Now having lived in Charleston for more than three months, I feel like I can give some real tips on a few top things to see here. As the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is a must-visit city filled with places to see and restaurants to try. There is so much to love about the “Holy City.” Charleston is rich with history, culture, unique architecture and, of course, good ol’ southern hospitality. No one will ever run out of things to do in this city. If you ever find yourself in this beautiful city, here are eight absolute musts to do in Charleston.
1. Rainbow Row
Located on East Bay Street in Downtown Charleston, Rainbow Row is beautiful and an absolute must-see. It consists of pastel-colored row houses and is just a short walk from the Waterfront Park. It’s hard to say why all the homes are painted a different pastel color, but it is absolutely gorgeous!
2. The Battery
Once you’ve made it down Rainbow Row, head over to East Battery to check out Battery Park and some of the most amazing homes in the Charleston area. Situated right on the water, the mansions are a sight to see. Don’t forget to take a relaxing stroll through the park and breath in the fresh ocean air.
3. Angel Oak Tree
If you don’t mind taking a little bit of drive to John’s Island, the Angel Oak Tree is a sight to see. Believed to be 400-500 years old, and is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. The Angel Oak Tree stands at 66.5 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference and has a shade that covers 17,200 square feet. It is truly stunning!
4. King Street
While in Charleston, grab your wallet and head on over to King Street. This main strip of downtown Charleston is filled with stores as well as unique antique shops and some of the best restaurants in town. While walking down King Street, be sure to stop and get a southern style biscuit from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits or grab an ice cream cone from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Whether you want to shop, grab a bite to eat or take a walk through Charleston, King Street has something for everyone.
5. Visit a Plantation
The Charleston area has multiple plantations to go explore. Visiting a plantation gives a glimpse into what life was like there. While there are many plantation options, some of my personal favorites are Boone Hall Plantation, Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall. Boone Hall is what people typically imagine a southern plantation to look like, Magnolia Plantation has absolutely stunning gardens and ponds, and Drayton Hall is considered one of the oldest surviving plantations in the south. All three plantations are very different from each other, but you really can’t go wrong when choosing what plantations to visit.
6. Charleston City Market
Grab a souvenir from one of the nation’s oldest public markets. You will go through a stretch of different sections in the market, but you are bound to find a gift for everyone! It is a great place to find unique and inexpensive treasures.
7. Fort Sumter
Want to see where the North and the South decided to go to war with each other? Hop on a ferry and see where the Civil War was started at Fort Sumter National Monument. Located in the harbor, it is truly a sight to see. While on the ferry ride to the small island, be on the lookout for dolphins playing out in the harbor.
8. College of Charleston
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Charleston, the College of Charleston is truly a gem when it comes to college campuses. Voted as Travel + Leisure’s 2017 Most Beautiful College, it really is a sight to see. The College of Charleston is the oldest municipal college in the U.S. and is considered a national historic landmark. The campus has the perfect blend of nature, history and charm. Be sure to check out Randolph Hall while exploring the campus. It is one of the oldest college buildings still in use today and houses the oldest continuously functioning classroom in the U.S. dating back to 1829. From giant oaks dripping with Spanish moss to the historic buildings and houses, College of Charleston gives the true college campus experience.