Smithsonian at the Spoleto Festival

Experience an exciting variety of world-class music, opera, and theater performances at Charleston's Spoleto Festival USA.

Starting at: $3,395 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 L.A. Dance Project performs Murder Ballades. Credit: Josh Peck  Charleston's historic Dock Street Theater. Credit: Julia Lynn  Enjoy the vibrant Cuban dance rhythms of <i>Havana Rakatan</i>. Credit: Alastair Muir

Tour Details


This tour has been exceptionally wonderful and far surpassed the tour description! The Spoleto events were fabulous and exciting... The entire trip was wondrous and exceptionally planned to delight and bring pleasure. 

Phyllis B.

I have often wanted to attend Spoleto. Smithsonian made it easy and more rewarding.

Jolyn T.


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Experience an exciting variety of world-class music, opera, dance, and theater performances at Charleston’s 2016 Spoleto Festival USA. During this popular performing arts program, enjoy prime seating for six of Spoleto’s top events along with presentations by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Stan Engebretson. Plus, see the charming historic city of Charleston! 

Highlights Include:

  • Porgy and Bess: Experience Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in the newly-renovated Charleston Gaillard Center. The highlight of this summer’s Spoleto Festival offers guests the chance to soak up the low-country culture, depicted in this classic American folk opera and the opportunity to see the fully-staged performance for the first time in twenty years in Charleston. 
  • Performances: Enjoy the vibrant Cuban dance rhythms of salsa, mambo, jazz and more at Havana Rakatan, get transported to Jazz-age Paris through the lyrical performance of Afram ou La Belle Swita, plus enjoy the joyous sounds of Spoleto’s Chamber Music series and the exquisite voices of the Westminster Choir.
  • Special Access: Attend exclusive VIP lectures and meetings with Spoleto Festival staff, including General Director Nigel Redden.
  • Charleston: Enjoy the city of Charleston during a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city center, famous for its graceful, unique architecture, and take an excursion to Boone Hall, one of America’s oldest plantations. You’ll also dine at some of the city’s famed restaurants, including the Charleston Grille, and stay at the historic Mills House Hotel. 


Day 1 — Welcome & First Performance

Individual arrivals at The Mills House Hotel in Charleston. Gather for a welcome reception with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert Stan Engebretson. Enjoy a festive welcome dinner then depart the hotel for the L.A. Dance Project, a fresh, contemporary vision of dance and stylistically diverse repertory. (R,D)

Day 2 — Morning and Evening Performances

Enjoy a presentation by Stan Engebretson preparing you for the day’s events. Attend a stirring performance of Spoleto’s annual Chamber Music Series then enjoy a festive lunch at Magnolia Café. The remainder of your afternoon will be at leisure. After dinner independently gather in the hotel lobby and depart for Afram ou La Belle Swita. Reconstructed in what is believed to be its first performance, Afram transports you to the romance and whimsy of Jazz-age Paris, with a southern touch. (B,L)

Day 3 — Boone Hall Plantation Tour & Evening Performance

Depart the hotel for Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. One of America's oldest working and living plantations, they have been continuously growing and producing crops for over three centuries. Enjoy a guided tour of the mansion and gardens. Afterwards, enjoy lunch nearby the hotel. This evening attend Choral Fantasy, featuring Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Olivier Messiaen’s Couleurs de la Cité Celeste, sung by the renowned Westminster Choir and accompanied by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. (B,L) 

Day 4 — Charleston Carriage Tour with Afternoon and Evening Performances

Take a narrated carriage ride through historic Charleston in the morning then return to the hotel for a presentation by Stan Engebretson. In the afternoon enjoy a special performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and return to refresh at the hotel. This evening depart for a spellbinding evening performance of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the highlight of the 2016 Spoleto Festival. (B)

Day 5 — Charleston Grill & Final Performance

Enjoy a presentation by Stan Engebretson. This afternoon will be at leisure then enjoy your farewell dinner at Charleston Grill. Afterwards attend your final performance, Havana Rakatan, which brings salsa, mambo, jazz, bolero, son, cha- cha-cha, and rumba together for a dazzling display of Cuban passion. (B,D)

Day 6 — Depart for Home

Enjoy breakfast before individual departures from the hotel. (B)