Where to Find the Best Souvenirs in Charleston
Charleston is so full of sites and attractions that it’s easy to forget to bring a piece of the Holy City back home with you. Before you eat another piece of pecan pie or walk down another cobblestoned street, head to one of these spots to pick up something for your family and friends back home. The best souvenirs in Charleston are easily found in most tourist attractions, but we also recommend heading to some of these off-the-beaten-path spots, too.
Charleston Souvenir Shopping Districts
Charlestonians love shopping just as much as the tourists do. Head to any of these shopping districts within the city limits, and you won’t be disappointed.
King Street boasts dozens of shops within its historic buildings. You’re just as likely to find a chain store here as you would a local boutique. This lovely little area is full of stories and history, so we recommend a stroll down the street — regardless as to whether you’re heading here to shop or simply take in the sights.
A little off the beaten path from Downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant has just as many stores as King Street, though it’s slightly less touristy. This little haven is easily accessible by car or bike. You might want to take a rideshare here if you’re not planning on renting wheels while you’re in the city.
Historic Charleston City Market
Charleston’s historic market is one of the best spots for souvenirs. It’s conveniently located near all the tourist attractions and is within walking distance from the city center. This market has been running since 1841 — though vendors rented stalls at another nearby market as early as 1807.
Just some of the iconic lowcountry goods you can find here include:
- Sweetgrass baskets
- Food and drink
- Pet accessories
Charleston’s many plantations educate visitors on plantation life in the 18th and 19th Centuries. After spending the day learning about the plantation’s history and enjoying some refreshments in the cafe, you can head over to the gift shop for a few souvenirs. Just some of each plantation’s offerings include:
- Pottery and dishes
Charleston Iconic Food and Drink Gifts
After tasting some of Charleston’s iconic foods, you’ll want to share them with your friends and family back home. Luckily, many of the Holy City’s restaurants ship their most iconic dishes all over the U.S. Or, you can always find a few things to bring home in your suitcase.
Charleston has many distilleries. Luckily, you don’t even need to leave Downtown to try some of our most popular gins, bourbons and whiskeys. High Wire Distilling, located right on King Street in Downtown, is known for their small-batch bourbon.
The best part is that many of our distilleries offer tours, which means you can try the spirits before buying them.
Frogmore Stew Kit
Frogmore stew is one of the most iconic Charleston dishes around. The best part is that most people outside of the lowcountry haven’t heard of it, so it makes a pretty big impression! It’s simply a seafood boil, so it’s relatively easy to make.
All you need (other than seafood, potatoes and corn) is a can of beer and Old Bay Seasoning. Pop a local Charleston beer and Old Bay in a sweetgrass basket with a Frogmore recipe, and you’ll be the talk of your family’s next backyard seafood fest.
We’re just as known for our oysters as we are other types of seafood in Charleston. Oyster shuckers are a staple in local households and restaurants. They’re an easy, inexpensive gift. Just don’t forget to check them in your luggage before going through security!
Yes, the South is known for sweet tea, and you can find it pretty much anywhere here. From the historic market to the Charleston Tea Plantation, you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid sweet tea in South Carolina! Most souvenir shops even sell recipes for sweet tea if you simply want to make your own at home. All it takes is regular black tea, sugar and lemons.
Boiled peanuts are easy to find in Charleston, and they’re just as easy to transport! You’ll find them in most souvenir shops, and some restaurants even sell them. If you head to the farmers market in Marion Square, held every Saturday, you’ll find a local vendor (the famous Mike’s Peanuts) selling them.
Downtown Charleston Souvenir Shops
If you want to find something special to remember your vacation, you don’t even need to leave Downtown. Instead, we recommend finding the perfect memento at one of these Downtown shops.
We recommend heading to this historic foundation — even if you’re not looking for souvenirs. They run most of the house museums in the city and lead tours almost every day. Of course, they also sell books, knickknacks and art in the gift shop as well.
The postcards at this James Island store blow pretty much all other postcards out of the water. If you want something retro or hard-to-find, this is the place to head. It’s also the perfect store for postcard enthusiasts or collectors.
This gift shop specializes in home goods, such as fine china, vases and crystal. They also sell locally made jewelry and handbags. We love these types of souvenirs because they’re the type of item most people would never guess is a souvenir! You’ll be able to remember your trip each time you get a fresh bouquet of flowers.
Charlestonians are known as being some pretty sharp dressers. If you want to fit in, stop by the Key West Hat Co. for a specialty hat. This is another great spot for finding souvenirs that don’t fall under the, “My mom went to Charleston and all I got was this t-shirt,” category.