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7 Things to Do in Charleston in the Rain
Honestly, I get insanely frustrated whenever I look at the weather forecast and see nothing except rain for days on end. Rain, rain, rain, and more rain.
My frustration only increases when I have a big trip planned on the horizon.
Sometimes I even feel like a rainy weather forecast is a deliberate attempt to ruin my vacation. I know. Dramatic, huh?
So do you need things to do in Charleston in the rain? No worries! While I understand sunny weather is ideal in Charleston, rain doesn’t always decide to respect the precious time that you’ve set aside for your travels.
Time for a full disclosure. On my own trip to Charleston, I had one rainy afternoon, so for the most part I was lucky, but for awhile, the forecast looked dire with rain every single day. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in Charleston in the rain. This city is gorgeous even with gray clouds and wet sidewalks.
Table of Contents
The Best Things to Do in Charleston in the Rain
For this guide, I’ve compiled the 7 best things to do in Charleston in the rain to help plan your vacation to South Carolina.
I promise you that Charleston has plenty of enjoyable options that don’t include a sunny stroll along the Battery and a harbor cruise to Fort Sumter (although those activities are admittedly awesome).
As for me, I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Charleston so I can impart my wisdom onto you guys.
Personally, I’m a sucker for food and museums, so this post is going to cater toward those particular interests. As always, you’re more than welcome to add or cut attractions based on your own personal interests.
Appreciate Antiques at Calhoun Mansion
Charleston is known for its colorful historic houses. I mean, we’ve all seen the iconic pictures of Rainbow Row. But what house tour should you take if the weather isn’t great?
Personally, I think taking a tour at Calhoun Mansion is a wonderful thing to do on a rainy day in Charleston.
While some house tours include exploring the lawns and outdoors, the Calhoun Mansion’s tour keeps you fully dry indoors. Tours last about an hour.
Calhoun Mansion isn’t exactly restored like it was in the late 1800s. If you’re looking for precise historical accuracy, you won’t find it here.
Instead, many stunning antiques inside the Calhoun Mansion transport you back to the overly opulent Glided Age. Not to mention, a visit to Calhoun Mansion is like taking a grand tour around the world. The collection has pieces from far flung corners of the globe.
You can find Calhoun Mansion on 16 Meeting Street.
Snuggle with Cats at Pounce Cafe
I love sweet adorable furry creatures. In particular, I think cats are so, so, so cute, but alas, they are too expensive for me to own at the moment.
So, on a rainy day in Charleston, why not stop into Pounce Cafe and play with some cats as you sip your tea or wine? The cats are precious.
Pounce Cafe is a female-owned business that takes cats from the Charleston Animal Society. These cats are available for adoption, so you might find your new best friend on a rainy afternoon. Even if you can’t adopt, you’re supporting an outstanding cause by helping to socialize the cats.
You can find Pounce Cat Cafe at 283 Meeting Street.
Create Your Very Own Food Tour
Charleston is an incredible food destination. Seriously, at any point, a glorious restaurant will be located within a quick walking distance from you.
First do some research on Charleston’s best restaurants. Choose a cluster within close proximity of each other, and then go to the bars and sample appetizers at each place.
Without a doubt, shrimp and grits, banana coconut cream pie, BBQ ribs are perfect remedies for curing the rainy day blues in Charleston. Your clothing sizes might increase, though, but it’s worth it.
I understand that some travelers just want to shut off their brains and relax on vacation.
So, if you don’t want to create your own food tour, then I would recommend booking a Downtown Culinary Tour of Charleston where you’ll meet plenty of other “foodies” and learn all about Charleston’s great cooking scene.
Learn Charleston’s History at the Charleston Museum
Charleston Museum is another great option for staying entertained in the pouring rain. Not to mention, Charleston has other small museums too that would be perfect for a rainy visit. Make sure to pack a reliable guidebook to research the best museums in this historic city.
Inside Charleston Museum, you’ll learn all about this port city’s intricate and sometimes painful history. You’ll find exhibits on the lives of the Native Americans, colonial settlers, slaves, and more. There’s an entire room dedicated to Charleston’s role in the Civil War. History buffs will find plenty to read as they examine the variety of artifacts on display.
Furthermore, Charleston Museum has an upstairs exhibit entirely dedicated to natural history. You’ll even discover a mummy!
You can find Charleston Museum at 360 Meeting Street.
See a Show at Dock Street Theatre
Are you passionate about theater like I am? Then you’re in luck in Charleston, because this city has one of the coolest theaters that I have ever seen on my own adventures.
Dock Street Theatre is located in Charleston’s historic French Quarter. On a rainy night, set aside time to see a show in this historic theater.
No matter when you go to Charleston, you’ll probably be able to see a performance, considering that there are over 100 productions each season.
The theater has plenty of room, too, so it should be easy to find a seat that’s within your travel budget. The interior is beautiful, and Charleston has a lot of local talent that would appreciate your support for their work.
Get Lost Inside Historic Charleston City Market
Want to do more shopping and eat more food? Go to Historic Charleston City market on a rainy day. Most of the market is located indoors, so you won’t have to worry about getting soaking wet.
This market was first established in the 1790s, and now extends an insane four city blocks. Although touristic, the Historic Charleston City Market is a wonderful place to go buy souvenirs for friends and family.
As for food, this market is home to one of two Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit locations. These biscuits are buttery, savory, and delicious. One of the best breakfasts to eat in Charleston. Don’t miss out!
Take a Spooky Tour of the Charleston Jail
Last but not least, you can’t come to Charleston and not dig into the supernatural.
Anyone who knows me well already knows that I’m a total sucker for a good ghost story. I’ve been an avid fan of the horror genre ever since I was a young child. My first crush at four years-old? Dracula.
Don’t judge me.
Charleston has several fantastic graveyard tours, but you might not want to subject yourself to rain late at night. Instead opt for taking a haunted tour at Charleston jail to get your spooky fix indoors.
The Charleston Jail held many notorious criminals such as Lavinia Fisher, who is (supposedly) the first female serial killer in the United States. You’ll learn a lot of dark history, such as the atrocious treatment of the prisoners and abuse from the guards, as well as enjoy a few scares! The tour guides are excellent, too.
Bonus Item: Sit on the Porch with a Good Book
One of the best things to do in Charleston in the rain is to relax on the porch.
Which means you should try to stay in a historic hotel with a porch. On the porch, you’ll stay dry and still enjoy a bit of outdoor time, especially if temperatures are warm.
As for me, I was lucky enough to stay at NotSo Hostel, which had a delightful porch looking over Spring Street. Practically every single houses in Charleston has a porch – which is understandably.
As a side note, imagine living in the Deep South without air conditioning? I shudder to think about it.
Regardless if you’re spending a week or 3 days in Charleston, still take some time to decompress on the porch. Your body will love you for it.
I hope I gave you plenty of fun things to do in Charleston in rain! What are your favorite things to see and do in Charleston? Have you ever been to this awesome city? Share all your thoughts in the comments.