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You can pretty much bank on high season running year-round, with minor dips in the heat of late July through early September, and mid-January-Valentine's Day (February 14). But if you're motivated, there are deals to be found. Always look online to book hotel packages. Restaurant Week, where multicourse meals are offered at discounted prix fixe, hits twice, in January and September. Year-round, the DASH trolley service offers step-on, step-off free routes throughout downtown. If you must drive, know that metered parking is free from 6 pm to 9 am. And for those looking to hop on a carriage tour, be sure to raid hotel-lobby rack cards for coupons offering a few dollars off (discounts are also online). Freebie events include the City Farmers Market, where food vendors, farmers, and artisans offer their wares; Piccolo Spoleto (late May to mid-June), where artists sell their work and musicians give gratis performances; Charleston City Paper's Movies in Marion Square in April; Artwalk in the French Quarter, where galleries offer late-night viewing, cocktail nibbles, and drinks every first Friday of the month; and Second Sundays on King, when King Street closes to traffic from Calhoun to Broad streets, and sales hit the sidewalks along with restaurants offering Sunday specials.
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