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12 Things To Do in Charleston in December

December 5, 2022

As the weather in Charleston in December begins to cool off, a festive spirit finds its way along the historic streets of our iconic Southern city. Sparkling lights and garlands adorn storefront windows, homes, and churches. Decked out in all its holiday finery, Charleston embraces the charm and magic of the season like nowhere else.

Even though locals might bundle up a little more, the December weather in Charleston is mild and comfortable, ideal for outdoor celebrations and activities. Average temperatures for the month can range from the mid-60s (~18ºC) down to the mid-40s (~6ºC). Be sure to dress in layers if you’re planning to enjoy outdoor festivities, as the weather can be a bit unpredictable.

With no shortage of events, concerts, performances, and holiday light displays, Charleston is the perfect place to celebrate the season with friends, family, and loved ones. Read on for 13 yuletide activities sure to bring you joy and cheer this December.

Christmas Events in Charleston

Holiday Festival of Lights

James Island County Park

Nightly from 5:30-11pm until December 31

Marvel at the display of more than two million dazzling lights over three miles of holiday wonder at Charleston’s most cherished seasonal tradition. As you make your way through the park, be sure to pay a visit to old St. Nick in Santa’s village. After you get your picture made, shop the holiday market, enjoy some concessions, and even roast your own s’mores!

Sound of Charleston 

Circular Congregational Church

Performances through December 30

Experience the rich history of Charleston as it comes to life through music. Now in its 12th season, the Sound of Charleston takes audiences on a 350-year journey of musical heritage with professional musicians performing gospel spirituals, Civil War-era songs, and compositions by George Gershwin. A stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which was composed after John Newton worshiped at the Circular Congregational Church, closes every performance. 

Sippin’ Santa Pop-Up Bar

Beachbum Berry’s

Through December 31

Back for its second year, Beachbum Berry’s transforms into a holiday wonderland of festive sips and bites. Themed weeks throughout the month, like Grinch Week and Island of Misfit Toys Week, feature fun events like trivia nights and dance parties, all with special holiday food and drink menus. Ring in the New Year with a Winter Wonderland bash!

Holiday "Sleigh Ride"

Old South Carriage Co.

Select afternoons and evenings through December 23 

Climb aboard a specially decorated horse-drawn carriage driven by one of Santa’s faithful elves for a 30-minute tour through historic Charleston, complete with caroling, hot cocoa, and a chance to share some cookies with none other than Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph!

North Pole on the Plaza

Gabrielle Plaza at the Hotel Bennett

7pm nightly through December 25

Make your way downtown to relive your favorite holiday movie memories every night until Christmas. Gabrielle Plaza is decked out in its seasonal finest to host a different Christmas movie classic every night. Bring the whole family for hits like A Christmas Story, Elf, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Kids can cozy up by the fire with a decadent s’mores kit while parents sip on festive specialty cocktails!

Vienna Light Orchestra Christmas Concert

The SC Society Hall

6:30pm and 8pm, December 15 - 18

Enjoy a world-class performance of some of the world’s most beloved Christmas favorites illuminated by more than 2,000 mesmerizing, flickering candles. Bring the whole family to experience this unforgettable holiday event, performed by professional musicians from seven countries at one of Charleston’s most historic performances venues.

Aquarium Aglow

South Carolina Aquarium

Select evenings through December starting at 5:30pm

Experience the South Carolina Aquarium in a whole new light at what is sure to become a new holiday tradition. Bring the family and immerse yourselves in a series of awe-inspiring light installations, with seasonal displays both modern and traditional. Snacks and adult beverages are available at this fun and elegant event.

Chanukah in the Square

Marion Square

December 18, 4pm - 6pm

Join Chabad of Charleston for an evening of great food, music, and celebration in honor of the Jewish Festival of Lights! Gnosh on some hot latkes and marvel at the lighting of the giant menorah. All are welcome!

The Charleston Christmas Special

Charleston Music Hall

December 15 - 21

Now in its 27th year, Charleston’s most beloved holiday tradition delights audiences of all ages with song, dance, and funny, heartwarming holiday stories performed by a troupe of world-class musicians and actors.

Skate the Stadium

Credit One Stadium

Thursdays - Sundays, through December 29 

Opening December 2nd to coincide with the Daniel Island tree lighting and concert, families are invited to celebrate the season at a custom-built ice skating rink at Credit One Stadium. All season long, in addition to hour-long skating sessions, the stadium will feature special holiday events like jazz concerts, Breakfast with Santa, and more.

A Very Merry Footlight Holiday Special

Queen Street Playhouse

Fridays - Sundays, through December 18 

If you’re looking for campy holiday cheer, look no further than Footlight’s popular holiday variety show. Harkening back to the days of network television Christmas specials, this is a seasonal smorgasbord of yuletide hits, special guest stars, and hilarious holiday sketch comedy.

A Christmas Carol

Charleston Stage

Through December 21 

Take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Past back to Victorian England with Dickens’s classic holiday tale of miserly old Ebeneezer Scrooge. This brand-new production features bold new costumes and sets, dazzling special effects, and an inventive musical score to help tell the tale of the true meaning of Christmas. 

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