Horse-drawn carriage ride through historical district
One of the first things you will want to do when you arrive in Charleston is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic district. You will pass a wide variety of architectural styles including Colonial, Federal, Georgian,Victorian and Italianate, all visible in the city’s historically preserved mansions,gardens, churches and parks. During the day, several architectural tours are availablecovering these houses, gardens and churches.
In addition to its outstanding architecture, Charleston is also known as one of the top10 art destinations in the U.S., especially for its plethora of art galleries in the French Quarter. If you’re an art lover, plan a trip during the first Friday in March, May, October or December and join the popular French Quarter Art Walk.
For those history buffs, head to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum across the bridge to tour the World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, and view 25 other military aircrafts, a submarine and a destroyer. Tours to Fort Sumter are also available from this point.
Also of if interest is the Civil War submarine, the H. L. Hunley.
Carolina Food Pros Culinary Tour
If you’re a foodie you’ve come to right place. Signup for a two-and-a-half hour walking culinary tour with Carolina Food Pros. On the tour, I learned that Charleston’s Low Country Cuisine is really a fusion of four cultural influences that have impacted Charleston’s history: the English, the French Huguenots, the Native Americans and the African slaves. During the tour, we walked through some of Charleston’s oldest and most beautifully restored neighborhoods, making three tasting stops at a neighborhood bakery, a butcher/wine/gourmet shop and a tea shop. The tour was a great way to see a more intimate side of Charleston, as well as learn about its cuisine.
Charleston Cooks! Maverick Kitchen Store
Another great foodie place to check out is the Charleston Cooks! Maverick Kitchen Store. There I discovered every gadget I would ever need to become a wonderful cook. All I needed now were the cooking lessons! Voila! Right next to the store is an ultra-modern kitchen/demo center where they offer a variety of cooking lessons, such as a “Taste of the Low Country,” where participants watch as the chef prepares a delicious meal such as Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Pepper Relish, Butter BeanSuccotash, and Southern Pecan Pie. But the best part is getting to eat it!
The Charleston City Market
The Old City Market, which was recently renovated, is another Charleston must-see. The market has been around since the early 1800s, when it served as a fish, meat and vegetable market. Today, more then 100 vendors occupy the open-faced buildings, selling a variety of local goods and crafts. Among the most popular vendors are the women who weave sweet-grass baskets, a tradition handed down from West African slaves. Although the baskets are pricey, they are works of art and have recently been named the state’s official handicraft.
South Charolina Aquarium
Charleston has a reputation for being a very kid-friendly city. Kids of every age will love the South Carolina Aquarium with its hands-on Discovery Zone and a great Amazon exhibit, complete with Amazon critters such as piranha, an anaconda, a tarantula, an anteater and a simulated thunderstorm.