Palmetto Carriage Works Blog

Charleston, SC: The Cultural Capital of the South

Charleston, SC has long been voted the number one city in America by Travel + Leisure magazine, and each year the award is just as valid as it was the year before. There is nothing tired about Charleston with its ever-evolving cuisine scene, art galleries, historic tours, and arts festivals, so while the multiple accolades may seem redundant to the outsider, there are so many fresh new reasons why Charleston maintains that number one spot and is considered the cultural capital of the South.

Each year, Charleston hosts America’s premier performing arts festival known as Spoleto Festival USA. For 17 nights during the end of May through mid June, Spoleto wows the city of Charleston with its various performances located all across town. Each year offers something new and different than the year before and draws crowds of both locals and visitors alike. Every type of performing art form is represented at the festival, from dance to symphonic concerts, dramatic plays, singing, and more. There is truly something for every taste present at this unique festival.

Charleston is also well known for its annual Wine and Food Festival, which celebrates a collective of culinary artists in the area. The first weekend in March is when Wine + Food kicks off each year, offering a variety of food and drink themed events around the city. There is quite literally something for everyone to enjoy and each year there are new participants and freshly planned events to keep it new and exciting.

Beyond festivals, there are plenty of cultural activities to enjoy every day of the year. Strolling through the French Quarter of Downtown is one way to experience some of Charleston’s cultural charm. Known for its art galleries, theaters and boutique restaurants, the French Quarter offers a glimpse into what makes Charleston so special. There are over 30 art galleries located in Charleston’s French Quarter alone, making it a worthwhile place to visit while in town.

The best way to experience Downtown Charleston is on a carriage tour, where you’ll see and learn about some of Charleston’s famed historic sites like the oldest theater in the United States (the Dock Street Theater) or the building where The U.S. Constitution was originally ratified (the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon.) Carriage tours cover a wide variety of historic subjects, and no two rides are exactly the same, making it a valuable experience to do over and over again.

Another interesting way to explore Charleston’s culture is by visiting some of the local inns and B&Bs. Two Meeting Street Inn is a great example of a combination of Charleston’s culture and tourism. Visitors have the opportunity to really become immersed in the South of Broad lifestyle. Not only is the house a piece of Charleston’s history, built in 1892, but it also offers its guests a true southern experience. Each morning, Innkeepers provide a hot southern breakfast for guests served either on the piazza or in the garden, weather permitting. Guests are steps away from the southernmost point of the peninsula, White Point Garden, and are able to experience what it is like to be able to walk out the front door and step right into the heart of Downtown Charleston.

Charleston, SC’s cultural charm is among the many reasons why so many people are drawn to live and visit the city. Even if your trip dates don’t coincide with one of the various annual festivals, there are still plenty of ways to experience the beauty of the arts and culture offered in Charleston. Whether visiting a local restaurant, art gallery, or seeing a performance in one of the many theaters around town, it’s not hard to understand why Charleston has come to be known as the Cultural Capital of the South.