Things to Do in Charleston in March (2020)

This post covers the best things to do in Charleston in March and has been updated for 2020, including nighttime, free, as well as family-friendly events and activities. 

 

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TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND EVENTS IN MARCH

This section features our top 10 activities to enjoy in Charleston throughout March. Whenever possible, we will make note of attractions and events that are free, family-friendly or great after dark.

For tips on the most popular activities in Charleston, check out our schedule of pay-what-you-like walking tours, our bus tours, and boat cruise pages.

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.


1. See a Show

Charleston may be a small town, but there are a number of music events throughout the year to enjoy. Below are a number of shows passing through Charleston:

For more things to do at night in Charleston, check out our nighttime section below


2. See the St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

March 14, 2020

If you’re in Charleston for St. Patrick’s Day, then you’re in for a fun-filled celebration of food, music, and culture.

The highlight of the day is in arguably the St. Paddy’s Day Parade, which begins at King and Radcliffe Street at 10:00 am. 

Other fun St. Patrick’s Day activities include: 

  • Mass at St. Patrick’s church
  • Annual Tri-Color Flag Raising at City Hall
  • The singing of the Irish national anthem 
  • Traditional Irish-American boiled lunch (corn beef and fixings) served by the Knights of Columbus
  • Performance featuring bagpipers and step dancers
  • Celebrations at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub and Seafood Restaurant 

Learn more about St. Patrick’s Day in Charleston here


3. Take A Tour!

March is a great time to take one (or more!) of our 2-hour walking tours as the weather is warmer but not yet stifling.

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

 

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We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours if you cannot join our scheduled walking tours. Check out our schedule page to see what we have available when you are here.

March is also a great time to take a ghost tour as it will still be dark out, especially at the beginning of the month, to set the mood for the earlier tour times without having to stay out late to experience the graveyards at night.


4. Visit Magnolia Plantation 

There are several different plantations in the Charleston area, but Magnolia Plantation is arguably the most popular.

It features the last large-scale Romantic Gardens left in the United States, which includes a large swamp and dozens of different plants and flowers growing wildly around the property.

 

 

In the month of March, the roses and wisteria are in bloom, making it an especially beautiful time of year to visit.

Several tour operators run tours from Charleston and Myrtle Beach to Magnolia Plantation, as well as other plantations.

Read our post comparing Charleston plantation tours to learn more. 


5. Charleston Fashion Week

Even if fashion isn’t your forte, Charleston Fashion Week is a fantastic event to behold if you’re in town during the month of March.

 

 

Held annually in Marion Square, it showcases designers from all across the country.

In addition to seeing the latest trends walk down the runway, there is also the opportunity to buy items from different vendors.

Tickets start at $50 per person. 


6. Charleston Wine + Food Festival

March 4- March 8, 2020

The annual Charleston Wine + Food Festival takes place early March and features several different signature events, signature dinners, beverage workshops, guided excursions, and hands-on classes.

 

 

Additionally, the festival hosts the Culinary Village- a hub of food and wine tastings, chef demos, live music, and retail therapy in Marion Square. 

Check out our list of Lowcountry foods to try, as well as our comparison post of the best food tours in Charleston to learn even more about the local food culture.


7. Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island

Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island is one of the most photographed sites in all of Charleston.

Believed to be between 400-500 years old, the Southern live oak that grows in the center of the park measures 28 feet wide and  66.5 feet tall.

 

 

Because it is a Live Oak, the tree keeps its leaves year-round, so while the rest of Spring foliage is waiting to bloom in March, the Angel Oak Tree is great to photograph no matter when you visit.

If you’re looking for a fun and free way to spend an afternoon in Charleston in March, then head to Johns Island!

Read our post comparing the best bus tours in Charleston to learn which ones visit Angel Oak Tree. 

Best of all, there is no admission cost to explore Angel Oak Tree Park. For more free things to do in Charleston in March, read our free things to do section below.


8. Festival of Houses and Gardens

March 11 – April 18, 2020

One of the most popular events to take place in Charleston every year, the Festival of Houses and Gardens invites the public to tour more than 150 private houses and gardens in the historic district of the city, including the Aiken-Rhett House.

 

 

Each property dates back to anywhere from the Georgian and Antebellum periods into the early 20th century, and “showcases Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, gardens, and culture.”

Tickets are available from November and tend to sell out quickly, so be sure to get yours as soon as possible. All proceeds benefit the Historic Charleston Foundation. 

Learn more about the Festival of Houses and Gardens here


9. Attend a Sporting Event

You can attend a sports game in Charleston! Their NFL hockey team, the South Carolina Stingrays, plays a few matches in March, which you can attend at the North Charleston Coliseum. 

For more family-friendly things to do in Charleston in March, check out our kids’ section below. 


10. Get Free Tickets with a Tourist Discount Pass

Admittedly, these passes have a cost.  However, if you plan well, you will essentially get several tickets to attractions or tours each day for free. Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

Read our post comparing the different Charleston tourist discount passes.  Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals. 

TIP: Our Guide to Free Things to do in Charleston lists a number of activities and events that won’t cost you a dime!

 

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Below are our sections on things to do in at night, for free, or for families in March.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in Charleston. 

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN MARCH

Below is just a short sampling of the many things to do in Charleston at night in March. 

Between St. Patrick’s Day festivities and the Charleston Food + Wine Festival, there are many things to do at night in the city. 

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post Things to do at Night in Charleston.


Visit the King Street Shopping District

King Street is over 300 years old and is considered one of the most famous streets in all of the United States. It is a bustling retail corridor filled with all sorts of shops.

It also has a variety of hotels, art galleries, bars, and restaurants- all of which promise to keep you occupied late into the night.


Attend a Pub Crawl

Pub crawls are a fun way to learn about the local nightlife. For a more traditional pub crawl experience, join Bulldog Tours on their Upper King Street Pub Tour which shares the history of prohibition, pirates, and pubs in Charleston.

Alternatively, you can go on a Mixology Tour with Charleston Culinary Tours and visit 3 different bars that are highly regarded for their exquisite cocktails. 

Click here to read a comparison of the pubs crawls offered by Bulldog Tours and Charleston Culinary Tours. 

TIP: For many more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post, Things to do at Night in Charleston.


Have a Laugh at Theatre 99 

Theatre 99 is a vast 130-seat theatre and Charleston’s “Home for Improv Comedy”.

Since it opened in 2000, Theatre 99 has been a great place to gather for locals and tourists alike for great comedy shows.

The shows are audience-led, giving each performance a unique touch as performances go off of audience suggestions. This makes it a great place to go back to again and again! 


Take a Sunset Boat Tour

If you want to try something romantic, take a sunset cruise in the Charleston Harbor! There are a number of Charleston Harbor tours to choose from to get great views of the Charleston Harbor.

 

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Learn about the different sunset cruises and decide which Charleston harbor cruise is best for you.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN MARCH

Here are just a few of the many free things you can do in Charleston in March. 

Be sure to check out the other sections of this post, as many of these other ideas are free, such as visiting the Angel Oak Tree. 

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in Charleston.


Visit Charleston Art Walk

March 6, 2020

Join the Charleston Gallery Association on an Art Walk through the historic streets of Charleston on the first Friday of every month.

Start at any of the downtown galleries and stroll through the historic streets of Charleston from 5 pm – 8 pm.

More than 40 art galleries will stay open late and offer free refreshments as you peruse the artwork. Take a look at the map to plan your route.


See the Ravenel Bridge 

Ravenel Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in Charleston, and best of all, it’s free to visit! You are can walk across the bridge and enjoy fantastic views of Charleston and the harbor from above.

If you’d like to be guided across the bridge, then consider joining a bus tour instead. 

 

 

We include the Ravenel Bridge as one of the top 10 things to see in Charleston


Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour with Free Tours by Foot

If you want to learn more about Charleston’s history but aren’t prepared to spend money on a tour, then follow our free self-guided tour of historic Charleston. 

This tour will take you to all the most famous sites and attractions around the city.

As it is self-guided, you can move at your own pace and focus on the areas of the city you are most interested in seeing. The full tour typically takes about 2 hours if you move at a slow but steady pace.


Visit St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

The oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is located at Broad and Meeting streets in the heart of the historic district.

It was built between 1751-1761 and features incredible stain glass windows and woodwork. The church is open to the public and welcomes visitors to attend Mass.

During Holy Week, it offers several worship services throughout the day.  Visit their website for more information on visiting.

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN MARCH

Below are just a few of the ideas for things to do with kids in Charleston in March. 

Some of the items mentioned above would also qualify for inclusion here, including taking a Historic Charleston Walking Tour or visiting Fort Sumter.

You might also want to read our Charleston on a Budget guide for tips on how to save when traveling as a family. 


Visit the Charleston Museum

Described in many reviews as a “must-see”, the Charleston Museum is a small but powerful natural history museum featuring exhibits that highlight the city’s long and complex history.

When purchasing tickets, you can “choose your own museum adventure” by selecting between 1-3 sites.

This is a great way for people of all ages to learn about the area’s regional history. 

Charleston Museum is included on the Heritage Passport, which is a discount pass for visitors. Learn more about it in our post

This museum is popular with families and has an entire kids section.


See the USS Yorktown and Patriots Point

Located on Charleston Harbor at the base of the Ravenel Bridge, Patriots Point is the home of the USS Yorktown and the Maritime Museum.

Having served as an important carrier from World War II through the 1960s, the USS Yorktown now sits as the centerpiece of the museum and invites visitors to enjoy a “hands-on history lesson.”

This site is especially popular with families and school groups as there are lots of interactive exhibits and educational opportunities. 

If you’re traveling with an organized youth trip of 10 or more, you can even sleep onboard the USS Yorktown in an onboard campout! Find out more here.


Attend a Dress Parade at the Citadel

March 6 & 28, 2020

Watch the cadets from the Citadel parade on select Fridays throughout the year.

The precision drill movements and military parade are always a highlight for families visiting and these events are free and open to the public.

 

 

On March 28, 2020, there will be a special event, the Corps Day Jeep Review which commemorates the arrival of the first cadets on campus in March 1843.

There are events open to the public throughout the day, including dress parades, awards presentations, special cadet performances, and athletic events.

Parade Schedules are subject to change, so please confirm their schedule here.


Attend the STEM Festival

March 7, 2020

Described as “a celebration of science, technology, engineering and math in the Lowcountry”, STEM Festival brings together children, teens, families, and local STEM professionals at Brittlebank Park.

There, they will enjoy hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented STEM entertainment.

More than 80 exhibitors take part each year to put on this fun and totally FREE event. 

Click here to learn more about STEM Festival. 


Go to the Charleston Fun Park

Located a short drive from downtown Charleston, the Fun Park is an extremely popular destination with families with kids of all ages.

They have mini golf, a road course, batting cage, bumper boats, and a number of other fun games and attractions.

You pay per activity, so families don’t have to worry about paying a big up-front entrance fee. 

Learn more about to save on ride costs at the Fun Park with the Charleston Tour Pass. You’ll receive Receive 2 Premium Attraction Tickets per Person.

TIP: For more ideas of things to do with kids in Charleston, see our post Things to do in Charleston with Kids.

 


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About the author

Guide & Manager | Charleston, SC

Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has more than 1000 5 star reviews. He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and on the historic interpretation/ education staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began leading tours for Free Tours by Foot.