Rainbow Row, Charleston

4.1
Rainbow Row is the name for a series of thirteen colorful historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina. It represents the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. The houses are located north of Tradd St. and south of Elliott St. on East Bay Street, that is, 79 to 107 East Bay Street. The name Rainbow Row was coined after the pastel colors they were painted as they were restored in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the most photographed parts of Charleston.HistoryRainbow Row originally fronted directly on the riverfront of the Cooper River, but that land was subsequently filled in. Merchants constructed commercial buildings with stores on the first (ground) floor and living quarters above. Most of the buildings had no interior access between the first and second floors; exterior stairs were located in the yards behind the houses. In 1778, a fire destroyed much of the neighborhood, and only 95 to 101 East Bay Street were spared.After the Civil War, this area of Charleston devolved into near slum conditions. In the 1920s, Susan Pringle Frost, the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, now the Preservation Society of Charleston, bought six of the buildings, but she lacked the money to restore them immediately. In 1931, Dorothy Haskell Porcher Legge purchased a section of these, house numbering 99 through 101 East Bay, and began to renovate them. She chose to paint these houses pink based on a colonial Caribbean color scheme. Other owners and future owners followed suit, creating the "rainbow" of pastel colors present today. The coloring of the houses helped keep the houses cool inside as well as give the area its name. By 1945, most of the houses had been restored.
Plan to see Rainbow Row and other attractions that appeal to you using our Charleston tour planner.
Source
Create an itinerary including Rainbow Row
map
Rainbow Row Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
938 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Fabulous place to view the beautiful homes of the Charleston Historic District. Amazing how beautiful the homes are in this section of the city with beautiful windows boxes and wonderful history...  more »
  • Lovely little section of Charleston to see. It's a very publicized area of town as it's on paintings, T-shirts, post cards, etc. Love to walk by and look.  more »
  • This is not a full stop This is a quick drive through with a picture snap with a 30 seconds slow down Too much to see here  more »
Google
  • Nice place to walk after lunch or dinner. The colorful row of townhouses looks really cute during the day. Proximity to major restaurants and waterfront park makes it an easily accessible place.
  • Venerable Rainbow Row, the most-pictured landmark in Charleston, is a must-see. These 13 contiguous Georgian-architecture buildings were built 1748 to 1845 as a waterfront commercial district. They were designed to be stores on the lower level, with residences upstairs. The colorful paint was added by an owner in the '30's.
  • Beautiful houses. The history of them alone is awe inspiring. I was amazed at the narrowness of the fronts but how deep the lots were.
  • Cute row of colorful houses! I would say the only thing is there is a lot of car traffic and parked cars which obstruct the nice view. Great photo opps in front of the houses and flower planters.
  • Beautiful historic street along East Bay in Charleston. Definitely a photoop you don't want to miss. Just come early to beat traffic.

Plan your trip to Charleston

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Charleston

Charleston is serviced by dozens of local hotels and practically every major U.S. chain. Expect to pay top dollar for a room on the downtown peninsula, particularly if you wish to stay in one of the historic hotels. The upside of taking a room there is the proximity of all major attractions--you won't need a car to explore and enjoy your visit. Less expensive options are available in North Charleston, West Ashley, and Mount Pleasant, where you'll find all kinds of inns for the budget-conscious traveler.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Charleston by other users

8 days in Georgia & Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, kids, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: January, kids, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM BRAZIL February, teens, popular PREFERENCES: February, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Charleston & Greenville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in United States BY A USER FROM LUXEMBOURG August, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Georgia & South Carolina BY A USER FROM LUXEMBOURG August, outdoors, romantic, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Charleston & Asheville BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in Georgia & Charleston BY A USER FROM LATVIA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans