Charleston SC Attractions


Charleston SC Attractions

A guide to the best Charleston SC Attractions. Visit the site where the Civil War began, stroll through the historic City Market, or bike across the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. 


When you visit Charleston, the list of things to do is almost endless. Visitors can view over 5,000 aquatic animals at the Charleston Aquarium, take a boat ride to Fort Sumter, or shop for souvenirs at the historic City Market. 


Charleston SC Attractions
Aquariums and Wildlife



The South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston SC 29401

The South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina aquarium in Charleston is the place to explore and learn about aquatic animals from across the state. Marvel at over 10,000 animals including the great white shark and a rare albino American alligator.


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The Center for Birds of Prey
4719 N Hwy 17
Awendaw SC 29429

The Center for Birds of Prey

The Center for Birds of Prey offers visitors a unique insight into the lives of nearly 50 species of birds including eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, kites and vultures. The center, situated on a 152-acre wooded campus, provides medical care, scientific research and environmental education.


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Charleston SC Attractions
Historic Sites




Fort Sumter
National Park Service
Charleston SC 29412

Fort Sumter

Located at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, a crumbling pentagon-shaped structure still stands as a reminder of the barbaric war that began in South Carolina. It was here, on the night of April 12, 1861 that the first shots of the Civil War were fired. 


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Fort Moultrie
1214 Middle St
Sullivan's Island SC 29482

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie is a series of fortifications on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, built to protect the city of Charleston. Fort Moultrie is the only area of the National Park System where the entire 171-year history of American seacoast defense (1776–1947) can be traced.


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Historic Charleston City Market
188 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401

Historic Charleston City Market

One of the nation's oldest markets, The Charleston City Market, is over 200 years old. The market consists of the enclosed Great Hall and three open air sheds. Dozens of vendors showcase goods including crafts, artwork, jewelry, local foods, and sweetgrass baskets. 


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The Battery 
Charleston SC 29401

The Battery Charleston

The Battery is considered to be one of Charleston’s most iconic historic sites. The Battery was once a defensive seawall, but is now a paved public walk along the waterfront. The area is surrounded by antebellum mansions and beautiful live oaks with views of Fort Sumter in the distance.


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Charleston SC Attractions
Historic Home Tours




Aiken-Rhett House
48 Elizabeth St
Charleston SC 29403

Aiken-Rhett House Charleston

The Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820 by merchant John Robinson and greatly expanded by Governor William Aiken in the 1830’s. The house has not been restored so visitors will have a rare chance to see what the house looked like in the 1850’s. 


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Nathaniel Russell House
51 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401

Nathaniel Russell House Charleston

The Nathaniel Russell House, best known for its three-story free-flying staircase, was built in 1808. The house has underwent extensive restoration to return it to its original splendor. The tours will give visitors a glimpse into what life was like for the Russell family and the slaves who cared for the home.


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Calhoun Mansion
16 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29401

Calhoun Mansion Charleston

The Calhoun Mansion is often referred to as the “Grande Dame” of Charleston’s great homes and with over 24,000 sq.ft. is the largest private residence in all of Charleston. The mansion, built in 1876, has 35 main rooms including the grand ballroom and music room and 35 fireplaces. 


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Edmonston-Alston House
21 East Battery St
Charleston SC 29401

Edmonston-Alston House Charleston

The Edmonston-Alston House, constructed in 1825, was one of the first grand homes built along the Battery. From the piazza, General Beauregard watched the ferocious battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Later that same year, General Robert E. Lee sought refuge in the house during the great fire of 1861. 


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Heyward-Washington House
87 Church St
Charleston SC 29401

Heyward-Washington House Charleston

The Heyward-Washington House, built in the early 1770’s, was the home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The three-story brick Charleston “double house” was where George Washington stayed in 1791 when he visited Charleston. 


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Joseph Manigault House
350 Meeting St
Charleston SC 29403

Joseph Manigault House Charleston

The Joseph Manigault House, built in 1803, is an antebellum masterpiece with a towering spiral staircase wrapped around a crystal chandelier. The house reflects the metropolitan lifestyle of a wealthy, rice-planting family and the enslaved African Americans who lived there. 


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Charleston SC Attractions
Places of Interest




Rainbow Row
83 E Bay St
Sullivan's Island SC 29401

Rainbow Row

The 13 brightly colored buildings that make up Rainbow Row are some of the most recognizable structures in Charleston. Located on East Bay St., these homes date back to the 1700’s. The once bustling stores fell into disrepair after the Civil War and then were restored in the 1920’s.


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Arthur Ravenel Bridge
Connecting Charleston and Mount Pleasant

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Take a walk or bike ride across one of the world’s largest cable-stayed bridges. Stop at the top and watch the sunset over the water or check out the gorgeous views of the scenic Charleston Harbor.


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More things to do in Charleston 



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