A Local’s Guide to the Best Annual Events in Charleston, SC
The temperate weather in Charleston, SC, makes it the perfect city to host year-round annual festivities. Fashionistas, animal lovers, art enthusiasts, and foodies can all visit the Holy City for some of the locals’ favorite happenings. Learn more about the most popular annual events in Charleston, SC, then start planning your getaway!
As you begin researching for your trip to Charleston, be sure to request our complimentary Destination Guide for insider tips and suggestions. This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about our favorite restaurants, historical sites, and additional annual events in Charleston, SC!
Charleston Wine + Food
The most anticipated food event of the year, Charleston Wine + Food brings together the cities best chefs for five days of samples, demonstrations, special dinners, and more. With dozens of events taking place during the festival, it can be difficult to pick just a few. The most popular event, the Culinary Village takes place in beautiful Marion Square, just across the street from the Hotel Bella Grace. Entry into the village will grant you access to a seemingly endless number of food samples and wine tastings.
This event is held annually between February and March.
Southeastern Wildlife Exposition
What originally began as an event to celebrate nature and the region’s wildlife has evolved into a weekend-long event with an expanding fine arts component. Throughout the weekend, events are held in various locations downtown with many taking place in Marion Square, including cooking demos, birds of prey flight shows, and more. You can head to other locations like Brittlebank Park and the Gaillard Center among others to view animal-inspired art exhibits, witness sheep herding demos, and learn about conservation efforts.
This event is typically held during the month of February.
Charleston Fashion Week
One of the only fashion-related annual events in Charleston, SC, Fashion Week takes place in Marion Square with several tents set up with runaways, vendors, lounges, and VIP areas. Don your most fashionable outfits and prepare for a weekend of intriguing designs. Don’t miss the Emerging Design Contest, during which young designers from the region show off their latest creations. Throughout the weekend, attendees enjoy parties and celebrations throughout the city and in the festival lounges.
Each year, Charleston Fashion Week takes place around March.
Volvo Car Open
Formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, the Volvo Car Open is the largest all-female tennis tournament in North America. Head to the Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island to witness top players compete for the title. During this week-long tournament, spectators can attend numerous other events including food tastings between matches, vendors booths, and prize/giveaway tents.
Each year, this event is held in the spring between March and April.
Spoleto Festival USA
Possibly the largest annual event in Charleston, the Spoleto Festival is held for several weeks every spring. The US counterpart to the Italian Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto is a celebration of all forms of art from visual and performance to literary and musical. For 17 days, artists take over the city of Charleston offering more than 700 shows, which include performances, lectures, art exhibits, and more.
Held in conjunction with the Spoleto Festival USA, Piccolo Spoleto is the City of Charleston’s mini arts celebration. Also hosting a plethora of dance, theater, and music performances as well as art exhibits, Piccolo Spoleto sets up an Outdoor Art Exhibition in Marion Square featuring the work of 70 artists.
Both Piccolo Spoleto and Spoleto Festival USA are held every year between May and June.
MOJA Arts Festival
Held every fall, the MOJA Arts Festival is a celebration of African-American and Caribbean culture in the Lowcountry. With exciting events centered around dance, health, literature, music, heritage, theater, and the visual arts, MOJA brings together influential artists for 11 days of excitement.
The MOJA Arts Festival usually takes place between September and October.
Festival of Lights
Named one of the Best Holiday Festivals by the readers of USA Today, the Holiday Festival of Lights is an elaborate and beloved light show. Held each year in the James Island County Park, the festival guides spectators through a winter wonderland with beautiful light displays and places to park and explore Santa’s Village. In the village, you can roast marshmallows over an open fire, take a train ride, and marvel at a new, intricate sand sculpture created each year.
The Festival of Lights beings each year in November and runs through New Years Day.