The Aiken-Rhett House Museum

#7 in Best Things To Do in Charleston
The Aiken-Rhett House Museum picture
The Aiken-Rhett House Museum
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Courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation

Key Info

48 Elizabeth Street

Details

Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

According to many, there's no better example of antebellum life than the Aiken-Rhett House Museum. Originally built in the early 1800s and then expanded by Gov. William Aiken and his wife in the 1850s, much of the house's original style has been preserved. As you wander through, pay special attention to the antique furnishings, the original wallpaper and the stunning bronze chandeliers installed by the Aikens. Also, spend some time exploring the grounds: You can visit the slave quarters, the stables and the kitchens, all of which have been preserved to satisfy any history buffs yearning for a taste of the Old South.

Recent visitors praised the house tour, specifically the fact that it's a self-guided audio tour (included with admission). Travelers said the audio tour allowed them to view the house at their own pace, without having to wait or rush to catch up to an entire group. However, visitors provided more mixed reviews of the state of the house itself. Some were pleased that the Historic Charleston Foundation chose to leave the property untouched, but others were less impressed, commenting on the need for restoration and general feeling of dilapidation exhibited throughout the house's grounds.

Sitting a little more than a mile north of downtown Charleston, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children, and includes an audio tour. You can also buy a joint ticket for both the Aiken-Rhett House and the Nathaniel Russell House for $18; dual admission for children costs $10. For more information, check out the Aiken-Rhett House section on the Historic Charleston Foundation's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Charleston

The Battery
Charleston Boat Tours
Type
Time to Spend
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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. 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 Gardens, 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 Gardens. 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.

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