Essential Charleston

Tour Creator

Chelsy, a former tour guide of Charleston's historic district, is currently the Education Coordinator of The Powder Magazine, South Carolina's oldest public building, and the Executive Director of the Berkeley…Read More Bio »

Charleston

GPS-directed

Remote Tour Included

1hr/2hrs(Extended itinerary)

1km/2km(Extended itinerary)

Our tour of Charleston will focus on highlighting the city’s colonial and Revolutionary War history. The tour starts at the Circular Congregational Church graveyard and ends at Washington Park. By the time of the Revolutionary War, Charleston, South Carolina already had almost one hundred years of history. We will explore some of the oldest sites of Charleston: the homes and businesses of the eighteenth century, still standing strong in the modern city. Learn about the city’s early defenses, colonial life, and the British bombardment of the city.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional local tour guide

Written by a former Charleston guide, who is now the Education Coordinator of South Carolina's oldest public building

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Powder Magazine, St. Philip's Church, and Rainbow Row

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home

Itineraries

Essential Charleston – Extended

Essential Charleston – Standard

  1. Circular Congregational Church - The is home to one of the oldest congregations in Charleston, as well as the oldest graveyard.
  2. Walled City Plaque - When it was first settled, Charleston was a walled city. It had a drawbridge and cannons around it as well, providing defense against outside threats.
  3. Powder Magazine - The oldest government building in the Carolinas. It was constructed in 1713 to store 10,000 pounds of gunpowder.
  4. St. Philip's Church - The congregation at St. Philip's Church is the oldest European-American religious group in South Carolina. The graveyard holds the remains of several local politicians.
  5. The Dock Street Theater - Named as such because Queen Street was once called Dock Street. It was the first purpose-built theater in the American colonies.
  6. McCrady's Tavern - Today, McCrady's Tavern is a five-star restaurant. In the colonial era, it was a popular restaurant and meeting space.
  7. The Old Exchange Building - Sometimes called South Carolina's most historic building. It was used as a market, meeting space, offices, and military prison.
  8. Rainbow Row - The most photographed location in downtown Charleston. It is a series of colonial row houses that were originally built as shops and were later painted pastel colors.
  9. Charleston's fortification - This section of the city's fortifications shows what the wall was like around Charleston. The wall is also outlined in the street.
  10. The Capers-Motte House - one of the largest colonial homes in the city. It was lived in by the wealthy Motte family, as well as a lieutenant governor of South Carolina.
  11. The Robert Brewton House - This may be the oldest single house in Charleston. The Brewton family was wealthy and several of its members are famous in South Carolina, including Rebecca Brewton Motte and Miles Brewton.
  12. Heyward-Washington House - South Carolina had four Declaration of Independence signers, and the Heyward-Washington House was home to one of them. The home was built in 1771, but it has outbuildings from the 1740s.
  13. History of Tradd Street/Cleland-Wells House -  One of the oldest streets in Charleston. The Cleland-Wells House was used as a print shop before and during the Revolution.
  14. Fotheringham-McNeil Tenement - Tenement buildings were common in early Charleston. The Fotheringham-McNeil Tenement is an early (1740) example of what rentals generally looked like in the city.
  15. The Colonel John Stuart House -  Home to the king's Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the South, a position that was responsible for maintaining peace with the Native tribes. The home is the oldest side-hall plan house.
  16. Alexander Petrie House - Orange Street's name isn't a misnomer: it's named for orange trees. Alexander Petrie purchased many lots in this area and the home named for him was constructed at 3 Orange Street.
  17. Edward Rutledge House - A second South Carolina Declaration of Independence signer was Edward Rutledge, owner of the Edward Rutledge House. It is also known as the Governor's House Inn. Across the street is the John Rutledge House.
  18. The John Lining House - Built in 1715, this is the oldest wooden home still standing in Charleston. Lining was a doctor and meteorologist; he conducted the first recorded weather observations in the American colonies.
  19. St. Michael's Church -  The oldest religious building in Charleston. It was constructed in 1761. George Washington worshipped here in 1791 and his pew is still inside the church.
  20. Washington Park - A green oasis in the busy city. It has several monuments, including one to the first Jewish person killed in the Revolutionary War and to George Washington.
  1. Circular Congregational Church - The is home to one of the oldest congregations in Charleston, as well as the oldest graveyard.
  2. Walled City Plaque - When it was first settled, Charleston was a walled city. It had a drawbridge and cannons around it as well, providing defense against outside threats.
  3. Powder Magazine - The oldest government building in the Carolinas. It was constructed in 1713 to store 10,000 pounds of gunpowder.
  4. St. Philip's Church - The congregation at St. Philip's Church is the oldest European-American religious group in South Carolina. The graveyard holds the remains of several local politicians.
  5. The Dock Street Theater - Named as such because Queen Street was once called Dock Street. It was the first purpose-built theater in the American colonies.
  6. McCrady's Tavern - Today, McCrady's Tavern is a five-star restaurant. In the colonial era, it was a popular restaurant and meeting space.
  7. The Old Exchange Building - Sometimes called South Carolina's most historic building. It was used as a market, meeting space, offices, and military prison.
  8. Rainbow Row - The most photographed location in downtown Charleston. It is a series of colonial row houses that were originally built as shops and were later painted pastel colors.
  9. Charleston's fortification - This section of the city's fortifications shows what the wall was like around Charleston. The wall is also outlined in the street.
  10. The Capers-Motte House - one of the largest colonial homes in the city. It was lived in by the wealthy Motte family, as well as a lieutenant governor of South Carolina.
  11. The Robert Brewton House - This may be the oldest single house in Charleston. The Brewton family was wealthy and several of its members are famous in South Carolina, including Rebecca Brewton Motte and Miles Brewton.
  12. Heyward-Washington House - South Carolina had four Declaration of Independence signers, and the Heyward-Washington House was home to one of them. The home was built in 1771, but it has outbuildings from the 1740s.

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