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3 Days in Charleston

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Charleston is a city that appeals to many different types of travelers. From exploring historical sites or strolling along the waterfront, to savoring gourmet southern cuisine or enjoying a cruise on the water, there's so much to enjoy that one day is not enough. Follow this guide to fill your long weekend fun in Charleston.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveler
  • Thrifty Traveler

17 Places

3 City Tips

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17 Places

Day 1

Battery & White Point Gardens

Gardens

Riley Waterfront Park

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Parks

Ted's Butcherblock

Restaurants

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Bridges

Charleston City Market

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Husk Restaurant

Restaurants

Day 2

Charleston Farmers Market

Gift & Specialty Shops

Folly Beach Public Beach

Beaches

Butcher & Bee

Restaurants

South Carolina Aquarium

Aquariums

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Children's Museums

Day 3

Fort Sumter National Monument

Military Bases & Facilities, Historic Sites, History Museums

The Charleston Museum

Natural History Museums, Historic Sites, History Museums

Nathaniel Russell House

Historic Sites

Charleston Rickshaw Company

Taxis & Shuttles

The Rooftop @ The Vendue

Restaurants

Circa 1886 Restaurant

Restaurants

Katie C's City Tips

  • Get a true taste of Charleston's hospitality by staying in one of the many B&Bs. Not only do these serve you breakfast, but many are located in historic homes.
  • The best way to see downtown Charleston is on foot. Wander the streets (many of which are one-way) and explore the city's various nooks and alleys.
  • Southern charm is alive and well in Charleston. When people smile, smile back — they're just being friendly. Manners go a long way, too!
    Day 1
  • Battery & White Point Gardens
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    The Battery and White Point Gardens are perhaps one of the most iconic spots in Charleston. This gorgeous park is a beautiful place to relax in the shade, or to take a stroll along the water. From here, you'll have a great view of the often-photographed Rainbow Row.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is free parking at the Gardens, if you can find a spot.
    • For added drama, visit at sunrise or sunset.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • History 01/15/2019
    • History mixed with beauty 01/07/2019
    • Battery & White Point Gardens
    Address:
    East Battery & Murray Blvd.
    Charleston, SC 29401
    Other:
  • Riley Waterfront Park
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Parks
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Few places in Charleston offer better vantage points for admiring the water than Charleston Waterfront Park. The eight-acre park and pier is the perfect spot for watching sailboats and container ships — or for checking out the southern flower gardens.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Kids will enjoy playing in the fountain, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Loved the swings on the pier 01/07/2019
    • great place to walk and see the water 01/07/2019
    • Riley Waterfront Park
    Address:
    1 Vendue Range
    Concord Street
    Charleston, SC 29401-2129
    Phone:
    +1 843-724-7327
    Other:
  • Ted's Butcherblock
    Restaurants (American, Deli)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Ted's Butcherblock is a favorite lunch spot among locals. More than just a deli, it features filling salads and tasty sandwiches made with high quality ingredients. Either grab a table (there might be a wait) or order your delicious lunch to go and enjoy it in one of Charleston's many parks.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The gouda mac-and-cheese is a great choice, but be aware: It's cold and meant to be that way!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #168 of 688 restaurants in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent! 12/29/2018
    • Great lunch! 10/09/2018
    • Ted's Butcherblock
    Address:
    334 E Bay St
    Charleston, SC 29401-1592
    Phone:
    +1 843-577-0094
    Price range:
    $7 - $30
    Hours:
    Tue - Thu
    11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Fri
    11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Sat
    11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Other:
  • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Spanning the gap between Charleston and Mount Pleasant over the Cooper River, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a landmark and a feat of engineering. You can bike or stroll across the bridge, which affords great vantage points for admiring the boats in the harbor and gazing at the downtown skyline.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you want to bike the bridge, there are companies that will rent bikes for a couple of hours; the staff can tell you the best routes to take for a self-guided tour.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Robin 01/15/2019
    • Yearly Visit to the TOP of the Bridge on the 31st of December 01/06/2019
    • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
    Other:
  • Charleston City Market
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    If you're looking to find the perfect souvenir from your time in Charleston, check out Old City Market. Here, vendors display various goods, many of which are one-of-a-kind and/or homemade. Keep an eye out for the sweetgrass baskets, which are famous in Charleston.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • On Friday and Saturday nights, you can enjoy live music, food vendors, and other entertainment at the Night Market.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #40 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Undercover markets 01/15/2019
    • Shopping 01/15/2019
    • Charleston City Market
    Address:
    188 Meeting St
    Charleston, SC 29401-3155
    Phone:
    +1 843-937-0920
    Other:
  • Husk Restaurant
    Restaurants (American, Soups)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    To get a true taste of southern ingredients, head to Husk. Known for its ingredient-driven cuisine, Husk uses indigenous and artisanal foods, promising that 'if it doesn't come from the South, it doesn't come through the door.' The result is a flavor-forward local food celebration that will leave your taste buds extremely satisfied.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Husk is known for it shrimp and grits; other favorites to try include the pimento cheese crostini or the pig ear wraps.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #92 of 688 restaurants in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Brunch at Husk 01/15/2019
    • Delightful Surprise 01/15/2019
    • Husk Restaurant
    Address:
    76 Queen St
    Charleston, SC 29401-2220
    Phone:
    +1 843-577-2500
    Price range:
    $30 - $30
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
    Sun - Thu
    5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Fri - Sat
    5:30 PM - 11:00 PM
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Charleston Farmers Market
    Gift & Specialty Shops
    Katie C Says:

    You'll find more than just produce at the Charleston Farmers Market. Vendors sell everything from farm-fresh fruits and pulled pork sandwiches to handmade crafts and sweetgrass scrubs.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Farmer's Market is closed from late December through early April.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 96 Shopping in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best farmers market I have ever gone to 10/22/2018
    • Local farmers market 10/19/2018
    • Charleston Farmers Market
    Address:
    Marion Square 329 Meeting St
    Charleston, SC
    Charleston, SC 29403-6402
    Phone:
    +1 843-509-3619
    Other:
  • Folly Beach Public Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Out of all Charleston's beautiful beaches, Folly Beach is one of the best. In addition to offering opportunities for on-the-water adventures (including surfing and paddleboarding), it features wide open spaces that are perfect for relaxing in the sun.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you're looking to surf, stick to the Washout area.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Folly Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful sunrise! 01/15/2019
    • Evening visit 01/11/2019
    • Folly Beach Public Beach
    Address:
    Arctic Ave.
    Folly Beach, SC 29439
    Other:
  • Butcher & Bee
    Restaurants (Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Located in the Upper King Street neighborhood, Butcher and Bee serves up excellent lunches that are worth the journey outside of downtown Charleston. Known for its lovingly prepared (and filling) sandwiches, the shop features a daily changing menu that focuses on local ingredients.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Seating is communal — just grab a seat wherever you can find one.
    • Butcher and Bee is also open for brunch, as well as late night noshes.
    • Check Facebook before going — Butcher and Bee shares its daily menu there, and often posts about special seatings.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Very interesting menu with lots of small plates to sample 04/21/2018
    • Trendy and creative but don’t go starving 03/03/2018
    • Butcher & Bee
    Address:
    654 King St
    Charleston, SC 29403-4854
    Phone:
    +1 843-619-0202
    Hours:
    Wed - Mon
    4:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    Other:
  • South Carolina Aquarium
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    The South Carolina Aquarium is more than just fish; its exhibits take you through Lowcountry habitats, showcasing creatures from land, sea, and the air. The two-story windows in the Great Hall offer up some of the best views of Charleston Harbor, and the touch-and-feel tank gives kids the chance to hold and pet stingrays, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, and other native animals.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to check out the albino alligator — he's a famous resident of the Aquarium!
    • Kids under three get into the Aquarium for free.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Day Trip 01/13/2019
    • Fascinating place with wonderful people 01/13/2019
    • South Carolina Aquarium
    Address:
    100 Aquarium Wharf
    Charleston Harbor
    Charleston, SC 29401-6300
    Phone:
    +1 843-577-3474
    Price range:
    $29 - $29
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
    Children's Museums
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Take a break from the historical tours and treat your kids at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry. With eight interactive exhibits that run the gamut from castles and pirate ships to an art room and fire truck, this is the perfect place for your little ones to explore and play. It's also a great escape if the weather isn't cooperating!

    Good for
    • Family
    Tips
    • The museum was designed for kids 2-10 years old; your older kids won't find it as fascinating.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #46 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quite pricey for a run down "museum" 12/29/2018
    • Children's Museum 10/13/2018
    • Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
    Address:
    25 Ann St
    Charleston, SC 29403-6213
    Phone:
    +1 843-853-8962
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Tue - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
    Military Bases & Facilities, Historic Sites, History Museums
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    The location where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, Fort Sumter is a must-see landmark. You'll feel you've stepped right into the Civil War era as you explore the caverns of thick stone, see the cannons that were fired, and visit the small (but very interesting) on-site museum. The ferry ride to the Fort is an added bonus — it offers many scenic shots and possible dolphin sightings.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • To visit the fort, you'll have to take a ferry ride from Liberty Square Visitor's Center or Patriot's Point; it's a good idea to buy your tickets in advance, using the Fort Sumter Tours website.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Must See for the area 01/15/2019
    • The fort 01/07/2019
    • Fort Sumter National Monument
    Address:
    1214 Middle St
    Charleston, SC 29482-9748
    Phone:
    +1 843-883-3123
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • The Charleston Museum
    Natural History Museums, Historic Sites, History Museums
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Opened in 1773, the Charleston Museum is known as 'America's First Museum.' Visitors can explore Charleston's long history through artifacts such as quilts, pottery, cultivation tools, and farm implements. There are also relics from the not-so-distant past, such as uniforms and armaments, and there are two historic homes that you can tour.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Charleston Museum is the start of Museum Mile, which runs along Meeting Street, and features a variety of other cool museums to explore. Check some of them out!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Charleston’s Story Starts Here 01/15/2019
    • It is the very 1st Museum in the USA. One of the best I have ever seen. and it is the very 1st Museum in the USA 01/15/2019
    • The Charleston Museum
    Address:
    360 Meeting St
    Charleston, SC 29403-6297
    Phone:
    +1 843-722-2996
    Price range:
    $12 - $12
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Mon - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Nathaniel Russell House
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    The Nathaniel Russell House is one of Charleston's best preserved antebellum homes. Its spiral staircase, well-kept gardens, and elegant furnishings will give you a taste of 19th-century southern luxury.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Want to wander at your own pace? The self-guided audio tour, which is included in the price of admission, is a great guide.
    • If you're also planning on visiting the Aiken-Rhett House, purchase a joint ticket to save a little money.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 191 things to do in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good Self Walking Tour 01/14/2019
    • Lovely restored historic home with great staircase 12/28/2018
    • Nathaniel Russell House
    Address:
    51 Meeting St
    Charleston, SC 29401-2536
    Phone:
    +1 843-724-8481
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Other:
  • Charleston Rickshaw Company
    Taxis & Shuttles
    Katie C Says:

    Eschew the usual ways to get around Charleston (walk, taxi, bike), and take an entertaining rickshaw trip through town. The carts are cozy (two adults are usually the max you can fit), and the pedaling drivers provide a wealth of knowledge about the city and its sights. Bonus: They'll even come to your hotel to pick you up.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • It's customary to tip your rickshaw driver — between 10 and 20 percent is a good rule of thumb.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 15 Transportation in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A good friendly Service 01/07/2019
    • Easiest Way to Sightsee 01/07/2019
    • Charleston Rickshaw Company
    Address:
    21 George St
    Charleston, SC 29401-1489
    Phone:
    +1 843-723-5685
    Other:
  • The Rooftop @ The Vendue
    Restaurants (American, Bar)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Kick off your last night in Charleston with some of the best views of the city. The Rooftop at The Vendue serves lunch and dinner, but cocktails at sunset are a treat — you'll see Charleston Harbor, Waterfront Park, The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and other iconic sights in a whole new light.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Beer lovers will enjoy the extensive craft beer list.
    • Spice up the evening with a "Takes Two to Mango," a cocktail featuring chili-infused Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, mango, and lime juice.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #144 of 688 restaurants in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Charming & Exciting 01/10/2019
    • Love a good rooftop 12/31/2018
    • The Rooftop @ The Vendue
    Address:
    19 Vendue Range
    Charleston, SC 29401-2129
    Phone:
    +1 843-577-7970
    Price range:
    $5 - $20
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 AM - 12:00 AM
    Other:
  • Circa 1886 Restaurant
    Restaurants (American, Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Consistently lauded as one of the best restaurants in food-focused Charleston, Circa 1886 is the perfect way to end a Charleston vacation in style. Housed in a carriage house on the grounds of the historic Wentworth mansion, Circa 1886 has tons of cozy character and thoughtful touches to complement its modern (yet low-country traditional) menu. Prepare to be blown away.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Reservations are a must — plan ahead for this dining experience.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 688 restaurants in Charleston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • You need to have an adventurous palette to eat here. 01/07/2019
    • Adventurous but not haughty 01/06/2019
    • Circa 1886 Restaurant
    Address:
    149 Wentworth St
    Charleston, SC 29401-1733
    Phone:
    +1 843-853-7828
    Price range:
    $25 - $45
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    Other:
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