A port city defined by its cobblestone streets, pastel antebellum houses, and southern hospitality and charm, Charleston is a welcoming destination home to a range of things to see and do. And experiencing the best of the city that’s become known as “America’s Most Friendly” doesn’t always have to cost a pretty penny. Charleston offers plenty of sights, attractions, and activities that are free (or almost free)! Read on for a few of our top suggestions…
1. Peruse the Old City Market.
One of the most vibrant and historic places in all of the South, the Old City Market shouldn’t be missed. Spend an afternoon window-shopping for art, taking in live entertainment, and chatting with local vendors and entrepreneurs. Spend a few bucks sampling the wonderful culinary delights you’re sure to stumble across.
2. Take a walk down King Street.
Boasting three districts—the Upper King Street Design and Dining District, the King Street Fashion District, and the Lower King Street Antiques District—there’s an incredible amount to explore in the King Street area. Set aside a day for exploring the many art galleries, antique shops, book stores, gift shops, and so much more. There are plenty of places to grab a coffee or a bite along the way!
3. Explore the Waterfront Park.
Stretched along the Cooper River in Charleston, the Waterfront Park is a twelve-acre park featuring many beautiful and breathtaking fountains, gardens, a wooden pier jutting out over the Charleston Harbor, and more. Spend a morning strolling through the Park, or catch the sun setting over the harbor at night.
4. Visit The Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture.
This hub of the African American community in Charleston helped train generations of students for professional careers and leadership roles. Today, the Avery Research Center hosts educational exhibits and is home to more that 4,000 source materials showcasing the history, traditions, and influence of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Admission is free and public tours are offered daily.
5. Explore The Gateway Walk.
Named for the ten wrought iron gates you’ll find along this shady pathway, the Gateway Walk meanders through several historic districts in Charleston. Beginning at St. John’s Lutheran Church, crossing King Street and ending at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, this stunning garden walk is just off the beaten path enough to offer a quiet respite from the busy downtown core.
6. Marvel At the Sylvan Gallery.
Across a wide ranges of mediums and styles, the Sylvan Gallery captures the true essence of Lowcountry life with sculptures and paintings from local artists. Spend time browsing this exceptionally curated collection and you might be lucky enough to speak with Mr. Sylvan himself. Located in the heart of the antique and art district on King St., the gallery is free to tour.
7. Stop Into The Charleston Tea Plantation.
For tea fans, the Charleston Tea Plantation is the only place in America you can tour a working plantation and factory. The factory tour is free and the charming trolley tour of the plantation grounds is just $10 per person ($5 for children). Ideal for a day trip, the plantation is located about 20 miles from Charleston on picturesque Wadmalaw Island and is a must-see for any visitor.
8. Take A French Quarter Art Walk.
Why just see one gallery when you can see lots? Stroll the French Quarter and visit the galleries that make up this trendy neighborhood. On certain Fridays, guided tours reveal the best of the Charleston art scene. You’ll have the chance to meet artists, mingle with friendly locals, and sample some delicious wine and cheese.
Now you’ve got a full itinerary of interesting things to see and do in Charleston that won’t bust your travel budget. Find InTown Suites’ extended stay properties along your route for affordable accommodations.