Thursday, October 28, 2010

The King Of Charleston Shopping-The King Street District

Are you up to the challenge Charleston presents to its visitors and residents? What is that challenge? The challenge isn't in trying to find something to do, the challenge is in deciding which something-to-do you want to do first because the list is long and diverse. Attractions, tours, museums, shopping, restaurants, and theaters are abundant and when the weather is hot, the kind involving sand and water is everywhere. The top ten list includes such favorites as the South Carolina Aquarium, The Battery/White Point Gardens, Old City Market, Rainbow Row, Middleton Place, Waterfront Park, and Folly Beach. But in that list is also the King Street Shopping District.

From as early as the 1700's, craftsmen of such trades as cabinet makers, silversmiths, and others often had King Street addresses. In the 19th century, hundreds of small businesses also traded along King Street. Unfortunately, the Civil War greatly affected this once bustling area and it fell into ruin. Charleston struggled through all kinds of disasters, but its craftsmen still had the attention of buyers and the antique industry was gaining strength even though King Street still largely remained abandoned, until the restoration of Charleston was in full swing in the 20th century. What remained of the old shops and businesses along King were restored and reopened during this time. What is now called Lower King is a shoppers paradise of fine art, clothing, home furnishings and d├ęcor, toys, jewelry, flowers, gifts, inns and restaurants.

Locals have dubbed one section of Lower King Street, between Beaufain and Queen Streets, “The Antiques District”. At the corner of King and Broad Streets is Berlin's. Saks Fifth Avenue is a highlight at the northern corner of King and Market Streets. Charleston Place on the northeast corner of King and Market just above "antiques row" is where the eager shopper can find trendy stores featuring jewelry, shoes and fine clothiers. Charleston Farmer's Market is located in Marion Square on King Street between Calhoun and Hutson streets.

Places to eat and drink, such as the Charleston Grill, Halls Chophouse, Juanita Greenberg’s Nacho Royal, King Street Grille, Mellow Mushroom, Old Town Grille and Seafood, Torch Velvet Lounge, and Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar, are all located on King Street. Other choices close by are Blind Tiger, High Cotton, McCrady’s, Mistral, and Vendue's Roof Top Bar and Restaurant. Port City Java is there if a coffee is what you desire. A host of other eating establishments from the expensive to the reasonable are all within walking distance. So go ahead and "shop until you drop" as they say.

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