Things to Do in Charleston on Thanksgiving
Charleston’s hospitality and rich history make it a delightful Thanksgiving destination. Find the ideal restaurant for your Thanksgiving meal, enjoy walks through the city, as well as seasonal attractions, and learn about the history of Thanksgiving in the Holy City.
Read on for our favorite things to do in Charleston on Thanksgiving weekend.
Where to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Charleston
Enjoying a Thanksgiving meal is one of the most iconic things to do in Charleston at the end of November. Make a reservation at Magnolias to enjoy the best Thanksgiving fare. Serving Thanksgiving all day, this restaurant serves turkey for traditionalists as well as a vegetarian meal.
Want a Thanksgiving meal to wow your tastebuds and traveling companions? Treat yourself to the Peninsula Grill. Their prix fixe menu is perfect for guests looking to see the fancier side of Charleston cuisine.
Queen Street’s favorite Poogan’s Porch is another special Thanksgiving option. This haunted favorite is an authentic place for Lowcountry specialty foods. Like the Peninsula Grill, Poogan’s Porch offers a Prix Fixe Thanksgiving menu.
Virginia’s on King offers a full Thanksgiving a la carte menu if you’re looking to sample Charleston favorites.
Looking for a seafood-filled Thanksgiving? Get your wish at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant. Hank’s will also offer a turkey dinner alongside its full menu. Perfect for a table of mixed palates celebrating Thanksgiving in Charleston.
Pick turkey, scallops, or prime rib at your prix fixe Thanksgiving at 5Church. And don’t skip their specialty cocktails!
Walking Tours and Neighborhoods for Celebrating Thanksgiving in Charleston
Eager to walk off the delicious Thursday meal? Here are some things to do in Charleston, including the best walking tours and can’t-miss sites for the rest of the weekend.
Charleston Walking Tours
When it comes to Thanksgiving Charleston activities, we might be a little biased! The best tour for both first-timers to Charleston and regular visitors is the Historic Downtown Tour. A great way to get your bearings or see favorite historic sites, check out this 2-hour small-group tour with Charleston favorites like Rainbow Row and Washington Park. This tour focuses on the French Quarter and the area south of Broad Street.
Ready to completely ditch your car? Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages tour takes you onto Charleston’s bricks and cobblestones to get a different angle on the city’s history. Walk yourself through the alleys filled with Charleston’s history.
Self-Guided Charleston Walking Tours
Want to go at your own pace on a Charleston walk? Taking a self-guided walk is one of our favorite Charleston activities. Check out historic downtown buildings and museums, shop along King Street, and don’t miss Rainbow Row, Charleston.
A self-guided walk of Downtown is one Charleston activity you can’t skip.
Charleston highlights include Marion Square, King Street, and Rainbow Row. Marion Square dates back to Colonial times and its abundance of green space offers the perfect place to rest between neighborhoods. Shop til you drop on King Street, an area rich with boutique and mainstream fashion choices. And Rainbow Row is the perfect place to take a Thanksgiving family photo. This pretty row of houses lives up to its name.
Mount Pleasant is the perfect option for people looking to escape the bustle of downtown. Located across the Ravenel Bridge, this neighborhood features an abundance of parks and historic locations including Boone Hall and the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.
More Things to Do in Charleston Thanksgiving Weekend: Museums and Parks
Full of food and looking for sites only? Check out these places when you can’t think of eating another bite.
The Old Slave Mart Museum is a must-see while celebrating Thanksgiving in Charleston. This museum explains the Transatlantic Slave Triangle and gives an important look at the history of slavery in Charleston.
Check out popular museums including Charleston Museum, South Carolina Historical Society Museum, and the Gibbes Museum of Art. Charleston Museum and South Carolina Historical Society Museum are perfect for patrons interested in Southern history. The Gibbes Museum of Art is showing two special exhibitions, Influence, and Inspiration: The Art of Jill Hooper, Ben Long, and Frank Mason and Rauschenberg in Charleston.
The Charleston City Market is one of the most popular destinations in Charleston and for good reason. Over 300 vendors sell at this market that is open year-round. Come here to find the perfect Charleston souvenir and get a taste of the city’s culture.
If it’s a beautiful day outside, check out the Battery. The Battery is a great spot to see Mt. Pleasant, Fort Sumter, and the harbor. Stop here at sunset for a picturesque view before dinner.
Looking for another picture-perfect site? Check out the famous Pineapple Fountain in Charleston Waterfront Park. Constructed in 1990, this Charleston hallmark offers the perfect photo spot and place to take a breather between stops.
Want more things to do in Charleston with a taste of Southern history? Look no further than Magnolia Plantation. This home and garden is Charleston’s most visited plantation and the oldest public garden in the United States. Visit their special winter attraction Lights of Magnolia. November through March, nine acres are filled with unique walk-through lantern displays.
It’s not a trip to Charleston without churches. See “The Holy City’s” namesakes including St. Michael’s Church and Circular Congregation Church. St. Michael’s Church was built in the 1750s, making it the oldest surviving religious building in the city. Circular Congregation Church had its first congregation in 1681. It’s also a great example of Greek Revival Romanesque architecture.
Once Thursday’s entertainment is done, head to Charleston’s stages to amuse yourself for the rest of the weekend. Check out The Black Fedora or Theater 99 for comedy. Interested in music? Get into the holiday spirit while celebrating Thanksgiving in Charleston and reserve tickets to Holiday Swing: A Charleston Jazz Tradition at Charleston Music Hall.
History of Thanksgiving in Charleston
Early Thanksgiving stories have some roots in Charleston. While English settlers in Jamestown enjoyed the first Thanksgiving in 1607, Charleston was established in 1670. Historians theorize that early settlers hosted a day of thanksgiving shortly after establishing what was then called Charles Town.
The earliest recorded day of Thanksgiving in Charleston was in October 1706. Thanksgiving was originally a secular holiday in colonial times and earlier. Communities like those found in Charles Town would “give thanks” for events that impacted their lives including accomplishments, battle victories, and peace treaties.