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Holiday Events in Charleston

Charleston is a magical city to visit during the holiday season. Here are the can’t-miss events that will fill your trip to The Holy City with pure joy for the whole family.

10th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights

When: Nov. 10 – Jan 1, 2018
Where: James Island County Park; 843-795-4386

One of Charleston’s most popular holiday events, the Holiday Festival of Lights, is hosted by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission at James Island County Park. The festival is known for its three-mile driving tour and a variety of fun, family-friendly attractions and activities like marshmallow roasting, train rides and an Enchanted Walking Trail.


12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

When: Nov. 30

Where: Market Pavilion Hotel lobby, 225 East Bay Street; 843-723-0500

Join The Holy City’s esteemed dignitaries and members of the clergy for a festive Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Market Pavilion Hotel. There will be roasted chestnuts and a special appearance from Santa himself! Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate the Salvation Army.


Christmas 1860

When: Dec. 1–8
Where: Edmondston-Alston House, 21 East Battery; 843-722-7171

Theatrical performers shed light on a turbulent time in Charleston just before the beginning of the Civil War. Adorned in period costumes, they reflect on the events of the day and how their lives would soon be forever changed.


24th Annual Reindeer Run

When: Dec. 2

Where: 161 E. Bay Street

The Reindeer Run, presented by Half-Moon Outfitters, is a family-oriented, pet-friendly 5k run/walk through the lower peninsula of downtown Charleston. Proceeds benefit the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston.


Charlotte Ballet’s The Nutcracker

When: Dec. 2–3
Where: Charleston Gaillard Center
95 Calhoun St.; 843-242-3099

Celebrate the magical sights and sounds of the holidays at Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker! Join the Charlotte Ballet for the magical sights and sounds of the Nutcracker, with live music and choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.


City of Charleston Holiday Parade

When: Dec. 3
Where: Broad Street to Calhoun Street

The City of Charleston and the Charleston Fire Department put on a holiday spectacle that starts at Broad and Barre and ends at Calhoun and Meeting.


Charleston Christmas Special

When: Dec. 8–23
Where: Charleston Music Hall; 37 John Street; 843-853-2252

Charleston’s biggest and most anticipated holiday production is the perfect mix of holiday music, comedy sketches and dazzling costumes. The live orchestra onstage will be led by James Davis Jr. who has supervised musical productions at Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center and The Apollo Theater. Tickets are on sale at the Charleston Music Hall Box Office.


Breakfast With Santa by the Sea

When: Dec. 17
Where: The Citadel Beach Club; 4700 Palm Blvd, Isle of palms; 843-953-266

The Citadel’s Beach Club at the Isle of Palms hosts a pancake breakfast with the most famous guest of honor: Jolly Old Saint Nick. Perfect for little ones, you can take photos, sip hot chocolate, enjoy kids crafts and other fun family activities.

Explore the Best of Charleston’s Culinary Scene

It’s no secret that Charleston is one of America’s top food cities. With restaurants that are almost constantly garnering media praise and accolades, visitors to the area plan their trips around what — and most importantly, where — they’re going to eat.

Year after year, there are the usual suspects like Hominy Grill, FIG and any concept by the Neighborhood Dining Group always rounding out the list of James Beard Award nominations and wins. And most recently, Charleston Grill and Hall Chophouse made the list of TripAdvisor’s “Top 10 Fine Dining Restaurants in the U.S.”

Travelers looking to learn about Charleston’s culinary heritage can join Bulldog Culinary Tours for Taste of the Lowcountry food tour, which offers an exclusive look behind the ever-evolving restaurant scene in Charleston.

Using locally-sourced ingredients, chef Miles Huff creates a culinary experience filled with seasonal flavors. Chef Huff, a culinary pro, leads the tour of the Trident campus, hosts a cooking demonstration and teaches interesting facts about Lowcountry cuisine.

If self-guided exploration is what you’re after, then make sure some of the city’s leading restaurants like The Darling Oyster Bar, 82 Queen, Husk, McCrady’s and Minero top your list. Wherever your cravings take you, your taste buds will not be disappointed.

For more on dining in Charleston, read the digital edition of Discover Charleston.