History of the Charleston City Market

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Photo by @rgloverphotography

This one’s for the night owls — did you know that Charleston City Market has an evening market on weekends? The Night Market is returning on St. Patty’s Day weekend, and the event is truly an experience. 🌙

Roam beneath the twinkle lights, listen to live music, and dig into tasty food on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30-10:30 p.m. You can browse over 100 Charleston vendors selling local goods including handwoven sweetgrass baskets, Lowcountry cookbooks, and original artwork.

In anticipation of the night market’s return, we’re giving you a brief history of the city market.

Follow the timeline:

  • 1788:A 100-foot-wide merchant avenue from Meeting Street to the Cooper River is created for a public food market.
  • 1841: Over 50 years later, the Market Hall is finished.
  • 1938: A tornado tears through town, damaging the market area.
  • 1973: The Charleston City Market lands a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places.
  • 1986: After Charleston Place Hotel opens nearby, the market becomes the city’s top attraction. Today, Charleston Place is under new ownership, purchased by local billionaire Ben Navarro.
  • 2010: The market begins to undergo a $5.5 million top-down renovation — which will add air conditioning, a new skylight, ceiling fans, and a wide walkway.
  • 2011: The new market reopens to the public.
  • 2022: When we stop by today, we love strolling down the center aisle, coffee in hand — in A/C to boot.

Early risers — don’t worry, the daytime market will continue to operate daily from 9:30-6 p.m. We’ll leave you with a fun fact — the Charleston City Market spans several blocks and is the largest handmade market in the Southeast.