The 41st annual Spoleto Festival USA runs from May 26-June 11 this year. Charleston residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to enjoy world-class theatrical and musical performances. Want to know how to enjoy the festival like a local? Whether this will be your first Spoleto or you are a regular, here are some insider tips and tricks to make the most out of your visit to the festival.
SPOLETO ON A BUDGET
- Tickets are less expensive for weekday performances than for those on the weekends.
- Some city garages offer free parking during the performances.
- Select events offer senior, military, student and group discounts.
- Piccolo Spoleto is a complementary festival with regional rather than international artists. Many Piccolo events are free or have a minimal charge.
- Free events include afternoon concerts at the Festival of Churches and Synagogues, Family Day at Marion Square, the opening weekend concert at the Customs House and the Festival Finale at Hampton Park.
- Restaurants and bars tend to be full before and after performances. Take this into consideration when scheduling your meals out and plan accordingly.
- Allow more time than you think you need if dining before a show.
- If you’re not attending a performance, choose to dine during those hours. Reservations are much easier to get at those times.
- Parking is always difficult. Be prepared to drive around to find a spot and then walk a good distance to the venue. The earlier you arrive, the better chance to find a good parking spot.
- On-street parking meters are free after 6:00pm and on Sundays.
- Neighborhood parking is usually limited to an hour or two. If you park in a residential area, you will be ticketed if you stay longer.
- Some garages offer flat rates for the evening.
- If possible, leave the car at home and walk or Uber.
- Indoor venues tend to be very cold, so despite the usual Charleston heat and humidity outside, be sure to bring a wrap or a jacket with you.
- You can purchase last-minute tickets at the venue an hour before the show. They are not discounted, but are often available, especially for shows at larger venues such as the College of Charleston Cistern and the Gaillard Center.
- Go to the festival office at the Gaillard Center to get information and brochures on Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto. They will provide all the information on times, dates, length of productions, maps, etc.
Do you have any additional insider tips for Spoleto? If so, please add them in the comments.