Are you searching for a place to settle down and call home? Look no further than your new neighbor Charleston, South Carolina. Known for its rich history and stunning landscapes, this city holds many captivating sites that locals know as must-sees.

Whether you are looking for awe-inspiring monuments or cultural attractions that celebrate the local heritage, this coastal city has something to offer everyone. From historic cemeteries to iconic parks and beaches, we have compiled a comprehensive list of landmarks in Charleston that every visitor should experience at least once.

Researching Charleston’s history is the perfect place to start if you’re considering a move with NV Realty Group to a beautiful southern home. So grab your historic landmarks map; it’s time to get acquainted with your new hometown.

A Brief History of Charleston

Charleston was one of the wealthiest cities in British North America in the mid-eighteenth century and later played a key role in the American Revolution. In 1861, it became the main city of the Confederacy and was the site of the first shots of the Civil War until it surrendered in April 1865.

After the war, the city began to rebuild, with efforts to restore the city's economy, infrastructure, and government. Today, Charleston is a popular tourist destination featuring historical sites, colonial architecture, cultural attractions, and a vibrant economy.

With that history in mind, you can explore the beauty and uniqueness of each landmark while also discovering fun activities to do while visiting them.

Fort Sumter National Monument

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A National Historic Landmark, Fort Sumter National Monument is famously known as the location where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Today, the fort is an educational experience and an important part of Charleston’s history that provides insights into the events that led to the Civil War.

While visiting, take a guided tour to learn more about the fort's history and enjoy the beautiful views of Charleston Harbor on the ferry ride to the island.

Rainbow Row

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Beautiful Rainbow Row is a series of thirteen colorful and historic Georgian row houses that are a signature part of Charleston's architecture. As you stroll down the street, admire the vibrant colors and well-preserved historic homes dating from the 1740s to the 1840s.

Make sure to snap some photos for your social media, as Rainbow Row is truly an Instagram-worthy spot!

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens

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Established in 1681, the Boone Hall Plantation is one of America's oldest working plantations. Located around 30 minutes north of the city center in Mt. Pleasant, you can explore the plantation's mansion and gardens and take a scenic walk down the iconic Avenue of Oaks, which features loads of moss-draped southern live oak.

While visiting, take advantage of the American Heritage Plantation tour, providing a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked on the plantation throughout history.

The Battery

Photo Credit: James Willamor via Flickr CC2.0

The Battery is a picturesque and historic park located on the southern tip of the Charleston Peninsula. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the seawall, taking in the views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor.

This historic landmark was originally built as a defensive seawall and named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery at the site. Stretching along the lower shores of the peninsula, it is bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, which meet to form Charleston Harbor.

The Battery is also home to some of the city's grandest antebellum mansions and the famous White Point Garden. If you are interested in period architecture, The Battery makes for great self-guided sightseeing, and true architecture buffs could pair it well with a trip to Rainbow Row.

The Old Slave Mart Museum

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The Old Slave Mart Museum is a powerful and sobering reminder of Charleston's past involvement in the slave trade, a significant point of interest in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

The museum is housed in a former slave auction building and contains exhibits and artifacts shedding light on the city's role in this dark chapter of 19th-century American history.

Be sure to visit for a thought-provoking and educational experience that gives insight into the difficulties of the domestic slave trade.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell via Flickr CC2.0

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, spanning across the Cooper River, is an iconic Charleston landmark known for its cable-stayed design and impressive length.

Completed in 2005, the bridge offers a pedestrian and bike path, so take a leisurely walk or bike ride across while enjoying the stunning views of the Charleston skyline and the harbor. Active visitors can take in some fresh air while enjoying a marvel of modern engineering.

Nathaniel Russell House

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The Nathaniel Russell House was built in 1808 by Nathaniel Russell, a wealthy merchant, and serves as an outstanding example of neoclassical architecture.

The Nathaniel Russell House is significant not only for its architectural beauty but also for its connection to Charleston's rich and complex history. The house has witnessed important events in American history and has been home to various prominent figures. The house is also known for its unique and eye-catching "flying" staircase, an innovative design feature of that era.

Visitors can partake in guided tours that provide an in-depth look at the history, architecture, and stories behind this remarkable landmark home.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

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The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its beautiful Gothic Revival architecture, is a religious and historic landmark of Charleston. Visitors can appreciate the cathedral's exquisite stained-glass windows and hand-painted murals while attending a Mass or simply taking a self-guided tour.

Don't forget to pay special attention to the impressive recent ceiling renovations that match the original ambiance.

The French Quarter

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The French Quarter in Charleston, SC, is a vibrant historic district that dates back to the 18th century. Its name is derived from the high concentration of French merchants who once resided and operated businesses in the area.

Visitors to the French Quarter can indulge in a plethora of activities like exploring the cobblestone streets, visiting the iconic St. Philip's Episcopal Church, strolling through the many art galleries and boutiques, and exploring the fascinating history of Charleston's maritime past at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

The French Quarter is also home to various festivals and events throughout the year, adding to its lively atmosphere and providing unique experiences for visitors. The French Quarter Art Walk takes place on the first Friday of every month and showcases local artists and galleries with extended hours.

Enjoy great food, atmosphere, and festivities in the historic French Quarter!

Middleton Place

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Built in 1738 by Henry Middleton, a prominent plantation owner, and political leader, Middleton Place was one of the most important plantations during the 18th century and played a significant role in the Revolutionary War.

Today, Middleton Place serves as a popular tourist destination, offering a glimpse into the past while providing various activities for visitors to enjoy.

Visitors can explore the plantation's house museum, showcasing original furniture and artifacts led by expert guides who share tales of the Middleton family and the plantation's history.

You can also wander through the well-preserved formal gardens, featuring sculpted terraces, ornamental ponds, and a variety of plant life. A leisurely horse-drawn carriage tour will take you through the plantation grounds, allowing you to take in the scenic views and gain insight into the daily life on the plantation during its prime.

Drayton Hall

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Drayton Hall is a prime example of Georgian-Palladian architecture and one of the few plantation houses that have remained largely untouched by time.

Built in the mid-18th century, it holds historical significance as a symbol of Southern antebellum life and is notably the only surviving plantation house on the Ashley River. Its preserved state allows visitors to explore the complex history of the American South, including the stories of both the Drayton family and the enslaved Africans who lived and worked there.

A poignant and important part of the visitor experience is the African-American cemetery on the grounds, which dates back to the 18th century. This sacred site serves as a memorial to the enslaved Africans who lived, worked, and died at Drayton Hall and their descendants. Guests are encouraged to pay their respects and reflect on the history of this somber space.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is by far the oldest public garden in America, founded in 1676! It offers visitors a chance to admire the breathtaking beauty of the gardens that showcase thousands of colorful plants, flowers, and wildlife.

Enjoy a guided tour of the plantation house and participate in one of the many special events and workshops held throughout the year. There are even boat and train tours and a small petting zoo!

Charleston City Market

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The Charleston City Market, established in 1807, is the city’s #1 most visited attraction. It is a bustling and lively market located in the heart of Downtown Charleston. It's an ideal spot for shopping, dining, and experiencing the city's vibrant atmosphere.

Browse through the numerous vendor stalls offering a wide range of local goods, including handmade crafts, jewelry, and the famous Charleston sweetgrass baskets. While visiting, grab a bite to eat at one of the delicious food stands or nearby restaurants for some authentic Charleston flavor.

The Aiken-Rhett House Museum

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Built in 1820, the Aiken-Rhett House Museum is one of the best-preserved antebellum mansions in Charleston. The museum allows visitors to explore the rooms and artifacts, giving a glimpse into the lives of the prominent Aiken family and their slaves.

While there, take a self-guided audio tour to delve deeper into the stories and history of this remarkable home. Tickets are available for pre-purchase online, and children under six are free.

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

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Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim is a historic Synagogue located in Downtown Charleston. It was founded in 1749 and is the fourth oldest Jewish Congregation in the United States and the first Reform Jewish Congregation in the country!

The Synagogue has a rich history, with a long list of prominent members who have immensely contributed to the Charleston community and modern Jewish life. President George Washington visited the Synagogue in 1791, cementing its place in American history.

Today, KKBE offers a variety of spiritual and educational programming, including adult education classes, frequent speakers, and an annual symposium. It is a vibrant and active community with a focus on traditional Jewish values and modern progressive ideals.

In addition to its religious and educational programming, KKBE is also a stunning visual landmark in Downtown Charleston. The building was constructed in 1840 in the Greek Revival style of architecture, with handcrafted wooden beams, an ornate interior, and an intricate Moorish-style Ark. The synagogue is open to the public and offers both guided and self-guided tours.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

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The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, located in nearby Mount Pleasant, is a significant historic site that showcases the naval and maritime history of the United States.

The museum is home to several decommissioned naval vessels, including the USS Yorktown, an Essex-class aircraft carrier and the centerpiece of the museum, and The USS Laffey, known as "The Ship That Would Not Die."

At the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, visitors can engage in various activities and explore the rich history of the U.S. Navy. Take a self-guided tour through the decks and experience the strict living conditions of sailors during wartime.

Charleston Museum

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The Charleston Museum is a must-visit space to get yourself oriented to the city's history. Established in 1773, America's first museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of South Carolina's cultural heritage.

As one of the city's most popular attractions, the museum offers visitors a variety of exhibits and collections that span the entire region, from pre-Columbian artifacts to Revolutionary War-era documents.

The museum's galleries showcase artifacts from Native Americans, African Americans, Europeans, and more. Visitors can explore the history of the Low Country, from the earliest days of the area's indigenous peoples to the Civil War.

The museum also offers interactive exhibits and programs, such as a 360-degree theater experience, a 3D cell phone tour, and a variety of lectures and programs. In addition, visitors can experience the area's history through museum-specific events, such as walking tours and educational programs. In addition, the museum also hosts many family-friendly events, such as craft workshops and outdoor movie nights.

Deep History in a Modern Community

As you can see, Charleston, South Carolina, is a city steeped in history and culture, making it the perfect destination for those looking to call it home.

Each of these historic landmarks offers a unique insight into the city's rich past and ensures your time in Charleston is both enjoyable and enlightening.

So, when considering buying a home in this charming city, make sure to add these must-see landmarks to your list of places to explore. Look to NV Realty Group to learn more about the city and find some incredible spaces in the area to call your dream home.

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