Everyone, and I really mean everyone, who visits Charleston goes to the City Market. It seems to have its own gravitational pull, tempting visitors to shop, eat, or stroll from one end to the other, admiring the architecture, the colors, the sweetgrass, and the people. It’s a beautiful place.
Market Hall, in the photos above, faces Meeting Street between North and South Market Streets and was built in 1841 after the original building burned. According to TheCharelstonCityMarket.com the space, since it was donated by Charles Pinckney in 1788, has been meant as a public market for vegetables, fruit, fish, and other wares. (No matter what the tour guides tell gullible tourists, this space was never where slaves were bought and sold.)
Inside the Market are individual shops and vendors selling anything and everything. But worth seeing, and ogling and admiring are the sweetgrass baskets.
The tradition of making sweetgrass baskets came to the area with the slaves over 300 years ago when the baskets were used in the fields and houses to tote crops, seeds, and textiles, according to the Charleston County Public Library. The weaving tradition has been passed down through the generations. Today, the baskets are revered for their craftsmanship and beauty, and they are sold at the City Market and other locations around town. And at the Market, you can purchase or watch baskets being handmade, and this has to be part of the City Market’s gravitational pull.
When You Go:
375 Market Street
March through October: 8:30 to 5:30
November through February: 8:30 to 5:00