Friday, May 6, 2011


Charleston is the #1 travel destination on the East Coast of the United States according to Conde Nast. Commonly called "America's Most Historic City" and "the most charming city in America", Charleston has great history, architecture, beaches and culture. It is internationally known for it's restaurants, art galleries and upscale shopping. A trip to Charleston can be ... expensive ... especially in an economy that shows little sign of rebounding. So, here are a few things for travelers to do in the Holy City with the best price tag possible ... FREE! Listed alphabetically.

The oldest tree east of the Mississippi River, this is a 1300 year old live oak tree on Johns Island, between Charleston and Kiawah Island Resort. When you stand beneath the Angel Oak you realize how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of life. Open 10-4 pm.

Black Cat offers two free daytime walking tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A 10 am Confederate history tour and a 1 pm Battery Tour. Space is limited to 12 people per tour so Reservations Required.

150 Meeting Street. The oldest graveyard in South Carolina, the unique Circular Church has more than 1oo pre-Revolutionary headstones. Usually open from 10-5 pm.

80 Broad Street. Built in 1807 and located at the Four Corners of Law (four corners, four laws: God, Federal, State & City), City Hall is open to the public during the day. The infamous John Trumbull portrait of George Washington hangs inside the building. It is infamous because it features Washington's horse preparing to dump a load of manure on the city.

Folly Beach, the Edge of America, is a charming beach community 20 miles south of Charleston. The small downtown area features eclectic restaurants and shops. The Edwin S. Taylor Pier is 24 feet wide, extends more than 1,045 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are wide and gorgeous and it is considered the best surfing in the Charleston area.

68 Spring St. The world's largest private collection of documents and manuscripts. Historically fascinating. Tuesday-Friday 10-4 pm.
Steeped in American history on the bank of the Cooper River, Magnolia Cemetery is a 128-acre former rice plantation with more 35,000 graves; among them are 2,200 Civil War veterans, 5 South Carolina governors, 3 U.S. senators, and 2 cabinet members. Not to mention several Charleston scoundrels, gangsters, and madams. Open 10-5 pm.

17 Chalmers Street. Built in 1695 and located on a charming cobblestone street, this is Charleston's second oldest structure. It initially housed John Breton's tavern and brothel and is now an art gallery. Open 10-5 pm.

71 Broad Street. St. Michael's is the oldest church structure in Charleston. The graveyard features two signers of the U.S. Constitution (John Rutledge & Charles Cotesworth Pinckney). George Washington attended services here on May 8, 1791. The steeple was struck several times during the Civil War by Union artillery. The stained glass windows were designed by Tiffany's of New York in 1905 and the steeple still retains its original eight bells, from 1764.
Church and graveyard usually open to the public daily until 4 pm.

120 East Bay Street. The oldest building in Charleston, circa 1686. Originally built as a tavern on the Charleston harbor it has been known as Harris' Tavern, Coates Tavern on the Bay, The Tavern on the Bay. During Prohibition (1920s) the building was turned into a barber shop with a free half pint of "hair tonic) to each paying customer. How often do you get to browse in a liquor store that has been selling booze for more than 325 years?

Corner of East Battery & South Battery Streets. The Battery was constructed in the early 1800s as a seawall and later was used for military use during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. White Point Garden is a charming public park filled with 150-year old live oaks and many statues and historical monuments. Along the Battery wall there are spectacular views of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, Charleston harbor, James Island, Sullivan's Island and Ft. Sumter.


Enjoy your trip to Charleston!

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