The Southern hospitality and historical charm of Charleston can’t be beat. The night life, museums, beaches, and golf courses offer something new to experience every day. However, these attractions can kill a vacation budget and quickly make for an expensive trip. Luckily, there are an array of free sites and attractions throughout the city.
1. Enjoy the Arts
Charleston is home to dozens of fantastic art galleries and collections. Stop by the Chuma Gallery on Meeting Street to learn more about the Gullah people. They are descendants of enslaved Africans who made their homes in the area, and the gallery offers a glimpse into their local heritage.
2. Enjoy Free Music
The Pour House is home to free live music throughout the week. There is usually at least one free show every week, so be sure to check their schedule before heading out for the evening.
3. The Old City Market
The Old City Market is a great free attraction to explore. This indoor market is the city’s number one attraction for a reason. Take in the sites of the day market or enjoy a stroll through the market during evening hours.
4. The Museums
The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture can be found at the College of Charleston. It is a a museum and gallery dedicated to the African American history in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Tours, performances, and on-site attractions are free year-round.
5. Historical Charleston
Charleston is rich with U.S. history and the Dock Street Theatre is no exception. Opening in 1736, it is the first building designed in the U.S. specifically for theatre. Performances at this historic site are not free, but you can explore the grounds and peak inside for a look at the theatre.
6. Walk the City
Charleston is a fantastic walking city. Downtown is compact, which makes exploring easy. Simply take in the residential architecture or do some window shopping, it is up to you. There is no shortage of beautiful buildings to enjoy downtown.
7. The Battery
These Southern-style mansions stretch along the Southern point of the city. Bring your camera and take photos of the amazing homes in this neighborhood. Walk along the Charleston Harbor and simply enjoy the maritime activity unfold before you. It’s one picturesque area of Charleston you will not want to miss.
8. The Angel Oak Tree
This tree is over 1,000 years old and located 25 minutes away by car on Johns Island. It is the oldest tree on the East Coast and admission is free. It may be just a tree to some, but at 1,000 years old, it is a site to see.
There is no shortage of free attractions in the city of Charleston. Simply taking in the beauty of the homes and historic buildings alone is worth the journey. As a walkable city, you can save money and avoid a car rental. The arts, music, and museums offering free admission will offset any expenses you decide are worthy of a splurge while on your vacation to Charleston.