Things To Do Before Or After Your Cruise In Charleston South Carolina
If you’re taking a cruise from Charleston here are some of our very favorite things to do before or after your cruise in Charleston, South Carolina.
Whether you’re flying or driving to Charleston, South Carolina or are lucky enough to be staying downtown before or after your cruise, you’ll want to take in all this magnificent grand city has to offer. Whether you’re interested in five-star dining, local seafood or just want to get a feel for that old Southern charm you’ve heard so much about, Charleston is the perfect pre-cruise playground. Consistently named the #1 city in the US in recent years, the bustling downtown area of Charleston is steps from the Port of Charleston cruise ship terminal.
Getting Around Charleston Without a Car
One of the best things about the city of Charleston, SC is that it is totally walkable. This fact, coupled with its mostly temperate weather year-round, makes it a great place to explore on foot. If you’re staying in town without a vehicle, take advantage of the free buses throughout the city. The main terminal is the Charleston Visitors Center where you can pick up maps and brochures and learn a bit of history of the area.
Whether you call them rickshaws, bike taxis or pedicabs, one fun way to get around the city is to hire this eco-friendly mode of transportation. A few companies in Charleston offer this service; check Market Street and you’re sure to find a driver lingering nearby. For history buffs or those just wanting a closer look at the expansive Charleston mansions, a horse-drawn carriage ride through the downtown streets is a fun way to experience the city.
If time allows, The Charleston Water Taxi is a quick and fun way to get out on the water. For $12, riders can get an all-day pass that will bring them to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The Charleston Water Taxi departs hourly from Charleston Waterfront Park, Patriots Point (USS Yorktown) and the Charleston Harbor Resort.
Shopping at the Historic Charleston City Market
On either side of Market Street (North and South) is the Historic Charleston City Market. At the entrance to the market, you’ll find artisans selling Sweetgrass Baskets. The quintessential way to commemorate a visit to Charleston is to purchase one of these masterpieces. The basket making skills handed down for generations dates back to the enslaved Africans who built the city of Charleston and grew the economy that made it an epicenter of wealth in its time.
Spend some time chatting with sweetgrass basket artisans and consider bringing this undeniably important piece of history home. Charleston City Market itself crosses four city blocks and consists of three open-air sheds with stalls housing handcrafted art, clothing, and gift items.
Charleston Cuisine for All Tastes and Budgets
A host of world-renowned chefs, including Sean Brock of McCrady’s, make Charleston their culinary home. Dining in the city is a world-class experience. Traditional Lowcountry must-try items include Shrimp and Grits, She Crab soup, Hush Puppies and Frogmore Stew.
For a relaxed, casual setting try Five Loaves Cafe at 43 Cannon Street (if you don’t have a car, you’ll need to hop on the CARTA bus) If you’re just looking for a quick but delicious slice of pizza try Pizzeria di Giovanni’s at 40 N. Market Street. The word ‘slice’ though, is relative; a slice is about the size of a personal pizza. Another must-try is Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, you can’t leave Charleston without stopping in here.
If you’re traveling in September be on the lookout for the Lowcountry Hospitality Association Restaurant Week offerings. Participating restaurants offer special lunch and dinner menus. In the Spring, the Charleston Wine + Food event takes place in Marion Square as well as several locations throughout the city. Special dinners, wine tastings, seminars, and workshops offer up a taste of Charleston.
Enjoy Charleston South Carolina like a Local
Relax and enjoy your Saturday at the Marion Square Farmers Market. Opportunities to shop, picnic or relax and listen to the live musicians abound.
Another fun thing to do is to head over Charleston Waterfront Park, relax on the swing sets or watch the dolphins.
During the Summer let the kids run through the splash fountain or grab a popsicle from a King of Pops mobile stand. No trip to downtown Charleston would be complete without taking a photo beside the Charleston Pineapple Fountain (yes, it’s ok to splash around in this one too)
If you’re cruising during the holidays and find yourself in Charleston at Christmas, considering stopping into Belmond Charleston Place lobby. Experience the Holiday Train – The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express replica. This model train includes 300 feet of train tracks running through an eight-foot mountain, forests and ski resort, hotel, shops; a true holiday scene that will transport you to 20th century Alpine Europe.
Charleston is an ideal place to visit year-round. Its slow Southern style will ease you right into vacation-mode. Conversely, if you’re spending time in Charleston on the tail end of your cruise, meandering the cobblestone streets of downtown Charleston is the ideal way to slowly transition back to reality.
What are your favorite things to do when visiting Charleston, South Carolina before or after your cruise?