When colonists settled Charleston in 1680, an urban development plan called the Grand Modell established an orderly grid of streets. It is fun to wander and discover but difficult to get lost in the Historic District. One of the best ways to explore Charleston is on foot. We recommend parking at the Official Charleston Area Visitor Center, 375 Meeting Street, and taking the free hop-on, hop-off DASH Trolley, which makes stops across the peninsula. Hop on and ride for free to your intended destination - hop off and explore the area on foot. When you are ready to visit a new part of the city, hop back on the DASH!
on-street Metered Parking
The City of Charleston offers 1,656 metered parking spaces with two methods of payment: coins and the SmartCard. All meters require payment from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (excluding Sunday and official city holidays). The hours for parking meters in the City's surface lots are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The rate is 80 minutes per dollar, 20 minutes per quarter, 8 minutes per dime, and 4 minutes per nickel.
The SmartCard is an economical and convenient payment method for parking meters in the city of Charleston. Users pay a one-time charge of $5 for the card and then purchase meter time for the card. SmartCards are available for purchase at the Visitor Center Gift Shop at 375 Meeting Street.
The city owns 12 parking garages with nearly 6,700 public spaces. Additional privately owned parking garages and lots (with varying daily, hourly, evening and weekend rates) are found throughout the city.