10 Best Museums Unwrap the Lowcountry for Every Member of The Family

Along a single stretch of Meeting Street known as the Museum Mile, Charleston boasts six museums, five significant historic homes that are open to the public, four parks and a Revolutionary War powder magazine. And that’s not to mention a wealth of lovely 18th- 19th-century churches, historic homes and the elegant 1841 Market Hall.

All aspects of the city’s storied past divulge themselves in Charleston. Explore the site where the first British settlers set foot at Charlestowne Landing and learn how folks lived here before yellow fever, which was rampant in the mosquito-infested marshland, drove them to relocate to the peninsula across the Ashley River. Discover maritime history aboard a WWII aircraft carrier at Patriot’s Point, and see cadets on parade in full military dress while visiting the museum on The Citadel campus. Get a taste of colonial times at the Charleston Museum, and drop by the Old Slave Mart to hear how slaves who worked the rice and indigo plantations helped Charleston become the wealthiest city in colonial America. Adults can experience Charleston’s early 20th-century cultural renaissance at the Gibbes Museum of Art, while the kids fire up their own artistic imagination at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. 

Karpeles Manuscript Museum


If you're into old manuscripts and documents, this free museum is for you. Housed in an 1856 Methodist church, the museum wedges display cases around the pews. The revolving series of documents therein represent the eccentric private holdings of...  Read More



Located on the College of Charleston campus, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art serves a dual purpose of being part of the undergraduate School of the Arts at the College and providing a cultural resource for residents and visitors to the...  Read More

North Downtown
Citadel Museum


Arranged in chronological order, the permanent artifacts at the Citadel Museum cover the military academy's history from its founding in 1842 to its involvement in modern military operations around the globe. You'll learn about all aspects of...  Read More



The perfect activity for a rainy day, Charleston's children's museum can keep little ones, from toddlers to age 10, occupied for hours. Infants and toddlers even have their own special play space with mini-slides and padded mats. Incite your...  Read More



The stately Greek Revival Market Hall marks the beginning of Charleston's famous shopping venue, the Old City Market. The temple-like structure marks the site of a 19th-century meat market. Local architect Edward Brickell White designed Market...  Read More

Old Slave Mart Museum
Photo courtesy of Angel Oak


Set on cobblestone Chalmers Street in the Historic District, the Old Slave Mart survives as a vestige of pre-Civil War Charleston. The museum is the only existing building in South Carolina where slaves were once auctioned. Built in 1859, the...  Read More

Gibbes Museum of Art


Opened in 1905, the Gibbes holds more than 15,000 art objects. The permanent exhibit, The Charleston Story, rotates pieces among 150 works from the colonial period to the present. It showcases artwork that was created in the Lowcountry, painted...  Read More

Charleston Museum


The nation's oldest museum was established in 1773 but did not open to the public until 1824. Today, it sits across the street from the Charleston Visitor Center. A good place to begin a visit to the city, the Charleston Museum tells the story...  Read More



Set on the banks of Old Town Creek, Charles Towne Landing brings the past to life at the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Carolinas. In 1670, the first English colonists landed on this spot and named their new town for King...  Read More



Just across the sparkling span of the Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Patriot's Point preserves naval history in its centerpiece, the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. Kids and adults alike love to scramble up and down the 13 decks of...  Read More


Meet M. Linda Lee

As Senior Editor for Michelin Travel Publications for 17 years, Linda worked on the Michelin Guide (the acclaimed red guide to restaurants and hotels), as well as on Michelin’s series of...  More About M. Linda