Thanksgiving is barely over, and we’re headed full bore into Christmas, with the official Charleston Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting.  This traditionally marks the kickoff of all things Christmas in downtown Charleston and beyond.

They both take place this coming Sunday, December 1st.

Normally there’s a bit of a breather between turkey day and the Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting.  However, Thanksgiving fell quite late this year, so it’s full steam ahead, ho ho ho!


The Charleston Holiday Parade


The fun kicks off at 3:00 p.m. with the Charleston Holiday Parade.  Sponsored by the City of Charleston along with the Charleston Fire Department, it follows a fun route downtown.  The parade starts near Colonial Lake on Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue, then travels north up Meeting Street, ending at the corner of Calhoun and Meeting  –  right at the corner of Marion Square.

Expect plenty of holiday music, marching bands, floats , special performers and appearances, culminating with the big guy himself, Santa Claus.  Read more about it here.

FYI, the Holiday Parade will cause a few road closures.

Street Closures

The following streets will close, then are projected to reopen by 5 p.m.

  • Lockwood Boulevard between Montagu Street and Broad Street will begin to close at 12:30 p.m.
  • Broad Street between Lockwood Boulevard and Rutledge Avenue will begin to close at 12:30 p.m.
  • Broad Street (between Rutledge Avenue and Meeting Street), Meeting Street (between Broad and Calhoun Streets), Calhoun Street (between King and East Bay Streets) and adjacent streets will begin to close at 2 p.m.

Following the parade, these street sections will close for parade breakdown and disbursement:

  • Meeting Street between Charlotte Street and Calhoun Street.
  • Calhoun Street between Meeting Street and Washington Street.
  • Washington Street between Charlotte Street and Calhoun Street.


Holiday Tree of Lights


As I mentioned, the Charleston Holiday Parade ends right at Marion Square… just in time for the Holiday Tree of Lights celebration.  This giant tree lighting and celebration takes place from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

It’s a celebratory ceremony with live music and holiday-themed performances, arts organizations and local celebrities.  Then, at about 6:00 p.m., they’ll light up the 64-foot tall City of Charleston Christmas tree, along with all the many others that fill Marion Square.

Here’s more on downtown’s “Holiday Magic” events throughout the festive season.

As a special treat, here’s a voucher for two hours of free parking in several city lots, including the Visitor’s Center, Aquarium, Majestic Square, and some others.  You can either print it or scan from a mobile device.

So get ready, Christmas is coming.  Enjoy the official Holiday Parade and tree lighting to help get you in the Christmas mood.  And if you’d like to spend the holidays in a great Charleston beach house, just give us a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger