Arts & Culture

Strolling the Charleston City Market


The Charleston City Market is one of the most iconic attractions in Charleston and historically one of the oldest in the nation, established in 1807. Today, the Charleston City Market is bustling with activity–from the on-site weaving of sweetgrass baskets to the locals and visitors from all over the world brushing shoulders. The open-air market gives a taste of Charleston life and flavor that is unique to Charleston’s history.

There are a few stands, which hold significance to Charleston and are not to be missed when strolling through the market. To put you in a Southern state of mind, we recommend you take the time to explore the following Charleston City Market items.

Benne Wafers
These golden token shaped cookies are popular all over the peninsula. They pair deliciously with a cup of tea or on their own. Unique to the Lowcountry since Colonial times, Benne (the Bantu word for sesame) was brought to America from East Africa in the 17th century during the slave trade era. Probably the oldest crop grown for its mild, nut-like taste, this versatile annual herb was planted extensively throughout the South. You are able to sample before you buy a box, and you can always pick one up at our coffee counter in the lobby.


Sweetgrass Baskets
As you walk through the market, you will find yourself surrounded by varying shapes and sizes of sweetgrass baskets. These baskets are one of the oldest types of African Art found in the nation today, and are even on display at the Smithsonian Museum for their unique technique and place in history. Enjoy watching the weavers create baskets in front of you, as you choose from a variety of styles. Also be sure to look for the certified “Made in South Carolina” plaque, located at the front of the table, so you know your basket is authentic and locally made.


The Spice and the Spoon
A husband and wife duo make these spices on Meeting Street, though their headquarters is right out of the Charleston City Market, you may see them in mom and pop grocers and corner stores in over twenty states. Stop by to taste flavorful dips and take a few packets home to bring a little Southern spice to your kitchen.


Naturally Southern Soap
Daniel and his mother make these luscious soaps with Lowcountry charm out of their apartment on Rutledge Avenue. Try the rich, nourishing hand crèmes that are made with less than five ingredients, and enjoy the unique and fresh smell of their fragranced soaps. Daniel’s favorites? He likes Sweetgrass and Butt Naked Scrub.


Rich in history and charm, The Charleston City Market is a must see destination in the Holy City. Take your time as you walk through the market to smell the fresh pralines, hear horses hooves clacking down Market Street and see firsthand what Charleston life is like.

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