Discover Charleston

Charleston for History Lovers

"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery" is a common self-help mantra that indicates it's best to forget the past, but it's an antithetical formula for the visitor to Charleston. From the cobblestone streets that sporadically line the lower peninsula to centuries-old seawalls that stabilize The Battery, Charleston is a city where history begs to be explored. And her attractions span a wide timeline: An expansive oak tree that some estimate to be 1,500 years old; former plantation sites and public gardens started in the 1600s; forts that were part of the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s, the Civil War in the 1860s and World War II in the 1940s.

To experience the timeline in one visit, perhaps a trip to The Charleston Museum is in order. Or, concentrate on certain timeline eras, such as the H.L. Hunley — the nation's first submarine whose solitary mission ended in tragedy, lost to the sea until 1995 — to relive the Civil War years, or Middleton Place, site of a former 1800s plantation that is retelling history with greater transparency about both priviledged owners and enslaved Africans who lived within it's sprawling estate.

Visitors will find history at the forefront of interest when they come to the Holy City, and they'll find attractions that help unravel any mystery that may lie within them. The chief question they may be left asking is: "Tomorrow, what shall we explore?" If not in this trip, there's always another day.

The Charleston Museum

Regarded as "America's first museum," this institution showcases a variety of cultural and natural history artifacts that tell the story of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Charleston's Four Corners of the Law

The corner of Meeting and Broad Streets in Charleston, S.C., has four buildings, which each represent different legal jurisdictions, thus locals coined the expression, the Four Corners of Law. 1. St. Michael's Episcopal Church represents God's law; 2. Charleston City Hall represents city law; 3.

Museum Mile

Visit six museums, five nationally renowned historic homes, four parks and more along and around a one-mile stretch of Meeting Street. Hours and admission prices vary by location; special ticket packages $17-44.

History of Charleston Walking Tour

Take a stroll with a 13th generation local, Anne or Martha Middleton, as you learn Charleston's history, charm and pivotal role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Discover historic landmarks and buildings along with stories of wars, disease, enemy occupation and famous war heroes.

Charleston Strolls/Walk With History Tour

Bulldog tours offers just about a tour for everything: downtown history, the USS Yorktown, Fort Sumter, Ghosts of Magnolia, Savor the Flavor foodie tour, Charleston Strolls VIP, Uptown Walking, Dark Side of Charleston, and more.

St. Philip's Church

Established in 1680, St. Philip’s boasts the oldest church congregation in Charleston, however, the present building on Church Street wasn’t built until 1835 after a fire destroyed the previous sanctuary. During the Civil War,  St.

Rainbow Row

One of the most photographed points in Charleston, this row of brightly colored houses on East Bay Street is representative of the preservation and reconstruction of Charleston’s signature architecture.

Fort Sumter Tours

Cruise the harbor and enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean while you make your way to historic Fort Sumter. Learn about the fort's important role in the Civil War, and be sure to visit the museum and souvenir shop on-site.

Fort Moultrie

Named after William Moultrie, who oversaw its construction as colonel of the South Carolina militia in 1776, Fort Moultrie has seen more than 170 years of history, from the American Revolution through World War II.

Angel Oak

The Angel Oak Tree is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. This ancient oak tree is estimated to be 300 - 400 years old. It is 65 feet tall and has a circumference of 25.5 feet. Perfect for a romantic picnic or family gathering. Open daily. Free admission.

The H.L. Hunley

In 1864, the Hunley became the world?s first successful submarine and then mysteriously vanished. Lost at sea for more than a century, the Hunley was located in 1995 and raised in 2000. The submarine now rests in a 75,000-gallon tank while scientists are at work to excavate and conserve it.

Patriots Point Naval Maritime Museum

Experience the Medal of Honor museum and other exhibits aboard the WWII aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. Plan a camping overnight, squeeze your way through a Cold War submarine, experience a VR space mission, and try your hand at the Flight Academy's flight simulator. Need more ideas?

Dock Street Theatre

Located on the corner of Church and Queen Streets in the famed French Quarter neighborhood, the Dock Street Theatre is undoubtedly one of historic downtown Charleston’s most iconic spots.

Charleston City Market

A National Historic Landmark, this former 19th century meat and produce market still bustles as the city’s central city location for social gatherings and retail transactions.

5 Favorite Churches of the Holy City

Charleston’s not called the Holy City for nothing. Just take a look at the city skyline (preferably at sunrise or sunset) for a spectacular view of the steeples representing many of the city’s historic churches.

The Battery and White Point Garden

Located where the Cooper and Ashley rivers converge to form the historic Charleston Harbor, views and water activity abound at, and on The Battery. Sailboats keel in the steady wind, dotting between cruise ships as tugboats steer merchant containers upriver to port.