Charleston always surprises travelers (and even locals) for how it bustles with options for performances and festivals. Simply put: There's always something going on. Start here to make sure you're living "carpe-diem"-style in Charleston.
Great Things Not to Miss
Lowcountry Oyster Festival: Billed as the world's largest oyster festival, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival features oyster shucking and oyster eating contests, live music, children’s activities and a food court with local restaurants. Admission tickets are $17.50 in advance or $25 at the gate. Food sold separately. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit www.charlestonrestaurantassociation.com.
Good Catch Oysterfest: Enjoy sustainably source oysters small plates and a chili bar at South Carolina Aquarium’s Good Catch Oysterfest. Participating restaurants include Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, The Boathouse at Breach Inlet and Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. Beer and wine are included in the $50 ticket price. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf. Visit scaquarium.org for more information.
Cork Shuckin' Oyster Roast: Enjoy an oyster roast with live music, food trucks, beer from Low Tide Brewing, tastings and drinks from Deep Water Vineyard and Firefly Distillery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Deep Water Vineyard, 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island. For more information, visit www.deepwatervineyard.com.
Southeastern Wildlife Exposition: The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition celebrates wildlife and nature through fine art, conservation education and sporting demonstrations. Highlights include the Fine Art Gallery at Belmond Charleston Place, three performances by animal ambassador Jack Hanna at the Gaillard Center as well as the the Sporting Village and DockDogs competition at Brittlebank Park. A three-day general admission ticket is $50, or purchase single day tickets for $25 for Friday and Saturday and for $15 on Sunday. Visit sewe.com for schedules and venues.
Feb. 28-March 4
Charleston Wine + Food: The Charleston Wine + Food festival showcases the city's rich flavor, award-winning chefs, beverage professionals and artisans. This year’s festival features 40 local and guest chefs and 150 local and guest beverage experts, 32 dinners and 20 signature events The Culinary Village in Marion Square is the heart of the festival and a great experience for first-time visitors. New this year are brunches and a North Charleston Night Bazaar. Tickets are venues vary. Many events sell out. Visit charlestonwineandfood.com for schedules and tickets.
Charleston Fashion Week: See and be seen at Charleston Fashion Week, which includes runway shows, a style lounge and a VIP tent in Marion Square. You’ll see the latest trends from top boutiques, featured designers and emerging designers. There also are related city-wide events, shopping and after parties. For tickets and schedules and visit, Charlestonfashionweek.com.
March 15-April 21
Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens: Visit private homes and gardens dating back to the 18th century during this series of tours, which highlights the city’s architecture, history, gardens and culture. The festival is set during the peak of the city’s blooming season and also includes history tours and musical performances. For a schedule of events and tickets, visit www.historiccharleston.org.
St. Patrick's Day Parade: Celebrate the Irish culture’s influence on Charleston and line King and Broad streets to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church prior to the parade and the Irish flag will be raised at Charleston City Hall following the parade. You’ll also find live entertainment and traditional corned beef and cabbage specials at area restaurants, such as Tommy Condon’s. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Radcliffe Street and proceeds down King and Broad streets to Legare Street.
March 31-April 8
Volvo Car Open: U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens is one of the talented tennis players who will take the court during Volvo Car Open from March 16 to April 8. The largest women’s only tennis tournament in North America features more than 100 world-class players. In addition, attendees can enjoy shopping in the Merchandise Tent or tasting some of the unique Charleston cuisine offered at one of the many dining locations onsite. Ticket prices vary. Volvo Car Stadium, 161 Seven Farms Drive, 800.677.2293, www.volvocaropen.com.