One of America's most pedestrian friendly cities.
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 shuttle, 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!
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 10 p.m.* (excluding Sunday and official city holidays). The hours for parking meters in the City's surface lots are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.*, Monday through Saturday. The rate for both parking meters and surface lots is $2 per hour, with a 2-hour limit. Parking meters accept VISA, Mastercard, City of Charleston SmartCards and coins for payment.
*In order to support local businesses and safely stimulate economic recovery, effective Monday, June 1, 2020 and for the remainder of the year, metered parking enforcement will cease after 6 p.m. citywide. In conjunction with this change, regular parking meter enforcement will resume between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
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.
Published annually, the official Charleston Area Visitors Guide is full of gorgeous photography, insider tips, maps, and resources to help you plan your Charleston vacation.