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Charleston Charm: Unwrapping the Top 10 Holiday Festivities in the Holy City

A line of cars drives through a colorful holiday light display at night.

Charleston, South Carolina, is a city that truly comes alive during the holiday season. From its historic charm to its Lowcountry hospitality, the Holy City knows how to celebrate in style. In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the top 10 holiday festivities that make Charleston a must-visit destination during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you’re a local looking for new traditions or a visitor seeking the ultimate holiday experience, these festive events and activities will surely ignite your holiday spirit.

1. Charleston Tree Lighting

The annual Christmas tree lighting in Charleston is a beloved tradition that brings the community together to kick off the holiday season with festive cheer. Held in Marion Square, this event features a magnificent Christmas tree adorned with thousands of sparkling lights and ornaments, creating a magical and heartwarming atmosphere. Families and friends gather to enjoy live music, holiday treats, and the presence of Santa Claus, making it a cherished occasion for all ages.

2. Holiday Parde of Boats

The annual Holiday Parade of Boats in Charleston is a dazzling maritime spectacle that adds a unique twist to the festive season. As vessels of all sizes and types deck their hulls with brilliant lights and decorations, they create a mesmerizing procession along Charleston Harbor. This event, complete with music and holiday-themed festivities, captures the spirit of the season and provides a breathtaking view for onlookers along the waterfront.

Want the perfect view of this luminescent holiday parade? Check out the specialty Blues and BBQ cruise aboard the Charleston Princess on December 9th. From live music to delicious cuisine, what better way to celebrate the holiday magic with a front row seat of the parade on the water. Book your tickets now before it’s too late!

3. Charleston Christmas Parade

The annual Charleston Christmas Parade is a heartwarming and festive event that lights up the historic streets of Charleston with holiday spirit. Families and spectators line the parade route, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, who marks the grand finale of this joyful procession. The Charleston Christmas Parade is a time-honored tradition that brings the community together to celebrate the magic of Christmas in a historic and enchanting setting.

Can’t get enough of the Holiday Spirit? Check out Mount Pleasant’s upcoming holiday parade this weekend! Grab your loved ones and indulge in the beauty of December in Charleston!

4. Aquarium Aglow

The “Aquarium Aglow” at the South Carolina Aquarium is a mesmerizing and enchanting holiday event that transforms the aquarium into a festive wonderland. During this magical experience, the entire facility is adorned with colorful holiday lights and decorations, creating a unique underwater winter wonderland. Visitors can explore the exhibits, encounter marine life, and enjoy special holiday-themed activities, all while surrounded by the captivating glow of the season.

5. Take in a Holiday Show

Looking for an enchanting night with your loved ones? Don’t miss out on all the wonderful live shows Charleston has to offer. Whether it’s the Cirque Dreams: Holidaze, The Nutcrackerstand-up comedy, or live musicCharleston has it all. Whether you’re a local looking for new traditions or a visitor seeking the ultimate holiday experience, these festive shows and activities will surely ignite your holiday spirit.

6. Grand Illumination

Step into a world aglow with the enchanting allure of Illumination Charleston. This holiday extravaganza transforms the historic downtown into a mesmerizing wonderland of lights and festive displays. The captivating event promises a magical stroll through the city’s famed Marion Square, where millions of twinkling lights create a breathtaking spectacle, illuminating the charming surroundings.

7. Cirque Dreams: Holidaze

Experience the mesmerizing magic of the holiday season with Cirque Dreams: Holidaze. This spectacular show takes the enchantment of the holidays to new heights with a captivating blend of acrobatics, music, and theatrical artistry. Set against a backdrop of festive decorations and dazzling lights, Cirque Dreams: Holidaze promises an immersive journey into a world of wonder and awe.

8. Holiday Street Festival on IOP

Immerse yourself in the holiday magic at Isle of Palms with the annual Holiday Street Festival. This lively event, as highlighted in the community festivities, transforms the island into a winter wonderland of seasonal delights. From the cheerful sounds of carolers to the scent of holiday treats wafting through the air, the Holiday Street Festival, as shared in the local scene, promises a delightful celebration that captures the true spirit of the season on this idyllic island.

9. Chanukah in the Square

Embark on a joyous celebration of Chanukah right in the heart of historic Charleston with the annual Chanukah in the Square event. This vibrant festival, as detailed in the event description, invites the community to Marion Square for an evening filled with cultural richness and festive cheer. Illuminated menorahs, live music, and traditional delicacies create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it a cherished occasion for locals and visitors alike.

10. Festival of Lights With Adventure Sightseeing

Join Adventure Sightseeing for a magnificent time at the Charleston Festival of Lights! Embark on a luminous journey, where the magic of the season comes alive in a dazzling display. There are over 700 displays and 2 million lights, and the festival runs daily starting November 11 (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas). The tour leaves from the Charleston Visitor’s Center located at 375 Meeting St. at 5 p.m. Transportation provided in a climate-controlled 25-passenger bus. Hotel Pickup is available for an additional fee, please call our office at 843-722-1112 after booking to reserve a pick-up if needed.

Included for your touring pleasure: Entry fee to the Festival of Lights, 1.5 hours in the Winter Wonderland area for shopping, s’mores, pictures with Santa, or pure enjoyment of festivities. S’more kit: includes graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate, and sticks for roasting! Reserve your tickets now before it’s too late!