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Here is where to park in Charleston - Parking in Charleston is rather easy if you know where to look.

While we thinking walking around this historic coastal city is the best way to experience its sites and sounds - preferably on one of our walking tours - you do have to get there!

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

Parking in Charleston Historic District

If you want to reserve a spot in advance and get a discount on parking spot, parking app SpotHero has a few lots that offer reserved hourly parking.

  • 18 Henrietta Street - Lot (In & Out Access)
  • 125 Calhoun Street - Lot (In & Out Access)
  • 415 Meeting Street - Valet (NO In & Out Access, standard size vehicles only)
  • 560 King Street - Valet (NO In & Out Access, standard size vehicles only)

Where to Park in Charleston Map for SpotHero


Metered Street Parking

There are over 1000 metered street parking spots around Charleston for convenient place to base your operations.

However, most street parking is limited to 2 hours so don't plan on using this if you just want to leave your car for the day.

All street meters require payment from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (excluding Sunday and official city holidays)

  • $1 = 30 minutes
  • .25c = 8 minutes
  • .10c = 3 minutes
  • .05c = 2 minutes

If you'll be coming and going a lot and plan on using street metered parking a few times, you can save your coins by getting a SmartCard.

There is a one time fee of $5 for the card itself and then you put the amount you want to pay on the card.

This won't save you money but if you plan on using meters a lot and don't have a lot of change lying around, it may be more convenient for you.

You can get these at the Visitor Center Gift Shop at 375 Meeting Street.

What's the benefit of using a SmartCard? While there is no discount upfront, you can get a refund for any unused parking minutes!

So if you put two hours on the meter but only stayed for 30 minutes, you can simple reinsert the card to get the 1.5 hours back - you cannot do that with coins!

Street parking downtown south of Broad Street requires residential parking permits. Be sure not to park in these areas as you will likely get a ticket.

Parking Garages

There are many City Parking Garages around the downtown Charleston area, many located near larger attractions.

These parking garages accept cash or credit card and some are staffed 24/7.

Parking Garage Rates: $1/half hour with a $16 Daily Max

For additional parking information including an interactive map please download the ParkMe parking application on your IPhone or Android.


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Free Parking in Charleston

Unless you're staying at centrally located hotel/inn that has free parking, you won't find much free parking for a day trip to the city.

Some restaurants offer parking for their guests but you won't be able to stay there for the full day.

You may get lucky and snag one of the few unlimited free parking spots on the Battery, but these are often gone by early in the day and are so few its often not worth the risk of planning to park here.


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Visitor Center Parking

The best place to park is the Visitor Center at 375 Meeting Street as a central location with many public transportation options.

The parking garage offers easy access to the Visitor Center to start your day in Charleston - with restrooms, a gift shop and information center to get advice and maps to walk around the city.

Charleston Visitor Center Parking Garage

The Visitor Center Parking Garage is also one of few places that has spots for RVs and electric plug ins.

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Parking near our Tour Starting Points

Historic Charleston & Charleston Civil War & Charleston Architecture

There are three parking garages near our starting point. All tours meet at the SE corner of Church Street and Linguard Street, next to Tommy Condon’s Restaurant (map)

Where to Park Charleston Near Tour Starts


  • City Parking Garage - Charleston Place - 85 Hasell St - open 24/7
  • There are two private run garages located on Cumberland Street - one at the corner of Church St and another at the corner with State Street.


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About The Author

Scott Nelson

Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has more than 1000 5 star reviews. He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and on the historic interpretation/ education staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began leading tours for Free Tours by Foot.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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