Stroll the city’s waterfront esplanades at sunset, when the afternoon sun begins to dip and the harbor is lit with soft colors.
Charleston Waterfront Park reflects the character and history of the city’s architecture and gardens. At the southernmost point of the eight-acre (three-hectare) park, a wooden pier juts out over the Charleston Harbor.
Sit on one of the old-fashion benches and take in views of the esplanade, which curls along the waterline, through salt marshes and palmetto trees to a central grassy lawn. Bring a picnic and relax while watching boats in the harbor. There are swings for children and paths for strolling or jogging.
Before 1990 the waterfront was an unattractive, fire-damaged area, which was historically used for shipping. It was restored with the help of local architects and artists into a beautiful and vibrant gathering place.
In the center of the park is Charleston’s iconic Pineapple Fountain, a charming subject for photos. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality dating back to early colonial days.
The City Gallery sits beside the fountain and showcases local, national and international artists, with rotating exhibits throughout the year.
Take a detour down Exchange Street to visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. Tour the exchange for a history of the American Revolution and Civil War, and stories of prisoners kept here during the revolution.
At the north end of Concord Street, oak trees and landscaped gardens create inviting shade. If you’re hungry, stop in at one of the restaurants that serve Southern delicacies such as pimento cheese rib eye and fried green tomatoes with blue crab. There are many choices for eating a meal with views of the harbor.
The South Carolina Aquarium at the north end of the park has creatures from local and international habitats.
Water taxi tours cruise around the harbor and across to Patriot’s Point Maritime Museum.
The Charleston Waterfront Park, in downtown, is accessible at any time of the day or night. Attraction opening hours vary. Navigate the park by foot, or on a bicycle rented from stores around Charleston. The free DASH shuttle stops at the park, as well as other downtown attractions.