Things to Do This Holiday Season in Charleston

It’s finally the Holiday Season in Charleston–the most magical time of the year! During the Holiday Season, Charleston boasts brilliant light displays, music shows, holiday markets, and more! So, start making plans with your friends and family to immerse yourself in Charleston’s holiday festivities. Whether you are visiting–or a local–there is something for everyone! Here is a list of our favorite things to do this Holiday Season in Charleston.

aquarium aglow

Aquarium Aglow

November 18-December 31

Experience the South Carolina Aquarium from a whole new perspective! This unique event features an intricate light show that stretches throughout the aquarium. Using thousands of lights, the aquarium transforms its space into something magical. This memorable event is ticketed, with prices varying depending on the day you attend. Click here for more information.

Charleston Holiday Festival of Lights

November 11-December 31

The Holiday Festival of Lights is an annual holiday tradition in James Island County Park. The park displays an estimated two million dazzling lights and is known for its three-mile driving tour. They also feature a sculpture made from 50 tons of sand, a holiday train, an enchanted walking trail, a Victorian carousel, Santa Clause, Santa’s sweet shop, gift shops, marshmallow roasting, and more! Click here for more information. 

Holiday Parades

  • Charleston Holiday Parade 2022
    December 4th

    Get in the holiday spirit at this high-energy parade which begins on Broad Street at Rutledge, travels North on Meeting Street, and concludes on Calhoun Street at Meeting Street. After the parade, head to Marion Square for the annual tree lighting. Click here for more information.
  • Charleston Holiday Boat Parade
    December 10th

    The annual Charleston holiday boat parade is a Lowcountry tradition that displays lighted boats from the Cooper River, through the Charleston Harbor, and into the Ashley River. The festivities begin along the shores of Mount Pleasant at 5:00 pm and viewing from the downtown peninsula starts around 7:30 pm. The event is free and is produced by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. Click here for more information.

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens

From December 5th through January 1st, Boone Hall is transformed into a Christmas wonderland using decor unique to the Lowcountry. You will see ornaments made from local sweetgrass and decorations made with cotton and berries grown on the plantation. Fun fact…you won't be able to find one plastic decoration! Tours of the home during the holidays are included with your regular paid admission.

Boone Hall also hosts two special holiday events:

  • The Boone Hall Tree Festival
    November 25th-27th

    This festival is a great way to kick off the holidays. Bring your whole family or a group of friends to pick out your Christmas tree, check out a variety of food vendors, and so much more! Tickets are $10 for ages three and up. Click here for more information.
  • Wine Under the Oaks
    December 4th

    Wine Under the Oaks is for adults over 21 and perfect for wine lovers and those looking to get out and socialize. This ticketed event will have live music performed by Motown Throwdown, a variety of wine samples, desserts, and oysters! General admission tickets are $69. Click here for more information and tickets.

Holiday Shows at Charleston Music Hall

If you are looking to catch a holiday show, there are several playing throughout the month at Charleston Music Hall. From Charleston Jazz, Holiday Swing, and Golden Gals Live to The Charleston Christmas Special, there is a show to get everyone in the holiday spirit! In addition, during the Holiday Film Series, you can watch your favorite classic holiday movies like Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Elf—just to name a few! Click here for the complete list of shows, dates, and times.

Gillard Center Dueling Nutcrackers

December 9th

Check out one of Charleston's premiere performing arts centers and enjoy a magical holiday show. On this one-of-a-kind night, South Carolina native Charlton Singleton, The Beehive Orchestra, and Charleston Symphony will meet onstage to bring you one of the most spectacular shows of the season. Click here for more information and tickets.

Illumination Charleston

December 1st-4th

Illumination Charleston is a series of unique holiday-themed events put together by Explore Charleston, Southern Living, and the Historic Charleston Foundation. Events range in price depending on the activity. Enjoy holiday workshops, live interviews, walking tours, and more! Tickets start at $20. Click here for the whole activity schedule and ticket options.

Miracle on Market Street

December 16th-18th

Looking for a European-like holiday market? Look no further than the Miracle on Market Street. This free event will feature live community performances, a pop-up market featuring several local Charleston retailers, food and drink, family workshops, a 4D movie, and, best of all…snow! Part of the market’s earnings will benefit the Post and Courier’s Good Cheer Fund. Click here for more information.

marion square

Holiday Markets

If you need some last-minute holiday gifts or some new festive décor, you’ll want to check out these holiday markets.

  • Charleston Holiday Market
    Saturdays December 2-16

    During the holiday season, the Charleston Farmers Market features many additional Holiday Vendors! You will find holiday produce, food, and art as well as live music, caroling, and activities for kids including free photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus! Click here for more information about the Market and additional events at Marion Square.
  • Field + Supply Holiday Market
    December 9th-11th

    This market will take place at the newly renovated visitors center in the heart of Downtown Charleston. With more than 75 retail vendors, food and drink, live music, and demonstrations, this holiday market will be a unique event you won’t want to miss. Tickets for the three-day event start at $20. Click here to check out the vendors and buy tickets.

As you can see, the list of things to do this Holiday Season in Charleston is incredible! No matter what you decide to do, we are sure it will be truly magical and get you in the holiday spirit! Make sure to check back soon or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up to date on all things Charleston!