The Best Streets to Stroll in Charleston (That Aren’t King Street)

Editors’ picks for less beaten, more beautiful paths through downtown and beyond

The side of a stone house with large windows and a crepe myrtle in bloom

Photo: cj lotz diego

A weathered facade off Church Street.

We have it on good authority that Charlestonians love to soak up the beauty of their city as much as tourists do, whether in the jewel box of secret gardens and stately piazzas that comprises downtown or in the expansive Lowcountry beyond. But locals have a leg up on where to find the best sunsets, broadest harbor views, and biggest Halloween candy (handed out from the grandest homes). With this walker-friendly cheat sheet, you can find them too.

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Right Up Our Alley

photo: cj lotz diego
A glimpse of a garden off Church Street.

I love walking Church Street south of Broad because it’s lined with not only beautiful old homes but all my favorite hidden little alleys: Bedons Alley with its pockets of ferns, charming little Longitude Lane, and the fabulous Stoll’s Alley with its incredible collection of Philip Simmons ironwork—including the renowned blacksmith’s very first decorative piece. —CJ Lotz Diego, senior editor

Twilight Trek

photo: Gabriela Gomez-Misserian
Sunset on Bogard Street.

I spend a lot of my mornings and evenings walking up and down Bogard Street in my neighborhood, though my favorite time is the evening, when the sun sets perfectly through the bending canopy of live oak branches. Old gas lanterns at beautiful 1890s Charleston shotgun homes flicker to life, warm light pours out from beloved restaurants like Vern’s and Chubby Fish, and music floods out onto the street corner from Elliotborough Mini Bar. I stay on the short strip between Rutledge and Coming, but I can make my laps while people-watching, and I’m especially excited to sit windowside at the soon-to-arrive bookstore/bar, Philosophers & Fools. —Gabriela Gomez-Misserian, digital producer

Lush Loop

photo: Gabriela Gomez-Misserian
A shady spot under the live oaks on Mary Murray Drive.

Mary Murray Drive is a loop around Hampton Park. I love to run it, and I bet walking it is nice too. I have walked all the paths within the park, and they’re terrific, especially in March when the azaleas are out. Stunning. It’s Charleston’s best park. But back to the loop. My one nitpick is that the loop is just a few yards short of a mile, at least if you run in the pedestrian lane. Why can’t it be exactly a mile? So frustrating! Such a first-world problem! And yet, still I go. —Chris Kraft, digital chief

Urban Oasis

Patriots Point Nature Trail isn’t a street, it’s better—it’s a trail. And it goes right through development at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. While on the trail you wouldn’t know you’re in a city at all until it spits you out on the marsh with a view of the harbor. —Margaret Houston Dominick, photo editor

I really dig the Patriots Point Nature Trail. I ride it quite a bit via mountain bike and rarely see anyone back there using it. Pro tip: At the end of the trail you can cross over a street to Hog Island, where there’s a secreted-away platform that looks out over the harbor and back at downtown Charleston. —Marshall McKinney, creative director

Sunset Boulevard

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I like to park near Colonial Lake and amble past the beds of switchgrass, spider lilies, and sunflowers and the Peggy Martin roses climbing up the palmetto trees, before heading west on Broad Street. The sidewalk on the south side of that road turns into Lockwood Drive and angles up the side of the peninsula, abutting the marina on the Ashley River. It’s a great place to watch boats come in and out, maybe spot a dolphin or circling shorebirds, and catch a sunset. Plus, it leads right to Salty Mike’s, one of the city’s best dive bars. —Caroline Sanders Clements, associate editor

Dolphin Cruise

photo: Emily Daily
Summer at Pitt Street Bridge.

A few minutes from downtown, just across the iconic Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant’s historic Old Village district, is one of the hidden treasures of the Charleston area: Pitt Street. At the end of the road, past all the stunning homes, sits the grassy, palm tree–lined Pitt Street Bridge Park. In the marsh to the left, you’ll often see egrets, ibis, blue herons, and if you’re lucky, a few roseate spoonbills. Off to the right, I love the view of Charleston Harbor and nearby Sullivan’s Island. I often see dolphins, and last spring I spotted a manatee cruising beside the sea wall. For great photo ops, go at sunset!  —Emily Daily, newsletter editor

Lookie-Loo Lane

photo: Amanda Heckert
Halloween at the Henry Cheves house on South Battery Street.

One Halloween, my best friend invited me and my husband to trick-or-treat with her family along South Battery Street, which stretches west from White Point Gardens, just one street north of the more popular, harborside Murray Boulevard. It’s since turned into one of my favorite strolls. You can see, in person, a lovely historic renovation highlighted in G&G a few years ago; the funky pink-and-gray Henry Cheves house with its Italianate cross gables; the gorgeous glass arcade of the Charles Drake house, which hosted a fun walk-through haunted house for little boos and ghouls a couple of years ago; and more covetable and distinct abodes. And if you are around on October 31, many of the homeowners go all-out on spooky decor, opening their doors (for even better peeks inside) to hand out full-sized Snickers. —Amanda Heckert, executive editor

Hail to the Queen

photo: Gabriela Gomez-Misserian
Queen Street Grocery.

If you’re looking for a scenic and dynamic stroll in Charleston, Queen Street is not to be missed. There are so many ways to enjoy it—my favorite is to grab a sandwich or smoothie at Queen Street Grocery and head on up to Colonial Lake, or indulge in a cappuccino and an otherworldly baked good at Harken, then head towards the Battery. Either direction you pick, you’re bound to pass beautiful houses and discover the reasons locals love Charleston. —Ally Sloway, social media editor

Peaceful Promenades

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Downtown, the Bridge to Nowhere along the Ashley River is a beautiful spot to walk around at sunset, with a view of the marsh and boats going by. On Folly Beach, the “graffiti street is covered in graffiti—as the name implies—and takes you down to a very private part of the beach near the Morris Island Lighthouse, where washed-up trees have been bleached by the sun and provide a home to small crabs. —Katherine Jarvis, digital intern

Wetland Wander

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I live on Johns Island, and when I have a free afternoon, I love to head over to Stono River County Park. My favorite bit of the mile-and-a-half loop is a long boardwalk over the marsh leading to an island in the Stono. If you’re lucky, you get it to yourself, and can sit on one of the benches and watch egrets sweep overhead and little marsh crabs move in waves through the mud. I haven’t seen a painted bunting yet, but I’m not giving up. —Lindsey Liles, assistant editor