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Charleston Winter Activities (and Tips for Staying Warm!)


Charleston is full of winter activities during the colder months. Indoor and outdoor activities abound as the holiday season is winding down. Check out famous houses, fireplaces and indoor activities showing Charleston’s best of winter. 


Famous Charleston Houses

Get a taste of history when you head to the houses of Charleston’s 18th and 19th century. Step inside the world of rich rice farmers and wealthy families. These Charleston winter activities will make history come alive

See Charleston as it was in 1803 at the Joseph Manigault House. One of Charleston’s most popular houses, it belonged to a wealthy rice-farming family. The Manigaults descended from French Huguenots and were one of the state’s well-known families. The Charleston Museum now owns the home. 

The Heyward-Washington House is another site of Charleston’s early splendor. This house was built in 1772 and is a Georgian-style home. Original owner Thomas Heyward Jr. signed the Declaration of Independence. The house also features formal gardens kept in the style of the 18th century. 

Interested in architectural oddities such as a three-story staircase? Find it in a house that cost $80,000 to build at a time when the average homeowner spent $262. The Nathaniel Russell House hosts both docent-led tours or you can take a self-guided tour. Nathaniel Russell was a Charleston merchant during the 1800s. His stately house is the picture of Charleston’s grandeur of that era. The Nathaniel Russell House is a National Historic Landmark. 


Charleston’s Fireplaces

Here’s another tip for staying warm. Cozy up to these Charleston restaurants and hotels with fireplaces. Perfect for a drink or dinner on a cold day, these Charleston winter activities will make you welcome the colder weather. 

Check out Red Drum Restaurant’s Pub to take a stop between museums or shopping. Pull chairs around the fire and get warm before your next outing. 

Poogan’s Porch’s front dining room has a fireplace to enjoy. A popular Charleston spot, it’s lowcountry through and through. Order the She Crab Soup for another dose of warmth. 

Stay at Wentworth Mansion or the Inn at Middleton Place and get a fireplace in your room. 


Outdoor Charleston Winter Activities 

Charleston’s milder temperatures make it a preferred winter getaway for those from cooler climates. Braving the elements for Charleston winter activities? Bundle up and see the spectacular sights this winter. 

Charleston Harbor Tours offers a 90-minute tour so you can learn about Charleston’s history and see 75 different landmarks from the Harbor. Find a nice winter day to see the Holy City from the water and learn about history. 

Charleston highlight Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the only garden in the state to receive the designation of “America’s Most Beautiful Gardens” by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Magnolia Plantation opened to visitors in 1870 but it was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. You can tour both the gardens and the house at this spectacular corner of the Holy City. 

On warmer days, walk down Charleston’s Museum Mile. Wander down Meeting Street to find historic houses, six museums, historic public buildings, Charleston’s City Market and a Revolutionary War Powder Magazine. 

Check out Charleston’s only working vineyard and winery, Deep Water Vineyard. They are a kid-and-dog-friendly spot with wine tastings. It’s worth a trek to Wadmalaw Island. 50 acres and 7 miles of vines make this the perfect stop for those ready to leave Downtown. 

Of course, we always recommend taking a historic walking tour of Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages! We happen to think our tours are one of the best Charleston winter activities.

Music and Museums

Need an escape on a cooler day? Check out some of Charleston’s museums, concerts and or a brewery tour. You won’t need your coat and hat while you’re cozy inside experiencing the best of Charleston’s culture during these Charleston winter activities. 


The Sound of Charleston is a unique Charleston music experience. Snag tickets to hear music that reflects Charleston’s unique influences including Gullah, gospel, Gershwin and jazz. These concerts are held year-round at the Circular Congregational Church. 

Pop by two of Charleston’s engaging art museums, the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, to get a taste of Charleston history. The Gibbes Museum of Art provides visitors a look at art with Charleston as a backdrop. They have six-to-eight exhibits annually and house over 10,000 pieces in their collection. And if you’re touring beautiful College of Charleston, stop into the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. With exhibits from emerging and contemporary artists, this space is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon indoors. 

See Charleston with a drink in your hand when you register for a Pub & Brewery Tour of Charleston. The company offers both walking and bus tours. This is the perfect option for a larger group. With different tour options and locations, find one that shows a side of Charleston you’ve never seen!

Visit the local climbing gym, Coastal Climbing for a fun family or individual experience. The King Street space has 4,000 square feet of indoor climbing and bouldering made for all levels and experience. Work up a sweat and stay warm with this fun activity. 

Stay warm by visiting the South Carolina Aquarium, one of the most popular Charleston winter activities. The aquarium houses over 5,000 animals, including those native to South Carolina. See a variety of ecosystems including marshes, coastal lands and piedmont. Don’t’ miss the Sea Turtle Exhibit.  

The Charleston City Market is a must-see Charleston winter activity. You can spend all day wandering through one of the United States’ oldest public markets. The market hosts over 300 vendors selling everything from paintings to jewelry to purses. Come pick up a souvenir from your visit. 


Winter Festivals in Charleston

Charleston has a few regular winter festivals to keep spirits high. Check out the Jazz or Oyster festival in January. 

Don’t miss the Annual Charleston Jazz Festival at the end of January. This is the 6th annual festival and jazz fans flock to the city to hear a variety of styles of jazz. And Boone Hall will host the Lowcountry Oyster Festival right around the same time. This is the world’s largest oyster festival and it includes live music and 80,000 pounds of oysters. 


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