Charleston is charming. It is crammed with cobblestone alleyways, steeped in history and the pastel-painted houses with their window boxes and shutters have been restored beautifully. But what about when the sun goes down? Are there any unique things to do in Charleston SC at night?
Firstly, you will need somewhere to get a good meal that isn’t going to cost you a fortune.
Charleston is beautiful, but it can also be pricey.
Secondly, you will be looking for entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. Something that you will appreciate as well as the kids. it’s your evening too. If you are a regular reader you will know how I feel strongly about remembering to look to your own needs and wants – you can read about that here -not always easy to do, especially when you have teenagers.
The following suggestions on things to do in Charleston at night, however, will make everyone in the family happy and suit the most frugal of traveller.
We were in Charleston SC this week and we needed things to do at night.
Travelling with teenagers is easy. Sort of. That is until the clock strikes 7 pm and they suddenly wake like vampires with a bang.
The usual activities such as bowling or movies were not an option. Let’s face it, those things can be done in any city. If you are in Charleston, you will want to make the most of the more unusual things to do at night.
We are in the first month of our backpacking trip around the world with our two teenagers. We left New Zealand in November, went to Ft Lauderdale and are making our way up to New York before flying to Asia. Brian and I decided that if we didn’t do it now, then we never would. The money is tight so this wonderful experience is being attempted on a strict budget – hence the reason I am looking for things to do in Charleston at night on a budget. If you are interested in how everything is playing out take a look here.
We were couch surfing (more on that in another post) and the property was a good 20 minutes drive away.
Things to do in Charleston SC at Night.
If you have a car as we did, drive 15 minutes from downtown and go to Dellz Uptown.
It’s a vegan restaurant but I didn’t tell my teenagers this otherwise they wouldn’t have wanted to go. There is plenty of free on-street parking. It is open until 8 pm.
As well as vegan and vegetarian the menu also includes meat options, I tried both (over the two nights, I’m not that greedy) A chicken wrap with black beans, melted cheese, brown rice, Mexican sauce and sour cream, and then a vegan pizza with tomato, coriander, chilli and avocado.both were absolutely delicious. We ate there two nights it was that good. They will let you bring your own wine but if you don’t carry a bottle in the car like we do, you can buy a glass for $5. A meal for 4 costs us $46 when we brought our own wine and $62 when we drank theirs. It has a very nice vibe with easy going, kind staff. Get the window seat and watch the world go by on the busy street. The teenagers loved it and all the while I don’t think they ever guessed we were in a vegan restaurant.
Another restaurant option. If you are in town and can’t be bothered to drive you are not going to regret going to the Brown Dog Deli for dinner. The deli has two branches in Charleston, we went to the Calhoun street branch. It is open until 10 pm.
This long narrow eatery has high ceilings, fabulous music, a relaxed atmosphere and superb food. There is something here to please everyone. My 13-year-old daughter is pretty fussy and was delighted to find she could build her own hot dog. My 16 year old would eat a horse and still be hungry but the portions were big enough – even for him.
Brian and I shared a pulled pork meal and it was plenty. We had a couple of beers instead of wine (it was cheaper) We paid $56 for the four of us. Either of these places would be a fabulous Charleston nighttime option. I looked around and there were groups of friends and also couples eating there. We were the only family in there but that’s ok. You can just do what we did. Admire the hundreds of album covers that are pasted all over the walls and then bore the kids senseless about how things were better in the days when you had to save up and buy yourself a record.
What is there to do in Charleston SC at night?
TourCharleston. The Best Guided Walking Tours in Charleston.
If you find yourself in Charleston SC and looking for things to do at night, make sure you check out TourCharleston.com. In our opinion, this walking tour company offers the best option for things to do in Charleston at night. Especially with older children.
Black History and Ghost of Charleston Tours.
We were very kindly offered to walk as guests on both of these superb walking tours. The one I’m talking about in this post is the ghost tour.
We were met at the bookstore on the corner of Concord and Cumberland street by our guide –Mr Neale.
Mr Neale is a professional actor, dancer and director and he certainly knows how to tell a captivating story. From the very start of this amazing tour, we were hanging on his every word, not to mention his coattails.
His stories of ghosts such as the lady in black standing in the window of what is now a restaurant beckoning for people to come and join her, a failing businessman who hanged himself after his cotton supply burnt to the ground and a whistling doctor who walks the cobbled streets of Charleston had us all intrigued and if I’m telling the truth – slightly terrified!
Charleston at night is an eerie place, to say the least. Try and go in December when the tiny paned windows are lit by flickering holiday candles and you will swear you can see shadows lurking around every street corner. We loved it. You will learn about the Battery Carriage House Inn that is said to be the most haunted hotel in Charleston SC. Many guests have witnessed a wailing torso hovering above their bed. A little tip: if you’re booked to stay here and you find yourself in room 8 or 10 – move.
How Long Does The Walking Tour Take?
The walking tour takes an hour and twenty minutes although much to our delight Mr Neale went over this time. If you’ve got teenagers you will know how hard it is to impress them. Do this tour, stand back and watch them as they tune in to every word – wide-eyed and intrigued and not a screen in sight. It is wonderful.
After walking slowly around the tiny streets of Charleston at night – streets that would have otherwise have been missed, the tour ends in a particularly eerie spot.
Talking afterwards we all agreed that we thought Mr Neale was teasing us with his talk of paying a nighttime visit to the graveyard, but no. Tour Charleston is the only tour company in Charleston that has exclusive rights to enter the Unitarian graveyard. Tales of paupers graves beneath our feet and forlorn lovers searching for each other amidst the overgrown graves left us clinging to each other as we stood huddled together – thoroughly enjoying the drama that Mr Neale lay out in front of us.
This isn’t just a ghost tour, this is also an entertaining history tour. We learned a great deal about this fascinating city and the people that lived here while at the same time receiving a private performance by an incredibly talented storyteller.
Mr Neale has performed on Broadway and he is now in Charleston telling families like ours ghost stories, all against the backdrop of the black night of Charleston.
How much do The Ghosts of Charleston Tours Cost?
Do not miss this opportunity – even if you don’t believe in ghosts. I do, Brian doesn’t and Sonny and Tess wish now that they didn’t have to answer.
I’d say this tour is suitable for ages 8 upwards. Unless you have a very brave child. Although in saying that, it was me that was too scared go to the bathroom on my own for a few hours afterwards, so use your discretion.
If you are looking for things to do in Charleston SC at night SC, then spend an evening eating good food, huddle up to the one you love and be prepared to be entertained in a way that you’d undoubtedly forgotten existed. No screens. No graphics. No 3D glasses.
Just real life storytelling.
The whole evening will cost you just $40 per person. If you go I’d love it if you could let me know if you spot a lady in a white dress. Or hear a whistle. Or a huffing torso. Let me know if your teenagers loved it as much as mine!