Charleston is a hot tourist destination throughout the year, but autumn brings relief from sweltering summer weather: In July, the city’s hottest month, daily highs are in the 90s; by the end of October, the average high is room temperature: 73.
This makes it a lot easier to experience Charleston’s many historical sites, museums, performing arts venues and festivals. The amazing surroundings include Charleston Harbor and some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, including Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach.
Friday evenings through October, Fort Sumter Tours (www.fortsumtertours.com) offers a Sunset Tour that departs from Liberty Square and includes a tour of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter.
Check out Charleston’s Museum Mile on Meeting Street where six museums, nine historic sites and a dozen historic places of worship can be found in an easy 1-mile walk. The Charleston City Market is a must-see. Erected in 1804, it is one of the oldest public markets in the United States. It is home to 285 local vendors, including 56 artisans who weave sweetgrass baskets, one of the region’s prized indigenous crafts.
Vintage homes provide insight into the city’s bygone eras. Step into the 39th Annual Fall Tours of Homes & Gardens (www.thefalltours.org), Oct. 1-25 to peek at heirloom silver and meander through carefully cultivated boxwoods at some of the area’s most historic and architecturally significant dwellings.
In downtown’s historic French Quarter, take in a play at the Dock Street Theatre (http://bit.ly/1rSqTGQ), or try one of the Sound of Charleston concerts (www.soundofcharleston.com) that showcase the city’s musical heritage, from gospel to Gershwin.
Experience Halloween adventure through Nov. 30 by treading the dark edges of Charleston’s haunted Historic District on the Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Tour (http://bit.ly/1rWbC5I). You’ll hear fun and chilling stories of Charleston ghosts.
Capture the magic of the holiday season at the Holiday Festival of Lights (http://tinyurl.com/otsspl6), Nov. 13-Jan. 3, at James Island County Park. So much more than a driving tour, the festival features tons of celebrated attractions and activities as well as 750 displays and 2 million lights.
Details on these and other events, attractions and activities: www.explorecharleston.com.
If you’re thirsty
▪ Inspired by the Jazz Age, Prohibition brings live music, craft cocktails, and a creative menu to downtown’s upper King Street. Details: www.prohibitioncharleston.com.
▪ Charleston Distilling Co. offers tours and tastings of liquors made from S.C. products, including vodka distilled from local corn and Carolina gold rice. Details: www.charlestondistilling.com.
If you’re hungry
▪ Brasserie Gigi, which was voted best seafood restaurant in Charleston for 15 consecutive years, serves classic French cuisine in a lively, casual atmosphere (it overlooks the City Market). Details: www.brasseriegigi.com.
▪ Edmund’s Oast specializes in charcuterie (the meats are aged on-site) and features 46 beers on tap and an innovative cocktail program. Details: www.edmundsoast.com.