10 Things to Do in Charleston at Night

The charming city of Charleston is full of options to enjoy, even when the sun goes down. Get ready to discover all the attractions of this authentic American gem.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Charleston at Night

Charleston at night | ©Phillip V

From its architecture and quaint streets, to its history and countless churches, there are many things to see and do in Charleston both day and night. This beautiful coastal city in South Carolina is considered one of the largest and most interesting in the United States, you'll see why.

Discover Charleston's nightlife, with its bars and nightclubs, art shows, wine tastings, as well as all the charm of its coastline and must-see tours of the area's most haunted spots. As you can hear, Charleston has a long history of ghost apparitions, so you can't miss this supernatural experience. Are you ready? Here we go!

1. Tour of the ghosts of Charleston

Charleston Ghost Tour| ©Viator
Charleston Ghost Tour| ©Viator

Take a walking tour through the scariest places in Charleston. With an expert guide you will learn all the secrets of this coastal city, famous among other things for its ghosts and apparition stories.

Among the southern states of the United States, South Carolina, with its plantations and traditional houses from the beginning of the last century, is a real gem worth visiting. If you are one of those who are not afraid of anything, sign up for this ghost tour, you can stroll through the alleys and corners with more history of the whole city.

The tour ends in one of the most interesting and intimidating places in the city, as well as one of the most eerie, I refer of course to the Charleston Unitary Cemetery, which dates from the late eighteenth century. A unique place to understand part of the dark past of this region.

Keep in mind that it was precisely here, in this city, where the American Civil War began. It is also known for having been the main hub of the slave trade with Africa, since the port of Charleston ships arrived from the Ivory Coast and Kenya, bringing hundreds of people, which were sold daily in the market.

This tour of the ghosts of Charleston has been going on for over 20 years, so you can be sure that this is an experience not to be missed, and absolutely worthwhile.

Information of interest

  • Duration: Approximately 90 minutes
  • Price: From 31 €.
  • Location: Starts at Buxton Books Bookstore

Book the best Charleston ghost tour now!

2. Hop aboard a narrated ghost cruise

Boat in Charleston| ©Page Sands
Boat in Charleston| ©Page Sands

Climb aboard a catamaran to explore the darker places of Charleston's past and present. Places that cannot be accessed by land, where some chilling stories have taken place, from pirates who arrived on these shores centuries ago, tales of fortunes tragically lost, to fateful love affairs and all sorts of true stories that will make your blood run cold.

You will learn a bit of the history of the place from your local guide, a certified specialist who will tell you all the best kept secrets of the Holy City, while you feel the fresh breeze of the river and the sea on your face.

The narrated ghost cruise tour is one of the best boat tours in Charleston, and it is an incredible experience, full of surprises and the best night views of one of the most haunted cities in the southern United States.

An ideal tour to enjoy with the whole family, where you can also enjoy a walk along the waters of the Cooper River and the Ashley River, the two most important rivers of Charleston, while you see the houses and fortifications of other times.

Interesting information

  • Duration: Approximately 90 minutes
  • Price: From 36 €.
  • Location: Starts at Charleston Maritime Center

Book the best boat tour in Charleston now!

3. Explore The Art Walk

Night Art| ©EzequielD
Night Art| ©EzequielD

If you thought that Charleston was all about ghosts and horror stories, well, you're wrong, this southern U.S. city has many other options when it comes to going out at night. From bars and nightclubs to carriage rides and, of course, art.

If you are one of those who enjoy art exhibitions and installations, you should explore the fantastic The Art Walk, an evening stroll through the city's main art galleries.

On the first Friday of every month, the Charleston Art Gallery Association organizes an evening tour to discover the best of American art in general, as well as the most important artists of the current local scene.

While enjoying a glass of fine wine you can browse through the various exhibitions and displays of painting, sculpture and photography presented here. Keep in mind that the doors of Charleston's galleries are open from 5pm to 8pm so that everyone can come and appreciate the art for free.

An experience not to be missed, ideal to enjoy alone, as a couple or as a family.

Information of Interest

  • Duration: 1st Friday of each month from 5pm to 8pm
  • Price: free
  • Location: it takes place in more than 30 local galleries.

4. Taste the best craft beer in Charleston

Charleston Craft Beer| ©WillDukes
Charleston Craft Beer| ©WillDukes

Experience Charleston's nightlife by tasting the best craft beer in the area. Craft beer has been gaining fans around the world for several years now, and Charleston is no exception. The city has more than 25 producers that brew the most exquisite varieties of craft beer. In addition, every weekend there are events where you can also taste the flavors of the local cuisine, called Lowcountry.

Some of Charleston's best craft beers and wines can be sampled at places like the Forty Eight Wine Bar, which also hosts wine tastings and other culinary events. Ideal for savoring the flavors of Charleston in depth.

Another place where you can try some of Charleston's best craft beer is at the Frothy Beard bar, one of the best in town. They are producers themselves, and they also make XXL-sized pizzas that you can't miss for anything.

5. A romantic carriage ride in the evening

Night Carriage| ©Ryan Johnson
Night Carriage| ©Ryan Johnson

If you are looking to experience a romantic evening in Charleston, nothing better than taking a ride in a picturesque carriage from the last century through the streets of the city. You'll see everything light up in your path and experience the feeling of being driven as if you were in the 1900s.

Known as The Holy City because of its many churches, Charleston is a true visual delight, as you walk through its streets, both day and night, you will be amazed by its great beauty. An experience full of magic and romanticism that you can not miss with your partner, you can walk the streets in an antique carriage that will take you back to another era.

Touring the city in a carriage is one of the classics of Charleston, so there are many companies that offer this service, although not all of them offer night tours, which is why the experience is so much more intimate and special.

And if you like the ride, find out which are the best Charleston carriage tours to take during the day, I assure you that it will be a completely different experience than the night one, but highly recommended.

Book the best carriage tour in Charleston now!

6. Party in Charleston

Party| ©Edoardo Tommasini
Party| ©Edoardo Tommasini

Being a city full of college students, its nightlife is characterized by being quite hectic. If you are one of those who like to party and have a great time dancing, Charleston is definitely the place for you. All along King Street you will find bars with live music, nightclubs, and a party atmosphere even in the middle of the street.

The entire Downtown Charleston area is perfect for an unforgettable night out. Places like Mynt or Trio Nightclub are packed every night and are highly recommended.

If you want to listen to a good live jazz show, the best thing to do is to go to The Commodore. With a more chill out atmosphere and the best drinks.

Although if what you prefer is a place where you can have a delicious dinner and enjoy good live music, you can go to Henry's on the market, open until 2am, an ideal place to spend an incredible night alone, as a couple, with family or friends.

7. Charleston waterfront walk and night tour

The Pineapple fountain| ©JonathanLamb
The Pineapple fountain| ©JonathanLamb

A walk along Charleston's waterfront is one of those things that is impossible to miss in this beautiful city in the South of the United States. Being located on a peninsula, it has a privileged location from where you can appreciate lovely views of both the Cooper River and the Ashley River.

From the Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park, a symbol of the city, you can walk along the coast and walk along The Battery, a beautiful promenade, formerly used as a defensive point, so you can see, among other traces of its past, its imposing cannons, which were used during the American Civil War.

The Battery is an ideal place to stroll both day and night, beautifully preserved to enjoy its timeless charm.

And if you wish, you can also book your place on one of the best guided tours of Charleston, as it is an excellent way to learn all the details about this historic city. Together with your specialized local guide you will visit the most emblematic spots of Charleston, from the harbor to the Rainbow Row, from the traditional market to its plantations.

Taking a guided tour is always an excellent decision, and something I often recommend.

8. Enjoy a play at the Dock Street Theater, the first theater in the U.S

Inside the Dock Street Theater| ©Ellen Stipo
Inside the Dock Street Theater| ©Ellen Stipo

If you're a theater lover, you can't miss a performance at what was once the first theater in the United States. That's right, the Dock Street Theater opened in 1736, no less. This beautiful and picturesque theater is the first building in the country used exclusively as a theater.

The Dock Street Theater is a beautiful building with centuries of history located in the French Quarter. Although the original structure has undergone some remodeling and changes, the place remains in impeccable condition. After a major fire destroyed most of the buildings in the French Quarter and the American Civil War, much of the interior and front of the building had to be rebuilt. Today the Dock Street Theater is a Charleston institution.

When buying your tickets, keep in mind that the plays and musicals shown here are almost always in English.

9. Enjoy the best of music and performing arts at the Charleston Gaillard Center

Charleston Gaillard Center| ©Ansel Adams
Charleston Gaillard Center| ©Ansel Adams

At the impressive Charleston Gaillard Center you can enjoy a different show every night. With a truly beautiful building, the concert hall is one of the jewels of the city.

The Gaillard Center also serves as a training institute for musicians, so you're sure to hear the various student ensembles play, or maybe catch a masterclass, if you're so inclined.

Some of Charleston's most popular festivals are held here, such as the Lowcountry Jazz Festival. Check the venue's schedule according to the dates of your visit and reserve your ticket.

In addition, at the Gaillard Center you can also enjoy chamber music concerts, musicals, famous operas and dance performances, such as the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. It is truly a luxurious place to spend an unforgettable evening in Charleston.

10. Dinner aboard an enchanting cruise on Charleston's waterways

Charleston Dinner Cruise| ©Spencer Avinger
Charleston Dinner Cruise| ©Spencer Avinger

Enjoy the most classic flavors of Creole and Lowcountry cuisine aboard a luxury cruise ship while cruising the calm waters of Charleston.

Watch the most enchanting sunset as you savor American Southern cuisine from a four-course menu. All while being dazzled by some of the best views of The Battery, Ravenel Bridge and Fort Sumter, as well as the entire peninsula.

A unique experience that, while it can be enjoyed as a family, is recommended for couples or small groups of friends. And if you are traveling with your little ones, do not despair, you will see that there are many things to see and do in Charleston with children.

Useful information

  • Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes (boarding at 6:30pm)
  • Price: from $79 from Sunday to Friday and from $85 on Saturdays
  • Location: the cruise departs from Aquarium Wharf

Practical tips on your evening visit to the city of Charleston

Charleston by Night| ©Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio
Charleston by Night| ©Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio

Visiting a city we don't know at night can be a bit intimidating. Here are a few tips that I think you may find quite useful when enjoying Charleston's nightlife.

  • As you know, Charleston is located on a peninsula, so temperatures may drop a few degrees at night. Depending on the time of the year when you plan your visit to this charming American city, you should bring more or less warm clothes. In the spring and summer months, it never hurts to bring a light jacket or sweater, especially if you decide to walk along the waterfront or take a cruise.
  • Unlike other cities, Charleston is extremely safe, so you can go out late at night and walk back to your hotel, which is safe. The city has no dangerous areas, nor are robberies common.
  • The city is really very picturesque, so no matter if it is at night, you will not be able to stop taking pictures. From The Battery area, its incredible churches, its parks, its colorful houses or its promenade, absolutely everything in Charleston is worthy of an Instagram story, so be attentive and open your eyes wide.