Places to Go and Things to Do in Charleston

Charleston Essentials: Explore Local Culture/Flavor

Whether you're a history buff, a house and garden voyeur or an arts aficionado, the Charleston area has something for everyone. To experience local culture and flavor, check out these best ways/places to ...

GET AN OVERVIEW
A carriage tour gives accurate historic information at a leisurely clip(-ity clop), but also puts you at eye level for peering over gates and inside windows of lovely homes.
Old South Carriage Company
14 Anson St., Charleston, 843-723-9712

STROLL ART GALLERIES
The French Quarter features 30 galleries within walking distance of each other. Friday night Art Walks (first Fridays, quarterly) is a popular roving street party featuring the work of hundreds of artists. Don't miss:
Ann Long Fine Art, 54 Broad St.
Lime Blue/Corrigan Gallery, 62 Queen St.
Nina Liu and Friends, 24 State St.

PEOPLE WATCH
The Farmers Market in Marion Square (Saturdays April through December, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of King and Calhoun Streets) is bustling. Enjoy a fresh crepe, a cup of coffee, live music and local purveyors, and watch the parade of passers-by.

MEET CHARLESTON AUTHORS
Pat Conroy, Josephine Humphreys, Brett Lott, Dorothy Benton Frank -- the list goes on and on. Charleston's distinguished literary community is celebrated by local independent bookstore Blue Bicycle Books.
Blue Bicycle Books
420 King St.

HEAR LIVE MUSIC
The college crowd hangs at The Music Farm (32 Ann St., Charleston) or The Pour House (1977 Maybank Highway) while jazz lovers flock to the Charleston Grill (224 King St.). Awendaw Green at the Sewee Outpost, Highway 17N, is a laid-back outdoor venue showcasing regional talent.

SHOP TILL YOU DROP
Charleston's King Street is famous for antique shops and clothing boutiques, but it also has everything from home decor to surf attire to an Apple store. Don't miss local retail landmarks Bob Ellis Shoes (332 King), Croghan's Jewel Box (308 King) or the ever-kitschy Robot Candy (322 King).

STEP BACK IN TIME
Middleton Place plantation and gardens is a 45-minute drive out historic Highway 61, and well worth the day-trip. Renowned camellias and America's oldest landscaped gardens, plus plantation crafts demonstrations, a kid-friendly stableyard and slave exhibit.
Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road

GET CIVIL
Take a boat cruise out to Fort Sumter -- explore Charleston's harbor and see where the Civil War began.
Spiritline Cruises
Liberty Square, 340 Concord St., 800-789-3678

CHILL & RECHARGE
All that shopping and touring will wear you out. Catch your breath, and some of the best breezy views around, at Charleston's Waterfront Park (Concord Street) or Mount Pleasant's Pier (71 Harry Hallman Blvd., beneath the bridge). Both feature relaxing, gently swaying swings.

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