For holiday shopping and events or a delicious taste of the season, Charleston has all the ingredients to create magical memories with your family. Spend a weekend attending a seasonal event, taking in the holiday décor and then relaxing over a dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants.
Gather the family and plan a day of Christmas cheer with some of these holiday-inspired activities:
Tour and Explore
Sure, you’ve been downtown plenty of times, but when was the last time you parked the car and walked the cobblestone streets? Spend the afternoon on a Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour. Find out about Charleston’s unique tie to the Christmas poinsettia while learning about holiday traditions on your guided walk through the historic district. The tour ends with a photo opportunity in front of the Mills House Hotel grand Christmas tree.
See how Charleston's historic residences deck the halls as you discover holiday traditions passed down from our city's earliest families. Visit the Joseph Manigault House decorated by The Garden Club of Charleston with arrangements made exclusively with live, historically accurate plant materials that would have been used in Charleston during the early 1800s.
The Holiday Festival of Lights is a favorite Lowcountry tradition during the holidays. Head to James Island County Park to drive through more than 700 shimmering light displays, walk through Santa’s Village to roast marshmallows and marvel at the 50-ton holiday-inspired sand sculpture.
A holiday classic comes to life on the stage of the Dock Street Theatre as Charleston Stage presents “A Christmas Carol.” Adapted from Charles Dickens’ famous novel, this production follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in his nightmare journey with the spirits of his past, present and future.
At the Nathaniel Russell House, the dining room table is laden with sugared fruits, syllabubs, cakes and sweetmeats — popular fare of the early 1800s, when religious services and family meals were the crux of holiday celebrations.
Wind down a day of holiday fun with dinner at one of Charleston’s most delicious restaurants. Don’t miss the pumpkin bread pudding served with ginger ice cream at The Macintosh – the perfect rich dessert to share. Or polish off a divine dinner at Circa 1886 with the pumpkin soufflé with sorghum anglaise and chai ice cream for a holiday treat that won't disappoint.
Your holiday celebration isn’t complete without a stop at Belmond Charleston Place to see the magnificent holiday decorations and Christmas trees along with the incredible village train display located in the lobby. Afterward, relax at Thoroughbred Club with a pumpkin spice carajjillo – the perfect beverage to toast to the season.
Celebrating Christmas in Charleston is a wonderful way to create family memories, share local history with your children and simply pause from the busyness of daily life to enjoy the joy of the season. For more ideas about Christmas in Charleston, see the Holy City Holiday itinerary.