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Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston in South Carolina.


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Charleston is a city in the United States state of South Carolina and is the second largest city in the state. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was created. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location (Oyster Point) from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River (Albemarle Point) in 1680. It adopted its present name in 1783. In 1690, Charleston was the fifth largest city in North America, and remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.

Annual cultural events and fairs

Charleston annually hosts Spoleto Festival USA, a 17-day art festival featuring over 100 performances by individual artists in a variety of disciplines. The Spoleto Festival is internationally recognized as America's premier performing arts festival. The annual Piccolo Spoleto festival takes place at the same time, and features local performers and artists, with hundreds of performances throughout the city. Other notable festivals and events include the Taste of Charleston, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the Cooper River Bridge Run, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), Charleston Food and Wine Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, and the MOJA Arts Festival, and the Holiday Festival of Lights (at James Island County Park).

Live theater

Charleston has a vibrant theater scene, and is home to America's first theater. In 2010 Charleston was listed as one of the country's top 10 cities for theater, and one of the top 2 in the South. Most of the theaters are part of the League of Charleston Theatres, better known as Theatre Charleston.

Some of the city's theaters include:

The Dock Street Theatre - America's first theater. Home of the Charleston Stage Company, South Carolina's largest professional theater company.
The Village Playhouse - A nationally recognized professional theater company east of the Cooper River.
The Footlight Players - One of the leading community theaters in the South.
Theatre 99 - An improvisational theater company.
Pure Theatre - A small professional theater that produces contemporary plays.

Museums, historical sites and other attractions

Charleston boasts many historic buildings, art and historical museums and other attractions. The following are among those which are open to the public:

The Exchange and Provost was built in 1767. The building features a dungeon which held various signers of the Declaration of Independence and hosted events for George Washington in 1791 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. It is operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Powder Magazine is a 1713 gunpowder magazine and museum. It is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina.
The Gibbes Museum of Art opened in 1905 and houses a premier collection of principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection.
The Fireproof Building houses the South Carolina Historical Society, a membership-based reference library open to the public.
The Nathaniel Russell House is an important Federal style house. It is owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation and open to the public as a house museum.
The Gov. William Aiken House, also known as the Aiken-Rhett House is a home built in 1820 for William Aiken, Jr.
The Charleston Museum was the first museum built in America, founded in 1773.
The Heyward-Washington House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. Furnished for the late 18th century, the house includes a collection of Charleston-made furniture.
The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. The house was designed by Gabriel Manigault and is significant for its Adam style architecture.
The Market Hall and Sheds, also known simply as the Market, stretch several blocks behind 188 Meeting Street. Market Hall was built in the 1830s and houses the Museum of the Confederacy. The Sheds house some permanent stores but are mainly occupied by open-air vendors.


Allan Park
Bees Ferry Landing Park
Brittlebank Park & Fishing Pier
Cannon Park
Charles Towne Landing (state historic site)[46]
Concord Park
Corrine Jones Playground
Etwin Park
Hampton Park
Harmon Park
Hazel Parker Park
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (Home of the Charleston RiverDogs)
Hester Park

Lenevar Park
Mall Park
Martin Park
Mary Utsey Park
McMahon Playground
Mitchell Park
Moultrie Park
Parkshore Park
Sunrise Park
Waterfront Park
West Ashley Park
White Point Gardens or "Battery Park"

County parks

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) operates numerous facilities within Charleston County.

Beach parks:

Kiawah Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Isle of Palms County Park, Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Folly Beach County Park, Folly Beach, South Carolina

Fishing piers:

Folly Beach Fishing Pier, Folly Beach, South Carolina
Mt. Pleasant Pier, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

Marinas and boat landings:

Cooper River Marina
Multiple county-wide boat landings

Day parks:

Palmetto Islands County Park, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Caw Caw Nature and History Interpretive Center, Ravenel, South Carolina
North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston, South Carolina
Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island, South Carolina
James Island County Park, Charleston, South Carolina

Water parks:

Splash Island at Palmetto Islands County Park
Splash Zone at James Island County Park
Whirlin' Waters at North Charleston Wannamaker County Park

Off-leash dog parks are offered at James Island, Palmetto Islands, and North Charleston Wannamaker County Park.

James Island County Park, approximately 11 minutes by car from downtown Charleston, features a 50-foot climbing wall and bouldering cave; cabin, RV, and tent camping facilities; rental facilities, fishing dock, challenge course, kayaking programs, summer camps, paved trails, and many special events such as the Lowcountry Cajun Festival (usually the first weekend in April), East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival (3rd weekend in April), Holiday Festival of Lights (mid-November through the first of the year), and the summer outdoor reggae concerts.

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