Best of the Holy City Attractions

08 Jul 2024

Voted on by our readers, these award-winning attractions, top-notch shopping and services have helped make Charleston the #1 Best City in America. Use this guide to discover (or rediscover) what makes Charleston such a great place to live, work and play. We’ve got recommendations from locals for everything from the best antique store and best family-friendly attraction to the best spot to grab a martini. Cheers!

By Sophia Rodriguez, Daria Smith, Denise K. James, Maddie Cleland and Beverly Barfield

Best Apartment Complex

Avalon at James Island

This luxury apartment complex is situated in a prime location on Maybank Highway — just a stone’s throw from hotspots like The Pour House, The Terrace Theater and excellent dining options. But between its state-of-the-art training studio and the tranquil, resort-style pool with sunbathing deck, residents may be content to hang closer to home.

Best Bed & Breakfast

John Rutledge House Inn

Ensconced in downtown’s Harleston Village, this four-star inn oozes charm. Built in 1763, the hotel is a sight to behold with its historic, ornate exterior ironwork, meticulously restored interiors and lush courtyard. And after a day of sightseeing, tuck into one of the inn’s cozy nooks where you can unwind and unplug.

Best Day Care

Little Hands Child Development Center

Little Hands staff works within each child’s comfort zone to create a nurturing environment while they foster their unique personalities, talents and learning styles. And parents can see it all via the center’s live camera access. Set up a tour at the Ladson or Moncks Corner location to see what’s possible.

Best Day Cruise

Fort Sumter Tours

This family-owned and operated tour company is the only boat service to and from Fort Sumter that actually docks at the fort. Travel back in time during the jaunt across the Charleston Harbor before delving deep into exhibits about Civil War history. Visitors have roughly an hour to explore preserved ruins.

Best Family Fun Activity

South Carolina Aquarium

Bring the whole family along to learn about sea turtle recovery and see what it’s like to touch a stingray. Children learn nature-based concepts through guided discovery and play in the Kids Coast exhibit. Or they can enjoy the multitude of species as they visit one exhibit after another.

Best Hotel/Resort

The Charleston Place

Charleston Place’s opulent rooms provide ideal environments to unwind, while The Spa at Charleston Place has a full menu of restorative massages and skincare treatments. The Charleston Grill provides an unmatched, award-winning culinary experience. Stop in for afternoon tea at the Thoroughbred Club, and visit the luxury shops contained within the property.

Best Museum

The Charleston Museum

Museum buffs the world over enjoy learning the history behind “America’s First Museum” almost as much as they enjoy the huge fossils in the Bunting Natural History Gallery or the historic weaponry dating back to mid-1700s in The Armory at this Meeting Street mainstay. Parents will be delighted with the multiple kid-friendly exhibits.

Best Neighborhood

Nexton Midtown

Nexton Midtown offers the best of both worlds: a beautifully-executed planned community so convenient to shopping, eateries, bike trails and greenspace events. The Midtown Club offers a combination pool, spa, pickleball/tennis court and coworking space for remote working—or for an after-work cocktail.

Best Overall Attraction

Folly Beach

Known as “The Edge of America,” Folly Beach is the quintessential destination for beach bums while maintaining its funky, surfer vibe. Several miles of beach provide an ideal spot for surfers, and river access for kayakers and paddle boarders. Surf stores, coffee shops, and restaurants dot Folly’s main thoroughfare.

Best Performing Arts Center

34 West Theater Company

The shows at 34West make for the perfect date night for local arts aficionados. Each show is written by the company’s actors and designers—and they may even make you a drink before the show kicks off!  The cozy, 60-seat performance space is can also be booked for private parties.

Best Preschool

Charleston Bilingual Academy

This Park Circle school offers children ages 2-8 a language immersion experience unlike any other. Students learn Spanish and Mandarin through the academy’s virtual language tutoring program. This Christian school engages young children’s natural language. CBA classes are led by native-speaking teachers, with class activities alternating between well-rounded play time and free time.

Best Private School

James Island Christian School

The James Island Christian School has a long-standing dedication to providing students a rigorous academic setting coupled with a Christian worldview. The educators employ a holistic mentality, focusing on the children’s emotional, physical, spiritual and academic progress. JICS encourages strong parental involvement with events like weekly chapel services and community service activities.

Best Sightseeing Tour

Fort Sumter Tours

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Park let visitors experience the victories and immense losses of the Civil War era. During the ferry ride to Fort Sumter, visitors hear fascinating historical tidbits. After arriving at the fort, knowledgeable National Park Service rangers offer a short, optional presentation.

Prev Post Best of the Holy City Shopping
Next Post Best of the Holy City Beauty and Wellness
Brookfield Residential