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Overview

Saunter through the streets of Charleston and you feel like you've stepped back in time, to an era that knew the definition of grandeur, grace and true Southern hospitality. With a history peppered by monumental moments — Confederate soldiers fired the first shots in the Civil War here; the Civil Rights movement rocked the foundation of plantation culture; fires and hurricanes wrought devastation and despair — Charleston today is an amalgamation of its past, a beautiful, complicated, elegant and alluring place.

With one of the most compelling historic districts in the country, Charleston is a fantastic walking city. Many ...

Saunter through the streets of Charleston and you feel like you've stepped back in time, to an era that knew the definition of grandeur, grace and true Southern hospitality. With a history peppered by monumental moments — Confederate soldiers fired the first shots in the Civil War here; the Civil Rights movement rocked the foundation of plantation culture; fires and hurricanes wrought devastation and despair — Charleston today is an amalgamation of its past, a beautiful, complicated, elegant and alluring place.

With one of the most compelling historic districts in the country, Charleston is a fantastic walking city. Many operators offer walking or horse-drawn carriage tours and most are worthwhile. The architecture is magnificent, and stories of the city's dramatic history creep into your bones. In spring, the city comes alive for Spoleto USA, a 17-day arts extravaganza with musical performances throughout the city. Charleston's historic district is quite small, but the metropolitan area stretches outward to easily accessible beaches or inward to plantation country.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall. Summer is sticky and hot. Winter is nice, with Christmas celebrations.