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.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
973 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Very nice area in Charleston. One of the areas to stop and take a few photos of the colorful homes that line the streets.  more »
  • Nice row of houses, not always cars and certainly not as rustic as on the cards. By those parked cars you can't really nice pictures. Funny, but no ' must see '
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  • Rainbow Row is a unique site to see in Charleston. Yes, it's just a row of old homes painted various shades of pastels, but the history behind the restoration of these homes and the effort the homeown...  more »
Google
  • A row of houses colored with all colors of rainbow. Nice to look at and one of famous landmarks of charleston. I couldn't find any access for public entry maybe because offices are located inside. Also there is no public parking nearby so its better to walk there from memorial street.
  • It would have been nice for some more information about this place put into a display or several displays near the houses. It was very easy to just walk past without any major concern for what I was looking at.
  • Not sure what the big deal is. These houses are beautiful but the same ones are scattered all around this area. Charleston's older homes are amazing. Just don't know what's so great about this exact spot. These homes are everywhere in historic Charleston. Definitely should stroll around the area though. Around the slave mart the streets and homes are amazing.
  • A walk through this street is a must if you are visiting Charleston. Perfect place for romantic photo shoots and easy access to other historic locations.
  • The homes are beautifully painted. They are in the historical part of the city. Such a nice environment

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Plans to Rainbow Row by other users

11 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, outdoors, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 45 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM CANADA January, culture, relaxing, romantic, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, relaxing, romantic, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 45 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in South Carolina, Kentucky & Louisiana BY A USER FROM SWEDEN September, culture, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 25 days in Charleston & Los Angeles BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, relaxing, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: March, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, culture, outdoors, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 8 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, hidden gems PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium
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