Art, history, jewelry, crafts, food and more can be found on just one stretch of Market Street in downtown Charleston. Head to the Charleston City Market, one of the nation’s oldest public markets, for an infusion of Holy City history and local culture.
In 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney transferred the land that is now the market area to the City of Charleston for the express use as a public market. With the land transfer, Pinckney stipulated that the land must remain in use as a market for perpetuity.
So the sheds that stretch from the Market Hall to the waterfront were built between 1804 and the 1830s. The sheds originally housed meat, vegetable and fish vendors. Booth rent was $1 per day or $2 if the booth had a slab of marble used to keep the meat or fish cold.
In 2010, the city launched a $5.5 million makeover of the entire Charleston City Market. Work was completed in 2011 and on June 27, the refurbished City Market reopened to the public. The Great Hall is now enclosed and air conditioned with 20 merchants. The open-air sheds were also reworked.
The space is bustling year-round with tourists shopping for souvenirs and gifts. Don’t miss the artisans crafting sweetgrass baskets at the market.
The Charleston City Market is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily in three open-air sheds and the Great Hall. From 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from March to December, check out the night market with vendors and artists. Take time to explore the rest of Market Street filled with boutiques and restaurants.
Or get an overview of the Market and surrounding areas on an Adventure Sightseeing city tour, a 90-minute guided bus tour around Charleston.