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
973 reviews
Google
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 '
    View original
  • 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

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 South Carolina BY A USER FROM CANADA March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Charleston & Baltimore BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 30 days in Caribbean, Jamaica & United States BY A USER FROM SOUTH KOREA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 32 days in United States BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Charleston BY A USER FROM ITALY April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans