Charleston’s location means that fall looks a little different here than it does in many other places. After our long, humid summers though, it’s a season we all eagerly anticipate! This is also a time of year when we welcome an influx of tourists and visitors, ready to experience the city without having to battle the heat. It always makes us so happy to run into visitors around town who share with us that they’ve used our Charleston Guide recommendations to help them make the most of their trip. We hope this fall guide does the same, as well as encourages our local readers to try out some new places and activities.
We polled our Charleston-based team and rounded up both their favorite seasonal activities and their go-to spots for cozy evenings below. Our perfect fall weekend consists of both! Slip into your favorite September Gal Meets Glam Collection piece and enjoy everything our city has to offer during this beautiful time of year.
Tip: Keep in mind that although the first day of autumn was this past weekend, the temperatures generally don’t start to drop here until mid-October at the earliest. Some of these activities may be best enjoyed a little later in the season.
Visit the Boone Hall pumpkin patch and corn maze: A beloved destination for local families, Boone Hall pulls out all the stops to create the quintessential fall experience. Admission includes access to the U-Pick pumpkin patch, the corn maze, a hay ride, and more.
Catch a fall feels film at Terrace Theater: This award-winning independent theater shows both new and classic films, so there is something for every movie-goer’s taste. Don’t worry about rushing through dinner beforehand–they serve a variety of both classic and unique concessions, as well as a wide selection of beer and wine.
Pack a fall-inspired picnic to eat on the dock: Whether you pack your own food from home or your hotel, or pick up something to-go from a place like Goat. Sheep. Cow. or Caviar & Bananas, there’s no better place to enjoy a meal than on the water. Try Brittlebank Park off Lockwood Drive, White Point Garden, Hampton Park, or Pitt Street Bridge.
See a show at the Gaillard Center: From classical music to comedy, The Gaillard Center hosts a wide variety of entertaining performances each season. We love any chance to visit their elegant venue for a show, followed by drinks at the nearby Dewberry Hotel.
Enjoy The Coastal Carolina Fair: Fall is fair season across the Southeast. If you’re hoping to channel the opening scenes of The Notebook during your time in Charleston, the Coastal Carolina Fair, which is about 30 minutes north of the city and runs from October 31-November 10 this year, is the place to do so.
Attend one of the seasonal events at Magnolia Plantation: One of the most beautiful places in the area is Magnolia Plantation, which is also the oldest public garden in the country. Breathtaking year-round, the garden frequently hosts community events, such as the Autumn on the Ashley Arts & Crafts Fair and the Lights of Magnolia lantern festival in the fall.
Stroll through downtown Charleston (especially South of Broad) and Hampton Park to enjoy the cool weather and changing leaves: While we don’t quite have the foliage that places like New England boast, Charleston’s charming downtown and idyllic parks are worth a visit any time of year.
Shop the Charleston Farmer’s Market in Marion Square: A favorite local spot for picking up fresh ingredients, like apples and pecans to bake into fall pies, this expansive farmer’s market is also a popular place for visitors to wander.
Sip on wine at Bistro A Vin or Bin 152: After spending the summer sipping on cocktails at rooftop bars, there is something so cozy about heading to one of these elegant wine bars instead. Both places offer a wide selection of wine and a knowledgable staff.
Catch a football game: Check the football schedules for The Citadel, right in downtown Charleston, or take a short drive up the road to Columbia, SC for an SEC match. The electric atmospheres of the games are infectious!
Go fly fishing in the flats: The South Carolina salt flats are known as a fly fisher’s paradise. Redfish and trout are biting in the fall, so it’s a perfect time to give this activity a try. If you’re new to fly fishing, check out one of the many charters and expeditions available.
Have a bonfire on Sullivan’s Island: As much as we love the beach in the summer, there’s also something so romantic about it during the chillier months. It makes for the perfect setting for bundling up in sweaters and roasting marshmallows while listening to the waves.
Participate in an oyster roast: September marks the beginning of “oyster season,” and whether you host your own, head to a restaurant like Nico, or join in one of the many oyster roast festivals across town, this cherished tradition will give you a great taste for the Lowcountry.
Drink and dine at Husk: This iconic Charleston restaurant is world-renowned for a reason—the dining experience is incredible. Be sure to make a reservation as soon as you can (they’re often fully booked weeks in advance), and don’t forget to arrive early for a drink at their bar, located in the carriage house right next door.
Catch the sunset from Pitt Street Bridge: Pack your favorite beverage and a light evening snack and head over to Pitt Street Bridge (we recommend biking there if you’re staying nearby!) in time for sunset. We love sitting along the bridge’s edge and enjoying the evening and a great conversation.
Taste the seasonal offerings at The Harbinger Cafe and Bakery: Every dish at this team favorite spot is made from scratch and features locally sourced and seasonal fare in both plant-based and gluten-free options. We love stopping by often to enjoy their rotating menu items, especially the open-face breakfast sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats.
Whenever you may be headed to Charleston, we hope you love it as much as we do. Three years into living here, the city still enchants us daily!