Lowcountry Experience Gift Guide 2018

Thanksgiving is a few days away and so we find ourselves quickly rushing into the holiday season. Originally, this post was meant to follow the previous year’s gift guide format, where I listed out fantastic local wares that would make great gifts. Then I glanced around my house, got overwhelmed with the amount of ‘stuff’ sitting around, and thought back to a tip a friend of mine shared years ago, “Experiences, not things”. And while, yes, I still enjoy the occasional physical gift, there is no lack of experiences to partake in Charleston, so I’ve listed my favorites below for all ages.

Memberships
All of these experiences are staples of Charleston. My son was gifted the Children’s Museum Membership for his birthday and it’s made a great get away for our entire family. Cost, benefits and details in link to each membership association.
Gibbes Museum of Art
South Carolina Aquarium
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
The Charleston Museum
The Charleston Friends of the Library

My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

Outdoor Adventures
From a kayaking to see a sunset to finally running the bridge to taking advantage of all of the parks Charleston County has to offer, this gift really keeps giving and lets your recipient have some flexibility in how they want to use it.
Coastal Expeditions
Cooper River Bridge Run (or another 10k or 5k)
Charleston County Parks
Charleston ZIp Line Adventures
Wild Blue Ropes

Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Health & Wellness
Yoga studios and gyms abound, so maybe check with the recipients personal preference of location. Spas are a-plenty, as well, but these are my favorites. Also, “Hi” to my husband.
Woodhouse Day Spa
Urban Nirvana
Yoga Studios
Gyms

At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

Musical & Theatrical Performances
There is no lack of talent in our city and many acts travel to town throughout the year. Summer and winter are a great time to enjoy performances at any of these venues.
Charleston Music Hall
North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center
Spoleto Festival USA
Pure Theatre
South of Broadway Theater
Charleston Stage
The Footlight Players
Theatre 99

Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

And because it was this post’s original intent, here are some additional gift ideas:
Charleston Magazine Holiday Gift Guide
Traveler of Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Explore Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Christmas in Charleston Gift Ideas
Upcoming Buy Local Markets

What’s your favorite experience in Charleston? Would love to add to this list for future years.

A Jazzy Start to Fall

Angela:

It was your typical Friday night. An evening stroll with baby had led us to Crust, the local pizza eatery. As we head home David suggests that we take a peak into newly remodeled How Art Thou Café. We've heard that this is the spot for local jazz music, but being new parents we are rarely out past 7pm. In our pre-parent days, we would often end evening bike rides here to have dessert and tea outside.

As we peek inside, we recognize jazz great Richie Cole.  I swoon and feel slightly embarrassed that I am in workout clothes, no makeup, and smell of baby spit-up. We are introduced and find him to be absolutely delightful. I'm running through justifications in my mind to keep my baby out past her bedtime so that we can hear him play; music is stimulating for baby's brain, right? Alas, we must go, but not before promising each other that we will see Richie perform before he leaves the Lowcountry.

Baby Ruby meets Jazz Great Richie Cole.

Baby Ruby meets Jazz Great Richie Cole.

We decided to make a trip out to Bowen's Island the following Sunday for the 7th Annual Charleston Jazz Jam to catch Richie Cole's performance. The weather was gorgeous, the bugs were at bay, and our seven month old baby was mesmerized. Food was provided by the always delicious Home Team BBQ and drinks were flowing from Coast Brewing Company.

Just when you think that you have seen all that the Lowcountry has to offer, you stumble into another event, community of people, or little pocket of greatness.

You can catch a Jazz Jam at How Art Thou on Wednesday nights and you will want to keep an eye on their events calendar. Once a month they will bring in a nationally recognized musician to perform. It is a small intimate space and just the place for an amazing date night. I think next month we will get a baby sitter and get jazzy with it!

Looking for other awesome things to do this Fall? Here are just a few suggestions:

 

Beat the Lowcountry Heat

Angela:

I have a serious case of the summer heat blues and with a new little one on my hip, getting out and about is nearly impossible. A few weeks ago we posted Charleston Magazine’s “Explore: A Cooler Walk in the City” guide to our Facebook page and it motivated me to find fun activities (read: activities that take place in air-conditioning) that would get me and baby out of the house.

I started by researching activities that I enjoyed pre-baby to see if I could find anything that would be baby inclusive. I started to create my list of things to do and to my surprise it grew long!  Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat the summer heat with baby in tow:

The Yoga House of Charleston’s Love, Baby & Momma class is a great way to stretch and bond with baby all while beating that heat! Don’t worry if little one has a melt-down, it’s all peace and love in this safe space.

Follow @yogahousecharleston on Instagram:

Terrace Theater Lowcountry Parent Family Film Series happens every Wednesday at 11am throughout the summer and kids under 10 are free!  Best part is that they serve wine and gelato so you can spend the extra cash that you saved on your little one’s ticket on “mommy juice.”

The Charleston County Public Library offers numerous activities and events for all ages!  We have enjoyed the Babygarten at our local James Island Library branch each Wednesday.

The South Carolina Aquarium offers daily programs and events sure to keep everyone entertained. They offer a stellar membership benefit package that makes it affordable for the entire family.

Follow @southcarolinaaquarium on Instagram:

And of course we had to list The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry!  Check out their upcoming events and family membership package options. BONUS: If you purchase a CML membership, you also get a discount on your SC Aquarium membership!

Follow @explorecml on Instagram:

And if you don’t have to worry about a little one, but just want to stay cool, these could be fun options:

Opt for a therapeutic massage with Michael N. Livingston, LMT at Live for Wellness Chiropractic Center. He’s not your typical masseur and he will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Plus while you are there, why not get an adjustment from Dr. Jen Perdue?

Oh to be baby free for a day; I might check out one of the many classes offered at the Gibbes Museum of Art. They offer a variety of classes and programs for all ages and skill levels. They also recently went through a major renovation, which has been gaining praise from locals and visitors alike.

Follow @thegibbesmuseum on Instagram:

If you have to be outside and you’re looking to cool off, check out one of the many Charleston County Water Parks.  Choose from Splash Zone, Splash Island, or Whirlin’ Waters. Get your Splash Pass to save on entry fees all summer long.  

Follow @charlestoncountyparks on Instagram:

Drop us a comment to tell us how you plan to beat the summer heat, and be sure to stay cool out there my friends!

 

Lowcountry Rainy Day Plans

Sure, today may be sunny and nearing 85 degrees, but these past few weeks have also been peppered with thunderstorms and tropical storm warnings. Wondering what to do when you’re faced with rain as a local or visitor? Below are some default rainy day plans for all.

Get Active
Being indoors doesn't limit you to sitting down in the Lowcountry. Velocity Air Sports (N. Chs) and SkyZone Trampoline Park (Mt. P) are two great options for all ages.

@skyzonecharleston

Catch a Flick
If you're a local, it's likely you spend less time at the movies in Charleston that you have anywhere else you've ever lived. There's simply too much going on! But really, it's a shame because we have great theaters like Cinebarre (Mt. P), where you can dine and view, and the Terrace Theater (James Isl.) that hosts some less accessible films in a beautiful building.

Take a Drive
Yes, we prefer to view window boxes and The Battery on foot, but think of how much ground you can cover in your car. Make a game out of it for the whole family; How many different color homes do you see? What is the purpose of those cement boxes on all the streets? What year do you think the homes were built?

@dunesproperties

Exercise Your Brain
Being a city, we're fortunate to have attractions like the Gibbes Museum of Art (Downtown) and the Charleston Museum (Downtown). The South Carolina Aquarium (Downtown) is another hot spot for education on conservation and seeing some aquatic friends. The Yorktown at Patriots Point (Mt. P) is another viable option, if you don't melt from the run from car to the museum.

@thegibbesmuseum

@southcarolinaaquarium

Freshen Up as a Foodie
You'll spend a good part of your time in the Lowcountry indulging on delicious cuisine, so why not learn how to prepare your own at home? In the Kitchen With Chef Bob Waggoner (Downtown).

Entertain by Theatre
Our city is home to a plethora of theaters that feature many different genres of performance. Check out The Dock Street Theatre (Charleston Stage), Woolfe Street Playhouse, Pure Theatre and Black Fedora Mystery Theatre (All Downtown). Looking for a laugh? Theatre 99 (Downtown) absolutely never disappoints.

@theatre99

Become a Kid Again
When's the last time you flexed your pinball fingers? The Alley (Downtown) is not only popular for bowling; their arcade games are a strong draw with options like Ms. Pac-Man, Mortal Combat, and a personal favorite, Skee Ball.

@thealleychas

Photo by:  Ridiculously Photogenic Photography by Will B. King    @riphopho

Photo by: Ridiculously Photogenic Photography by Will B. King @riphopho

And since it is so gorgeous outside today, here's Charleston Magazine's Summer Guide for 24 hours of outdoor fun to entertain you for now.

Where do you like to spend your rainy days in the Lowcountry?