Charleston starts off the New Year with a heavy calendar of fun activities and events. For both residents and visitors alike, a list of the top 10 things to do in Charleston, South Carolina in January 2016 begins with settling into your seat on one of the best Charleston carriage tours. Book now, and we’ll save you some seats on our next historic tour.
Charleston Carriage Works
One of America’s oldest and most charming cities is best explored with an engaging, expert, knowledgeable guide. Relax under our comfortable, canopied Charleston horse drawn carriage while we peacefully clop along the cobblestone streets to show you around some highlights of America’s favorite city. The weather service indicates historical averages for daytime highs are in the upper 50s.
Festival of Lights
Quick, catch the winter wonderland magic. Charleston’s 26th Annual Festival of Lights will run through Jan. 3, 2016 at James Island County Park, where two million twinkling lights contribute to the dazzle. Dancing fountain illuminations, enchanted walking trails, an old-fashioned carousel and a marshmallow and s’mores roast are some of the family-friendly happenings each evening. See fireworks light up the sky at 9 p.m. at one of America’s top holiday attractions.
New Year’s Day Polar Plunge at Folly Beach
Would you dive into the ocean to greet 2016 with a splash, or would you prefer to come as a spectator? The annual Polar Bear Plunge will see brave souls dress up their favorite characters and hit the beach. Rawberry Jam will be onstage from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Loggerheads Beach Grill, where they’re serving beverages and burgers on Jan. 1.
Charleston Restaurant Week
January brings great dining and great prices in Greater Charleston. Dozens of restaurants are participating in the popular Charleston Restaurant Week from January 6 – 17, 2016 with fixed price menus for lunch and dinner. From Acme Lowcountry Kitchen to Zero Café and Bar, the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (GCRA) is continually updating their free app to include details from all the participating restaurants.
The 6th Annual Charleston Marathon is one way to work off the holiday calories on Jan. 16, 2016. The good news for runners is that the course is flat and it’s an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon. And, the good news for spectators is the course’s scenic water views, along the Battery and historic King Street, as well as a festival with live entertainment at the finish line. A half marathon and the Shrimp and Grits 5k run through historic Park Circle in North Charleston also take place on Saturday and bike races are on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016.
Taste of Folly
Celebrate Folly Beach’s wonderful restaurants and bars in a mid-winter festival. Vendors line Center Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2016, providing bites and more for a Taste of Folly. Family-friendly events include a chili cook-off, hot dog eating contest, chef finals, waiter Olympics, live music and entertainment. Folly Beach is only 15 minutes from downtown Charleston.
Charleston Jazz Festival
Four venues host three days of jazz performances by award-winning artists in the second annual Charleston Jazz Festival on Jan. 24-26, 2016. Gaillard Performance Hall, Sottile Theatre, Woolfe Street Playhouse and Barsa Restaurant are the stages where ticketholders will enjoy appearances by 10-time Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval, two-time Grammy Award Winner Diane Schuur, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra and lots more.
South Carolina Aquarium
“Water you waiting for?” asks the South Carolina Aquarium. Home to more than 5,000 animals, the top attraction is open every day in January, including New Year’s Day. Touch a stingray, say hello to the 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle, learn about sustainable fishing and sea turtle rescue, adopt an albino alligator or a bald eagle, and take a seat for the 4-D theater experience.
Bigger and better year after year, the indoor/outdoor Charleston Boat Show at the Charleston Area Convention Center is a coastal lifestyle event. For 36 years, it has attracted hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors annually to browse everything boating and to attend expert talks and demos. Tickets are on sale for the expo being held on Jan. 29-31, 2016.
Lowcountry Oyster Festival
The 33rd annual event at Boone Hall Plantation on Jan. 31, 2016 packs in the fun all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. One of the top events in the southeast, it is the world’s largest oyster festival. Oyster lovers are surely in heaven at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, where 80,000 pounds of the mighty mollusk need shucking and eating. There’s live music, competitions, beer and plenty of other food available all day. General admission and VIP tickets are on sale for the event that benefits several charitable organizations.
Looking forward to seeing you in 2016!
Happy New Year from the team at your favorite carriage tours,
Charleston Carriage Works