Things to Do in Charleston SC: Historic Gardens and Gates


By: Tour Management Editor
May 31, 2018

The gardens and gates of historic Downtown Charleston are a highlight of any city tour. It’s a trip through time to an era of city living when early Charlestonians imported and maintained the English garden tradition while adding a touch of their own – elaborate filigreed wrought-iron gates that many consider works of art unto themselves.

As you ride or stroll around the historic neighborhoods on the Peninsula, you will find endless examples of wrought-iron artistry all around you, and not only of the 200-year-old variety. From 19th-century Prussian-American artisans like Christopher Werner to 20th century master Phillip Simmons, this is an art form that is still very much alive! 

Charleston’s Gardens and Gates: During Spoleto and All Year Long
Checking out historic gardens and gates are a popular activity for Charleston visitors. And it has recently become an interesting side attraction during Spoleto Festival USA, offered in cooperation with the Charleston Horticultural Society. On two Saturdays during the festival visitors can enjoy “eight different private gardens, promising two full days of discovery and wonder in these artfully cultivated spaces.”

It’s not strictly a Spoleto attraction, however. Visitors to Charleston SC can enjoy its historic gates and gardens year-round! Guided walking tours are available, but the casual viewer can also enjoy them form the air conditioned comfort of a tour bus, on foot, or both.

In fact, while an Adventure Sightseeing city bus tour begins and ends at the Visitor Center, you can also hop off the bus at Charleston’s historic City Market. From there, you can set out on foot toward garden and gate hotspots South of Broad, including many private homes, historic mansions (including the famed Pineapple Gates House at 14 Legare Street), museums, and churches. (Charleston’s free DASH buses will pick up and drop off at numerous locations around downtown.)

Just a reminder, as Discover South Carolina says, “Most of the houses in these neighborhoods are private, and their gardens must be viewed from the public sidewalk. But if you’re just dying to step through those wrought iron gates and wander among the boxwoods, ferns and hydrangeas, some of the grand houses have been turned into museums, and their gardens are now open to the public.”

Go Behind the Garden Gate with Adventure Sightseeing!
If a mansion tour in the city is what you’re after, be sure to check into a Combo City/Mansion Tour, a fun and fascination city tour that concludes with a visit to the Joseph Manigault Mansion. Here, you will enjoy a 30-minute guided tour that peers into the home, the gardens, and the lives of the wealthy Franco-American planters and the enslaved African Americans who served them.

Let Charleston’s historic gardens and gates welcome you with historical hospitality. It’s another one of the unique and charming Things to Do in Charleston, brought to you by Adventure Sightseeing. Contact us today!


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