- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Manage Your Subscription
- Give a Gift Subscription
The South's Best Historic Christmas Home Tours
There are two key components of being Southern that lend themselves to the tradition of putting on our Sunday Best to tour historic homes during the holidays. Firstly, we're crazy about Christmas. Bring on the Hallmark movies and cookie swaps. Second, we're nosy. We'd never skip the opportunity to mosey around a stranger's house when it's decked out for Christmas.In the South, historic homes hold a special place in our hearts. Nothing makes us swoon faster than laying eyes on a grand columned antebellum, and there's something just magical about seeing them dressed up in lush garland and winter finery. Read on for the best Christmas home tours of historic houses throughout the South this year, and mark those calendars.
Watch The Historic Roosevelt Hotel Turn Into A Christmas Wonderland
This luxurious New Orleans hotel, housed in a historic 153-year-old building, doesn't spare any glitz or glamour when it comes to celebrating the holiday season. A Christmas tradition for over 80 years, decorations along the block-long lobby include 44 birch trees and more than 22,000 lights. Watch the lobby at the Roosevelt New Orleans , a Waldorf Astoria hotel, transform into a "Waldorf Wonderland" in just a minute's time.
Madison's Holiday Tour of Homes
Where: Madison, Georgia
When: November 30th – December 1st
This small town gets dressed up for the season. Tour a festive array of antebellum homes in Madison's historic district, which boasts the largest collection of 19th century architecture in Georgia.
For more information, visit exploregeorgia.org .
Natchitoches' Christmas Tour of Homes
Where: Natchitoches, Louisiana
When: December 6th – 15th
Celebrating with over 100,000 lights and its classic Louisiana attitude, this town is definitely crazy about Christmas. Explore some of its finest historic homes smack in the middle of the festivities, which include its famous meat pies and holiday light shows on the river.
For more information, visit natchitocheshf.com .
Christmas Tour of Natchez
Where: Natchez, Mississippi
When: Throughout the season
This town is stuffed to the brim with antebellum homes just beckoning holiday visitors inside. Famed spots—Rosalie, Magnolia Hall, and Stanton Hall—invite visitors to tour their rooms bedecked in holiday décor. Not tired yet? Finish with the Armstrong Public Library Tour of Homes on December 2nd.
For more information, visit christmasinnatchez.com .
Christmas in Charleston Tours
Where: Charleston, South Carolina
When: November 15th – December 30th
Charleston's storied homes go big for the holiday season, so kick off your own celebration with a walking tour of these festive beauties. Visit the historic Joseph Manigault House, which takes its holiday décor quite seriously, and later find a collection of Victorian-style Christmas trees at the Aiken-Rhett House.
For more information, visit charlestoncvb.com .
Savannah's Holiday Tour of Homes
Where: Savannah, Georgia
When: December 8th
Experience Savannah's exquisite homes totally dripping with holiday décor. Think twinkling lights, lush garland, and gracious Southern hospitality.
For more information, visit dnaholidaytour.com .
Old Louisville's 42nd Annual Holiday Home Tour
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
When: December 1st – 2nd
Reminiscent of Yuletides past, this holiday tour takes you through the historic borough of Old Louisville. In true Kentucky fashion, the tour recommends stopping for a brief bourbon tasting at the Louisville Bourbon Inn. For a more kid-friendly trip, the tour has a Victorian tea party option instead.
For more information, visit oldlouisville.org .
New Orleans' Holiday Home Tours
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Location: Garden District, presented by the Preservation Resource Center; French Quarter, presented by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré
When: December 8th – 9th; December 16th
Start the season with a tour of the picturesque Garden District, complete with performances by local musicians and a festive holiday boutique. Move onto the French Quarter for a spirited tour of its historic homes, leading up to the Caroling in Jackson Square festivities later that evening.
For more information, visit prcno.org and patioplanters.net .
Fredericksburg's 61st Annual Christmas Home Tour & Market
Where: Fredericksburg, Texas
When: December 1st
This Texas town combines Southern hospitality with unique German Christmas traditions, making it a festive place to spend the holidays. Join the town for its 61st Annual Christmas Home Tour & Market, then embark on a holiday wine trail that follows along local wineries.
For more information, visit pioneermuseum.net .
23rd Annual Montford Holiday Tour of Homes
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville's most historic neighborhood, Montford will showcase 10 homes this season. Between the eclectic architecture and festive décor, it's bound to be a jolly good time. Nearby, the Biltmore goes over-the-top for the holidays too, so make sure to pay it a visit.
For more information, visit montfordtour.com .
Monticello Holiday Tours
Where: Charlottesville, Virginia
When: December 7th – 30th
Have you ever wondered what this historic beauty looks like at night? And decked out for Christmas? Here's your chance. These small group tours give an intimate look into how Christmas would have been celebrated back in Jefferson's time at his not-so-humble abode, Monticello.
For more information, visit monticello.org .
Historic Germantown Neighborhood Holiday Tour
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
When: December 2nd
One of Nashville's most historic boroughs, Germantown wants to show you how it does Christmas: charming and cozy. Take this self-guided tour, starting at the cozy Germantown Inn, then partake in the seasonal refreshments and shopping scattered throughout the hip neighborhood.
For more information, visit eventbrite.com .
Historic Columbia's Holiday House Tours
Where: Columbia, South Carolina
When: November 16th – December 30th
Visit two historic heavy-hitters—the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion—and see how these mansions would've been decorated for Christmas back in the 1800s.
For more information, historiccolumbia.org .
St. Augustine's Christmas Tour of Homes
Where: St. Augustine, Florida
Hosted by the Garden Club of St. Augustine since 1969, this holiday home tour feels quite traditional, including its tea time at the River House and homemade holiday boutique. When you're finished, take a stroll through the cobblestone streets of this historic town.
For more information, visit gardenclubofstaugustine.org .
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
- About Charleston
- Travel Guide
- Where to Stay
- Things to Do
Christmas in Charleston
Spending Christmas in Charleston is like taking a trip back in time. Antebellum mansions adorn with garland, holiday traditions passed down from the earliest settlers, and Gullah spirituals and holiday tunes. December is jam-packed with Christmas activities to get you in the holiday spirit. The mild temps make this an ideal time of year to visit and soak up some of Charleston’s fascinating history. Winter festivals, holiday walking tours, parades, plays, concerts and light displays are just a few reasons why Travel + Leisure named Charleston one of the best places to visit during the holiday season.
Holiday shopping is another activity that draws visitors to Charleston this time of year. Whether you are gift shopping or shopping for yourself, Charleston has lots of options, including the iconic King Street shopping district, the Historic City Market, the Holiday Market in Marion Square, and several outlet and open air malls in the area.
After a day of sightseeing and shopping, relax and enjoy some mouthwatering Southern food and holiday favorites at one of the many award-winning restaurants in Charleston.
Christmas draws lots of visitors, and numerous hotels in Charleston offer special holiday packages. Remember to book well in advance to ensure you can find a place to stay.
Christmas in Charleston Photos
Click Photos to Enlarge
Christmas in Charleston List of Events
Jump to a specific section:
Parades and Light Displays
Christmas in Charleston Parades and Light Displays
Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park Nov. 10 - Dec. 31, 2023
The Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is known for its three-mile driving tour, decorated with two million dazzling lights. Visitors can also walk the enchanted trail, wander through festival shops, make s’mores and sip on hot chocolate, and explore Santa's village.
Charleston Christmas Parade Dec. 3, 2023
The holiday tradition is better than ever, as miles of bands, floats, marchers, and performers parade through downtown Charleston.
Charleston Tree Lighting Dec. 3, 2023
Enjoy musical interludes leading up to Mayor Tecklenburg lighting up the tree in Marion Square as part of Illumination Charleston.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Hotel Bennett Dec. 7, 2023
Hotel Bennett's annual Tree Lighting Celebration returns on Thursday, December 7 on the Gabrielle Plaza. Prepare to immerse yourself in an evening beneath the twinkling stars, filled with enchanting music, delightful festive giveaways, and heartwarming surprises from none other than Santa himself.
Holiday Parade of Boats Dec. 9, 2023
The Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats is held yearly in Charleston Harbor. Participants must register and decorate their boat from stem to stern while spectators view the parade from either Mt. Pleasant or Charleston along the harbor.
Folly Beach Christmas Parade Dec. 9, 2023
The event will feature floats, marching bands, and an Arts & Crafts Show at the Community Center. It’s the perfect place to get a unique gift you won’t find anywhere else. After the parade, head down to Folly River Park to receive goodies from Santa.
Mount Pleasant Christmas Parade Dec. 10, 2023
Brilliantly lit floats and community groups will march up West Coleman Boulevard as the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade sets sail to the delight of thousands of spectators. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with a fireworks show, immediately followed by the start of the parade.
Christmas in Charleston Holiday Events
Aquarium Aglow Nov. 16 - Dec. 30, 2023
Aquarium Aglow is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience. This immersive holiday light spectacular brings forth the joy and magic of the season, with tens of thousands of lights displayed throughout the Aquarium. Enjoy food, beverages and live entertainment.
Holiday Weekend Entertainment at Freshfield Village Nov. 24 - 26, 2023
Kick off the festive season with us on Friday, November 24th as we welcome Santa to the Village Green! In addition to photos at Santa’s Surf Shack, guests can enjoy our Holiday market (on Saturday only), live music, strolling carolers, and interactive performers each day.
Illumination Charleston Dec. 1 - 2, 2023
Enjoy demonstrations, tours of historic houses, a market featuring the Southern Living Tastemakers, inspired vignettes at the historic Aiken-Rhett House, engaging talks from some of the brightest stars in the design world, and fabulous nighttime gatherings.
Light the Lake Dec. 1, 2023
Enjoy crafts and activities, including letters to veterans, jingle bell jewelry making, holiday photos by the carriage, ornament making, leaf rubbings and an activity table hosted by the South Carolina Aquarium. Food vendors include Independent Grounds Coffee, Blackout Burger and more. Plus, countdown to the lighting of the holiday tree in the center of Colonial Lake.
Holiday Street Festival on IOP Dec. 2, 2023
Arts & Craft Vendors, local restaurants, food vendors, children's activities, live entertainment and Santa from 2 pm - 7 pm.
Wine Under the Oaks Dec. 3, 2023
Wine Under the Oaks is a casual and elegant affair that welcomes patrons to sample fine wines and delicious gourmet foods from Lowcountry chefs. Featuring live music, specialty gifts, a fine selection of wines, and edible delicacies.
Drayton Hall's Oyster Roast Dec. 3, 2023
The Deck the Hall Oyster Roast is the highlight of Charleston’s Christmas season – a Lowcountry tradition and a premiere holiday event. The oyster roast includes oysters with all the fixings, chili, beer, wine and live music on the most beautiful historic landscape in Charleston.
Old Village Holiday Street Fest Dec. 3, 2023
The Old Village Street Fest, hosted by Basic Projects and Out of Hand, returns to Pitt Street on Saturday, December 3rd, from 2 pm to 8 pm. The event promises a day filled with holiday shopping, live entertainment, food, libations, revelry, family fun, and more.
Charleston Reindeer Run Dec. 9, 2023
The Reindeer Run is a family-oriented, pet-friendly 5k run/walk located downtown Charleston. The costume contest is a crowd favorite and we are bringing it back again! So don’t forget to dress up in your festive best and compete for prizes and bragging rights!
Holiday Starlight Cinema Series Dec. 9 & 16, 2023
Join Freshfields Village in December for a special holiday edition of the Starlight Cinema! The outdoor movie series will be held on Saturday, December 9th and Saturday, December 16th. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and picnics to enjoy the family-friendly movie under the stars beginning at 6:00 pm.
Meet Santa in the Library Dec. 9, 2023
Christmas comes early to The Restoration with a special visit from the jolly old man himself! Bring your wish list and see if you made the nice list while you take pictures with Santa in The Library.
Chanukah in the Square Dec. 10, 2023
As is tradition, there will be hot food, live music, and a festive atmosphere. There will be no shortage of potato latkes, and the night will culminate with the community coming together to light the Chanukah candles.
Christmas in Charleston Holiday Markets
Holiday Market in Marion Square Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10 & 16, 2023
Shop Local this Holiday Season at the Annual Charleston Holiday Market in Marion Square on Saturdays & Sundays, 9am-2pm for the first three weekends in December. Enjoy a bounty of fresh local produce & homegrown creativity with additional vendors and decorations!
Holiday Market at Wild Dunes Resort Dec. 7, 2023
Kick off the start of the resort's most popular season at the Holiday Market! To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday market will feature pop-up shops from plaza stores for a unique shopping experience. Free and open to the public.
Holy City Holiday Market Dec. 16, 2023
The Holy City Holiday Market will be held outdoors on Saturday, December 16, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Holy City Brewing, Firefly Distillery, and The Station will partner up to host over 200 local vendors at this beloved annual event.
Christmas in Charleston Holiday Tours
Candlelight Tours of Drayton Hall Nov. 25 - Dec. 16, 2023
Experience Drayton Hall at night with these incredibly special candlelight tour experiences. This is a remarkable way to understand the house and lives which touched it from the perspective of a non-modernized colonial home. After the tour, enjoy a warm cup of a seasonal beverage.
Spiegeltent Charleston VIP Opening Night Celebration Nov. 18, 2023
Be transported to an early 1900s, much loved European attraction without ever leaving Charleston’s Historic District – a glittering and awe-inspiring Spiegeltent — only on the grounds of the Charleston Gaillard Center!
Holiday Decorations at the Joseph Manigault House Dec 2. - Dec. 27, 2023
Annually, the Garden Club of Charleston uses this impressive house as a backdrop for their creative holiday arrangements, using plant material that would have been available in the Lowcountry during the first quarter of the 19th century. This year, the GCC has chosen the theme A Lowcountry Christmas.
Christmas on the Battery Dec. 2 - 3, 2023
Enjoy a special evening at the historic Edmondston-Alston House. Take a self guided tour of the festively decorated house by candlelight, and hear the Charleston Caroling Company. Warm up in the courtyard with a glass of wine or hot cider and Gullah Christmas stories.
Christmas at Boone Hall Plantation Dec. 4, 2023 - Jan. 1, 2024
Tours of the plantation home during the Christmas holidays are included, with regular paid admission to Boone Hall Plantation. There is no additional charge to tour the mansion beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays.
Grand Illumination and Dinner Dec. 13 - 16, 2023
Join actors in period costume as they take you back to the Christmas of 1782. This event celebrates the return of Arthur Middleton from Philadelphia, the end of the Revolutionary War in the South, and the departure of the British troops from Charleston. Feast on early American cuisine.
Charleston Strolls Walking Tour Dec. 5 - 30, 2023
Enjoy the holiday spirit and seasonal decorations on the 2-hour Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour. Tour where carriages and motor-coaches are not allowed, and take a fascinating walking tour with stories and traditions revealing Charleston’s colorful past.
Holiday Sleigh Rides Dec. 2 - 23, 2023
Climb aboard our specially decorated carriage driven by one of Santa’s elves. This festive 20-minute ride through downtown – complete with caroling – is sure to make you merry. Last stop is Santa’s workshop, where you’ll join Old St. Nick, Mrs. Clause, and Rudolph for hot cocoa and cookies.
Holiday Strolls Cocktail Hour Dec. 1 -30, 2023
Stroll your way into the holiday spirit with Bulldog Tours’ newest culinary walking tour. Combine our yuletide history tour featuring stories of Charleston’s Christmases past with three stops by the Historic District’s most festive lounges for a signature holiday cocktail. The 2.5 hour tour includes our abbreviated holiday strolls walking tour and three signature cocktails (exclusively created for our tour guests)
Christmas in Charleston Live Performances
Manheim Steamroller Christmas Nov. 24, 2023
Chip Davis has announced he'll be taking his Mannheim Steamroller ensemble across America once again later in 2023.
Cirque Dreams: Holidaze Nov. 28 - Nov. 29, 2023
Over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers, original music, and seasonal favorites celebrate Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s in a 2-hour breathtaking spectacle.
A Christmas Carol Nov. 29 - Dec. 22, 2023
A brand new production of Dickens’s classic featuring colorful new sets and costumes and an inventive new holiday score. Filled with the carols of the season and magical special effects, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, despite himself, discovers once again the magic of Christmas.
The Sound of Charleston Nov. 25 & Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 26 & 30, 2023
The Sound of Charleston Holiday Edition features rich musical heritage, from gospel to Gershwin, including selected holiday songs of the period. The Circular Congregational Church will be decorated for Christmas to provide a beautiful backdrop for this enchanting evening.
SPIEGELTENT: 10TH ANNIVERSARY ROCKABILLAQUE Dec. 1, 2023
The Swingin’ Holiday Spectacular will be a special night celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Rockabillaque Charleston in the unique and spectacular Spiegeltent at the Gaillard Center making for an unforgettable experience.
Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony Dec. 2, 2023
Now an annual tradition, and in celebration of the most wonderful time of year, the world’s biggest-selling soprano and legendary GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist Sarah Brightman returns with her “A Christmas Symphony” tour.
Holiday Swing: A Charleston Jazz Tradition Dec. 2, 2023
The Charleston Jazz Orchestra always looks forward to this holiday concert. Maestro Robert Lewis and the 18-piece big band will swing you into the holiday spirit with big band arrangements of holiday favorites. Add a little jazz to your holiday with this popular Charleston tradition.
Turn Down the Valium: Holiday Edition Dec. 3 & 10, 2023
Champagne cocktails are standing by! A picture perfect holiday night in downtown Charleston with intimate (and hilarious!) musical numbers by the vocalists of 34 West Theater. Seating is extremely limited.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Dec. 6, 2023
Candlelight: Holiday Special Featuring "The Nutcracker" and More Dec. 7 - 20, 2023
Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Charleston. Get your tickets now to discover Holiday inspired music at The Unitarian Church under the gentle glow of candlelight.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage Dec. 9, 2023
Now the classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation that celebrates the timeless television classic so the whole family can join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts characters in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas.
Who's Holiday Dec. 9 - 22, 2023
In this raunchy and hilarious one-woman show, Cindy Lou Who is all grown up - and she isn’t quite the adorable child you remember from Dr. Seuss’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Now a chain-smoking forty year old living in a trailer on Mt. Crumpet, many years have passed since Cindy caught the Grinch in her living room in this 60 minute R-rated comedy
Spirituals Concert Dec. 10, 2023
Join us on December 10, 2023, from 3:30pm – 5:00pm, for the 40th Anniversary Holiday Spirituals Concert, our most requested event of the Holiday Season! Ann Caldwell and The Magnolia Singers will usher in the Holidays with their ancestral hymns. Enjoy a beverage and light bites at the reception before being seated for the performance.
The Charleston Christmas Special Dec. 14 - 23, 2023
Charleston’s favorite holiday tradition returns in December as Moranz Entertainment brings the Charleston Christmas Special to the Charleston Music Hall for its 27th season. Audiences of all ages will be delighted by the music, dancing and skits featuring some of the country’s most talented performers.
A Christmas Carol - Professional Reading Dec. 16, 2023
Professional cast of 3 in Dickensian attire bring all the characters to life in this 1 hour Dickens' own edited version headed up by British stage actor - James Dyne. Join us for a heartwarming and magical evening at Gage Hall in beautiful Charleston, SC.
Dorrance Dance - Nutcracker Suite Dec. 17, 2023
In Nutcracker Suite, explosive tap dance meets your favorite holiday classic. This Nutcracker boogies, slides, struts, and dives into Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s intoxicating interpretation of the Tchaikovsky classic.
Spiegeltent: Homegrown and Nationally Known Dec. 23, 2023
This holiday season, the Gaillard brings back the Spiegeltent, a “mirror tent,” originally used as a traveling European dance hall in the 20th century. We are thrilled to welcome the return of Homegrown and Nationally Known with Charlton Singleton, Kanika Moore, and Patrick Davis.
Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet Dec. 26, 2023
NUTCRACKER! MAGICAL CHRISTMAS BALLET, the beloved family tradition is back! Gather your loved ones for the warm-glow-nostalgia of America’s favorite Christmas celebration. Experience the extraordinary international cast and Ukrainian Principal Artists performing at the peak of classical European Ballet.
Hotels for Christmas in Charleston
Mills House Hotel
Charleston Place Hotel
The Spectator Hotel
Find top-rated hotels at the lowest prices on Priceline. Check rates now!
You might like these
Charleston Tree Lighting (2023) | Dec. 3, 2023
Join the celebration at the official Charleston tree lighting ceremony which also includes musical performances and an appearance from Santa Clause.
Charleston Holiday Boat Parade (2023) | Dec. 9, 2023
Join a Lowcountry holiday tradition, the Charleston holiday boat parade, as this display of lighted and festive boats proceeds from the Cooper River, through the Charleston Harbor and into the Ashley River.
Charleston Christmas Parade (2023) | Dec. 3, 2023
The Charleston Christmas Parade is better than ever as miles of bands, floats, marchers, and performers proceed through downtown Charleston.
More things to do in Charleston
Free Things to Do
- Things to do in Charleston SC
- Charleston Events
- Christmas in Charleston
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how... Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?Click on the HTML link code below.Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable. var l = window.location.href, d = document; document.write('<form action="#"><div style="text-align:center"><textarea cols="50" rows="2" onclick="this.select();"><a href="'+l+'">'+d.title+'</a></textarea></div></form>');
Back to the Top
Copyright © 2009-2023 visit-historic-charleston.com
- International African American Museum
- Charleston Beer Week
- Charleston Harvest Festival
- Charleston Scottish Games
- Charleston Events & Festivals
- Charleston Plantations
- Charleston Maps
- Charleston Campgrounds
- Where to Stay in Charleston
Things to do in Charleston SC Charleston City Night Market
Nov 15, 23 06:00 AM
What: Charleston City Night Market When: Friday and Saturday Evenings Where: Charleston City Market Time: 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm How Much: Free The largest handmade market in the South East. It’s local. It’s…
ARE YOU SURE WANT TO LOG OUT?
Share route entry, special theme, charleston christmas lights, most-festive homes.
- Turn-by-turn directions to each sparkling stop.
- Vote for your favorite holiday home!
- 10% of each sale will be donated to ChildFund.
Route details, jolly wishes, wintry magic, swiatkowski family home, 11 more tour stops.
Christmas in Charleston
3HR Tour $400 – Enjoy an 18th and 19th century Charleston Christmas with your private guide. Includes a private riding tour of the historic district of Charleston with an addition of lowcountry holiday traditions. Local traditions abound in our “city by the sea.” Visit the oldest church in the city, St. Michael’s Church (C 1761). You will even get to see the Grand Antebellum Homes decorated with Christmas joy!
1-2 people $125/hour
3-6 people $150/hour
Additional fees may apply for Plantation Tours, Christmas Tours and Culinary Tours. Admission is NOT included for the Plantation Tours. Call for details.
For groups larger than four, transportation can be arranged for an additional fee. Transportation by luxury auto is included up to six passengers.
Email: [email protected]
Call: (843) 345-1130 or (843) 291-1201
5 Festive Holiday Tour Of Homes In South Carolina Perfect For Decking The Halls With Holiday Cheer
More by this Author
Each year for charity, private homeowners around the state decorate their homes with holiday cheer and then agree to open their doors to the community to tour. If you’ve never been to a holiday tour of homes, then you’re in for a pleasant afternoon or evening. The tours below include daytime events as well as a candlelight tour of homes over in historic Camden. From festive decor to live music, food, and more, a tour of homes at Christmas is a feast for the soul. Take a look below at five holiday homes tours throughout the state, and then be sure to follow the reader comments for other tours added by readers!
The 16,000-Square-Foot Indoor Train Park At Model Trains Station In South Carolina Proves There's Still A Kid In All Of Us
Take The South Carolina Expedition Tour Off The Intracoastal Waterway To Hunt For Real Fossils
Your Kids Will Have A Blast At This Miniature Train Park In South Carolina
Visit private homes decorated to the nines on any of these holiday tours of homes in South Carolina this season for an outing that’s sure to make you feel merry and bright. Did we leave your favorite holiday tour of homes off the list? Feel free to add it, including a link to more details, in the comments below!
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Want more South Carolina in your inbox?
Get the latest on things to see, do, and eat around South Carolina!
Thank you! You will receive your first email soon.
An error occured.
- 100 Years Ago, Thousands Of People In South Carolina Died Due To A Strain Of The Flu
- Spend An Afternoon Taking A Delightful Kayak Paddling Tour Through Lynches River In South Carolina This Spring
- The Horseback Waterfall Tour In South Carolina That's Simply Unforgettable
- Explore A New Side Of Cleveland Park On The Swamp Rabbit Bike Trail In South Carolina
- Take The Rare Cape Romain Lighthouse Island Tour To Visit Two Isolated Lighthouses Along The South Carolina Coast
- Take A Fall Colors Cruise In South Carolina For A Beautiful And Scenic Autumn Adventure
- The Pumpkin Patch Train Ride In South Carolina That's Perfect For A Fall Day
- If There's One Cemetery Tour In South Carolina That'll Send Shivers Up Your Spine, This Is It
Explore South Carolina
- Arts & Entertainment
- Farms & Wildlife
- Fun Adventures
- Shops & Boutiques
- Sights & Landmarks
- Plantation Tour Combination Tickets
- Group Tours
- Private Guided Tours
- Getting Here
- Archaeology & Collections
- Online Exhibits
- Apparel & Accessories
- Books & Media
- From Our Collection
- Local Favorites
- Corporate Gifts
- Create Your Own Gift Box
- Events Calendar
- Fall & Holiday Events
- Private Events
- Image Gallery
- The Drayton Hall Fund
- Become a Member
- Corporate Friends of Drayton Hall
- Buy Tickets
2023 Candlelight Tours of Drayton Hall In Charleston, SC
March 4, 2023.
Interior detail of Drayton Hall's Desk and Bookcase (post-conservation). Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2013.
27 Objects From The Drayton Collections Make Their Official Debut At Colonial Williamsburg’s Dewitt-wallace Decorative Arts Museum Through December 2015
This new exhibit will highlight the breadth of the material culture of the 18th century—furniture, ceramics, metals, archaeological artifacts, and more. The objects chosen from Drayton Hall’s Collections span the first and second periods of Drayton Hall when John (1715-1779) and his son Charles (1743-1820) were in residence.
Included will be the most significant piece of furniture in Drayton Hall’s collection (shown above; post conservation): a rare, English-made desk and bookcase, c. 1745. Described by Ronald L. Hurst, Vice President, Collections, Conservation, and Museums, and Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator, Colonial Williamsburg, as “the finest example of furniture to survive from Colonial America,” this exquisite piece is a testament to John Drayton’s wealth and sophistication, and his position as one of colonial America’s most significant merchant planters.
Download the pdf to see pictures of the objects Described here: Drayton Hall Collections Go Public!
a. Mahogany side chair from Drayton Hall. Documentary research indicates that this is one of 24 chairs utilized in the great hall. Such chairs may have been ordered for the main house, and are complemented by a matching settee that survives in Drayton Hall’s museum collection. Gift of Charles H. Drayton.
b. Mahogany stair bracket from Drayton Hall’s stair hall. This delicately carved architectural feature, original to Drayton Hall’s 1740s construction, was originally treated with translucent vermillion paint to give the stair hall a vibrant appearance.
c. Porcelain Garniture Set. Utilized to ornament the interior of Drayton Hall, this three-piece set was manufactured in Jingdezhen, China, in the 18th century and consists of polychrome decoration depicting chinoiserie figures in a garden with gilt foliate decoration on the outside panels. Gift of Charles H. Drayton.
d. Porcelain chocolate cups. Created in Jingdezhen, China, around 1720, these small cups were recovered through archaeological excavations close to the main house and were used to drink beverages made with imported chocolate.
e. Desk and Bookcase (formerly known as the Bureau Bookcase). This elaborate example of mid 18th-century British case furniture may have been located within Drayton Hall’s withdrawing room. Completed with 13 secret compartments, gilt rococo, brasses, and delicate wood and tortoise shell inlays, this object is one of the finest examples of furniture to survive from colonial America. Gift of Charles H. Drayton and Martha Mood.
Photo courtesy Tony Islan.
Create a very special historic memory this year in Charleston, SC. Take a candlelight tour of Charleston, SC’s historic estate, Drayton Hall ca. 1738.
Beautiful and moving, this eighteenth century historic house is the oldest untouched home open to the public in the United States. On select dates, Drayton Hall will be open for these reservation-only Candlelight Tours to a limited number of guests on the dates below.
Experience Drayton Hall at night with these incredibly special candlelight experiences. This is a remarkable way to understand the house and the lives which touched it – and historic Charleston – from the perspective of a preserved colonial home.
After your tour, we invite you to enjoy a warm cup of a seasonal beverage (non-alcoholic) as you stroll back toward the Visitors Center and visit The Shop at Drayton Hall.
$50 members/$55 non-members per person.
- Archaeology Events
- Book Club Events
- Collections Event
- Downtown Charleston Events
- Education Events
- Family events
- Garden and Landscape Events
- Holiday Events
- Kids events
- Member event
- Music events
- Outdoor Activities
- Social Events
From The Blog
November 13, 2023
(843) 769-2600 email@example.com
3380 Ashley River Road Charleston, SC 29414
Drayton Hall's main house and landscape are open to the public weekly Wednesday through Monday from 9 am to 5:00 pm (gate closes at 3:30 pm). CLOSED on Tuesdays. The gate will accept no cash transactions.
- Get Involved
Group Package Tours of Texas, the Southwest, and beyond
- South Carolina
- Nova Scotia/PE Island
A Culinary Charleston Christmas!
Four days / three nights.
This year for your holiday travel, take your group to the most gracious, historic, and genteel city in the South: Charleston! Our tour is designed to please those who have been to Charleston before as well as those enjoying it for the first time. You will see it all dressed up in its Christmas finery, with its delectable culinary and shopping delights available for your pleasure.
The culinary capital of the carolina coast.
Christmas Culinary Delights that will amaze and delight you —
- THE CHARLESTON CHOCOLATE TOUR – a chocolate lovers heaven!
- THE HISTORICAL CULINARY TOUR OF CHARLESTON – The majestic sweep of the history of Charleston as seen through its world class cuisine. The tour includes stops at two of the six important House Museums, the Aiken-Rhett House and the Joseph Manigault House. The experience culminates with a “collation”, a gathering, at a popular restaurant.
Both of these tours will involve esteemed local chefs, terrific food flavored with the season and spice of Charleston…and of course, tastings!.
An Old South Christmas
Two Christmas Concerts that will showcase the unique atmosphere that is part of an Old South Christmas experience —
- THE DRAYTON HALL SPIRITUALS CONCERT – sung by a top-notch local ensemble, in a candlelight setting in one of the nation’s most important 18th century plantation homes!
- THE CITADEL CADETS CHRISTMAS CONCERT – in the grand Gothic Chapel of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
Charleston – The 300-Year-Old Queen of the English South!
- Walking tour of the Architectural History of Charleston with the city’s leading art and architecture historian.
- A carriage tour of the Historic District to orient you to the city.
- Visits to two of the great Museum Houses – Heyward-Washington (George actually did sleep here!) and Nathanial Russell (with one of the grandest staircases you will ever see).
- Free time is factored into your schedule for you to see museums and other sites of your choice.
Perhaps what may be the most memorable activity of all: The Christmas Progressive Dinner at three elegant, historic locations. You will have appetizers and libations at KINGS COURTYARD INN , the entree at CIRCA 1886 , and dessert with coffee at the JOHN RUTLEDGE HOUSE . (built in 1763, and a National Historic Landmark).
Transportation among the three will be by horse drawn carriage! This will be an evening your group will always remember!
Copyright © 2009-2021 Heritage Tours LLC. All rights reserved.
The Traveling Drifter
The Best Festive Christmas Activities in Charleston 2023 (And Early 2024)
Snow falling, shivering in the cold, wearing thick coats and boots. Christmas. Except for one thing, it is usually in the 60s and sometimes in the 70s in Charleston during the holiday season. Christmas in the South and Charleston is a little different than the normal Christmas you see on TV. I am here to help. These Christmas activities in Charleston will help bring out the full holiday spirit.
Charleston becomes magical during the holiday season. Christmas activities in Charleston are taken very seriously with many options on how to celebrate. If you are looking for an amazing way to celebrate Christmas, look no further than Charleston.
Charleston was named one of the best places to visit by Travel + Leisure Magazine during the holiday season. The city likes to go all out with the winter festivals, parades, plays, light displays, concerts, and holiday walking tours.
Christmas in Charleston is truly a great experience. It is like taking a trip back in time when visiting certain places. There is nothing like doing all the Christmas activities in Charleston.
The Best 23 Christmas Activities in Charleston Plus Extras
There are a lot of holiday activities in Charleston to choose from. Charleston has many options from parades, lighting, events, markets, and tours. What is great is that the weather is not too cold so you can enjoy any activity outside.
Whichever type of holiday and Christmas activities you are looking for, you will be able to find them in Charleston. So take your mittens off, put a beanie on, have a nice sweater or hoodie, and enjoy all the best holiday festivities in Charleston.
Charleston Christmas Activities: Lighting and Parades
For many people, holidays and parades go together. Charleston and the surrounding area have Christmas parades each year to celebrate the season. Make sure to check out all of the parades if you can but the main one is the Charleston Christmas Parade.
Charleston takes holiday lighting to another level. There is just something about the warm colors of Christmas lights that are just soothing to know that it is the holiday season. If you are looking for the best Christmas lights in Charleston, I have where you need to go.
1. Holiday Festival of Lights
When: November 10th – December 31st, 2023
The Charleston Holiday Festival of the Lights at James Island County Park is a Charleston staple for the Christmas season. This is Charleston’s most popular event during the holidays for families to come and see. There are an estimated two million lights that bring the joy of the holidays to many.
The Charleston Holiday Festival of Lights is mostly known for the 3-mile driving tour that you tune your radio to and enjoy the show. Besides the drive, there is also the 50-ton sand sculpture, a holiday train, a Victorian carousel, and an enchanted walking trail.
No holiday or Christmas festival is complete until you meet Santa Claus. Make your way to Santa’s Village and experience all types of food including burgers, funnel cakes, hot chocolate, and much more. Stop by the Reindeer Workshop and build your very own reindeer. Once you are finished, make sure to stop by Santa himself and tell him what you want for Christmas.
2. Charleston Christmas Parade
When: December 3rd, 2023
The Charleston Christmas Parade is a staple in Charleston. Come out and enjoy the parade and watch your favorites go by in celebration. You will see bands, floats, performers, marchers, and a Santa parade through the historic streets of Charleston.
The parade will start on Broad Street at Colonial Park and travel north on Broad Street until Meeting Street. After which, it will go down Meeting Street and end at Calhoun Street at Marion Square. The tree lighting will follow the parade in Marion Square.
Make sure to check out the Christmas parades for Folly Beach and Mount Pleasant as well.
3. Charleston Tree Lighting
After the Charleston Christmas Parade ends at Marion Square, the time to light the Christmas tree will happen. Every year, the Mayor of Charleston will light the tree with all the spectators looking at it.
Sitting in the middle of Marion Square is a 64-foot Holiday Tree of Lights. The Charleston Tree Lighting takes place while the Charleston Symphony Brass plays all your favorite Christmas classics. The Holiday Tree of Lights is the official City of Charleston Christmas Tree.
4. Holiday Parade of Boats
When: December 9th, 2023
The Holiday Parade of Boats takes place every year in Charleston Harbor. This parade of boats starts in Mount Pleasant in the Cooper River, goes through Charleston Harbor, and then ends in the Ashley River. You will see boats loaded up with Christmas lights from bow to stern.
What is more Charleston than having a holiday boat parade in the harbor? Anyone with a boat can participate in the event, you will need to register and then decorate your boat. The parade ends with a fireworks display.
Charleston Christmas Activities: Holiday Markets
Christmas and holiday markets are an ideal staple for the holiday season. Charleston loves to put together some amazing holiday markets for people to shop and explore. Enjoy the local products and events as you stroll through the markets.
Many of the holiday markets will have performers performing classic Christmas carols. You will be able to find local crafts and goods to purchase for your Christmas presents. Walking through these markets will get you in the holiday cheer and ready to celebrate the holidays.
I love to walk around the area looking at all the goods and seeing families coming together and enjoying their days. Seeing kids’ faces lighting up with all the Christmas magic around them is spectacular. Walking around the holiday markets really puts you in the Christmas mood.
5. Holiday Market at Middleton Place
When: November 25th and November 26th, 2022 (2023 TBD)
The Holiday Market at Middleton Place will kick off its season with an open-air market. This market will include vendors, local artisans, and live musicians performing Christmas and holiday carols.
Enjoy the charm of Middleton Place as you walk around the Holiday Market taking in the sites. Take some time to visit all the locations of the plantation while you visit it for the holidays. You can tour the plantation as normal but it will be decked out with Christmas decorations.
6. Holiday Market in Marion Square
When: December 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, and 16th, 2023
The Charleston Farmers Market takes place in Marion Square in the heart of downtown Charleston. Charleston Farmers Market is filled locally by Lowcountry farmers, and you can buy from locally owned businesses that have prepared/packaged food.
You will see artisans, crafters, and live performers with community groups and activities. The variety of local produce, plants, herbs, and local breakfast and lunch vendors will help you fall in love with Charleston.
Every December, The Charleston Farmers Market transforms into the Holiday Market in Marion Square . The hours will be extended during the holidays. You will notice that the area will look like a great holiday market with the Charleston Christmas Tree in the center of the square.
7. Miracle on Market Street
When: December 15th – 17th, 2023
Miracle on Market Street takes place at Charleston Place and they transform Market Street into a European-style holiday market. You will be able to enjoy live community performances, a pop-up market featuring Charleston retailers, amazing food, and beverages. Make sure to look for workshops and 4D movies.
The best part though, they will create snowfall on the street to give it that true Christmas look and feel. Getting the snow is an extra treat while being in an area that does not normally receive snow during the holidays.
8. Annual Holy City Holiday Market
When: December 16th, 2023; 11 am – 5 pm
The holidays and great drinks go great well together. And for most people, it is a necessity during the holidays. The Annual Holy City Holiday Market is the perfect place for this to happen.
Holy City Brewing will host over 100 local vendors. Besides local craftsmen, you will see lots of vendors for drinks. Get a great sampling from Firefly Distillery, Ship’s Wheel Hard Cider, Commonhouse Aleworks, The Codfather, and Nippitaty Distillery. There are many choices to get a great drink at the Holy City Holiday Market.
Charleston Christmas Activities: Holiday Events
Holiday events in Charleston are a great way to get into the holiday and Christmas spirit. The city of Charleston and private businesses will put on many events for people to enjoy during the holiday season.
These events will consist of parties, shopping, drinking, eating, and activities to share with one another. You will be able to enjoy everything Christmas during the events that are put on.
These events are a great way to see everyone in the holiday spirit and celebrate life and their happiness. Something always happens around the holiday season where people are just so happy and it is an amazing thing to see.
9. Aquarium Aglow
When: November 16th – December 30th 2023
The Aquarium Aglow is a unique experience that combines Christmas and the sea. These are elegant evenings that take place at the South Carolina Aquarium. You will immerse yourself in the tens of thousands of lights as you walk through the aquarium.
The awe-inspiring look of the aquarium will bring out your entire holiday spirit. You can use interactive displays during the event. The event will also have food and beverages for purchase. Make sure to get your tickets from the website here and make this a new tradition for you and your family.
10. Holiday Events at Charleston Place
When: November 24th – December 31st, 2023
Holiday Events at Charleston Place make the magic of Christmas come alive. Every evening at 6 pm and 8 pm through New Year’s Eve, it will magically snow on Market Street Circle. The snow will cover all the holiday trees in the area and create a beautiful layer of snow on the ground.
Check the website for details on times for when it will snow. You can expect snow almost daily during this time.
Make sure to get there beforehand as guests are allowed in the area 15 minutes before the start of each snowfall. The lines will start one hour before the snowfall.
When: December 1st, 2023
Uncorked is a Christmas event that kicks off the Wine Under The Oaks Weekend. It is a collaboration between Boone Hall Plantation and Charleston Radio Group. The event is an optional black tie exclusive Christmas holiday event at the Cotton Dock venue at Boone Halle Plantation.
Uncorked is an enchanting evening that is full of wines and cocktails. Hors d’oeuvres are catered in and available to you along with food stations and desserts. Enjoy the night while the band plays all your Christmas favorites. There will be a photo booth, cigar roller, and much more to enjoy at this event.
You will want to get your tickets fast and early because this event sells out fast.
12. Skate The Stadium
When: November 24nd – December 30th, 2023
Skate The Stadium is back for another season. This will take place on Daniel Island at the Capital One Stadium. It opens on November 24th and will coincide with the Daniel Island tree lighting.
Skate The Stadium will be a custom-built rink made specifically for ice skating. There are pop-up cafes and fire pits around the rink. You will be able to enjoy great concession options like cinnamon sugar pretzels and smores kits. Be sure to get some hot chocolate, coffee, cider, and a full bar with seasonal beers and specialty cocktails.
Tickets are $10 per person and will include skate rentals for a 45-minute session. Skate The Stadium will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 5 pm – 9 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 9 pm, and Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm.
Purchase your tickets here .
13. Wine Under The Oaks
Wine Under The Oaks is a holiday classic at Boone Hall Plantation. It is an elegant and casual event that has patrons sample fine wines and delicious gourmet food from many Lowcountry Chefs.
You can enjoy live music, a fine selection of wine, and specialty gifts. Several VIP tables will be available with tickets. Along with that, there are regular general admission tickets.
Wine Under The Oaks has become one of the highlights in the Charleston area during the Christmas holiday season.
14. Drayton Hall’s Oyster Roast
Drayton Hall’s Oyster Roast is an annual Christmas favorite in Charleston. Bring your family and friends out to Drayton Hall and partake in shucking oysters and having local beverages. Enjoy all the Christmas decor as you hang out on the plantation enjoying your oysters.
These oysters are all-you-can-eat with the purchase of the ticket. There is also a chili bar that will help you stay warm during the day. Take time to explore Drayton Hall as it is one of the best plantations in Charleston. Your purchase of the event ticket will work as an entrance ticket for the entire plantation.
15. Charleston Reindeer Run
The Charleston Reindeer Run is an annual event that has grown to include over 3,500 runners for the 5K event. This is a great run that is family-oriented and pet-friendly. You can have your dog run the 5K with you!
Proceeds of the Charleston Reindeer Run are split up between the Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston’s endowment.
The run is a 5K run that takes you in a loop and goes along The Battery. You will enjoy many amazing houses decked out with Christmas decorations. The run starts at 9 am. Once finished, enjoy the after-party in the official Beer Garden or have fun in the many restaurants and bars in the area.
Check out the website here to register yourself and your dog for the run .
Charleston Christmas Activities: Holiday Tours
Charleston has so much Christmas and holiday cheer spread throughout the city that it is hard to see all of it sometimes. One of the best ways to see everything and get into the holiday spirit is to take tours. There are plenty of tours around the city to get you to see all that you want to see during the holiday season.
Be it going on tours to see lights, drinks, or even sitting back in a sleigh, Charleston has you covered. Enjoy the beauty that is Charleston during the Christmas season with tours of the area.
I remember riding in a car as a kid as my mother would drive around the town to see all the Christmas lights. That is why I knew it was Christmas time. Doing these tours puts me right back in that mindset. I hope it does the same for you.
16. Candlelight Tours of Drayton Hall
When: Fridays and Saturdays – November 25th – December 16th, 2023
Candlelight Tours of Drayton Hall is a magical and special way to tour and visit the plantation. Drayton Hall is an eighteenth-century historic plantation house and is the oldest untouched home that is open to the public in The United States. Take a tour and experience the plantation house that many do not get to see, by candlelight.
The house will have candles all over it and you will be led by a tour guide by candlelight throughout the house. It is amazing to see the plantation house from the perspective of night and candlelight. It creates a whole new experience.
Once finished with the tour, you are invited to enjoy a warm cup of seasonal beverage as you walk back to the visitor’s center. Make sure to check out the website here to learn of the select dates that this special tour happens during the season .
17. Christmas on The Battery
When: December 2nd, 2023
Christmas on the Battery is a special and unique event that is filled with carols, candlelight, and Gullah Christmas stories. This event takes place at the historic Edmondston-Alston House. The tours are self-guided and take place every half hour. You will need to purchase tickets for this event.
The house will be decked out in holiday decorations. You will be able to warm up in the courtyard with a glass of hot cider or wine while you listen to local storytelling that will perform Gullah Christmas stories. Make sure to click here to purchase tickets for the event . When done, take some time to walk The Battery to enjoy one of the best places in Charleston.
18. Christmas at Boone Hall
When: December 5th, 2023 – January 1st, 2024
Tour one of the most beautiful plantations and plantation houses in The United States during Christmas. Christmas at Boone Hall is truly special. The entire grounds are decked out in holiday decorations for the Christmas period. But, it is the house that makes the visit worthwhile during the holidays.
There will be plenty of amazing Christmas trees throughout the house, and yes, they will be in every room. You will notice that all the ornaments are unique. Some are made with local sweetgrass, whereas others are made from cotton and berries from the plantation. There are no plastic decorations throughout Boone Hall Plantation . This is traditional Christmas decorating at its finest.
Make sure to click here to get tickets to Boone Hall Plantation to enjoy Christmas at Boone Hall .
19. Grand Illumination and Dinner
When: December 13th – 16th, 2023
The Grand Illumination and Dinner is a time travel Christmas journey that takes you back to 1782. This event is a celebration of the return of Arthur Middleton from Philadelphia at the end of the Revolutionary War. It also celebrates the departure of the British troops from Charleston at the end of the war.
You are treated to a presentation of these events by actors in period costumes. After the presentation, you will feast on early American cuisine from the colonial period. You will be surrounded by torch-lit gardens and warm fires that will make Grand Illumination a memorable part of the holiday season.
The event takes place in two parts. The presentation and then the dinner. You will enjoy the Christmas decorations set in the colonial period in this once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience. Make sure to get your tickets here because they sell out fast .
20. Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour
When: December 5th – 30th, 2023
Enjoy the two-hour Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour through the historic district of Charleston and see all the holiday and Christmas decorations. You will enjoy a full walking tour that will give you stories and traditions about Charleston’s rich history.
The tour will take you through private neighborhoods that show off their Christmas decorations. The Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour will take you past the Edmondston-Alston House to view a glimpse of nineteenth-century Christmas decor.
Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour has been featured in Southern Living and recommended by the AAA Tour Book and The New York Times . Make sure to purchase your tickets here to enjoy the amazing tour .
21. Holiday Sleigh Rides
When: December 2nd – 23rd, 2023
The Holiday Sleigh Rides by Old South Carriage Company is perfect for enjoying the holidays in Charleston. You will climb aboard one of the decorated carriages that are led by one of Santa’s elves and tour the Christmas setting of Charleston. Enjoy a 25-minute ride downtown that includes caroling as you build the perfect Christmas memory.
Once you are finished with the tour, stop by Santa’s magical stable. You will be able to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph. Make sure to bring your camera with you so you can take all the photos you want.
Make sure you purchase your tickets ahead of time here so you can make sure to get the perfect memory for you and your family.
22. Holiday Strolls Cocktail Hour
When: November 26th – December 30th, 2023 only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
There is nothing like a great Christmas tour with drinks. The Holiday Strolls Cocktail Hour is exactly what this is all about. Enjoy Charleston’s history tour while stopping by to get a few drinks on the way.
This tour will take you on a two-and-a-half-hour tour around the area while stopping at three lounges to get three signature cocktails. The cocktails that you receive on this tour have been created just for this event.
Make sure to purchase your tickets here because these tours do sell out fast .
23. Charleston Holiday Pub Crawl
When: November 25th, 2022 – January 8th, 2023 (2023 TBD)
What is a better and more fun way to celebrate the holidays than with friends and doing a holiday pub crawl? The Charleston Holiday Pub Crawl is exactly what this is and a great way to have the most fun with your friends. You will visit historic taverns and pubs that are decked out with Christmas decor.
This is a two-and-a-half-hour tour that will visit three to five pubs along the way. You will enjoy festive cocktails, local beer, and local food at each location. The tables in the pubs will be topped with many different hors ‘doeurves. The Charleston Holiday Pub Crawl is based on the famous European pub crawls.
This holiday pub crawl will start at three different times throughout the day, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. I suggest purchasing tickets as soon as possible because they sell out fast. Purchase tickets here for $50 apiece .
Charleston Christmas Activities: Concerts and Orchestras
If you are looking for lots of great Christmas concerts and orchestras, you will have many to choose from. There are many venues around the city to enjoy holiday music. In your list of Charleston Christmas activities, listening to holiday music should be up toward the top.
You will be able to listen to and watch many great classic Christmas concerts and plays. Just to name a few, A Christmas Carol, The Sound of Charleston, Riviera’s Rockin’ Holiday Special, and much more. These amazing performances can be found at the majority of the popular venues in Charleston.
- South Carolina Society Hall
- Charleston Music Hall
- The Riviera Theater
- Dock Street Theatre
Make sure to click on the venue’s name to find your way to the website to see which acts are available and to purchase your tickets.
Charleston Christmas Activities: Other Things To Do
There are a couple of other great holiday things to do in Charleston. One is all the shopping. Charleston has some of the best shopping around especially on historic King Street where you will find stores and boutiques for everyone.
One place I want you to check out is Handcraft in Mount Pleasant . It is a bar and kitchen that completely transforms their place into a holiday oasis. During this time is called Miracle at Handcraft. You will be able to enjoy this magical location all decorated between November 21st, 2022, and December 31st, 2022 (2023 TBD). Take time to enjoy all the festive cocktails that they make during this time.
Where to Stay During the Holiday Season?
Charleston offers many great locations to stay in while visiting. The good news is that it is not the height of the tourist season so the hotels will be less expensive. In fact, during this time, a lot of the hotels will have holiday packages and discounts.
I have put together a great list of hotels in all areas of Charleston for you to choose from. Remember to book well in advance to ensure you can find a place to stay and take advantage of the holiday deals.
- Click Here To Find The Best Holiday Deals On Charleston Hotels
Weather in Charleston During the Holiday Season
The weather in Charleston during the holiday season is quite comfortable. You are not looking at too cold of temperatures. You can expect Charleston to be between 55°F and 65°F during the day and in the upper 40°s at night. Now there will be a few days where it can get down into the 40°s and the nights into the 30°s, but that is not common.
You can expect some rain during the holiday season, but the rainy season has passed by this point along with the hurricane season. As for snow, it is rare, but it does happen from time to time. I would not count on seeing snow when visiting Charleston.
Charleston’s weather is nice for celebrating the holidays. It makes doing all the outdoor events doable since it is not too cold. But if you are from the north and are used to the full white Christmas, it does take a little bit to get used to. But once you do, the Christmas activities in Charleston are amazing during the southern winter.
Is Charleston Worth Visiting in December?
As you can see, December is full of amazing activities to do that involve Christmas and the holidays. Charleston does not disappoint the visitors during the month of December. Whether you are looking for Christmas activities in Charleston or just a standard vacation, December is a great time to visit.
With the temperature a bit cooler, this is an ideal time to take in everything that Charleston has to offer. Enjoy the history, tours, and everything else while the majority of the tourists are not in Charleston. If you are looking to visit many different locations besides the holiday ones, get your Charleston Tour Pass here and save money.
Get your Charleston Tour Pass Now and Save Money on Your Amazing Holiday Vacation in Charleston
Have Your Bags Picked Up While You Explore With Charleston Bag Valet
Don’t want to haul your luggage all around Charleston while waiting for your flight to leave or for your hotel to be ready? Good News! Charleston Bag Valet will help you out with that. As they say, you explore, they store.
Charleston Bag Valet will pick up your bags curbside anywhere in Charleston and secure each item with a customizable tamper-proof lock. They will store your bags in an insured and secured climate-controlled environment while you explore. When you are ready, they will deliver your bags to you where you want them and when you want them. You can even have them delivered to the airport for your ease.
Get Your Charleston Bag Valet Here And Enjoy Your Time Without Your Bags
The Best Christmas Activities in Charleston: In Conclusion
As you can see, there are a lot of Christmas activities in Charleston to choose from. There are many more than just this list, but these are the best holiday things to do in Charleston. Just doing this list alone will take you almost the entire month to enjoy the holiday season.
I hope that this list of the best Christmas activities in Charleston will help spread the Christmas spirit around. Please enjoy any and all the events of Charleston Christmas activities.
Be merry, and enjoy a great holiday drink with friends and family. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
- Find a great flight at a great price through Booking.com They have many options for Flights, Cars, Hotels, and more! Make sure to book your trip today!
- Head over to Amazon.com to get your needed travel items. Pick up the travel backpack that I use for my travels or my post about what to bring for a day hike . Take a look at the items to bring along in a 2-3 day backpacking trip with my post What To Pack In Your Hiking Backpack . Use this or pick up more items that you will need.
- By purchasing from the provided links, a small commission is earned to help keep the website running. I thank you for your support and for following the website.
Things to Do for Christmas in Charleston
This post covers the top things to do on Christmas in Charleston, including nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly options.
Be sure to read our master post on things to do in Charleston for even more ideas.
- Nighttime Activities
- Free Things to Do
- Free Tours by Foot
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN CHARLESTON AT CHRISTMAS
This section features our top 10 activities to enjoy in Charleston during Christmas.
For more information on popular tourist attractions in Charleston, make sure to check out our posts:
- Pay-What-You-Want Walking Tours
- Charleston Carriage Tours
- Plantation Tours
Some of the items within this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass .
1. Take a Holiday Walking Tour
Bulldog Tours is offering a special Holiday Tour this Christmas season in Charleston.
This company offers great walking tours, and this one will highlight the beauty of the city this holiday season.
Along with telling you about the history of Charleston, these tours take you off the beaten path to see private neighborhoods decorated in their holiday best.
Tours are $45 for adults and $35 for children ages 4-12, those under 4 free. Purchase tickets or learn more .
2. Tree Lighting Ceremony
In 2023, the official Charleston tree-lighting ceremony is currently uncertain, date to be determined.
This glorious 64-foot Holiday Tree of Lights kicks off the holiday season in Charleston and will put you in the Christmas spirit!
There will be a concert program beginning at 4:30 pm kicking off a series of bands playing and activities to partake in, including meeting Santa.
Get more information on the event here .
3. Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island
Starting November 10th through December 31st, 2023, head over to James Island in the evenings to enjoy thousands of lights during the annual Holiday of Lights Festival.
In addition to the incredible light display, there will be a Victorian carousel, visits with Santa Claus, a holiday train, holiday sweet treats and so much more!
Check this website for more information and tickets.
For more things to do in Charleston at night, check out our nighttime section below.
4. See The Nutcracker Ballet
The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker is coming to Charleston this holiday season and you can see this Christmas classic on Dec. 26th, 2023.
This is a perfect activity for families, with amazing music and a beautiful performance following the story of a magical nutcracker.
Tickets for streaming starting at $30. For more concerts taking place in Charleston in December, check out our December post .
5. Parade of Boats
The annual Parade of Boats is one of the most colorful holiday events in Charleston. In 2023, it is planned to take place on Dec. 9 but official announcement is yet to be made.
This beautiful boat parade proceeds from the Cooper River through the Charleston Harbor and into the Ashley River.
It ends in a firework display sure to impress! The event is free and family-friendly. Find out all the details here .
6. Holiday Parade
The Holiday Parade is a must-see event happening in Charleston during Christmastime! The parade normally kicks off at 3 pm and includes floats, bands, and more!
2023 date and times yet to be determined.
The parade will commence on Broad Street at Rutledge Avenue, travel North on Meeting Street, and conclude on Calhoun Street at Meeting Street.
This event is free to attend. Find out more details here .
7. Visit a Historic Home
A number of historic homes will be decked festively for Christmas, and you can visit them this holiday season.
Most of these offer guided tours so you can learn about the history of these incredible homes.
See inside some of the most beautiful historic homes in Charleston, such as the Aiken-Rhett House , Nathaniel Russell House , Joseph Manigault House , and Edmonston-Alston House .
8. Chanukah in the Square
Last year, Chanukah in the Square took place in Marion Square from 19th to 26th Dec. Details for 2023 event are yet to be decided.
Come out to light the giant menorah, enjoy live music, eat latkes, and partake in other traditional games.
To learn more and plan your visit, click here .
9. See a Professional Ice Hockey Game
The South Carolina Stingrays are in town this Christmas season! See what dates they are playing here .
Watch the team get in the holiday spirit by Christmas gift shopping in the video below:
This is a great activity to bring the whole family to.
Also, games take place at night making for a great evening out. For more things to do in Charleston at night, see the nightlife section below.
10. Consider Getting a Tourist Discount Pass
Do more for less this holiday season by planning ahead with the Tourist Discount Pass. With this pass, you can get several tickets to attractions or tours each day for free.
Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.
Read our post comparing the different Charleston tourist discount passes .
Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in Charleston .
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
Charleston at night is lovely and full of things to do, especially around Christmas!
We have a number of things to do at night in Charleston listed in our top 10 section above, such as seeing the production of Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker.
Below we have a list of a few more things to do after the sun goes down.
For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post Things to do at Night in Charleston .
Holiday Pub Crawl
A great way to get to know Charleston after dark is to go on a pub crawl! You'll get to meet new people and explore new watering holes.
Around Christmas time there are a number of themed pub crawls to choose from. One worth checking out is the Charleston Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl taking place on Dec. 16, 2023 from 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM EST.
For more nighttime ideas, be sure to take a look at our post Things to do at Night in Charleston .
Charleston Harbor Holiday Dinner Cruise
During the Christmas season, some boat companies offer special holiday cruises. This is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit!
One company offering a holiday dinner cruise is Ahoy Charleston .
If you arent looking for a holiday cruise, there are other Charleston boat tours you can take at night.
To learn more about getting out on the water for great views of the city, see our post on Charleston Harbor Boat Tours .
FREE THINGS TO DO
As a city, Charleston offers a lot of free activities even around Christmas, like attending the Tree Lighting ceremony listed in our top ten section above.
Just strolling along the cobblestone streets and soaking in the historic and unique architecture is free and enjoyable.
Here are a few more free things to do in Charleston during Christmas.
For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in Charleston .
Visit Charleston Christmas Collectibles
There's a year-round Christmas store in Charleston that's worth a visit! Charleston Christmas Collectibles offers unique holiday gifts, specializing in holiday ornaments.
Pick one up as a souvenir for yourself or a loved one and add to your collection because let's be honest, you can never have enough Christmas ornaments!
For more family-friendly things to do in Charleston, see our post Things to do in Charleston with Kids .
Take a Free Walking Tour
Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.
We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours of neighborhoods that you will likely visit as a tourist in the city.
Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here.
The Charleston Holiday Market (part of the year-round Charleston City Market ) takes place at Marion Square on Saturdays and Sundays.
Holiday market will take place on 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th & 16th Dec, 2023.
This is a great way to shop local and support the community. Come out from 9 am-3 pm for this free event!
To learn more, click here .
FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO
The Holy City is one for all ages! Some of the things we’ve mentioned in this article like the Holiday Market listed in our free section above are activities the whole family can enjoy!
Here are a few more ideas that are family-friendly.
Christmas at the Plantation
Charleston is known for its beautiful plantations. During Christmas, many of them offer holiday events for guests of all ages. Some events taking place are:
- Christmas at Boone Hall
- Grand Illumination and Dinner at Middleton Place
To learn more about plantation tours in Charleston, check out our post here .
- Charleston in December
- Things to Do in Charleston Year-round
- Free Things to Do in Charleston
Choose a Destination... I want them all PLUS general travel tips. Amsterdam Berlin Boston Charleston Chicago Dubai Lisbon London Los Angeles Miami Nashville New York City New Orleans Paris Philadelphia Prague Rome San Francisco Washington DC
About The Author
North america, united kingdom & ireland, middle east & india, asia & oceania.
- Charleston Tourism
- Charleston Hotels
- Charleston Bed and Breakfast
- Charleston Vacation Rentals
- Flights to Charleston
- Charleston Restaurants
- Traveler Article
- Charleston Travel Forum
- Charleston Photos
- Charleston Map
- All Charleston Hotels
- Charleston Hotel Deals
- Last Minute Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Motels
- Charleston Hostels
- Charleston Campgrounds
- Charleston Business Hotels
- Charleston Green Hotels
- Charleston Family Hotels
- Romantic Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Luxury Hotels
- Charleston Spa Resorts
- Charleston Beach Hotels
- 5-stars Hotels in Charleston
- 4-stars Hotels in Charleston
- 3-stars Hotels in Charleston
- Intown Suites in Charleston
- Choice Hotels in Charleston
- Courtyard Hotels in Charleston
- Wyndham Hotels in Charleston
- Home2 Suites by Hilton in Charleston
- Residence Inns in Charleston
- Hampton by Hilton Hotels in Charleston
- Holiday Inns Express in Charleston
- Hyatt Hotels in Charleston
- InterContinental (IHG) Hotels in Charleston
- Marriott Hotels in Charleston
- Hilton Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Hotels with Pools
- Pet Friendly Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Hotels with Free Parking
- Downtown Charleston Hotels
- French Quarter Hotels
- Upper Concord Street Hotels
- Boutique Hotels in Charleston
- Heritage Hotels in Charleston
- Budget Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Hotels with Hot Tubs
- Downtown Charleston Bed and Breakfast
- Suite Hotels in Charleston
- Charleston Hot Tub Suite Hotels
- Charleston Cheap Pet Friendly Hotels
- Charleston Pet Friendly Campgrounds
- Charleston Pet Friendly Motels
- Hotels near Charleston City Market
- Hotels near Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
- Hotels near Fort Sumter National Monument
- Hotels near Joe Riley Waterfront Park
- Hotels near Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
- Hotels near Middleton Place
- Hotels near Battery & White Point Gardens
- Hotels near South Carolina Aquarium
- Hotels near Nathaniel Russell House
- Hotels near Drayton Hall
- Hotels near Aiken-Rhett House
- Hotels near Charleston Water Taxi
- Hotels near Old Slave Mart Museum
- Things to Do
- Vacation Rentals
- Travel Stories
- Rental Cars
- Add a Place
- Travel Forum
- Travelers' Choice
- Help Center
Charleston: Christmas in Charleston
- United States
- South Carolina (SC)
- Coastal South Carolina
- More On Charleston
- Travel Forums
- Photos & Videos
- Charleston Deals
- 1-Day, 2-Day, 3-Day Plus Itineraries
- Events & Festivals
- Family Travel
- First-time Visitors
- Nightlife Hotspots in Charleston
- Which Beach is Best?
- Wineries and Wine Tastings
- Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer
- Outdoor Dining
- Places that let you BYOB
- Slightly North of Broad
- Special Occasion Dining
- Sweetwater Cafe
- Health & Safety
- Recommended Reading
- Tourist Board Info
- Weather & When to Go
Topics include Transportation, United States: For Foreign Visitors & more!
- Article History (11)
- Comments (2)
Christmastime is a wonderful time to be in Charleston, SC. Temperatures can be cold and raw one day, sunny and warm the next. Be prepared for both! The cold temperatures rarely hit the freezing mark and the coastal areas are warmer overall than inland areas. At the beach, you should expect moderate winds but many beachwalkers on sunny days.
Here are some things you might enjoy - these are only available from December to Mid-January.
* Hotels - expect the hotels to have attractive deals!
* Holiday Decor to view for free - Charleston's streets, hotels and inns, and private homes look beautiful during the holiday season. The lucky traveler will find the southern door wreaths and over-the-door "sprays" breathtaking. Look for the sprays made with apples, pears, and pineapples, and sweetgrass basket holiday wreaths adorning doors. As yet another example of Charleston's rich gardening heritage, Charleston native Joel Roberts Poinsett discovered the plant later to be named the Poinsettia, one of the most recognizable symbols of the seaso* Holiday Festival of Lights - James Island - Nov 14 - Jan 4 - One of the most spectacular Holiday Light Shows in the country. On opening night, there is a "Fun Run and Walk" during which visitors can run or walk (non-competitive) through the 2-mile light display. Leashed dogs welcome, and at the end of the light display are holiday treats.
* The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - Nov. 14-23 - A production of the Charleston Ballet.
* The Sound of Charleston Special Holiday Edition - Dec. 5, 12, 19, 26, 30 at 7 pm. Hear the music of Charleston's history, from Gospel to Gershwin. Includes holiday music of the period and refreshments after each performance.
* A Christmas Story - Mt. Pleasant Village Playhouse - Nov. 28 - Dec. 20 - This is a wonderful stage version of the Jean Shepherd classic.
* Charleston Sleigh Ride by Boat - December - See the lights of the city by "Thriller" boat ride.
* 18th Century Wining and Dining Tour - Dec 4-18 - Heyward Washington House
* A Christmas Carol - Dec. 4-21 - Sottile Theatre
* Magnolia Plantation's Camellia Display - Dec 4 - 31 - America's largest display of Camellias in bloom
* City of Charleston Christmas Tree Lighting on Marion Square - Dec. 6 -
* Christmas Parade of Boats in the Charleston Harbor - Dec 6 - Family night; Santa arrives; reindeer games; holiday treats; etc.
* Reindeer Run - Dec 6 - This charity run is just plain FUN and has a costume component - check out the photos on their website!
* Charleston Christmas Parade - Dec 7 - Through the streets of downtown Charleston
* Christmas 1945 - Dec 12 - An elegant Christmas dinner on the Yorktown - complete with live music, dancing
* Lowcountry Singing Christmas Tree - Dec. 12-15 - Summerville
* Charleston Christmas Show - Dec. 12 - 21 - Song and Dance in the Holiday tradition
* Spirituals Concert at Drayton Hall - Dec. 13, 14 - Drayton Hall
* Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre - Starting the day after Thanksgiving, and continuing each weekend until Christmas - Free Horse-drawn Carriage rides throughout this "lifestyle" all-outdoor shopping center (pick up and drop off at major fountains and Christmas tree circles in the shopping center). For additional information, go to Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre's website. (Christmas tree lighting ceremony with the Mayor on Nov. 22). Santa will take time out of his very busy December schedule to be at Towne Center Monday through Friday from noon to 8pm, Saturdays from 11 am to 8 pm and Sundays from noon to 6pm. (Not to worry - he's good at delegating!) Carriage rides start at noon and continue until closing, and pick up will be in front of the Belk entrance near the Christmas Tree.
* Progressive Dinner, Circa 1886 - Dec 12 - Dec 23 - This special "event" has been a tradition for many years in Charleston. Tickets are purchased in advance, and for one price, guests enjoy appetizers and champagne at a historic inn on King Street, after which guests are taken by carriage to Circa 1886 to enjoy a leisurely dinner. After dinner, another carriage ride takes guests to the dessert venue, which is another historic inn. Each inn and restaurant, as well as the carriages and streets are decorated in Charleston Holiday traditional decor, and guests are welcome to take photos alongside the beautifully-decorated Christmas trees at each of the elegant locations.
* The Nutcracker Ballet - Dec 13, 14 - Galliard Auditorium - This Holiday classic will get you in the right spirit for the season!
* Wine Under the Oaks at Boone Hall Farm - Dec 14 - The beautiful Boone Hall Plantation is the setting for this holiday wine event.
* Charles Dickens Christmas - Dec. 17 - This special evening is available at Circa 1886.
* Poogan's Porch Christmas Dinner - Dec 25 - For those of you from out of town, looking for a charming place to celebrate Christmas - Poogan's Porch is a local "institution".
* Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker - Dec 26 - North Charleston Coliseum
* New Year's Eve 2008 - Dec. 31 - This special evening is available at Circa 1886.
* The 6th Annual Holiday Pub Tour A historic walking tour about Charleston history with tales of Christmas past.
CHRISTMAS EVENTS FROM 2007 - Refer to this list as many events will be repeated and their 2008 dates will be announced soon.
- Report inappropriate content
BOOK ONLINE NOW AND GET $2 OFF! (CODE: 2OFFWALK)
Best Holiday and Christmas Lights in Charleston
Charleston offers plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays in November, December and January. From visits with Santa to holiday parades and dozens of Christmas trees (all decked out for the holidays), the problem isn’t finding holiday lights in South Carolina — it’s trying to decide which ones to visit.
Daniel Island Holiday Festival
Each December, the Volvo Car Stadium and Family Circle Tennis Center transforms into a holiday festival for the entire family. Sip a hot cup of cider or cocoa while you browse vendor stalls and knock out all of your holiday shopping in one fell swoop. Holiday carolers will perform nostalgic favorites.
There’s also plenty of activities for kids here, too, including face painting, an elf workshop craft station, holiday cooking decorating and ornament decorating and (of course) photos with Santa.
Light the Lake
It’s never too cold to get out on the water in Charleston! Light the Lake features a tree lighting — right in the center of Colonial Lake. This event is appropriate for kids both big and small and includes hot beverages and holiday-themed snacks. There will also be a photographer on site for family photos in front of a holiday carriage.
Isle of Palms Holiday Street Festival
Each December, the Isle of Palms’ Front Beach hosts a tree lighting event. In addition to the main event, the City of the Isle of Palms also sets up carnival rides, a bounce house and a mechanical bull. Kids can look forward to face painting and a balloon artist. Adults can browse the many craft vendors and even grab a bite to eat. Of course, Santa is also scheduled to make an appearance.
Winter in the Woods Holiday Market
Just in case you needed another reason to shop during the holidays, the Winter in the Woods Holiday Market has even more vendors featuring local artisans. They even have a gift wrapping station, so you can buy all of your gifts and get them wrapped at the same time. That’s what Charlestonians consider multitasking.
Lights Up Mt. Pleasant
Each November, the town of Mt. Pleasant throws a party to celebrate the lighting of their 40-foot Christmas tree. In addition to the tree lighting, the town also features a laser light show, set to live music. There will also be giveaways, courtesy of local businesses. Even Santa is set to make an appearance here. Adults can look forward to wine and beer for purchase, provided by the Wine Cellar Wine and Gifts.
Christmas Parade and Festival
Families are encouraged to head to North Charleston for the annual Christmas parade. Floats and performers will make their way down East Montague — with Santa in the rear. When the parade commences, all participants and spectators are invited to head to the Felix Davis Auditorium for visits with Santa. The festival features bounce houses, live music and hay rides.
James Island Country Park Festival of Lights
November – january.
One of the best spots in Charleston to see holiday lights, the Festival of Lights is open every evening for nearly one month at James Island County Park. Visitors can wander through a whimsical grove of lights before being whisked away on a lighted trolley. Lighted boats float across the water nearby. There’s also plenty of shopping here, and visitors can enjoy holiday snacks, rides on a Victorian carousel and visits with Santa.
Murrells Inlet – Nights of a Thousand Candles
If you have a car and want to see some lights outside of the city, head up to Murrells Inlet (a 90-minute drive north of Charleston).
In the month of December, Brookgreen Gardens hosts its Nights of a Thousand Candles, featuring 4,500 hand-lit candles. Visitors are invited to wander the paths and sip cocoa and cider. Live carolers will be nearby, adding a little extra holiday joy to the event.
This event has been named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by “Travel + Leisure” magazine.
Folly Beach Christmas Parade
In the month of December, Charlestonians head to Center Street in Folly Beach to get festive. Some locals even enter their own floats into the parade to win prizes (and for bragging rights). Kids line up on the streets, hoping to catch handfuls of candy canes. After the parade, everyone heads to Folly River Park for shopping, crafts, snacks and visits with Santa.
Holiday Parade of Boats
Charlestonians love getting out on the water — and there’s plenty of opportunities to do so all year long. The Holiday Parade of Boats features dozens of boats all decked out for the holidays. You’ll see a huge array of both power and sailboats. You can watch from ashore — or head to the Rotary Club for the viewing party.
Old Village Holiday Street Fest Mt. Pleasant
It always feels good to give back during the holidays. The Old Village Street Fest is the perfect opportunity to feed your soul (and those less fortunate) while doing a little holiday shopping. Santa will be available for photos, and there will be plenty of activities to keep little ones occupied.
You can even buy your Christmas tree and wreath at the street fest.
In addition to vendors, there will also be food trucks and holiday gift card calligraphy services.
Grand Pavilion Tree Lighting and Oyster Roast
Each year, the Wild Dunes Resort lights their pavilion Christmas tree while dozens of spectators gather round. After the tree is lit, guests are invited to stay for an oyster roast. The event also features a children’s holiday movie and a visit from Santa.
Taste of Hutson Alley
Some of us just want to bypass the shopping and get to the important things in life — the food. Taste of Hutson Alley allows you to do just that. You’ll wander down the alley while noshing on small bites and sipping holiday drinks. Past participating restaurants have included Virginia’s on King, Michaels on the Alley and the Victor Social Club.
Most holiday lights stay up until the first week of January. Dates vary from year to year, so check each website for exact dates, times and weather cancellations.
- Most Popular!
- Hour Glass 2 hours
Charleston History Tour
Discover the essentials of historic Charleston on this leisurely walking tour with our knowledgeable tour guides.
- Hour Glass Varies
Take a private tour of Charleston to gain a deeper understanding of the Holy City. Allow us to create the perfect tour for your group!
- Small Group!
Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages
This is the most popular tour offered by our sister company, Lowcountry Walking Tours, which specializes in small-group tours for a more intimate experience.
Celebrate Christmas in Charleston, SC – Memorable Ways to Spend Your Holiday
Celebrate Christmas in Charleston SC. Charleston commemorates Christmas and the holiday season with a brilliant light display, festive holiday markets, musical performances, and celebrated traditions. It is a magical time of the year to visit the Lowcountry.
Here are our local recommendations for activities to get into the holiday spirit during your Christmas vacation in Charleston, SC.
If you are looking for additional ideas to celebrate, access our complimentary Sea Islands Vacation Guide . Whether you are planning to visit Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, or visiting historic Charleston SC, the guide is filled with year-round recommendations for Charleston’s top attractions, events, shopping, dining, and more. We can’t wait to welcome you to our Yuletide paradise!
Access the Sea Island's Guide
Celebrate the Holidays and Christmas in Charleston SC
The holiday festival of lights at james island county park.
- November 10, 2023 to December 31, 2023
- 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Christmas in Charleston SC must include a trip to see the spectacular holiday lights display at James Island County Park .
The Charleston Festival of Lights drive-thru holiday light show is the perfect, family-friendly event of the season!
There is so much more than lights at this traditional holiday event.
The festival celebrates each year at James Island County Park. It runs nightly beginning in November and continues through the end of year. The festival opens at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. nightly. Featuring over 750 light displays, this annual holiday light tradition also offers Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, gift shops, festival train rides, and a massive sand sculpture carved from 50 tons of sand!
- Marshmallow Roasting
- Festival Train Rides
- The Amazing Dancing Light Display
- Enchanted Walking Trail
- Old-Fashioned Carousel
- Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and concessions: hamburgers, kettle corn, and hot chocolate
- Climbing Wall
On New Year’s Eve, a fireworks display commemorates the end of the year! So pack the family, crank up the holiday tunes, and put this on your must-do holiday happenings list. For more information on the holiday festival of lights visit their website .
Holiday Dining at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
November & December
Christmas in Charleston SC wouldn’t be complete without five-star dining from your friends at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. From harvest dinners to traditional suppers, you don’t have to sacrifice home cooking for a great holiday vacation this year. Call ahead to reserve your table.
Candlelight Tours at Historic Drayton Hall
November 25 to December 16
Drayton Hall is the oldest, nonrenovated, colonial home open to visitors. This year guests are invited to experience Drayton Hall by candlelight for a unique way to understand this historic home. Tours are offered on select dates from mid-November to mid-December. Reservations are required. Book early as availability is limited.
- Candlelight tours are conducted by audio broadcast
- Pre-registration is required
- This tour is not recommended for the visually or auditorily impaired
Christmas in Charleston SC The Holiday Boat Parade
December 9, 2023
The Charleston Holiday Boat Parade is a Lowcountry tradition! Launching from the shores of Mt. Pleasant at 5 pm the viewing from downtown Charleston starts around 7 pm.
Enjoy the procession of holiday-themed boats as they make their way along the Cooper River. Rumor has it Santa will be in the boat parade too!
Christmas in Charleston SC Ice Skating
November 25 to December 30
Perfect for holiday vibes, The Credit One Stadium on Daniel Island offers ice skating! This event was a huge success last year so many more sessions are added for 2023. Christmas in Charleston SC is so much more festive with ice skating. Book early as sessions sell out quickly.
The fire pits, seasonal treats, hot cocoa, and craft cocktails created a festive mood. It was the perfect activity for those who love a frosty holiday season. More details and tickets.
Charleston Harbor Resort creates a winter wonderland with a synthetic ice rink, fire pits, s'mores, and much more! Celebrate Christmas in Charleston.
December 1-2, 2023
This 2-day event is a gathering of the South's (and beyond!) most exciting tastemakers, designers, artisans, and personalities, as well as a celebration of the creative and welcoming spirit of Charleston. This year a fabulous opening night party kicks off the holiday season. Event details may be found here .
Experience demonstrations, tours of historic houses, a market featuring the Southern Living Tastemakers, inspired vignettes at the historic Aiken-Rhett House, engaging talks from some of the brightest stars in the design world, and fabulous nighttime gatherings.
You won't want to miss these highly anticipated festive events!
Opening Night Party for Illumination Charleston 2023
Luminaries opening night party.
- December 1, 2023 at The Charleston Place Hotel
- 5:30 p.m to. 7:00 p.m.
Kick off Illumination Charleston 2023 as “snow” will magically fall on Market Street Circle! Enjoy champagne, live music, and a winter wonderland!
- The Charleston Visitors Center
- 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Southern Living will once again transform the Charleston Visitor Center into a holiday market featuring a full day of demonstrations and seminars hosted by Southern Living Editors, notable chefs, authors, and Southern personalities. A selection of pop-up booths will feature gifts available for purchase, food and beverage samplings, and more. Illumination Village attendees will receive complimentary refreshments, including light bites, beer, and wine.
Holiday Cocktail Fundraiser
- December 2, 2023 at The Parsonage
- 6:00 p.m - 7:30 p.m
Experience Charleston's warm hospitality and embrace the holiday spirit at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital Fundraiser. Join us for a festive reception adorned with Charleston's finest decor. Indulge in an open bar, savor delightful cuisine, and revel in the joy of giving back. 100% of the proceeds go directly to support the children in need at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. Secure your place today and be a part of this heartwarming event.
Christmas in Charleston SC Holiday Walking Tours
If you have ever been on a historic walking tour in Charleston, you already know this type of excursion gives you a “behind the scenes” view of the Holy City.
The Holiday Walking Tour presented by Bulldog Tours does this and more.
Stroll down streets and alleyways that carriages and motor coaches can’t access, listen to stories about Charleston’s history, and view incredible holiday decor.
This tour is offered at 10 a.m. daily during the month of December .
New Year’s Eve in Charleston SC
If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Charleston , there are a number of ways for you to celebrate! Here are some ideas for ways to celebrate the New Year in Charleston SC. If you are looking for an unforgettable, romantic dinner, Circa 1886’s New Year’s Dinner is a memorable experience at one of the city’s finest restaurants.
Marion Square New Years Celebration
Enjoy a super family-oriented celebration. The fun starts early with alcohol-free activities, food trucks, and festivities! This event typically runs from 4 pm to 10 pm.
Party-goers have several stylish options to close out the year with a bang. Loosen up at Charleston Wonderland, rocking the Memminger Auditorium from 8:30 p.m. through 1:30 a.m. This top-level bash features renowned live DJs, cirque performances, a fire and ice show, and the city's largest balloon drop.
Celebrating the New Year on the USS Yorktown is becoming a tradition for Charleston residents. Ring in the New Year with scenic nightscapes of Charleston Harbor. The USS Yorktown is a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked at Patriot's Point. It is just a few minutes from historic downtown Charleston. The unique NYE experience features three stages, live music, a full-service bar, and other entertainment from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Kiawah Island New Year's visitors don't miss the New Year's Eve Celebration in Night Heron Park.
Ring in 2024 with friends and family, featuring glow golf, music, and fireworks. Full à la carte dinner service is available until 9 pm. Fireworks start promptly at 9 pm. The evening is full of entertainment suitable for families and groups of all ages.
The New Year’s Eve Family Celebration at Night Heron Park is limited to Kiawah Island guests and residents. Admission to the festival is complimentary. This event is complimentary, no reservation is required. No coolers permitted. Food and glow gear are available for purchase. We ask that you leave pets at home during fireworks for their comfort and safety. The flying of drones in fireworks areas is prohibited. The schedule is subject to change.
New Year's Celebration on Kiawah Island.
You Charleston Home Away from Home
Charleston’s most beautiful homes aren’t limited to downtown. If you are searching for your very own Charleston-style home for sale, consider exploring Charleston’s beloved sea islands. You’ll find Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Charleston and surrounded by the Lowcountry’s most stunning natural scenery.
Just 30 minutes away from the bustling Holy City , the resort beach communities of Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island offer private homes and villas where you can create your own holiday magic.
During the Christmas season, bring your family to decorate cookies and holiday s’mores at The Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island.
Enjoy elegant holiday menus at Kiawah Island’s Jasmine Porch, The Ocean Room, or The Atlantic Room.
Visit Freshfields Village located between Kiawah and Seabrook Island for holiday events and shopping opportunities.
Explore Kiawah Island
Explore Seabrook Island
The Journey to Ownership Often Begins with a Vacation Rental
Find the perfect setting for your family to gather for a safe, relaxing celebration together. Whether you’re a golfing family searching for fairway and lagoon vistas, or a large family searching for that perfect home with a beach view, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island offer many options from which to choose.
Their vacation rentals are well appointed with stylish décor, quality WIFI for streaming all your devices, fully stocked kitchens for festive holiday dining suited and plenty of space for the entire family.
Their Seabrook Island portfolio of homes and villas even include several pet friendly options where FIDO can join you.
Best of all, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island are an easy drive into historic Charleston, but just far enough outside the city to enjoy the tranquility of nature and no crowds. Enjoy the holidays on island time!
- 22nd Annual Beaufort Homes for the Holidays
November 18 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Join us for the Beaufort Homes for the Holidays 22nd Annual Tour of Homes. This easy walking tour will display six incredible homes located in The Village of Distant Island — one of the premier waterfront communities in the Beaufort area — all professionally decorated for the holidays. This year features a candlelight tour on Friday night!
Proceeds benefit St. Peter Catholic School. Cost for the Friday Candlelight Tour is $100 (must be purchased in advance online). Saturday & Sunday tour tickets are $55 in advance, and $60 day-of.
Contact Pamela Johnson: [email protected], 843-522-6503, or visit beauforthomesfortheholidays.com for tickets and more information!
- Google Calendar
- Outlook 365
- Outlook Live
Come to the Manger: Creche Exhibit
Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!
- Emmaus Retreat for Grieving Parents
Only Events with an Email Address will be Posted! Submit an Event Does your event need updated information? Contact us