King Street 1

Charleston, South Carolina – King Street

Main Streets 2017: South Carolina

King Street 1
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King Street 1 28367574543 7a6bddf5a4 o

One of America’s most visually spectacular avenues, King Street runs from Charleston Harbor to uptown, with three sections rightly known for shopping opportunities — the Design District on Upper King, the Fashion District on Middle King, and the Antique District on Lower King.

The City of Charleston dates to 1670, and King Street has long been a central pathway for its settlement and growth. This began to be an important retail destination as early as the late 18th century, when wagons rumbled in carrying products of South Carolina’s inland settlements, to be traded for store-offered goods.

Charleston was the first U.S. city to enact a historic-preservation law and zoning ordinance, and its ongoing review standards have helped preserve King Street’s wealth of architectural styles, from Colonial and Georgian to Federal and Victorian. “Walking along King Street’s wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks is the most convenient way to visit the restaurants, shops, parks and local attractions,” advises the American Planning Association, which has named this one of America’s Great Places.

Midway on King Street is Marion Square, a 10-acre park that, for generations, has been a main gathering place for both local residents and many of the city’s nearly five million annual visitors. Major annual events here include the Southeastern Wildlife Festival, the Charleston Food & Wine Festival, the Spoleto Festival, the Piccolo Festival, Charleston Fashion Week and the Christmas Tree Lighting.

That’s not to mention the City of Charleston Farmers Market, which comes to life on Marion Square every Saturday, with more than 100 local vendors. “Go early to this Saturday downtown market, especially in summer, for the least bustle and first pick of peaches or tomatoes,” advises Travel + Leisure magazine.

Some 192 local businesses make their homes on King Street, part of which is shut down on the second Sunday of each month for outdoor dining, art and retail sales, and live music. You’ll find everything here from used books (in the popular Blue Bicycle Books) to … well, design, fashion and antiques! And thanks to city restrictions on building heights, King Street strollers can easily see the nearby harbor and many of the city’s church steeples. (Charleston has so many, in fact, it’s been called the “Holy City.”)

With all this to see, do and shop for, you’re sure to get hungry. When you do, the restaurants along this historic avenue will please your palate and fill your stomach the way only good Southern cooking can.

Primary photo taken by AudeVivere
Pride Parade photo taken by Donald West
Charleston, SC is home to a 2017-18 LifeChanger: Ylonda Nero-Anderson

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Dining Outside on Main Street Firewater Photography min

Greenville, South Carolina – Main Street

Main Streets 2016: South Carolina

It wasn’t easy for Greenville to become the fastest-growing city in South Carolina, not to mention one of America’s “Best Downtowns” and “Best Places to Live,” according to In northwest South Carolina at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this downtown was once a hive of textile mills — but by the late 1970s, nearly all were gone. Greenville’s revival owes a lot to the city’s decision to make Main Street an attractively tree-shaded, pedestrian-friendly destination.

Main Street leads right over Liberty Bridge, a visually stunning span over the Reedy River that’s just one of the beauties of Falls Park on the Reedy. This green, waterside oasis in Greenville’s historic West End is often called the birthplace of Greenville. It was here by the Reedy River Falls that Cherokees and then Europeans made their first local settlements.

As it moves through downtown, Main Street is full of attractions and things to discover. One of the most unique is Mice on Main. Nine small gold sculptures are placed, for kids to discover, along the street between the Hyatt and Westin Poinsett hotels. Clues are in the book Mice on Main, whose illustrator Zan Wells, a local artist, also created the sculptures. The many shops and businesses worth visiting on Main include Dark Corner Distillery, whose specialty spirits, including bourbon and moonshine, won a South Carolina Distillery of the Year Award in 2014.

You can take an unusually fun ride up Main Street with Reedy River Rickshaw — and you may have a hard time choosing where to eat, as Main Street’s many excellent restaurants offer a diversity of ethnic and international cuisines, along with traditional Southern fare. NOMA Square on North Main is an outdoor plaza that often hosts events and festivals, including Greenville’s Oktoberfest and a summer concert series called Main Street Fridays. In summer months, Main Street also hosts a Saturday farmers’ market.

Just off Main Street on Broad is the Peace Center, a performing arts theater whose resident companies include the Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Symphony Orchestra and South Carolina Children’s Theatre. Greenville is also rich in baseball, both present and past. On South Main is Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, a farm club of the Boston Red Sox. And the ballpark is a few steps from the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum & Baseball Library, devoted to the late, great Greenville ballplayer.

Dining on Main Street photo courtesy of Firewater Photography
Downtown Greenville photo courtesy of Visit Greenville SC
Saturday Market photo courtesy of City of Greenville
Falls Park photo courtesy of Craig A. Lee

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