Y’all know that we absolutely love Charleston and go there as often as we can. I’ve shared several of our trips with you on here before. But what about visiting Charleston during the coldest month out of the year? Is it worth it? How exactly is Charleston in January?
Well, don’t worry friends, I am here to tell you all about it! And while I absolutely love visiting Charleston when it is full of warm, sunny days, anytime you visit the holy city is a great time in my opinion!
We had a blast and I am glad that we went in January this year actually. We went for my hubby’s birthday weekend and it was such a good time. Plus, it was Charleston restaurant week too which is a huge bonus! Especially if you are a foodie like I am. And you can’t beat the fact that hotel rates are down during the off season too!
So keep on reading to see all the fun things you can do in Charleston, even in January! I’ll be sharing everything we did, as well as every where we ate too. So if you’re looking to plan a trip in the month of January to Charleston, I got you covered! And if you like a place with fewer visitors and fewer crowds, now is the time to go!
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What Month Is The Coldest In Charleston SC?
If you guessed January, then you are correct. Big surprise there right? But honestly, I much preferred it to visiting in July, during the very heat of summer. We’ve been there before where it was a sweltering 95 degrees.
So even though January is considered one of the “coldest” months there, it’s really not bad. Especially since it averaged around 60 degrees the whole time we were there. And I would say that is the average temperature around there for this time of the year.
Which is really not that cold. I went most places without even wearing a jacket. Just be sure to check out the local weather stations while you are there for the current weather status.
When Is The Off Season in Charleston SC?
If you like visiting places during the off season like we do to avoid all the crowds, this is crucial information! For downtown Charleston, and surrounding areas like Mount Pleasant, it’s considered that December, January, and even the beginning of February is the off season.
We’ve been in both December and January before, and I will say that December seemed to be a bit busier. Although, we did go the week right after Christmas and I am sure a lot of people have that week off so that is probably why. It may not be that way in early December, but I am not sure.
Even still, it wasn’t too crowded and we still had a great time then too. But compared to the two, I think coming to Charleston in January is ideal! Even in the quieter months, Charleston is always fun to visit!
Is Charleston SC Fun In The Winter?
You may be wondering if coming to Charleston during the winter or the off time is even worth it. And I am here to tell you it definitely is! While you may not be able to lay out and catch the sun over on Folly Beach or Sullivan’s Island, there are still so many things to do here!
I mean, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to start your new year off in Charleston honestly! I am going to share all the fun things we did, that way if you are still on the fence about visiting Charleston in January, I can convince you to try it out!
Things To Do In Charleston In January
Okay, now for the fun part. I am going to highlight everything we did on our trip. So you can either mimic what we did, or plan your very own excursions yourself. I’m just here to give you some ideas of how you can spend your time there.
For reference, we went down on a Wednesday night after work, and then came back on Sunday morning. I think that was plenty of time to enjoy Charleston, during the winter months especially. So if you have a long weekend sometime in January, you should definitely go for it!
Visiting Waterfront Park
You also need to visit the noteworthy waterfront park while you are in Charleston at least once. It’s where the famous pineapple fountain is too, so you gotta stop by there and take some pictures!
Grab a cup of coffee from any of the local spots around and then walk to the park. It’s always fun to walk by the water and hear the waves rolling in. Plus, you can keep on walking down to Rainbow Row too. That way you can see all the fun and colorful houses too!
Touring Historical Homes
While we were walking along Waterfront Park, we found an old historical site offering tours that caught our attention. It was the Edmonston-Alston House and they offer several tours throughout the day. And it’s only $15 a person too so the cost isn’t bad either.
I absolutely loved seeing all the antique furniture in the home! They kept it preserved very nice and the place was full of history. Our guide for this tour was very thorough and I learned a lot listening to her.
The actual owner of the house lives on the 3rd floor still and the tours continue below throughout the day. My favorite part was going out on the porch and seeing the view! You could see Waterfront Park perfectly from there!
Walking along downtown Charleston more, we stumbled across another old historical home offering tours too. This one was the Heyward-Washington House. And George Washington actually stayed here in the past!
You get to see the actual room he stayed in, which was very cool. Although, this tour is audio only so you get a little walkie talkie that will talk in your ear while you tour the house.
Because of this, I liked the other tour better, since it had an actual guide to it. And I thought the other home was prettier and had more antique furnishings, which you know I love!
But, it was so fun to see and experience them both. I highly recommend, especially if you’re a big history buff. You will love it! There is also several other historical homes to tour around the area too, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested!
Shopping on King Street
One of the things I love to do is shop at all the shops on historic King Street. There are plenty to choose from and I always have a few favorites I have to hit up each time I am down there. One of them being Kendra Scott.
I have always been a fan of her jewelry, and have a few pieces myself. Although, I did not know that they offered a “Color Bar” in the back where you can actually create your own jewelry! How cool is that?! You can choose your own metals (gold, rose gold, silver, etc.) and pick out your own stones too!
I decided to do a matching set of a necklace, earrings, and a ring. And since it was Logan’s (my hubby’s) birthday weekend, they had a pair of stud earrings actually called “Logan”. So obviously I had to get them for his birthday because I am nice like that!
But, this was such a fun experience and would also be perfect to do for a bachelorette or girls weekend too. Another one of my favorites is Sewing Down South as you know. I’ve mentioned this store in the past before and if you’re a Southern Charm fan, then you know all about it!
Side note- I was actually lucky enough to meet Craig Conover here at this store a few years ago when we were visiting. Be sure to check out my Charleston blog post on that if you missed it!
But all in all, the pillows here are really cute and I finally ended up buying one for my office reading nook chair. And it looks perfect! It also makes me think of my favorite place while I am stuck at home every time I look at it!
Shopping At The Charleston City Market
Another fun place to shop is at the city market. And even though it is winter, the market is open year-round. Some of it is enclosed completely and some of it is partially. So if it is a chilly day, be sure to dress warm when shopping there.
But based on the usual Charleston weather, it is pretty mild there and not too bad to shop around in. I think the city market is one of the more popular attractions to Charleston because it is so unique.
You can find some cool gifts and trinkets there for yourself or loved ones. I actually found me some goodies myself there this time too! Like I mentioned above, I made my office reading nook with a nod to Charleston.
So to keep up with that, I found some beautiful framed photographs of Charleston taken by a local photographer Michael Nocher.
And the best part is the frames are made from reclaimed wood from historic sites in the area! How cool is that?! I placed those on the shelves above my reading nook in my office too. So it really is a perfect little nook dedicated to my favorite vacation spot!
Charleston Ghost Tour At The Haunted Jail
We also always love to do walking tours while in the city too. Whether it’s a ghost tour or a historic walking tour, they are all fun and amazing! This time, we got to do the Charleston Jail Tour and it did not disappoint!
It has always been closed for renovations every time we have went in the past before, and now it is finally open. So I am very glad we got to check it out finally.
It’s definitely something to add on the to do list if you’re looking to experience the historic Charleston. There is actually a lot of history behind the jail and our tour guide was very knowledgeable.
I’m not going to lie though, it was a tad scary too! There was a point in the tour where you were in the room with everyone and the guide turned off all the lights completely! So if you’re not a fan of that, you may want to stick with just an educational daytime walking tour instead!
Best Places To Eat In Charleston South Carolina
And now, my favorite part- the food! I swear I think I like to go on vacation just to eat out at different places. And while we have been to Charleston several times before, we were still able to try a few new places that we haven’t been to before this time as well. And like I mentioned, it was restaurant week so a lot of places were offering a 3 course menu for a great deal.
Best Restaurants For Lunch
We tried out a few new spots for lunch this time. Such as The Blind Tiger and Little Jack’s Tavern. I have heard such great things about Little Jack’s, although if I am being completely honest here, I was pretty disappointed in it.
Don’t get me wrong, the vibe was very cool, I loved the inside of the restaurant. But the food was just okay. We had their house special burger and fries, and honestly it wasn’t anything amazing. Just a regular old burger to me. And we had to walk quite a ways out to get there too. So in my opinion, it really wasn’t worth it.
The Blind Tiger was really good though! We just got a few appetizers here and I would love to go back and try out more of their menu since it was really tasty!
Another place we went to was the Palace Hotel. Again, if you’re a Southern Charm fan, then you know that Step Rose is the face of this establishment. We went several years ago to the very first Palace Hotel, and I kid you not, I had the best fish tacos of my life there!
The chef joked and said that fish was just swimming in the bay this morning! And I believe him, it was so fresh and delicious and I still remember it to this day! And apparently they still have that same chef there too now! So even though it’s a swanky new location, it’s still incredible food and a fun and funky vibe there as well.
Another one of our tried and true favorites from lunch and/or brunch is Miller’s All Day. They have the best biscuits and breakfast sandwiches to start your day with! I always try to go there when I am in town!
We tried another new place this trip called Felix as well. And this place did not disappoint. It was very good and the vibe inside was also amazing too! Perfect little lunch spot!
Also, out hotel that we stayed at, Andrew Pickney Inn, has a great option for breakfast in the mornings too. It’s not your typical complimentary hotel breakfast.
They have everything you could want. So we ended up eating there a couple of times too. They also offer a free wine and cheese option in the evenings too from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. And the snacks they have for that are top notch as well!
Best Restaurants For Dinner
On our very first night, we went to Church and Union. This place is always delicious and you may remember me mentioning it in my other Charleston blog posts. Their dinner menus changes frequently there, so be sure to look ahead before you go.
However, I have never had a bad meal there no matter what! I got their homemade pasta and it was incredible. Logan had the fried chicken and again, that was incredible too! This place is also a great go-to for lunch or brunch during the day as well. Basically you can’t go wrong with Church and Union (formally Five Church).
And of course we had to visit our favorite steakhouse, Hall’s Chophouse while we were there! Usually this place is pretty pricey, so it is ideal for a special occasion, like an anniversary.
But, with the restaurant week menu, it made it much more affordable. So it is the perfect time to try it out if you haven’t been there before. Their filets are top notch and the wait service is even better. If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary, they will definitely take care of you and make it worth your while!
Another restaurant we went to was Hank’s Seafood. We went to this place several, several years ago. Around our very first Charleston trip. We didn’t really know what to order then, and I remember not loving the meal back then.
However, going back this second time around was definitely worth it! I had she crab soup as an appetizer and then the flounder as my main dish, and both were equally amazing! Also, the dessert was out of this world! Logan got the creme brûlée and I got the key lime pie.
The pie included a variety of different sauces such as mango and raspberry on the side to go with it, and it was so, so good! I am glad we gave this place another try because we will definitely go back again!
We also tried out Magnolia’s for the first time ever this trip and it did not disappoint either! We went there on our last night and it was a great way to end the trip. I got the fresh catch of the day and Logan got the pork chops.
I have to say though, the fish was phenomenal and even he agreed that it was better than the pork! We also got pimento cheese and deviled eggs as appetizers there too. Everything was so good and I’d love to go back!
Should You Visit Charleston in January?
After all this information, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to visit Charleston in January! Depending on the weather, it may not be the best time for many outdoor activities, especially beach related. But, like I said above, we had a blast and the weather was very mild for us!
And, there are so many more things to do in Charleston in January too that I didn’t even touch on. If you go early enough, you can catch the holiday festival of lights over on James Island. Which that would be super fun to do if you go right after Christmas time too!
Also, the lowcountry oyster festival is usually early in the year too. So if you’re able to make it this time of the year, you can enjoy plenty of oyster eating! Who doesn’t love a good oyster roast with live music?! There’s a ton of popular events you can go to, even during the off season.
Have you been to Charleston in January before? Or when are the best times of year to go in your opinion? We always love to go in late September to early October too! But the good news is that you can go anytime and still have an incredible time! Let me know what you think below!
For more information on traveling to Charleston and other surrounding areas, be sure to check out my other posts below too: