It is hard to visit Charleston and not be charmed by the city’s colonial architecture, affinity for art and unique shops. And what better way is there to experience the best of the Holy City than to walk one of Charleston’s most popular streets? King Street is the shopping and dining district of historic Charleston. Made up of three major sections – lower, middle and upper King Street – each area boasts some of the best stores and restaurants in the Lowcountry.
Starting at lower King Street, at Broad Street, shoppers can enjoy antique stores with items representing Southern colonial and industrial eras. There are more than a dozen shops in the area each specializing in historic riches from Charleston’s past. Although they are all worth touring, there is no better place to find furniture, silver, china, crystal and brass than in George C. Birlant & Co. Located at 191 King Street, Birlant & Co. is one of the most respected antique dealers and auctioneers in the nation.
Staying in the lower King Street district you will find historic and modern works of art in a row of galleries. The lower King Street area is dotted with art galleries with works from award-winning artists. The fine arts have always been a predominant part of Charleston culture blending avant-garde styles with Lowcountry flair. The notable Gallery Chuma, one block off of King Street on historic Meeting Street, features Lowcountry legend Jonathan Green. He is renowned for his accurate and deep portrayals of Southern African-American culture in the 1800’s, and just one example of the many great works featured in our local galleries.
Many people venture to Charleston for one major purpose, shopping! Named one of the “10 Top Shopping Districts in USA” by Forbes Travel, you can’t walk 20 feet without finding the latest in Lowcountry style. The middle King Street district, between Market and Calhoun Streets, possesses some of the most unique boutiques in the South. Local favorites include Ben Silver for sharp suits, Hampden Clothing for cutting edge designer labels, and Will Jay’s filled with colorful dresses and jewelry. After all that walking and shopping you are sure to work up a solid appetite. If that is the case, then you are in luck. Just a short walk away are some of the best bars and restaurants in town.
The upper King Street district, just north of Calhoun Street, has enough one-of-a-kind restaurants to excite even the most profound foodie. We suggest trying Virginia’s on King for a Lowcountry brunch, or Monza for an authentic Italian dinner. After your meal, be sure to grab a drink at the unique bar with a trendy, neighborhood feel, Closed for Business. No matter where you travel on upper King Street, you are sure to have an interesting and delectable dining experience.
With so much to offer, King Street has its own monthly celebration. Every second Sunday of the month from 1PM to 5PM, the city closes down King Street to vehicular traffic and opens it up to pedestrians. From Calhoun to Broad Street, restaurants seat tables outside and shops open their doors. You can find hundreds of people dining, shopping and walking dogs to the tunes of street music and live performers.
It’s hard to even skim the surface of what King Street has to offer. The best way to experience it is to come by and see it for yourself. From fine dining to shopping and everything in between, King Street is truly one of Charleston’s most charming and beloved streets.