My heart feels the warmth of southern hospitality, grace and sunshine as I write this. Charleston, South Carolina, is on the eastern coast of the United States and has long been a favourite city of mine. I go to escape fast paced days at home to enjoy the leisurely streets of this popular, historic place. One of my favorite things to do here is grab my camera and take some snaps around downtown Charleston. Here’s a mini photo tour of the most charming city in the South.
The most charming city in the South: A photo tour of downtown Charleston
A sweet welcome
Did you know a pineapple symbolizes hospitality? They’re plentiful in Charleston, whether on store signs or car bumper stickers. One of my favorite places to see one of the most well known pineapples in this charming city is at Waterfront Park. It’s also quite close to the port that cruise ships dock at when they arrive in Charleston, thus, it’s incredibly befitting it’s here. The pineapple fountain has been proudly standing at the park since its creation in 1990 and has been photographed by many tourists.
Southern live oaks
One of the most visually stunning natural specimens of the south in the United States is the southern live oak tree; when you see these trees you know you’re south of the Mason Dixon line! Their trunks are very hardy and most age to be 300-400 years old! Their branches extend in squiggly and far-reaching ways. I love the canopy they create and the placement they’re often given, lining walkways and streets. Southern live oaks are also the trees that the famous ‘Spanish moss’ often hangs from, another iconic denotation of the south. White Point Garden, pictured below, is always a great stop for downtown Charleston photography. Be sure to relax on a park bench for a little while to take in the beautiful surrounds.
Don’t be surprised if you see many horse-drawn carriage tours as you walk around downtown Charleston. I am sure to take a photo whenever they pass. It’s a reminder of Charleston’s centuries-old history and always reminds me to stop and think of the time when streets were not lined by cars. I spotted this blue carriage on a downtown Charleston photography walk and couldn’t help but listen to the guide for a few minutes as he explained a bit of the history of the city. Charleston was founded in 1670, by the way!
The Rainbow Row
The colorful facades of the row houses on East Bay Street earned the avenue the playful name of Rainbow Row. I love all the flower boxes downtown that homeowners keep in tip-top shape for pedestrians, like me, that visit. Who can resist snapping away to capture the beauty of it all? The house facades will be in the shade later on in the day since they face east. It’s a great tip if you don’t want to photograph Rainbow Row in the blaring glow of sunlight. Shade definitely helps beat that southern heat and makes a stroll down East Bay more enjoyable.
It just so happens this fountain is also at Waterfront Park. This fountain always has more tourists around it even though they’re simply a five minute walk from the other one. It sits at the north entrance of the park and is an intersection of sorts for visitors coming off boat tours, or from busy Vendue Range street, or walking south to explore the park more. It’s also a very popular fountain for kids to splash around in, finding relief from those hot southern temperatures. I associate this fountain with a lot of energy and the sound of children’s laughter.
If there’s anything there is not a shortage of in downtown Charleston it’s awe-inspiring southern homes. The downtown area of the city is incredibly walkable; one of my favorite things to do is get lost and meander through the residential neighborhoods. You’ll find all sorts of interesting homes covered in the most gorgeous greenery and blossoming flowers. Southern homes often have a false front door, like the one below. It leads to a front fenced in patio, not the actual house (though there is a door to the home off the patio). This is to take advantage of relatively warm temperatures year round. I can imagine sipping yummy iced tea on one of those porches any day!
I play a game of ‘I spy’ when I walk around downtown Charleston to photograph it. You may have already guessed it’s not exactly an inexpensive place to live! It’s a tad bit like an imaginary game of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous too. The cars of downtown Charleston residents sit in their driveways piquing my curiosity: What do all these people do for a living to afford such luxury? I still can’t tell you the answer! But it sure is fun to happen upon beauties like the vintage car in the gated driveway below.
It was love at first site. This home instantly caught my eye as I wandered through a neighborhood. I’ve come across it on walks during several different visits to Charleston and each time I recall this photo. I gush over the teal shutters against the coral stucco. The pig mocks me in the window, bragging he lives inside, not out. The owners always keep their flower boxes full of vibrant greenery, spilling over the front of the containers. I could sit in front of the house for a long time, fantasising about what kind of lovely people live beyond the windows. And that’s what is so appealing about Charleston as a whole – it’s a charming society with the aesthetics to support it.
And there you have our downtown Charleston photography tour!
For more southern charm visit:
- Why Raleigh in North Carolina Should be on Your Travel Radar
- 10 Things to do in Orlando, Florida that Aren’t Theme Parks
- Essential First Visit Guide for the Outer Banks Ocracoke Island
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Have you ever been to downtown Charleston?