Charleston City Market

Experience the Heart of Charleston’s History! When you come to our city, there may be no better way to experience our vibrant culture than with a visit to the Charleston City Market. The Market has a way of summing up everything about Charleston into one unforgettable experience.

The Origins of the Charleston City Market

As many admirers of Charleston, SC already know, this historic city still maintains a high degree of authenticity to its 18th century origins. Many of the places that were once designed only for walking, such as the famous Charleston alleys, remain that way to this day.

In 1788, a man named Charles Cotesworth Pinckney gave up the land of the Charleston City Market, expressly wishing that it always be used as a city market. The city agreed, and the land has remained in use as a market to this day.

In the 1800s, buildings were added to house vendors like meat, fish, and vegetable sellers. At the time, stands could be rented for the meager price of only 25 cents per week.

Although there were troubles throughout the 1900s—a tornado hit the area during the Great Depression, and economic hardship during World War II led to only four vendors using the space—the city market lived on.

The city government made it official in 1973, adding the market to the National Register of Historic Places. This led to a surge in popularity for the Charleston City Market. The Planters Inn was added, and in 2010, a $5.5-million renovation updated the market for today’s needs.

What You Can Expect from the Charleston City Market

True: just about any market that can trace its history back to the 1800s will have plenty to offer in the way of history. But what else might you expect if you were to visit the Charleston City Market in present day Charleston?

  • A lot—and we do mean a lot—of different vendors. Although the market shrank to just four vendors in the 1940s, today’s Charleston City Market is always bustling with activity.
  • A “Daytime” and a “Nighttime” market. Like many city markets, the Charleston City Market divides vendor time into two distinct sections, which means that even if you were to visit the market during the day, a nighttime visit will yield a completely different experience.
  • Access to the “heart” of Charleston. The city market is considered by many to be the “heart” of Charleston thanks to the activity and the nearby restaurants, hotels, and yes, even Charleston carriage tours. In fact, many of the Charleston, SC carriage tours begin just around the corner from the Market.

Want to experience the incredible mix of modernity and history that Charleston, SC has to provide? Book your Charleston, SC carriage tour today!