Charleston is known for its beautiful streets full of large oak trees and colorful houses, and it’s because of this charm that it has become quite the popular place to take photos. I have lived here for 16 years now, and my friends and I frequently visit downtown Charleston and the areas around it, and after many years of living in the lowcountry, I have found some of the best places to take photos and brighten up any social media page. Some of these places are classics like Rainbow Row while others are hidden gems that might seem strange, but end up having the best views of our beloved town.
East of Downtown Charleston on the other side of the Charleston Harbor lies Sullivan’s Island. It’s just a short trip over the Ravenel Bridge, but it is known for its delicious restaurants, lovely lighthouse, and of course, its beautiful views. I believe that this is one of the best places to watch the sunrise and sunset in Mount Pleasant. If you are going at dawn, you would want to be on the Sullivan’s Island side of Breach’s Inlet as it gives a perfect view of the sun rising above the horizon. If you are going for sunset, you would want to be on the other side of the island near Fort Moultrie and the rocks along the Charleston Harbor. This location also gives a great view of the Ravenel Bridge and downtown Charleston. Know that at both of these places you can’t swim due to the strong currents, but anywhere between them, it is allowed. Parking for Breach’s Inlet can be found right over the bridge between Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island and parking for the other side of the island can be found on a small road off of Middle St between Osceola Ave and Station 11 St.
Located on King St only a few blocks away from Marion Square is this lovely theater. Some may even recognize it as the movie theater from The Notebook where the famous quote “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” was said. It opened as a theater in 1942 but currently it is used as an event space in town. For those who don’t go due to its appearance in the movie, many visit this theater because of the phrases that change regularly. They have ranged from “Welcome Charleston” to “We rise by lifting others”. If you are celebrating something special, you can even pay to have a personalized message displayed for 24 hours and make your event something you’ll never forget.
Marion Square Parking Garage:
This one may seem weird, but it is one of two parking garages that I frequently visit in town. If you go to the very top floor, it is almost always empty, and it is a great place to take photos because of its beautiful view of downtown. From here, you can see the Ravenel bridge in the background, Marion Square, the steeple of the Citadel Square Baptist Church, and both the Dewberry and Hotel Bennet. Even the colorful pink wall at the top of the parking garage is a great background for pictures.
This one is a classic for those visiting and is another beautiful location for pictures. Along the water is a walkway that many frequently photograph as they walk along Murray Blvd and E Battery St. At the southern tip of Charleston on the Battery are the White Point Gardens. If you enter the gardens, you are surrounded by big oak trees with long limbs that almost touch the ground. I have had many pictures taken here, whether it was under the large oak trees or inside the lovely gazebo that stands in the middle of the garden. This is definitely a must-do for many, and its beauty will tell you why.
Another classic is Rainbow Row. This is located just a block away from the Battery on East Bay St between Elliot St and Tradd St. This is a place known for its bright colored houses and is a very common place in historic Charleston for people to take pictures.
This road is right next to Washington Square and is one of only eight cobblestone streets left in Charleston. Chalmers Street runs for two blocks and is one of the most popular and most photographed cobblestone streets downtown. While at this location, you can step inside Washington Square for a nice break from the Charleston heat.
Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park:
Just over the Ravenel Bridge, you will find this county park with a lovely pier that extends into the Cooper River, a fun playground for younger kids, and a small store with souvenirs and food (such as sandwiches, milkshakes, and ice cream). There is also a large field that has a great view of the bridge from close up. There’s another great view from the end of the pier. I have gone here many times with friends to have picnics or to attend special events like the Blessing of the Fleet and Shagging on the Cooper. Whether you come here for an event or to take pictures, it is a great place that is fun for all.
Ferry Wharf Parking Garage:
This is another strange place to take pictures. But it has been commonly visited in the past year due to its magnificent view. This place is the parking garage for the Portside Ferry Wharf, which is an office building on the water. It is fine to park here, but if you do not want to pay for parking, it is only a short walk away from the Memorial Waterfront Park, and you can also usually find parking close by on the street. This has become more popular since its opening due to it being reasonably level with the Ravenel Bridge. This location is a parking garage that you can not only take pictures on the top floor, but also the floors below it. The top level tends to be empty and is more open, but even the floors below have cute windows cut out so that you still have a great view. This is also located in Mount Pleasant, but is super close to downtown.
Just walking along the streets of Charleston you will find pretty houses with bright doors and bright colored walls along the sides of stores. There are many that even I have not seen yet, but some of my favorite colored walls are the blue wall on the side of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier and the yellow wall on the corner of King St and Ann St.
The Pineapple Fountain:
This is a popular location to take photos for both people visiting and for locals. Many people even come to Waterfront Park (where the Pineapple Fountain resides) to take their prom photos. This is due to its lovely view as you walk along the water and its classic pineapple fountain. The Pineapple Fountain is a must for those visiting to see, and it is a lovely place to take pictures.
Written by one of our Expert locals, Marin Sinclair