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Lowcountry Lifestyle – History & Arts


Consistently rated as one of the top cities to visit and places to live by publications like Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure, Charleston is the crown jewel of the Lowcountry for several reasons.  Foodies flock here, history lovers wander the streets by day while ghost hunters wander them by night. Some highlights of the Lowcountry’s Cultural and Historical heritage include the Gullah Geechee people whose descendants still living in the area, its significant war-related past, the many and varied churches that have called Charleston home for hundreds of years and its rich history with the performing arts.  

  • Throughout Charleston you can find remnants and descendants of the Gullah Geechee Culture.  The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of West and Central Africans who were enslaved and brought to the Southeast Coast of the United States to work on coastal rice, cotton, and indigo plantations.  Their enslavement was unique in some respects as they were typically isolated on coastal islands and thus able to maintain many of their African traditions.  In many roadside stands and markets, including the Charleston City Market downtown, you will see the artisans of the Gullah culture selling beautiful and intricate baskets woven from seagrass and other distinctive crafts.
To learn more about the Gullah Geechee people, and their culture we would encourage you to visit:

  • War Battlefields – In the mouth of the Charleston Harbor sit two historic Forts.  Fort Moultrie, which played a key role in the Revolutionary War and Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired by the Confederacy.  These National Parks can be visited by boarding a ferry either at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant or in Downtown Charleston for the short ride out to each Fort.  In addition to these well-known battle outposts there are numerous other locations in Charleston County where Revolutionary and Civil War battles took place for those war-history buffs out there!
  • One look at the many spires and steeples that dot the skyline of Charleston and there is no doubt that the nickname of ‘Holy City’ city is richly deserved.  Since the early 1700s Charleston has a well-earned reputation for its religious tolerance and freedoms.  
    • The famous St. Michaels Church which sits prominently on corner of Meeting and Broad Streets is the city’s oldest surviving religious building, built in the 1750s.
    • Before construction on St. Michaels Church that however the Circular Congregation Church first began meeting in 1681; remarkably it was founded by a combination of English Congregationalists, French Huguenots and Scots Presbyterians!
    • Charleston’s religious culture and history also includes the Emanuel African Methodist Church which is home to the oldest black congregation in the U.S. dating to mid-1810s.
    • Charleston is also home to the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue which is one of the oldest Jewish congregations on the East Coast of the United States, founded in 1749.
Many walking and boat tours are available for those who want to learn more about the churches in and around Charleston!

  • Lovers of the arts rejoice in visiting Charleston throughout the year strolling along many of the cobblestoned streets and alley ways to visit its numerous galleries, viewing and purchasing amazing sculptures, paintings, and photographs from world renowned artists.  In addition to the galleries that can be visited, performance art can be seen at venues like the Charleston Music Hall, Gaillard Center, and the historic Dock Street Theater – which originally opened in 1736 and was the first building in America built specifically for performing arts.
The spotlight on the arts burns brightest in Charleston during the Spoleto Festival that takes place annually in late May and early June.  Spoleto is certainly the event that put Charleston and its art related culture on the map! Founded by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti as the counterpart to the annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy its first edition was held in 1977 and the festival has played an incredibly important role in Charleston becoming a top destination city in the United States since its’s inception.  The 17-day festival is beloved by locals and visitors alike!  Information about this vibrant festival can be found at

Whether you are just planning a visit or doing your research on possibly calling the Lowcountry home, you can learn more about everything Charleston has to offer by visiting the city’s Convention and Visitor Bureau website at  We look forward to showing you why we love the Lowcountry and call it home!