitely worth the trip. The attraction only asks for a donation to ensure the health of the tree.,

Nobody is quite sure how old it is - anywhere between 400-1000 years old!

The tree is a sight straight out of a picture book and everyone of all ages will be amazed.

Charleston City Market

The City Market is a must for every visitor to Charleston.

Founded in the 1790s, the town market was originally a beef and product market for the Charleston locals.

As it gained popularity, the market became a place where people could socialize and trade other goods.,

Today it offers a wide range of goods including traditional Gullah Sweetgrass baskets and jewelry.

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is one of the most famous attractions in Charleston.

The row of Georgian row houses was restored in the 1930s, during which time they were painted with the iconic pastel colors.

This tradition began when one of the homeowners at the time decided to restore her property to the colonial Caribbean color scheme and others soon followed suit.,

This photo of historic Charleston is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Today the houses are still privately owned and although they are not regularly open to the public, some open their doors during the annual Festival of Houses and Gardens in March.

Discover picturesque alleys

Go on an adventure and you will meander in quiet, hidden alleys. The city is safe and always camera ready! What are you waiting for?

There are several small streets and alleys that are public and ready for you to explore.,

They are also a great place for you to see the beautiful leaves and flowering plants in Charleston.

The subtropical climate combined with less traveled areas means these are the areas where Mother Nature really comes into its own.

have fun!


There are some interesting places to see and enjoy outside of the city that make great day trips.

Whether you're ready to travel for 15 minutes or two hours, there are fun day trip options for you!


Folly Beach is a fantastic family-friendly beach located just 20 minutes' drive from downtown Charleston on Folly Island.

Pack a picnic to enjoy on the beach, or choose from one of the many restaurants or bars by the sea to dine.

Although summer is the best time of year to relax on Folly Beach, smaller crowds and slightly cooler weather make spring and fall equally enjoyable.,

Alternatively, if you're in Charleston in January, check out the annual Bill Murray Look-Alike Polar Dive, where participants are encouraged to "Freeze Your Bill is Off!"

Isle of Palms is just a 15 minute drive from the heart of Charleston's historic district and is also a great place for families!

Isle of Palms Beach is probably the most kid-friendly beach in Charleston thanks to its spacious space, safe water, and clean surroundings.

There are several other beaches that are within a 20 to 45 minute drive of central Charleston.

These include Seabrook Island's private beach, known for its quiet, idyllic atmosphere, and Kiawah Island, known for its recreational sports, live music, and entertainment.


There are several large plantations near Charleston - each place is very family friendly despite the dark history around them.,

Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation, and Middleton Plantation are west of town and Boone Hall is over in Mount Pleasant.

The plantations west of the Ashley River were mostly rice plantations, while Boone Hall and many of the plantations east of the Cooper were known for making bricks.

You can learn more about the black history and culture of each plantation, as well as the impact of the civil war on the plantation owners and their homes.

Kids will love exploring the maze of gardens on each plantation. Magnolia even has a petting zoo!

And if you're here at the right time, you can pick your own fruit at Veggies in Boone Hall.

Sure you need a car, but you can't go south and miss going to a plantation! The trip is worth it and we hope you have fun!

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, and close enough to Charleston to allow for fun day trips. It only takes two hours to travel between cities.

Savannah's historic district is full of antebellum, colonial and Victorian architecture and beautiful mansions.,

You'll also learn about the city's colonial history, including the slave trade and details of the cotton industry.

Learn more about Savannah Walking Tours here.


We have also created guides based on the time of year.

Click the links below for the appropriate time you plan to be in Charleston.

This also includes monthly weather expectations to help you plan what to wear., O Back in December

  • Seasonal flowers in Charleston
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    Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has over 1,000 5-star ratings., He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and the Historic Interpretation / Education Staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began to guide tours for free walking tours.