Things to Do in Charleston Memorial Day Weekend
In Charleston, Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff to summer fun. If you’re planning on heading to the Holy City for the weekend, there’s plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday.
From music festivals to wine events to remembrance, you can enjoy some fun in the sun — while taking time to honor those who fought for our right to do so.
Memorial Day Weekend Events in Charleston
Head to Charleston’s downtown or to the beaches, and you’ll find plenty of organized activities to pass the time this long weekend.
Dozens of festivals set up shop in Charleston, year-round. The Spoleto Festival is possibly one of the most popular in the spring — and Memorial Day Weekend in Charleston marks the start of the festival. Hundreds of music lovers from all over the country flock to the Holy City for this 17-day homage to all different styles of music.
You can listen to chamber, choral, jazz opera and symphonic music at Spoleto — and you can also check out some live theater and dance at some of the events.
Field of Honor
Many of us think of eating hot dogs, hanging at the beach and enjoying live music when we think of Memorial Day in Charleston. And we often forget that the day is about so much more.
Before you eat that second corn dog, take some time to pay homage to the men and women who gave their lives to ensure we will always have the freedom to live our lives peacefully.
In Charleston’s Marion Square in Downtown, you can honor your loved ones by purchasing a flag to symbolize their sacrifice. Flags will be placed in the square as a visual representation of the ones we lost. All proceeds support local veterans.
Need to take some time to wind down during your three-day weekend? Deep Water Vineyard can help you do just that. Every Saturday they host live music, food and (of course) wine tastings from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wadmalaw Island.
Annual Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships
When you think about retro hairstyles, do the 80s come to mind? What about the 1880s? The Holy City Beard and Moustache Society hosts their annual competition and championships on Memorial Day Weekend each year.
Come check out this year’s contestants and try to guess who will take home the hairy prize.
The events start on Friday evening with a pre-festival party. There’s a barbecue lunch served Saturday before the contest Saturday evening. The festivities end with a farewell brunch Sunday.
Contest categories include best moustache, goatee, beard and whiskerinas.
Event proceeds go to fund Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center.
Memorial Day Weekend Ideas in Charleston
Would you rather celebrate Memorial Day your own way? While we recommend stopping by the Field of Honor at the very least, we also honor your decision to celebrate however you see fit. Should you need a little help choosing your own activities, we’ve got you covered.
Take a Tour
Walks of Charleston and Lowcountry Walks will be offering popular historic walks all weekend long!
Learn about the city’s patriotic history on our Charleston History Tour. Or, discover the stories behind some of the city’s famous homes — literally. Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages have just as many stories to tell as the city’s iconic attractions.
Visit the Beach
Charleston’s many beautiful beaches will certainly be crowded this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you should steer clear of them! As long as the sun is shining, there will be plenty of fun to be had on all our beaches including:
- Capers Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Island
- Sullivan’s Island
Bring a picnic lunch, get comfy in the sand and spend the day relaxing. If you want to stay after the sun goes down, you can build a bonfire on select beaches, including Sullivan’s Island, Seabrook Island and Capers Island.
Head to Patriots Point
What better way to celebrate Memorial Day in Charleston than by heading to Patriots Point?
Here, you can check out the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier that served in two American wars. After touring the ship, you can head over to a retired battleship, the USS Laffey and tour its interior. Also at Patriots Point is the submarine, the USS Clamagore.
Hang Out on a Rooftop
Charleston has more than a dozen rooftop bars. From many of these spots, you can snag great views of the harbor and Downtown Charleston. They’re also the perfect places to enjoy the sunset on a warm, summer evening.
Some of our favorite rooftop bars include:
- The Watch
- Red’s Ice House
- Henry’s Bar and Restaurant
- Eleve Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
- Stars Rooftop Bar and Grill
- Pavilion Bar
If you don’t have fancy friends with a house on the beach, head to one of these spots to take advantage of the warm weather on the holiday. You probably won’t be the only one heading to a rooftop bar in Charleston on Memorial Day, so try to arrive early to get a good seat.
Get Outta Town
Charleston is the perfect city to enjoy the holiday. Yet, you might just want to take a drive to enjoy some of the nearby scenery. Charleston is conveniently located near a few other cities and towns that are bound to be throwing some Memorial Day festivities of their own. Some of our favorite day trips from Charleston include:
- Myrtle Beach
- Hilton Head
Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, in particular, are Memorial Day hotspots and offer tons of activities and festivals for both locals and visitors alike.