The Nathaniel Russell House Museum#17 in Best Things To Do in Charleston, SC
Constructed at the turn of the 19th century by Nathaniel Russell – a wealthy Southern merchant – this historic home is best known for its magnificent spiraling staircase, detailed furnishings and landscaped gardens. Unlike the Aiken-Rhett House, the Nathaniel Russell House has undergone an architectural and interior restoration.
Recent visitors said this is the place to go if you're looking for insight into the more lavish side of Southern comfort and were quite impressed with the detailed restoration. Tours, which last approximately half an hour, are docent-led and commence every 30 minutes, a highlight for many visitors. During the tour, you'll learn about the Russell family and the slaves who cared for the home.
The Nathaniel Russell House sits in the heart of downtown Charleston, rubbing elbows with The Battery. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m. Adult admission is $12; admission for kids costs $5. If you're also planning to visit the Aiken-Rhett House, you can purchase a joint ticket that grants entry to both properties for $18 ($10 for children). For more information, visit the home's section of the Historic Charleston Foundation's website.
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#1 The Battery
Many visitors say you can't leave Charleston without seeing this stretch along the city's southern tip, which they call beautiful and a must-visit. This row of Southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor was formerly the heart and soul of the city's maritime activity. Today, the area attracts camera-toting tourists from all over the country.
As you explore this picturesque neighborhood, make sure to also spend some time in the nearby White Point Garden, where several Civil War relics and memorials commemorate the city's role in the battle. Start your tour of the Battery at the 12-acre Waterfront Park (home to the giant pineapple fountain featured on many Charleston postcards), then follow the walking paths on East Battery Street for the nearly mile-long stroll to White Point Garden. If you're staying at one of the hotels or bed-and-breakfasts located downtown, you can easily walk along the Battery from your digs. If you're driving to the Battery, you'll find some limited street parking, and some lots closer to Waterfront Park. Bus route No. 211 provides service to Waterfront Park and East Bay Street. Several of the city's best walking tours make stops along the Battery. If you're interested in the history of the mansions or the promenade's role in the Civil War, consider signing up for a tour.
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