Things to do in Charleston in May 2024

Spoleto Festival

May is one of the most popular months in Charleston. It is warm, sunny and it’s time for one of the biggest festivals in Charleston. For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists and emerging performers.

Greek Festival

Charleston Greek Festival Large

The Charleston Greek Festival is a celebration of fun and Greek culture! Attendees can enjoy Greek food, wine, live music, and dancing. The oldest festival in the Charleston area, dating back to 1970, The Charleston Greek Festival is the third largest festival in the Lowcountry with 35,000+ attendees over one weekend each year. This year the Greek Festival will be held May 10 - 12, 2024. 

Spoleto Festival USA

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Spoleto Festival USA, one of America's major performing arts festivals, is full of 17-days worth of events showcasing both established and emerging artists in more than 150 performances of opera, dance, theater, classical music, and jazz. The festival starts on May 24th and ends on June 9th.

Piccolo Spoleto

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The Piccolo Spoleto Festival annually presents a varied program that includes visual arts exhibitions, performances of classical music, jazz, dance, theater, and choral music, cultural events and community celebrations, poetry readings, children’s activities, craft shows, and film screenings.

Piccolo Spoleto prioritizes accessibility for both artists and performers, presenting professional work of the highest standard, while ensuring nearly half of Piccolo’s events are admission-free, with the balance offered at affordable ticket prices. The festival starts on May 24th and ends on June 9th.

North Charleston Arts Fest

North Charleston Arts Fest1

The North Charleston Arts Fest is proudly produced by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. The annual five-day celebration of arts and culture highlights regional and local artists and performers in the areas of Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Literature. For more than 38 years, the festival has made quality arts programming affordable and accessible to the widest spectrum of the public, attracting residents and visitors to experience free and modestly priced performances, workshops, exhibitions, and activities. The North Charleston Arts Fest will be held May 1st - May 5th.

Visit Magnolia Plantation

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May is a great time to visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The temperature is typically in the mid 80's, and the gardens are in full bloom. Magnolia Planation and Gardens was founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family. Magnolia is the oldest tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America. The Plantation has survived for centuries and witnessed the history of our nation, from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. The Drayton family home dates back to 1873 and is the third home on the site. Ten rooms of the house are open to the public, and the house is furnished with early American antiques, porcelain, quilts and other Drayton family heirlooms. Basic garden admission gives you access to the historic gardens, petting zoo, conservatory, theater, Peacock Cafe, garden center, and gift shop. Additional paid guided tours include plantation house tour, nature train, nature boat, slavery to freedom tour, and the self-guided Audubon Swamp Garden tour. Allow about 4-5 hours if you plan on seeing everything.

Charleston Boat Tour

Other Charleston Tours Boat

Charleston is a beautiful city, and one of the best ways to experience it is from a boat. Charleston boat tours offer a complete view of the city’s waterfront, along with many historic landmarks and points of interest. Visitors can choose from narrated cruises, dinner cruises and water taxi rides.

Cypress Gardens

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Cypress Gardens, a 175-acre swamp garden, is located about 30 minutes from downtown Charleston in Moncks Corner. May is a great time to visit the gardens. The average high temp is 80 degrees, and roses and day lilies are starting to bloom. The gardens were originally a freshwater reserve for the nearby rice plantation, Dean Hall. Visitors can enjoy the Butterfly House and observe the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle, or visit the Swamparium, where large tanks feature fish, amphibians and reptiles native to the South Carolina Lowcountry. Visitors can also rent a swamp boat to paddle along a marked trail, possibly spotting alligators, birds and turtles, or take a stroll along the 3.5 miles of walking trails that loop through the swamp and gardens. These amazing gardens were used in several movies, including scenes from The Notebook, Cold Mountain and The Patriot.

Reggae Nights Summer Concert

Reggae Nights Concert Blog

The Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series at James Island County Park features traditional old-school roots reggae with a new-school attitude in a beautiful outdoor setting. Bring your chairs or blanket. It’s Irie.

Final Spring Citadel Parade

Citadel Parade Blog

The final Citadel Parade of the school year will be held on May 3rd. The parade consists of about 2,000 members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets marching onto Summerall Field, while the Regimental Band and Pipes perform and cannons are fired. The precision and dedication these cadets display is inspiring. The tradition of parading troops can be traced back to the time of Alexander the Great. The drill procedures and movements on the parade field are identical to the tactical maneuvers employed on the battlefield in the past. Since parking on campus can be a problem, you should plan to arrive 30 minutes before the start of the parade. Cadets will welcome you to campus and direct you to visitor parking.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center

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The Caw Caw Interpretive Center, located about 20 miles from downtown Charleston, is a great place for walking, birding, and enjoying nature. The Interpretive Center is located on land once part of several rice plantations and home to enslaved Africans. Visitors will learn about the history of rice production and the significance African American slaves provided in rice production.

The park features over 6 miles of well maintained raised trails, bridges, and boardwalks that wind through numerous distinct coastal plain habitats. Animals that may be encountered include alligators, otters, turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, crabs, deer, ospreys and eagles. The park also has a learning center, which includes exhibits about the park, a picnic area, butterfly garden, and museum store.

Hotels in Charleston

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