A visit to Charleston in the fall is pretty much perfect. The fall season brings a calendar absolutely overflowing with festivals, theater performances and fabulous foodie events. The days are warm and sunny and mornings are cool – perfect for a long walk on the beach, cup of coffee in hand. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fall events. Be sure to check out our calendar of events for even more fall fun. If you attend any of these events, be sure to let us know what you think! Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #travelerofcharleston.
In October , Charlestonians will celebrate the opening of the newly rebuilt Gaillard Center, a world-class performance hall and event space in the heart of downtown. A public ribbon cutting and dedication cer-emony is 5-9 p.m. Oct. 9 at the center, which is located near the intersection of Calhoun and East Bay streets. The 2015-16 season opens to the public on Oct. 22 with a concert by San Francisco-based Chanticleer, an ensemble of 12 men performing everything from Renaissance to jazz and gospel to new mu-sic. The Charlotte Ballet will perform the “Nutcracker” in December. Info: gaillardcenter.com
Dine on that classic Southern comfort food at the sixth annual Charleston Mac Off from 2-7 p.m. on Oct. 24 at The Grove at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. More than 20 local restaurants, cafes and caterers will compete for the best cheesy concoction in Charleston. Plus, shop the vendor market, sample spirits along the Bourbon Trail and enjoy live music. General admission tickets are $15; tasting tickets are $1 each. This is a family friendly event. Info: charlestonmacoff.com.
Boone Hall Fright Nights is the ultimate haunted experience. With four different attractions, including a Wicked Woods Hayride and Zombie Town, we dare you to not scream, gasp and shudder at the site of these ghouls and ghosts. Boone Hall Fright Nights is open throughout the month of October from dark to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from dark to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Tickets are available on site or online at boonehallfrightnights.com. (Not recommended for children under 12 or pregnant women.)
Want to tour some of downtown Charleston’s creepiest spaces? Bulldog Tours has four different ghost tours depending on your spooky preferences. The Haunted Jail Tour goes behind-the-scenes in The Old City Jail, which housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals. The Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour is a 90-minute tour through Charleston’s streets, cemeteries, back alleyways and churches. The Darkside of Charleston Walking Tour (mature audiences only) is an unsensored look at Charleston’s dark history – brothels, prostitutes, crime and scandel. The Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour lets you into one of Charleston’s oldest graveyards. Info: bulldogtours.com
(UPDATE: This event has been canceled; Cypress Gardens is closed until further notice due to flooding.) Get spooked in the swamp at Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner. Halloween in the Swamp is Oct. 23-24. General admission includes family friendly events –a lighted pumpkin trail, jump castles, sto-rytelling and a campfire and marshmallow roast. The Haunted Swamp Experience is a separate event not recommended for young children. Visitors take guided haunted boat rides and then go for a walk along a haunted trail. Tickets for the Haunted Swamp Experience must be pur-chased in advance at cypressgardens.info.
Head to Summerville’s historic town square for a variety of harvest activities to get you in the fall spirit. Scarecrows on the Square is Oct. 17 to Nov. 1. Two ghost walk tours are available (G and PG options). Tickets are $6 each the day of the event and children under 3 are free. Hayrides are also available for $3. Info: summervilledream.org
Colour of Music Festival highlights the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture. This third annual festival is Oct. 21-25 at various ven-ues around Charleston. Acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists form the Colour of Music Orchestra, and the festival showcases some of the top black classical musicians in the United States. Info: colourofmusic.org
The Charleston International Film Festival, running Nov. 4-8 at the Charleston Music Hall, showcases film-makers from around the world, short films, animation and documentaries. Info: charlestoniff.org
Latte lovers and coffee connoisseurs will be in heaven at the second annual Charleston Coffee Cup on Nov. 8 at the Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street. Head to this family friendly event featuring the best local and regional coffee shops and roasters plus coffee tast-ings, latte art competitions and brunch. Info: charlestoncoffeecup.com