No matter what you want in a vacation spot, you can’t go wrong choosing Charleston, South Carolina. As the Huffington Post recently pointed out, it may be unequivocally the “best city in the world” as it offers great weather, friendly people, and lots to do for visitors. Charleston, though a modern city that is one of the largest ports in the United States and a major city for technology jobs, also has a rich history that dates back to 1670.
The place assaults the senses with its coastal breezes, appealing cuisine, live music, and a rich past that is apparent even when walking through the city. You spend your whole vacation taking in its diverse architecture on iconic streets dotted with palm trees and illuminated with copper street lights that are works of art. Smart first time visitors take one of the many tours offered in the city, which is an excellent way to sample the best that Charleston has to offer before devoting future visits to golf, sailing, local arts and culture, or visiting points of interest. There is so much history to absorb in the city, and so many great things to experience that a local tour guide can point out the high points and the interesting trivia – and deliver the information in a memorable Southern drawl.
Visit These Charleston Streets
By walking down some of the major streets of Charleston, you can create your own tour as you immerse yourself in the city’s delights.
- King Street, noted for its shopping for unique one-of-a-kind items, is also the center of the Charleston antiques district. Offering the “Best Antique Shopping in the US” according to Travel & Leisure Magazine, local ships offer treasures from around the world from any period. Part of the street is known for its home furnishing shopping, interior design services, and fine dining. If you are there on a second Sunday of the month, the street is filled with vendors, food trucks, and live music; throughout the year, events such as the Food & Wine Festival, Southern Wildlife Festival, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, parades, and more take place right there.
- East Bay Street, along the Charleston Battery, a seawall and promenade, offers beautiful scenery including larger-than-life antebellum homes and a view of historical sites such as Fort Sumpter, Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, Castle Pinkney, and White Point Garden. Part of the street is known as Rainbow Row due to a section of 14 homes painted in bright tones that each have a story of its own to tell. The other main attractions of East Bay Street are restaurants where you can sample everything from oysters to barbeque to southern classics such as fried chicken and shrimp and grits.
- Tradd Street, an architectural feast for the eyes, is the site of some of the some earliest Charleston homes, many designated as historic by the local preservation society. There are also some townhouses recently built on the sites of home that could not be saved in a style approved by the local architectural review board. A long street that runs the width of the Charleston Peninsula from the Cooper River to the Ashley River, Tradd Street offers some of the most beautiful architecture in the city.
- Church Street is the location of several prominent places of worship such as St. Philips’s Episcopal Church; St. Phillip’s has a cemetery that is the final resting place of prominent historical figures such as Charles Pinckney, signer of the Constitution, Vice President John C. Calhoun, Edward Rutledge, signer of the Declaration of Independence; and Dubose Heyward, author of “Porgy.” The Dock Street Theatre, the first permanent playhouse in the US, is also a key landmark that presents over 100 performances each year.
- Broad Street is now the site of more than 15 of the 70 art galleries in Charleston, but historically, it was known for its historic homes and its “Four Corners of Law” due to the presence of Federal Courthouse and Post Office, the County Courthouse, City Hall, and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on the corners of Broad and Meeting Streets. Over the past 40 years, care has been put into refurbishing and preserving the street’s historic character. This vibrant commercial and residential district features bluestone sidewalks, gas street lights, palmetto trees, and a nine-acre park.
- Queen Street offers some of the best Southern cuisine in the city. Popular restaurants such as Husk, Poogan’s Porch, and 82 Queen attract tourists and natives alike to the old French Quarter section of downtown Charlestown.
Whether you walk the streets or enjoy a carriage ride through them, you will quickly understand why many Charleston tourists are repeat visitors to the city..
Bring Charleston Street Lights Home
After enjoying a vacation in Charleston, you may want reminders of the area. Shipping home local seafood is one way to keep your vacation fresh in your mind, but if you were intrigued by the historic gas copper lanterns you saw on every street you visited, you can bring this bit of Charleston to your home too.
Lantern & Scroll offers historic reproductions of classic Charleston street lights which embody a great variety in design. You will notice lighting with straight or curved bodies, simple tops or ornate ones, and plain or latticed side panels gracing lanterns throughout the city.
To see reproductions of lanterns such as you saw on King Street, Tradd Street, Church Street, and more, you can visit the Lantern & Scroll retail store at the Pavilion Shops at 2041 South Blvd, Ste C in Charlotte or visit our online store. Available in gas or electric versions, you can recreate Charleston history with a column lantern or porch light. Many of our collections also have interior lighting options that allow you to bring the warmth and beauty of copper into your home as a lasting reminder of your Charleston vacation.