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Top 17 Neighborhood Amenities in Downtown, Charleston, SC

Charleston itself is one of the oldest and most desirable cities in the state of South Carolina, and the country for that matter. Its historic downtown is an exquisite neighborhood, home to the city's oldest houses and most interesting mix of people. This guide will show you around the most prominent sites in Downtown Charleston.


Husk is a southern-style restaurant which is famous not only in Charleston, but all across the country. Headed by award winning Chef Sean Brock, the restaurant offers exquisite southern dishes, made with locally sourced produce, as well as southern hospitality, atmosphere, and an amazing selection of whiskey and bourbon, straight up or as part of delicious cocktails.
Husk is extremely popular with both the locals and tourists, as such it is booked months in advance, so if you would like a table inside, please book well ahead. Outdoor sitting does not require booking, though it often still requires waiting to be seated, which can be done at the Husk bar (the bar is located next door).

Image Courtesy of: Jennifer 8. Lee

Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works, many with a connection to Charleston or the South. It opened formally on April 11, 1905. The collection on display on the opening day included more than 300 pictures, many bronzes, and about 200 miniatures in addition to an "instructive collection" of Japanese prints. The museum's collections include the work of numerous artists with connections to Charleston; among them are Henrietta Johnston, Mary Roberts, Charles Fraser, and Jeremiah Theus.

Image Courtesy of: Aude

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum is the oldest museum in the United States; it was founded in 1773 and opened to the public in 1824. The museum's present building was completed in 1980 at 360 Meeting Street. The museum's exhibits include natural history and local history displays and decorative arts, including silver. The museum is also home to the only known fossil of the extinct Pelagornis sandersi, which is the largest flying bird ever discovered. In front of the museum we find the model of The Civil War Submarine, H.L. Hunley.

Image Courtesy of: Mike Burton

The Old Slave Mart Museum

The Old Slave Mart is a building located at 6 Chalmers Street that once housed an antebellum slave auction gallery. Constructed in 1859, the building is believed to be the last extant slave auction gallery in South Carolina. In 1975, the Old Slave Mart was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston's African-American history. Today, the building houses the Old Slave Mart Museum.

The Old Slave Mart was originally part of a large slave market known as Ryan's Mart, which covered a large enclosed lot between Chalmers and Queen streets. The market was established in 1856 by Charleston sheriff Thomas Ryan after a citywide ban on public slave auctions made private markets necessary. Slave auctions were held at the site until the Union Army occupied Charleston and closed Ryan's Mart in 1865. The Old Slave Mart Museum has operated off and on since 1938.

Image Courtesy of: Brian Stansberry

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter is one of the oldest supermarkets in the state of South Carolina. It offers just about everything, from locally made fresh bread and cheese to a wide range of fresh produce to natural coffee. The store also houses a Starbucks with free WiFi and a few tables to relax at. Open 24/7 this location is quite popular with the local student population.
Image Courtesy of: Charleston's TheDigitel

goat. sheep. cow.

goat.sheep.cow. is a tiny shop housed in a historic building in downtown Charleston. It is a local favorite for exquisite and rare delicatessen, offering a huge variety of cheese, charcuterie, wine and gourmet groceries. The shop is also renowned for its excellent customer service and very knowledgeable staff.

Image Courtesy of: Joi Ito

MUSC Medical Center

MUSC Medical Center consists of three separate hospitals (the University Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry, and the Children's Hospital). The Medical Center includes centers for specialized care (Heart Center, Transplantation Center, Hollings Cancer Center, Digestive Diseases Center). The many outpatient facilities include the Family Medicine Center, University Diagnostic Center, and affiliated faculty practice association ambulatory care centers. In the past ten years, $200 million in capital improvements for the Medical Center focused resources on improved quality of patient care and accessibility of services. In 1993–94 there were over 23,000 inpatient admissions and almost 300,000 outpatient visits. MUSC also manages the Charleston Memorial Hospital adjacent to the campus, providing there a low-risk obstetrical service.

Among the programs which have earned distinguished reputations at the Medical University of South Carolina are: Pathology, neuroscience, bariatric surgery, vascular medicine, substance abuse, cardiovascular medicine, drug sciences, perinatal medicine, burn care, ophthalmology, hearing loss, genetics, pediatric emergency services, rheumatology, and cancer care.

Image Courtesy of: Charleston's TheDigitel

Charleston Library Society

Charleston Library Society was founded in 1748 and is a subscription library. It is the third oldest subscription library in the United States after the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded 1731 by Benjamin Franklin) and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum of Newport, Rhode Island (1747).

Image Courtesy of: Mr.TinDC

White Point Garden (The Battery)

White Point Garden is a 5.7 acre public park located in peninsular Charleston at the tip of the peninsula. It is the southern terminus for the Battery, a defensive seawall and promenade. It is bounded by East Battery (to the east), Murray Blvd. (to the south), King St. (to the west), and South Battery (to the north). For more than a century, White Point Garden has been a repository of relics and memorials, with a largely military theme.

Placed at irregular intervals around three sides of the perimeter of White Point Garden are several military relics. Along East Battery is a gun from the USS Keokuk (an 11 inch cannon) that fired shells at Fort Sumter in 1863 and two Confederate columbiads (large cannons) that were used in the defense of Fort Sumter. On Murray Blvd. there are several other artillery pieces.

Image Courtesy of: Brian Stansberry

Hazel Parker Playground

Hazel Parker Playground is a public park in Charleston, South Carolina named after Hazel V. Parker in 1977. Hazel Parker was the recreation supervisor at the playground starting in 1942. The playground was formerly known as the East Bay Playground. The park offers amenities such as: Tennis court, Dog Run, Playground, Baseball or Softball field, Drinking Fountain, Park Benches, Off Leash Dog Area, Basketball court, Picnic Tables, and indoors play area.

Image Courtesy of: Jay@MorphoLA

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is a twelve-acre (5 ha) park along approximately one-half mile of the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. The park received the 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award "recognizes a distinguished landscape architecture project completed between 15 and 50 years ago that retains its original design integrity and contributes significantly to the public realm of the community in which it is located."

Image Courtesy of: JonathanLamb

Washington Square

Washington Square is a greenspace in downtown Charleston. It is located behind the city hall at the corner of Meeting Street and Broad Street in the Charleston Historic District. It was known as City Hall Park until October 10, 1881, when it was renamed in honor of George Washington. The new name was painted over the gates in December 1881. Along the east wall of the park is a monument to Gen. Pierre Beuregard, the Confederate general in charge of the city's defenses in 1862-1864. In 2004, the monument had repair work performed to correct a lean that had developed.

Image Courtesy of: Akhenaton06

Fort Sumter Tours

Take a ferry ride and visit the historic Fort Sumter, a Third System masonry sea fort located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots that started the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. In 1966, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Image Courtesy of: Bubba73

Hampton Park

Hampton Park is a public park located in peninsular Charleston. At 60 acres (240,000 m2), it is the largest park on the peninsula. It is bordered by The Citadel to the west, Hampton Park Terrace to the south, North Central to the east, and Wagener Terrace to the north. The park was named in honor of Confederate General Wade Hampton III who, after the Civil War, had become governor of South Carolina. The park is popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists who use the one-mile (1.6 km) perimeter road for exercise. In previous years, the park was the location for the finale of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and in present day remains the site for the MOJA Festival in addition to many weddings and other special events.

Image Courtesy of: ProfReader

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium, located in Charleston, South Carolina, opened on May 19, 2000 on the historic Charleston Harbor. It is home to more than ten thousand plants and animals including North American river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, hawks, owls, lined seahorses, jellyfish, pufferfish, green moray eels, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, pythons, and sharks. The largest exhibit in the Aquarium is the Great Ocean Tank, which extends from the first to the third floor of the Aquarium; it holds more than 385,000 US gallons (1,460,000 l) of water and contains more than seven hundred animals. The Aquarium also features a Touch Tank, where patrons may touch horseshoe crabs, Atlantic stingrays, and other marine animals.

Image Courtesy of: JonathanLamb

Shops At Charleston Place

Located within the Charleston Place Hotel, the shopping complex offers a variety of luxury world brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Bahama, and Godiva. The entire complex is an impressive display of luxury with marble floors and four star restaurants.

Image Courtesy of: Mathieu Lebreton

Charleston Farmer's Market

Charleston Farmer's Market was founded in 1989 and has been serving the local community with distinction, receiving multiple awards over the years. The market offers a shoppers a large variety of local produce, as well as local crafts and arts.

Image Courtesy of: NatalieMaynor

Pamela Tally

Guide Author
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Top 17 Neighborhood Amenities in Downtown, Charleston, SC