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.
Nov. 10-Jan. 1
Holiday Festival of Lights: Journey through three miles of more than 700 light displays of all shapes and sizes. Then, park your car and view the lights from the holiday train, ride a Victorian carousel and enjoy mouth-watering treats from Santa's Sweet Shoppe. Hours and admission prices vary. James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, 843.795.4386
YALLFest: Actor and author Jason Segel is one of the more than 70 authors of young adult books who will sign their books, participate in seminars and discuss their love of reading and writing during this year's YALLFest, the country's largest YA book festival. Keynote talks require tickets, but many events are free and open to the public. Book signings are first come, first serve and those in line may be given wristbands. Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St.
Plantation Days: Craftworkers demonstrate the skills practiced by enslaved people as they prepared Middleton Place for winter. Explore what plantation life was like in the 18th and 19th century and learn about African American culture and Gullah storytelling. 10 am to 4 pm, Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road, 800.782.3608
Wine Under the Oaks: Sample a variety of wines, enjoy food pairings and desserts and watch cooking demonstrations by some of Charleston's finest chefs. Other gourmet food selections will be available for purchase. Jazz musician Charlton Singleton performs. And don't miss seeing Boone Hall Plantation decorated for the holidays, 1 to 5 pm, Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant, 843.884.4371
Holiday Parade of Boats: You'll be able to see the Holiday Parade of Boats light up the Charleston Harbor from anywhere along the waterfront, but if you want a party with your view, there's a Light up the Night Holiday Preview Party. $30 at the door for the party. 5 pm at the Charleston Maritime Center, 10 Wharfside Street
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon: Cheer on the runners along the route of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon, which starts and finishes in the East Beach Village. If you’re running, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of maritime forests, marshes and grand homes in the island community. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive.
Mansion Ball: Billed as Charleston’s most exclusive New Year’s Eve Party, this new event offers an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and multiple levels of live entertainment. Tickets are $175, 9 pm to 1 am, The Restoration Hotel, 75 Wentworth
Riverdance: The international Irish dance phenomenon brings it’s high-energy performance to The Gaillard Center for Riverdance, the 20th Anniversary World Tour. Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun St. Tickets are $25-90. Call 843.242.3099 or visit gaillardcenter.org.