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Historic Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market
Once the center of commerce in Charleston, the City Market is now the center of tourism. Although its location near the cruise terminal can give it the feel of a kitschy open-air market in the Caribbean, that’s also part of its charm. Yes, you’ll find Christmas ornaments painted with Rainbow Row and enough pralines and grits packaged in cutesy cloth bags to give you a stomach ache, but you’ll also find Gullah artisans weaving the finest examples of sweetgrass basket artistry available. During peak season, 140 merchants fill their tables with edible and collectible wares, including at the weekend night market that includes live music and food vendors. It’s a requisite stop for any visitor to Charleston, and handy for one-stop gift shopping for loved ones back home.
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Morning Shopping
After you’ve drawn up your shopping list, head to the Charleston City Market (pictured), one of the nation’s oldest public markets. The sprawling four-block retail venue, which dates to 1804, is home to more than 300 vendors as well as a variety of well-known local businesses including Historic Charleston Foundation, Food for the Southern Soul, Caviar and Bananas, Wonder Works, and the Charleston Angler. Take special note of the sweetgrass baskets, an indigenous art form and one of the most recognizable Gullah traditions. Gullah is the Charleston area’s native sea island culture with a distinctive language, cuisine, crafts, music, and legends. Originally made to winnow rice on the plantations, sweetgrass baskets have become sought after souvenirs and are even on display at the Smithsonian Institution. The Charleston City Market is home to more than 50 sweetgrass basket weavers who demonstrate their hand-weaving techniques daily.
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Charleston City Market
This four-block retail venue with 140 permanent merchants is one of the oldest public markets in the United States (it dates back to 1804). Visitors can find a selection of Charleston products including the famous sweetgrass baskets. Other vendors sell typical food items like grits and jars of preserves so you can take home the flavors of the Lowcountry.
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Charleston City Market
As opposed to the Old Slave Mart, a more benign form of commerce unfolded at Charleston City Market, established in 1804. For more than two centuries, it has served as the primary place for city’s residents to buy produce, fish, and meat. While some of the 140 merchants here continue to sell raw ingredients, for the traveler visiting Charleston those selling crafts, including the famous sweetgrass baskets, and gourmet goods like preserves, honey, grits, and pralines are likely to be of more interest. Travel back in time as you shop and taste your way around Charleston on one of the 12 itineraries created by AFAR’s Travel Advisory Council at AFAR Journeys.
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Perfect spot for architecture fans
Lovers of bright colors and architecture will gladly spend time in the historic district of Charleston. Stroll down the cobblestone streets or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to see the stunning mansions and charming community buildings. Don't miss the City Market when you are in the area.
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188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
+1 843-937-0920
Sun - Sat 9:30am - 6pm
Fri, Sat 6:30pm - 10:30pm