This post covers the best things to do in Charleston in November and has been updated for 2023.
It includes a top 10 list, nighttime activities, and free and family-friendly things to do.
Be sure to check out our master post, Things to Do in Charleston for even more ideas.
- Top 10 Things to Do in November
- Things to Do at Night
- Free Things to Do
- Family-Friendly Things to Do
- Charleston Walking Tours
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER
This section features our top 10 activities to enjoy in Charleston throughout November.
Whenever possible, we will make note of attractions and events that are free, family-friendly, or great after dark.
Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
1. Coastal Carolina Fair
The Coastal Carolina Fair is an annual fair hosted in Ladson, about 20 minutes from Charleston, since 1957!
Come and enjoy rides, a flower show, live music, food and craft competitions, and much more.
Profits from the event benefit local charities, scholarships, and other ways to give back to the community.
The festival runs from October 26th-November 5th
For other family-friendly things to do in Charleston in November, check out our kids' section below.
2. See a Concert
November brings plenty of concerts to Charleston. Below is a list of performers passing through the city:
- Chris Isaak | November 5th
- Graham Nash | November 9th
- Gipsy Kings | November 11th
- Meshell Ndegeocello | November 12th
- Foreigner | November 13th
- Manheim Steamroller | November 24th
- Postmodern Jukebox | November 26th
For other things to do at night in Charleston, check out our night section below.
3. Take a Tour!
Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour is worth or what you can afford (even free) when the tour is over.
4. Harvest Festival
Celebrate the beauty of fall with a day of autumnal activities people of all ages can enjoy!
Think bluegrass music, hayrides, kids' crafts, and more.
There are also Southern specialties on offer, such as Carolina barbeque and kettle corn.
Johns Island County Park, which is less than 20 minutes from Charleston, will host the Harvest Festival on November 4th.
Tickets are $10 and children under 12 are free!
5. Charleston Literary Festival
The annual Charleston Literary Festival runs for ten days every November.
The festival takes place in partnership with Charleston House in the UK, home of the Bloomsbury Group, and has a focus on "maintaining an international perspective".
These two organizations will be hosting a series of programs with authors and scholars from around the world.
The festival runs from November 3rd–12th.
For tickets and the program of activities, visit the Charleston Literary Festival website..
6. Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island
Head over to James Island Country Park in the evenings to enjoy thousands of lights, a Victorian carousel, visits with Santa Claus, a holiday train, holiday sweet treats and so much more!
The festival runs from November 10th through December 21st from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm each night.
Check the Holiday Festival of Lights website for more information and tickets.
For more things to do in Charleston at night, check out our nighttime section below.
7. Attend a Rockabillaque Festival
The 10th anniversary of the Rockabillaque Festival takes place on November 18th.
Guests can enjoy live music, a car and bike show, and pinup, tattoo, and beard and mustache contests - all for free!
There's also a kickoff party on November 17th, and a pool party on the 19th.
Visit the website for more information.
For more festivals, check out the kids' section below.
8. Charleston Scottish Games & Highland Gathering
For 52 years the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering has taken place in Charleston.
There will be athletic competitions, pipe bands, highland dancing competitions, live music, scotch tasting, and much more.
There will also be plenty of food to enjoy from local vendors.
A calling of the clans takes place Friday, November 3rd, and the festival itself takes place November 4th, both at Riverfront Park
To learn more, visit the Charleston Scottish Games website.
9. Attend a Food Festival
There are a few food festivals taking place in Charleston in November.
Donut Festival Charleston | November 18th
Visit this fun festival for a sampling of donuts, beer, and coffee.
Food + Travel sponsors the festival, which takes place at Rusty Bull Brewing Co.
Holy Smokes BBQ Fest | November 11th
Visit Riverfront Park to find over "50 of the country's most renowned pitmasters and chefs".
It's all-you-can-eat and covers Texas, Traditional, New School, and Coastal BBQ styles.
10. Tourist Discount Pass
Do more for less by planning ahead with the Tourist Discount Pass.
With this pass, you can 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.
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in Charleston.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN NOVEMBER
Below is just a short sampling of the many things to do at night in November.
Some of our top ten November activities in Charleston are meant for evening hours like the concerts.
Here are a few more ideas for things to do in the evening.
For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post Things to Do at Night in Charleston.
Take a Blues and BBQ Cruise
This cruise combines music by local and regional musicians with a BBQ buffet that includes pulled pork, smoked chicken, mac & cheese, and more.
Both are enjoyed as you cruise past various "Holy City" landmarks in the evening.
To find out more about the cruise and to purchase tickets, visit the Charleston Harbor Tours website here.
To learn more about Charleston Harbor tours, click our post here.
Take in a show at Charleston Music Hall
Charleston Music Hall has a number of great shows planned for November.
You can also find Chris Isaak's It's Almost Christmas Tour, Graham Nash's Sixty Years of Songs and Stories, tributes to Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac, and much more.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER
As a city, Charleston offers a lot of free activities in November like the things included in our Charleston Discount Pass listed in our top ten section above.
Just strolling up and down the cobblestone streets and soaking in the historic and unique architecture is free and enjoyable.
Here are a few more free things to do in Charleston in November
For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in Charleston.
Holiday Market – Middleton Place
Start your Christmas shopping early at the Holiday Market taking place at Middleton Place Plantation.
This open-air market is open all day from 9 a.m. -to 5 p.m. and will have a number of vendors with a whole variety of goodies to buy for those special people on your holiday list.
Admission to the market is free, so bring the whole family!
For more family-friendly things to do in Charleston, see our post Things to do in Charleston with Kids.
Visit the Gibbes Museum of Art
Charleston’s only visual art museum, the Gibbes Museum of Art, is sure to please any art lover.
The museum showcases a number of classic paintings as well as contemporary pieces including mixed-media, abstract, and sculpture.
The first floor is free and open to the public while tickets are required for the second and third floors.
TIP: Our Guide to Free Things to Do in Charleston lists a number of activities and events that won’t cost you a dime!
Stop in at the Big Red Barn
Carriage tours of Charleston are a great way to see the city!
There are a number of different companies and a variety of tours to choose from.
The Palmetto Carriage Works is one of those, and they have also what's called the Big Red Barn where you can visit and see where they take care of their horses and mules.
With over 40 in the barn, it’s a site to see that children particularly enjoy!
Take a picture at Rainbow Row
Admire the architecture of 13 pastel-colored homes in a row along East Bay Street on Charleston's waterfront.
This is one of the most photographed places in the city.
For more information, visit Charleston's website about the houses.
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN NOVEMBER
The Holy City is one for all ages!
Some of the things we’ve mentioned in this article like the Holiday Market listed in our free section above are activities the whole family can enjoy!
Here are a few more ideas that are family-friendly.
This convention is in its 10th year and is for all those passionate about fantasy and sci-fi.
The weekend-long event will host panels, talks, and more!
You can come for a single day or purchase for the whole weekend, depending on what your schedule allows. To learn more, click here.
See Madagascar the Musical
On November 12th, Madagascar the Musical will take place at Charleston Gaillard Center.
The story follows the journey of a group of animals that escape their home at New York Central Park Zoo and go off on a great adventure.
For tickets and additional information, visit the website.
Come out for the YALL Festival
The Charleston Young Adult Literary Festival is taking place in November.
A fun event for all ages, this festival will have visiting authors, readings, and so much more!
Hosted by some of the biggest names in publishing, this event is a great way to get excited about reading!
Events take place on November 10th and 11th. To learn more, click here.
Visit the South Carolina Aquarium
Marine life lovers will enjoy a trip to this dazzling aquarium.
Focused on connecting people with water, wildlife, and wild places, the aquarium features a number of exhibits that showcase animals like sea turtles, alligators, a large variety of fish, and more!
Children especially like the hands-on touch tank!