Things to Do in Charleston in January (2019)

This post covers the best things to do in Charleston in January and has been updated for 2019. It includes sections highlighting our top ten list, evening, free, and family-friendly activities. For even more ideas, be sure to check out our master Things to do in Charleston post!



In this section, we highlight our top ten list for January, 2019. When possible, we’ve noted activities that are free and kid-friendly.

For more ideas on how to spend your time in Charleston, make sure to check out our pay-what-you-want walking tours, harbor tours, and ghost tours.

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass!

Festival of Lights Charleston

Festival of Lights January 1

Ring in the New Year at the Festival of Lights — Charleston’s spectacular holiday light display in James Island County Park. Pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed on the route, so be sure to bring your own vehicle or travel with a bus tour company like Gray Line. Entrance fees start at $20 per vehicle with 1-15 passengers. January 1st is the last day to visit this fantastic event! 

Read a comparison of all the best bus tours in Charleston and see the official Festival of Lights website here. 

Charleston Restaurant Week

Enjoy Charleston Restaurant Week – January 9-20 (kid-friendly)

Take advantage of your chance to dine at some of Charleston’s best restaurants for a discounted price during Charleston’s Restaurant Week! Dozens of the best chefs in town will be offering pre-fixe lunch and dinner menus for diners to experience. Reservations are strongly encouraged!

Charleston Comedy Festival – January 16-19

The Charleston Comedy Festival returns with four days of laughs! The festival will feature stand-up, sketch, improv performances at a variety of venues throughout the city. Tickets and more information available on the website.

See the Old Powder Magazine (kid-friendly)

The oldest government building in South Carolina, The Old Powder Magazine was completed in 1713 and has served a number of purposes throughout the millennia. Visit the museum any day of the week (hours and admission prices vary) and learn more about it with our self-guided audio tour!

Visit the Confederate Museum (kid-friendly)

Operated by the Daughters of the Confederacy, this museum was once a public market hall that was largely used to raise funds for the Confederacy.

Tip: This museum is featured on our Self-Guided Civil War Walking Tour.

Charleston Jazz Festival – January 24-27

Tap your feet to the beat as you listen to a variety of jazz musicians during this four day festival. The event brings together over 100 local, regional, and national jazz artists to share their love of music through a number of performances and events. Check the website for tickets and more information.

Charleston Walking Tour

Take a Tour with Free Tours by Foot (kid-friendly)

We offer a variety of pay-what-you-want walking tours throughout the Holy City that cover a variety of subject matter! Whether you’re interested in Civil War History, the spirits and ghosts of Charleston, or the unique architecture of the city, we’ve got something for you!

Tip: If you don’t have time for a walking tour, be sure to check out our GPS enabled self-guided audio tour!

LowCountry Oyster Festival – January 27 (kid-friendly)

Hailed as one of the top events in the southeast and the world’s largest oyster festival, the LowCountry Oyster Festival is back on January 27th! Patrons will enjoy oyster shucking, live entertainment, wine & beer, a children’s area, and plenty of available oysters and other dishes. Tickets are available now.

Enjoy Some Live Entertainment! (kid-friendly)

For those who enjoy an evening of live entertainment whether it be music, sports, or stage shows, there are lot to choose from in the month of January. See the famous Harlem Globetrotters or enjoy one of many live musical performances!

Visit Fort Moultrie (kid-friendly)

Located on Sullivan’s Island, Fort Moultrie might be the lesser known of the defensive forts in the Charleston area but offers a very colorful history. Visit the fort and learn about how it served from 1776 through WWII. The fort is open daily (except New Year’s Day in January) from 9am-5pm; fees vary.

Tour the Aiken-Rhett House Museum (kid-friendly)

One of the most visited sites in Charleston and one of the best preserved mansions in the south, the Aiken-Rhett House Museum has a lot to offer visitors. Learn everything you need to know about visiting the house here.


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There are plenty of fun evening activities to experience in Charleston! In addition to what’s listed below for the month of January, be sure to check out our master post on Things to do at Night in Charleston for even more ideas!

Go Bowling at The Alley

For a fun night out, put on your bowling shoes and hit The Alley! More than just a bowling alley, this venue offers food and features a full bar as well. You can make a whole night out of it!

Charleston City Market (kid-friendly)

One of the most popular attractions in the Holy City, the historic Charleston City Market features dozens of local makers and designers selling their goods for you to take home! On Fridays and Saturdays shop the open-air market later at night, as they stay open from 6:30pm-10:30pm.

See a Show (kid-friendly)

A great way to spend any evening, there are several live stage performances to choose from in the month of January. See the ever popular Rock of Ages or an adaption of Number the Stars based on the Lois Lowry book among many others!

Tip: For more night times activities, check out our Things to do at Night in Charleston post.

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Charleston offers a variety of free events if you plan accordingly! Some of the activities we’ve mentioned like strolling the Charleston City Market charges nothing for admission. Here are a few other free activities for January.

Second Sunday on King Street – January 13 (kid-friendly)

On the second Sunday in January, numerous shops on King Street could feature special sales, new products, food and beverage offerings, pop-ups, and more! This event is free of charge and is fun for people of all ages!

Consider Buying a Tourist Discount Pass (kid-friendly)

The pass itself costs money but if you plan on seeing many attractions while in Charleston this type of tourist pass might be just the thing you’re after! It’s so packed with value that after you’ve done a couple activities the rest of the attractions are included for free!

Make sure to check out our post where we compare the best tourist discount passes in Charleston for you.

Walk the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (kid-friendly)

The Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River in Charleston offers a lovely pedestrian path that gives visitors stunning views of the city and waterways. The path is 2.5 miles one-way, making it a 5 mile round trip adventure. Walk half or whole, or turn around at any point!

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Charleston has many family-friendly attractions that people of all ages enjoy! Some of the items we’ve listed like visiting Fort Moultrie or shopping on King Street are fun for everyone. Here are a few more kid-friendly activities for January!

Carriage Tour

Take a Carriage Tour

Great for people of all ages to learn more about the historic city of Charleston, a horse-drawn carriage tour will not only provide in-depth information on the city but is also a lot of fun! Try a day or night tour or consider buying a combo package, this is a great way to explore the Holy City!

New Year’s Day 5k

Ring in the new year by heading to the beach and enjoying a fun run or walk 5k. Hosted by the Dunes Resort, children over 4 years of age and adults registration fees are $22.94 and children under 4 are free! Tickets are available here.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Once part of several rice plantations, the Caw Caw Interpretive Center today offers over 6 miles of trails, elevated boardwalks through wetlands, multiple interactive exhibits, and more. It’s a great spot for families who are looking to spend some time enjoying the wildlife.

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