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A Walking Tour Down ‘Memory Lane’: A Trip To Charleston Isn’t Complete Without A Visit To Its Historic Landmarks


You know that the city of Charleston is rich in natural beauty, culture, heritage, and fine cuisine. But are you familiar with the historic landmarks and architectural style that sets our city apart?

Both long-time residents and visitors alike should make it a point to learn more about the architecture, and visit the historic district. To take a walking tour through the historic downtown area really is like taking a trip through time.

Did you know that Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina? It’s true, and what’s more, much of the city’s architecture has been very well-preserved. We have more than 2,800 historic buildings, and the entire Charleston Historic District is a designated U.S. National Historic Landmark.

The area is well-known and celebrated as having a ton of character, charm, and many examples of the different styles of architecture that tell the story of the history of the city.

That’s definitely more history than you could see in a single walking tour. For that reason, we recommend finding a knowledgeable guide and knowing a bit more about the area so that you can determine ahead of time what you really want to see — and make the most of your walking tour and trip.

So, exactly how old is Charleston? The city was founded as “Charles Town” on the west bank of the Ashley River almost 350 years ago, in 1670, before it was moved to its current location in 1680. Because of its age and location, the architecture of the city serves as a tour through the popular architectural styles throughout the history of the early United States, and attests to the richness and character of the local culture.

A Walking Tour Through Charleston’s Architectural Style

In general, throughout Charleston you can find examples of buildings constructed in the popular styles of the different eras. Those include the following architectural styles (in no particular order):

  • Colonial
  • Georgian
  • Regency
  • Federal
  • Adamesque
  • Classic Revival
  • Greek Revival
  • Queen Anne
  • Gothic Revival
  • Italianate
  • Art Deco

In addition to the examples of architectural styles, you’ll also find style and structural elements that lend to the unique charm and character of Charleston.

For example, there are the piazzas. Many of the lovely, older Charleston homes in the historic district have tiered, covered porches or verandas built on the long side of the house. The piazzas are beautiful — often ornamented with balustrades, columns or custom railings, but also have a distinct function. They were placed on the east or west side of the house to provide shade and ventilation, to cool residents and their guests.

Many of the piazzas also have a distinctive blue paint on the ceilings, and sometimes the doors, shutters and window frames. The shade, known as “Haint Blue,” comes in sky blue, light bluish green, or aqua, and is known to have a unique cultural story and connection to the region.

The paint and shade is said to have originated as a protection against malevolent spirits, and is unique to the traditions in the South Carolina and Georgia lowcountry.

You’ll also see a distinctive shade of paint on the buildings dubbed “Charleston Green.” The color appears to be black, but has a hint of yellow. The local lore is that the dark paint provided during the Reconstruction era wasn’t to the liking of the locals, who added a hint of yellow to spruce up the color.

You can read more about additional places and styles of interest here.

But if you’re truly interested in Charleston architecture, we recommend that you take a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. While you’re at it, you can also try some of the amazing cuisine at the best local restaurants. We think there’s no better way to take in the local character and flavor of the city.

A culinary tour through the historic district is also wonderful way to spend a memorable evening with family, friends, and loved ones!

Ready to learn more about how to experience the best walking tours in the historic area of Charleston South Carolina? We invite you to visit the website to learn more, then reach out to us directly with any questions. We’ll provide you with an unforgettable walking tour of the historic area, complete with a delicious culinary experience you won’t forget any time soon. We look forward to hearing from you!

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