Top 5 Free Attractions in Charleston, SC
Does your bucket list include a vacation destination that is home to delicious dining, beautiful sites, and rich history? Then Charleston, SC, is the perfect place for your next vacation. Charleston has been named the #1 City in America for the 7th year in a row! Check out these fun and free ways to explore the low country.
Downtown Charleston is the best place to get lost on purpose to explore secret alleyways only accessible by foot. While you are exploring be sure to check out the Battery, which is a beautiful park at the tip of the Charleston peninsula. Here you can stroll along the seawall to see famous historic southern mansions, White Point Garden, and where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers combine to flow out to the Atlantic Ocean.
The City Gallery & Waterfront Park
Did you know that the pineapple is the international symbol of hospitality? Joe Riley Waterfront Park, just off East Bay Street, is home to Charleston’s must-see pineapple! The beautiful Pineapple Fountain is a great spot for a photo op — you can even step inside the fountain on a hot day if you want to get your feet wet! Next is the City Gallery, which is owned and operated by the City of Charleston and the Office of Cultural Affairs. Its rotating exhibits feature local, national, and international artists. The City Gallery is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) and admission is free to all guests.
The Angel Oak Tree
Coming in at approximately 500 years young, the Angel Oak Tree on John’s Island is a sight to see! This Southern Live Oak has become one of Charleston’s most recognizable landmarks. It is a great excursion if you are a nature enthusiast. I recommend picking up a picnic lunch from Blackbird Market on your drive over to enjoy in the surrounding park.
The Cooper River Bridge & The Pitt Street Bridge
Staying active on vacation is a great way to balance out all of those delicious, rich meals you will be dining on! Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant provides an access point to the grand Cooper River Bridge. The bridge includes its own pedestrian pathway spanning three miles. This is a great way to take in the beauty of the Charleston area from a high vantage point.
For those who are a little less adventurous, the Pitt Street Bridge in the Old Village may be a bit more your speed! The Pitt Street Bridge was once used to connect Mt. Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island. Now a pedestrian greenway, it offers great views of Charleston Harbor, the Cooper River Bridge, and the Intracoastal waterway. It is a great way to experience life under the Palmetto trees!
Second Sunday on King Street
On the Second Sunday of each month, King Street closes to vehicle traffic to encourage visitors to explore on foot. As one of Charleston’s most famous streets, it is home to a variety of shops and restaurants. Many restaurants set up tables, chairs, and booths so you can dine al fresco. The shops set up sidewalk sales for you to peruse for souvenirs. This is a great chance to explore an iconic Charleston location in a unique way!
The Charleston area is a great destination all year long! You can take in a walk along the water and beautiful historic architecture, all while being surrounded by great shopping and dining. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy!
Know Before You Go