Charleston City Market#13 in Best Things To Do in Charleston, SC
- 3.5Food Scene
While some may say that the Charleston City Market is a bit of a tourist trap, others call it a great glimpse into life in the Old South. It is often referred to as the "Slave Market" because it was here that slaves would purchase food for the plantation. Today, the market buzzes with residents and visitors alike, perusing stalls loaded with toys, clothes, leather goods and regional souvenirs. But if you plan on buying anything here, you should head straight to the "basket ladies." These women (and men) have been weaving baskets for centuries – this craft originated in West Africa and has been passed down through the generations – using local materials, such as sweetgrass and palmetto leaves.
Although this is a great place to experience southern charm and to people-watch, recent visitors recommend that buyers beware: A few travelers said some vendors hawk overpriced trinkets. Other enjoyed the variety of unique items.
The Charleston City Market is located in the heart of downtown Charleston on Meeting Street (about a 12-minute walk from Broad Street, the city's main thoroughfare). If you choose to drive, you'll find limited street parking available. The free DASH bus also stops nearby. The market is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market also offers night hours from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, as well as Thursday nights starting in May. While you don't have to pay to browse, you might want to carry some extra cash on you in case the sweetgrass baskets prove to be too seducing. There are also plenty of places to grab a snack scattered throughout the market. Find out more about vendors and goods on the market website.
More Best Things To Do in Charleston, SC
#1 The Battery
Many visitors say you can't leave Charleston without seeing this stretch along the city's southern tip, which they call beautiful and a must-visit. This row of Southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor was formerly the heart and soul of the city's maritime activity. Today, the area attracts camera-toting tourists from all over the country.
As you explore this picturesque neighborhood, make sure to also spend some time in the nearby White Point Garden, where several Civil War relics and memorials commemorate the city's role in the battle. Start your tour of the Battery at the 12-acre Waterfront Park (home to the giant pineapple fountain featured on many Charleston postcards), then follow the walking paths on East Battery Street for the nearly mile-long stroll to White Point Garden. If you're staying at one of the hotels or bed-and-breakfasts located downtown, you can easily walk along the Battery from your digs. If you're driving to the Battery, you'll find some limited street parking, and some lots closer to Waterfront Park. Bus route No. 211 provides service to Waterfront Park and East Bay Street. Several of the city's best walking tours make stops along the Battery. If you're interested in the history of the mansions or the promenade's role in the Civil War, consider signing up for a tour.
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