The City Market & Market Hall

The City Market is a famous Charleston landmark and a favorite of visitors. Encompassing four city blocks from Meeting to East Bay Streets, the City Market houses is known for Sweetgrass baskets, tremendous restaurants, bars, local vendors selling everything from jewelery to novelty items and is where the immensely popular carriage tours depart from. Market Hall Painstakingly restored, this Roman Revival building soars as majestically above Charleston’s tourism trade as it once did over the beef market that occupied the block behind it. While most of the building is brick covered with rouge-tinted stucco (colored in some areas with pigmented lime wash), it also has brownstone details and bronze ornaments in the frieze depicting the skulls of rams and oxen, the use of which to indicate proximity to a meat market has precedence in Roman architecture. During the Civil War, the upper floor was used as a venue for balls to support the Confederate cause and is today leased by the Daughters of the Confederacy where a museum is housed. The legendary Palmetto Guard was honored here before going to war, and the veterans gathered here annually to remember their fallen comrades through 1917, when the last two survivors met. City Market Where the City Market now stands was originally a tidal creek that ran just north of the walled Colonial city of Charles Towne. The creek was filled in and the land donated to the city for the placement of an open-air food market, a purpose the present buildings served from 1804 until the early 20th century. Victorian era photographs show basket-toting women in the streets at the Beef Market, dodging turkey buzzards (euphemistically referred to in contemporary accounts as “Charleston eagles”), which kept the area clean. Among the vendors who now occupy the Market are ladies demonstrating the originally African craft of sweetgrass basketry, the most visible vestige of Gullah culture. The word “Gullah” likely originated from the word “Angola”, which in the early 18th-century referred to the region generally south of the Congo River from which most slaves were brought. By mid-century, Planters were showing a distinct preference for Slaves from the coastal areas above the Congo, where rice was a major crop and methods from those areas were being employed in the Lowcountry rice industry. Baskets like these were used for winnowing – tossing the pounded grains through the air to let the breeze carry away the chaff – and virtually identical baskets found in Senegal Africa were used there for the same purpose.

Additional Things to Do

Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding:

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit:

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit:

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit:

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here:

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here:

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article:

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article:
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities:

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events:

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save:

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit:

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move: