Charleston, South Carolina, has long held its reign at the top of what honestly seems like every destination guide we’ve come across as of late. And for good reason. The coastal city is ripe for exploration, a mecca for design lovers and foodies alike, with a now-buzzy scene of new restaurants, hotels, and shops.
This month, it’s a hot spot for a slightly different reason: the Charleston Antique Show. An event fitting of the destination’s rich, historic charm, the annual three-day extravaganza attracts fine art and antiques dealers from all over who showcase the treasures they’ve sourced from around the world.
Given Charleston’s storied past and position as an important seaport, it should come as no surprise that the locale is chock-full of antiques stores to begin with. “Importing antiques has been ingrained in the city’s heritage,” explains Michael Amato, a longtime resident and creative director of Charleston-based lighting brand The Urban Electric Co, as well as a self-proclaimed antiquing savant.
“Downtown Charleston has some of the best antiques shops in all of the country,” says Amato. Naturally, we tapped him to share his go-to spots in the renowned Antiques District.
Where to Shop
John Pope Antiques, 180 King Street
Founder John Pope opened his eponymous shop in 2007, after completing a degree in historic preservation at SCAD. In the store, you’ll find textiles saturated with color, upholstery bearing bold floral motifs, and imported decorative accents influenced by his travels in Asia and Europe.
David Skinner, 125 King Street
From 18th-century, Neoclassical Italian end tables to ornate sconces from Imperial Russia, David Skinner doesn’t shy away from the extravagant. This is the place to score period lighting from the 18th and 19th centuries and historic furniture dating back to the early 1700s, sourced from the Caribbean and the West Indies.
Antiques of South Windermere, 22 Windermere Boulevard
This family-owned and -operated antiques shop has been a fixture in Charleston’s Antiques District since the late ’90s. The inventory spans the 18th century to mid-century modern and is sourced everywhere from Cape Cod all the way to Sweden.
Golden & Associate, 206 King Street
Filled with thoughtfully collected offerings—a highlight is 19th-century American and European finds—Golden & Associate’s massive 3,500-square-foot showroom promises hours of prime treasure hunting.
Fritz Porter, 701 East Bay Street #106
For a more curated experience, head to Fritz Porter. The design collective represents 15 dealers and runs the gamut from flea market to museum-quality pieces, while the on-site gallery displays works by contemporary artists.
Where to See Art
Post-shopping, soak up Charleston’s emerging art scene with a visit to some of the many galleries in town. “There is an art gallery for every taste, ranging from contemporary to modern to Southern, all in walking distance of one another,” says Amato.
Ann Long Fine Art, 54 Broad Street
Rooted in classicism, Ann Long’s gallery carries collections relating to fine art and contemporary realism.
Charleston Artist Collective, 414 Whilden Street, Mount Pleasant
Spearheaded by Allison Williamson, the Charleston Artist Collective has been dubbed a city gem, offering a rotating selection of works by local creatives.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, 161 Calhoun Street
From the College of Charleston School of the Arts, HICA highlights the works of emerging artists and young contemporaries.
The Southern—Contemporary Art Gallery, 2 Carlson Court
Featuring a highly curated collection of pieces by local artists, the Southern is one of Charleston’s must-visit spaces.