Charleston is a magical place, and that magic is amplified when the summer swelter finally submits to the milder, gentler ministrations of autumn. Warm, comfy days and slightly nippy nights are welcome changes that herald the coming of fall fun and festivities. While memorable times are always in season in South Carolina, these six events help heighten the excitement and allure of visiting the Holy City before winter shows up with its laid-back vibe.
Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch and Fright Night
Bring the whole family out to Boone Hall to celebrate the season of pumpkins, hayrides, Halloween and more. One of the biggest fall fests in the state, the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch has it all, including an 8-acre Certified SC Grown corn maze and a petting zoo. At the heart of it all is a massive patch filled with pumpkins in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. There are plenty of food vendors on hand, too, so make a day of it. For an older, edgier crowd, dive deep into the spirit of Halloween during Boone Hall’s annual series of Fright Nights. This wildly popular spooky event typically welcomes a sell-out crowd, so get tickets early.
Charleston Beer Week
Since 2014, craft beer lovers have descended upon Charleston to partake in one of its most anticipated autumn rituals. During this week of rousing brew appreciation, more than 35 breweries, pubs, retailers, restaurants and other purveyors turn out to indulge the hops-loving crowds. Mark your calendars and come thirsty. Very thirsty.
MOJA Arts Festival
Come experience the harmony of this inspiring festival that celebrates African American and Caribbean arts. Music from traditions like gospel, jazz and R&B, as well as visual arts, poetry, storytelling and theater, are in full force as the artistic contributions of these cultures come to vibrant life. There are also traditional crafts, authentic foods and children’s activities to be enjoyed. MOJA (the Swahili word for “one”) adds a rich element to fall in Charleston that has earned the festival multiple recognitions as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society. Come see why.
Preservation Society of Charleston Fall Tours
A Charleston experience not to be missed, the Fall Tours presented by the Preservation Society of Charleston are as inviting as they are informative. Ticket holders are in for a treat, Charleston-style, as they tour private homes and gardens in various districts across town. Docents offer a fascinating program covering history, lore, architecture and more. Depending on the specific tour selected, guests may have an opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of Charleston’s most enchanting homes and gardens. If you’ve always longed to peer beyond the iron gates and stand on the piazzas of these gorgeous homes, this is your chance.
Another family fall favorite, the Harvest Festival at Johns Island County Park is packed with something for everyone. The lively bluegrass is guaranteed to get the toes tapping, and the Carolina barbecue is always spot-on. Give a pumpkin a funny face, hop on a hayride and test your archery skills—or lack thereof. It’s all good fall fun. Before you go, get a head start on your holiday shopping at the bustling crafters market.
Steeplechase of Charleston
Steeplechase has been a Charleston tradition for a while, as in more than 200 years. That’s some deep roots. This new era of an old pastime honors those roots at the Steeplechase of Charleston. Ladies don their frippery and fine hats, and men get decked out in their jackets and bowties to sip cocktails beneath tents for the ultimate in Southern tailgating. Multiple high-stakes races take place for coveted titles as the cheery crowd urges them on. Once you experience it, the Steeplechase of Charleston is bound to take the crown in your fall lineup.