Christmas in Charleston: 10 Best Things to Do, 5 Best Events to Attend and 3 Best Places to Shop

Charleston is a beautiful city set along the pristine harbour of South Carolina. If you plan to visit this city in the holiday season, you've made the right decision. Christmastime in Charleston is very pleasant and fun. From Christmas lights, fun parties and events to cozy christmas dinner & shopping, you will have a lot of fun here. 
Keep reading ahead to know more about the Christmas celebrations in charleston and what all you can do.

10 Best Things to Do and Experience During Christmas in Charleston

1. Holiday Magic at Marion Square

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 After thanksgiving, the major holiday celebrations start with the official Tree Lighting Ceremony at the historic Marion Square in Charleston. The lighting of the beautiful and massive 60-foot tree is truly a treat to watch and is gonna put you in the Christmas spirit. The event takes place between 4:30 - 6:30 PM and hosts free family-friendly activities, games, and live music performances for you to enjoy. 
Location: 329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA

2. James Island’s Holiday Festival of Lights

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 The Festival of Lights is an annual Christmas event in Charleston. Enjoy the three-mile long drive under thousands of twinkling lights and beautiful sights of the reindeer, snowman and santa claus displays. Besides the light displays, the event also features handmade sand castles, train rides for kids, Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, gingerbread houses, on-site food & drinks, and more. This is one of the most favourite Christmas destinations of Charleston which you absolutely cannot miss.
*Important Tip: Make sure to visit on any of the weekdays to avoid heavy crowds*
Timings: 5:30 PM - 10 PM (Sunday-Thursday)         
                     5:30 PM - 11 PM (Friday-Saturday)
Location: 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412, USA

3. Parade of Boats

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 The Parade of Boats is a very fun & vibrant holiday event of Charleston. The parade starts from Cooper River through the Charleston Harbour and into the Ashley River. Watch the parade of the beautifully lit and decorated boats or sail on one and join the parade. Also wait until the end to watch the stunning fireworks on the boats. 
Location: Charleston Harbour, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

4. Holiday Parade

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 Holiday celebrations are incomplete without watching the Holiday Parade during Christmas in Charleston. The Parade features exciting bands, floats, marchers and performers. The parade passes from Broad Street at Rutledge Avenue through Meeting Street and finally culminates at Calhoun Street. 

5. Stay at the Historic Inn 

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 Charleston is home to many historic houses of the 19th Century. These homes are transformed into holiday inns or hotels and are decked festively with gorgeous christmas lights & decor. Celebrate Christmas in Charleston by staying in these accommodations with vintage interiors, classic furniture and green patios along the pristine harbour. The hosts of these homes also offer guided tours, so you can learn about the festive traditions and significance of the historic homes in Charleston.

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Here is a list of some of the  homes you might love to stay at:
a. Charleston Place
b. The Mills House
c. The Spectator Hotel
d. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
e. The French Quarter Inn and many more

6. Walking tours

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 Explore the Holy City’s beauty and it's holiday charm on foot. Bulldog tours organize walking tours for visitors during Christmas in Charleston. The local guides will walk you through the 4 Corners of Law, the waterfront Battery District, Whitepoint Gardens and other residential areas and iconic landmarks adorned in gorgeous holiday decorations. These tours also take you to explore the historical neighborhoods like the antebellum mansions which are plushly decorated during Christmastime. The company gives special discounts, when you book a tour in advance.
Price: 25 USD per head   
               Free for kids under 4
Other Popular Walking Tours: Charleston Sole Walking Tours, Lowcountry Walking Tours, Two Sisters Tours,etc. 

7. Chanukah in the Square

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 Chanukah is a traditional jewish celebration in Charleston. This celebration features jewish food, live music, games and the lighting of Menorah which symbolizes gratefulness. While celebrating Christmas in Charleston, you will come across such beautiful traditions and cultures that will give you an experience of a lifetime.
Location: 329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA

8. Wine Under The Oaks

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 Wine Under The Oaks is a very popular Christmas event in Charleston. Held at the Boone Hall Plantations the event features wine tasting at its back lawn with complimentary bubble champagne, desserts, oysters, bread, spreads and more. You can spend a lovely evening here with live music, great food & wine and partake in the fun cooking activities with one of the best chefs of Charleston. Only 21+ ages are allowed in the event. 
Location: 1235 Long Point Road, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464, USA

9. ‘Keep The Light Shinin’ Holiday Dinner Cruise

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 Planning for a special Christmas dinner in Charleston? Look no further. The Charleston Harbour Tours- Dinner Cruise offers special dinner evenings over the pristine harbour. The 2-hour tour runs from 7 PM to 9 PM and features gourmet buffet-style dinner, cocktail drinks & wines, live music and  soothing views of the Charleston Harbour. 
Price: 53 USD per head
Location: Carolina Queen- Charleston City Marina, 17 Lockwood Drive, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

10. Holiday Pub Crawl

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 Holiday Pub Crawls offer the most exciting ways to celebrate Christmas in Charleston.   It features tours to the historic pubs and taverns where you can feast on the tastiest dishes with refreshing beverages. Even if you are on a solo trip, you will definitely end up having the most fun time with complete strangers on these tours. Original Pub & Brewery Tours and King Street Bar Crawls are among Charleston’s most popular Christmas pub crawls.
Price: Between 15 USD - 35 USD

Here is a list of some events which you can attend during Christmas in Charleston:

5 Best Events to Attend During Christmas in Charleston

1. The Nutcracker Ballet

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 Watching the Nutcracker Ballet is the most popular holiday tradition in Charleston. The show features a perfect story of the Magical Nutcracker, great music and spectacular ballet performances by professional Russian artists along with the local students of the Ballet Academy of Charleston. Take part in this exceptional holiday tradition as you celebrate Christmas in Charleston.

2. Sound Of Charleston- Holiday Edition

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 Come and experience the history of Charleston’s music at the Circular Congregational Church this holiday season. The Church hosts concerts of genres like Gospel, Gershwin and Jazz all year round to share its history and entertain the audience. This place is like a paradise to classical music lovers and a perfect place to unwind.  

3. A Christmas Carol

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 A Christmas Carol is a holiday classic by Charles Dickens based on the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge presented in a true Christmas spirit. An award winning performance, with live thrilling music, vibrant costumes and interesting characters are the major highlights of the show. It's a must-watch show during Christmas, suitable for all ages. 

4. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

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 Mannheim Steamroller is a group founded by Chip Davis, who performs Christmas classical music with a rock mix. This group tours every year to Charleston for the annual Christmas event. Attend this fun annual holiday tradition and celebrate Christmas in Charleston. 

5. Holiday Pops

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 Holiday Pops is an annual celebration by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy the most happening christmas event at CSO. You will get to listen to the all-time-favourite classics like Sleigh Ride, 12 Days of Christmas, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and more which will definitely put you in the Christmas Spirits.

3 Best Places to Go Shopping During Christmas in Charleston 

1. Charleston Christmas Collectibles 

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 Looking for a unique souvenir to remind you of Christmas in Charleston? You will get it here! Charleston Christmas Collectibles is located in the City Market and is well-known for its exclusive year-round christmas goodies. The store offers an array of collectibles, ornaments and cute articles. Take back some souvenirs to remember and cherish your visit to Charleston. 
Timings: Daily 9:30 AM - 5 PM
Location: 118 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

2. Charleston City Market

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 The historic Charleston City Market was built in the 1800s and is known as the shopper’s paradise in Charleston. From antique stores, clothing items, unique handicrafts to gourmet stores and restaurants, the city market has it all. This place is very popular for christmas shopping and is quite crowded too. However, the market is well equipped with fans, restrooms, and casual and fine dining restaurants for visitors’ convenience. 
Timings: Daily 9:30 AM - 5 PM
Location: 375 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

3. Charleston Holiday Market

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 The Holiday Market is held every year at Marion Square Park just after the official Tree Lighting Ceremony. Admission to the market is free and usually operates on weekends in December. The market has stalls selling cookies and gingerbreads, handmade christmas cards and articles by children, souvenirs, quick bites and more. The market also features live music, choirs, fun activities and photo booths with Santa and Mrs. Claus, which you should definitely checkout. 
Timings: Weekends 9 AM - 3 PM
Location: 329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA

Charleston warmly welcomes everyone to be a part of its traditions and celebrations. Come and experience the most unique and stunning Christmas in Charleston in the most amazing ways.

This post was published by Laxmi Santosh Mishra

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