Top Things to Do in Charleston in 2023: Discover Exciting Activities

Things to do in Charleston in 2023

Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina, where history, culture, and adventure come together in a beautiful coastal city. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, there’s always something new to discover in Charleston. In 2023, the city offers a myriad of exciting activities that cater to all tastes and interests. From exploring its rich history to indulging in its culinary delights, Charleston promises an unforgettable travel experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Charleston offers a wide range of exciting activities in 2023
  • Visitors can explore the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, outdoor adventures, culinary delights, and more
  • There’s something for everyone in Charleston, making it an ideal travel destination

Explore Charleston’s Rich History

Charleston is renowned for its rich history, and there are plenty of places to explore and learn about it. Start with a visit to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. Take a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of its significance and impact on the city.

The Charleston Museum is another must-visit attraction for history buffs. Established in 1773, it is the oldest museum in the United States and showcases the city’s cultural and natural history.

Guided Tours

To delve even deeper into Charleston’s past, consider a guided history tour. The Charleston Footprints Walking Tour takes visitors on a stroll through the city’s historic district, providing a fascinating insight into its architecture, culture, and significant events. For a different perspective, the Charleston Harbor History Tour offers a boat ride around Charleston Harbor, showcasing the historic waterfront and its landmarks.

Immerse Yourself in Charleston’s Vibrant Culture

Charleston’s cultural scene is thriving, with a variety of art galleries, theaters, music venues, and festivals to explore. Immerse yourself in the city’s creative energy and discover its diverse cultural offerings.

Museums are a great starting point to delve into Charleston’s art and history. The Gibbes Museum of Art showcases the best of American art, while the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art presents cutting-edge exhibitions and performances.

The city’s theaters and music venues offer a range of shows and concerts throughout the year. Catch a performance by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, or head to the Charleston Music Hall for live music and comedy acts.

Spoleto Festival USA

The Spoleto Festival USA is a must-see event for culture vultures, taking place every spring. The festival presents a diverse lineup of performing arts, including opera, theater, dance, and music, with many shows held in historic venues like the Dock Street Theatre.

For those who prefer to explore on their own, the French Quarter Art Walk is a monthly event that highlights the city’s galleries and studios. Or take a stroll through the Charleston City Market, where you can browse handmade crafts and sample Lowcountry foods.

Whatever your artistic inclination, Charleston’s rich cultural scene is sure to inspire and delight.

Discover Charleston’s Outdoor Adventures

Charleston is not only rich in history and culture, but it also boasts a wealth of outdoor activities for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or a heart-pumping adventure, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city.

Activity Description
Hiking and Biking Charleston has numerous parks and trails for hiking and biking, including the James Island County Park and the West Ashley Greenway. These offer scenic routes for exercise and relaxation.
Water Sports With its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Charleston is an ideal destination for water sports. From kayaking and paddleboarding to surfing and parasailing, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities in the water.
Eco-Tours For those interested in wildlife, Charleston offers a range of eco-tours, including dolphin watching tours and nature cruises. These provide a unique opportunity to see the local marine life up close.
Nature and Gardens Charleston has several parks and gardens, including the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and the Middleton Place. These scenic areas offer opportunities for picnics, leisurely walks, and exploration.

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience Charleston’s beautiful outdoors during your visit.

Indulge in Charleston’s Culinary Delights

Charleston’s culinary scene is a must-try for any foodie visiting the city. With a mix of traditional Southern cuisine and innovative fusion dishes, there’s something for every palate.

Start your culinary journey with some classic Lowcountry dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and fried green tomatoes. For a more upscale experience, head to one of Charleston’s renowned restaurants like Husk, FIG, or McCrady’s.

Don’t forget to explore the local markets and boutique shops for artisanal treats like honey, jams, and hot sauce. And wash it all down with a refreshing sweet tea or craft beer from one of Charleston’s many breweries.

Unwind in Charleston’s Charming Neighborhoods

Charleston is a city of charming neighborhoods, each with its own character and history. The historic district is perhaps the most well-known, with its cobblestone streets and antebellum mansions. Visitors can take a guided walking tour to learn more about the district’s rich history and architecture.

The French Quarter is another popular neighborhood, known for its art galleries, boutique shops, and romantic atmosphere. The area is also home to the Dock Street Theatre, one of the oldest working theaters in the country.

For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Mount Pleasant is a great option. This neighborhood is located just across the Cooper River and offers stunning views of the Charleston skyline. Visitors can explore the area’s parks, shops, and restaurants, or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.

No matter which neighborhood you choose to explore, be sure to take your time and soak in the charming atmosphere. Stop by a local cafe for a cup of coffee or enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s many parks.

Experience Charleston’s Festivals and Events

Charleston hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, providing unique and memorable experiences for visitors and locals alike. Here are some of the top festivals and events to check out during your visit to Charleston in 2023:

Festival/Event Date Description
Charleston Wine + Food Festival February 22-26, 2023 A five-day celebration of food and wine, featuring over 100 events with local and national chefs, winemakers, and artisans.
Lowcountry Oyster Festival January 29, 2023 The world’s largest oyster festival, with live music, local beer and wine, and of course, plenty of delicious oysters.
Spoleto Festival USA May 26 – June 11, 2023 A world-renowned performing arts festival, featuring over 150 performances of opera, theater, dance, and more in historic venues throughout the city.
Charleston Fashion Week March 21-25, 2023 A five-day fashion event, featuring runway shows, designer competitions, and a style lounge with pop-up shops and beauty stations.

In addition to these major events, Charleston also hosts a variety of smaller festivals and cultural events throughout the year, so be sure to check the city’s calendar of events for more information.

Shop ’til You Drop in Charleston

Charleston offers a plethora of shopping opportunities for visitors. From unique boutiques to antique stores, you’ll find everything you need to satisfy your shopping urge.

One of the best places to start is King Street, the city’s premier shopping destination. It features a variety of upscale boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. You’ll find high-end brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton along with local shops showcasing locally made goods and accessories.

If you’re looking for something more eclectic, head to Lower King Street. Here, you’ll find a mix of high-end boutiques and specialty shops. You can browse through vintage clothing stores or peruse art galleries featuring local artists.

For a taste of Charleston’s history and charm, visit the City Market. The market is an open-air shopping venue where vendors sell a variety of souvenirs, crafts, and local food items. The market is a popular tourist attraction, and it’s the perfect spot to pick up unique gifts and keepsakes.

Shopping Tip: If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind jewelry, visit the Charleston Rice Bead Company. Their signature rice bead jewelry has been a Charleston staple for over a century.
For wine lovers, check out Bin 152, a cozy wine bar featuring over 150 wines from around the world.

Don’t miss East Bay Street, where you can find art galleries, antique shops, and specialty stores. It’s also home to the famous Old City Market, where vendors sell everything from sweetgrass baskets to jewelry and leather goods.

Plan your trip to coincide with Charleston’s Second Sunday on King. On the second Sunday of each month, King Street becomes a pedestrian-only zone, making it easy to shop, dine, and explore the city.

Charleston for Families: Fun Activities for All Ages

Charleston is a great destination for families, with a wide range of activities suitable for all ages. Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor fun, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming city.

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a must-see attraction for families visiting Charleston. This interactive museum features a variety of exhibits and activities designed to engage children’s imaginations and encourage hands-on learning. Kids can explore a medieval castle, create their own works of art, and even learn about the science of bubbles.

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is another popular attraction for families. Located on the historic Charleston Harbor, this aquarium features a variety of marine life exhibits, including a touch tank where kids can interact with sea creatures like starfish and stingrays. The aquarium also offers engaging educational programs and behind-the-scenes tours.

Parks and Gardens

Charleston has several parks and gardens that are perfect for outdoor family fun. The James Island County Park features a water park, climbing wall, and a ropes course, while Waterfront Park is a great spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. The Charleston City Marina also offers fishing and boating opportunities for families to enjoy.

The Citadel Mall

If you’re looking for indoor fun, head to the Citadel Mall. This shopping center features a large movie theater, an indoor playground, and plenty of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to cool off on a hot day or to escape the rain.

Charleston Pirate Tours

For a unique family experience, try the Charleston Pirate Tours. This interactive walking tour takes you through the historic district, where a costumed pirate guide will regale you with stories of Charleston’s sea-faring past. Kids will love the chance to dress up like pirates and hunt for treasure along the way.

Whether you’re exploring museums, playing in the park, or hunting for treasure, Charleston has plenty of exciting activities for families. Make sure to include these options on your itinerary and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Charleston’s Nightlife: Entertainment After Dark

Charleston is not just a city of history and culture; it also has a vibrant nightlife scene that offers plenty of entertainment after dark. Whether you are in the mood for live music, craft cocktails, or dancing the night away, Charleston has something to offer.

If you are looking for a sophisticated cocktail experience, head to The Gin Joint on East Bay Street. This speakeasy-style bar offers an extensive selection of gin cocktails, as well as classic drinks like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. The dimly lit atmosphere and cozy seating make it the perfect spot for a romantic evening.

For live music, check out Charleston Music Hall on John Street. This historic venue hosts a variety of performers, from local acts to national touring bands. The intimate setting and excellent sound quality ensure a memorable experience.

If dancing is more your style, head to The Commodore on Meeting Street. This popular spot features a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city, as well as a spacious dance floor and DJ spinning a mix of top 40 hits and throwback classics.

For a more laid-back evening, visit The Recovery Room on Upper King Street. This dive bar offers cheap drinks, pool tables, and a jukebox stocked with classic rock and roll tunes. It’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind with friends.

No matter what your preference, Charleston’s nightlife scene has something for everyone. So, put on your dancing shoes or sit back and sip a cocktail – the night is young and the city is waiting to be explored!

Explore Charleston’s Surrounding Areas

Charleston is surrounded by beautiful locations that are just a short drive away, making them perfect for day trips. Here are some of the top nearby attractions to explore:

Attraction Description
Boone Hall Plantation This historic plantation is just a 30-minute drive from Charleston and offers tours of the plantation house, slave cabins, and beautiful gardens.
Savannah, GA Just two hours south of Charleston, Savannah is a charming Southern city with beautiful parks, historic homes, and a lively riverfront.
Edisto Island This quiet island, located an hour south of Charleston, is home to beautiful beaches, nature trails, and a state park.
Myrtle Beach This popular beach destination is just a two-hour drive from Charleston and offers plenty of attractions, including amusement parks, shopping, and golf courses.

These are just a few of the many nearby attractions worth exploring during your visit to Charleston. Be sure to plan ahead and make time to see some of the surrounding areas!


Charleston in 2023 promises to be a year full of exciting activities and adventures. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, outdoor activities, culinary delights, or family-friendly fun, Charleston has something for everyone.

Take a stroll through the historic district, explore the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, and indulge in the local cuisine. Experience the natural beauty of Charleston’s parks and beaches, and enjoy the many festivals and events throughout the year.

Plan a day trip to nearby attractions and discover all that the surrounding areas have to offer. Charleston is a city with a rich history, diverse culture, and endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Start planning your trip to Charleston today!


Q: What are some must-visit historical sites in Charleston?

A: Some must-visit historical sites in Charleston include Fort Sumter and the Charleston Museum. Guided tours and historical walking tours are also available to provide a deeper understanding of Charleston’s past.

Q: What cultural activities are available in Charleston?

A: Charleston offers many art galleries, theaters, and music venues for visitors to enjoy. The annual Spoleto Festival USA is also a great opportunity to experience a wide range of performing arts.

Q: What outdoor activities can I do in Charleston?

A: Charleston has various parks, gardens, and beaches where visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and water sports. Eco-tours and wildlife spotting are also popular options for outdoor enthusiasts.

Q: Which restaurants in Charleston are recommended?

A: Charleston is known for its renowned restaurants serving traditional Southern cuisine and innovative fusion dishes. Don’t miss out on trying local specialties like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup.

Q: What are some charming neighborhoods to explore in Charleston?

A: Charleston has various neighborhoods with their own unique character. The historic district, French Quarter, and Mount Pleasant are just a few examples where visitors can wander charming streets, shops, and cafes.

Q: What festivals and events take place in Charleston?

A: Charleston hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. The Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, and Charleston Fashion Week are just a few highlights.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Charleston?

A: Charleston offers a range of shopping opportunities, including boutique shops, antique stores, and local markets where visitors can find unique gifts, clothing, and souvenirs.

Q: What family-friendly activities are available in Charleston?

A: Charleston has several family-friendly attractions, such as the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and the South Carolina Aquarium. There are also outdoor activities and parks suitable for children.

Q: What is the nightlife like in Charleston?

A: Charleston has a vibrant nightlife scene with bars, live music venues, and entertainment options for those looking to enjoy the evenings.

Q: Are there any day trips I can take from Charleston?

A: Yes, there are plenty of day trip options from Charleston. Explore nearby attractions such as plantations, historic towns like Savannah, and the beautiful beaches of the South Carolina coast.