Rainbow Row – Charleston, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

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Rainbow Row

Thirteen pastel palaces in downtown Charleston add a gorgeous splash of color to the city. 


Charleston is a city known for its rich history, southern cooking, and picturesque waterfront views. As such, it’s no surprise that visitors are often enchanted to find a line of beautiful pastel painted houses on the main strip downtown. They are a part of none other than the aptly named Rainbow Row.

Rainbow Row’s origins stretch back to the 1920s when Susan Pringle Frost, a prominent local historic preservationist, took the buildings under her wing as they’d fallen into disrepair since the Civil War. Frost wanted to restore them, but lacked the funds. Enter Dorothy Haskell Porcher Ledge, who purchased several of the houses in 1931. Inspired by traditional Caribbean aesthetics, Ledge opted for bright pinks and yellows over more traditional or period-accurate hues.

Hence, Rainbow Row was born, a cornucopia of colorful abodes laid out upon the downtown of Charleston. The houses added a lovely streak of personality to the downtown area. Since the row’s creation, it has become a popular tourist attraction in the city, with people flocking to see Lodge’s paint jobs from far and wide. In fact, Rainbow Row is reportedly the most photographed spot in the whole city. 

Know Before You Go

While Rainbow Row is a popular tourist attraction, all the houses are private residences. Please don’t harass the residents.

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October 29, 2021

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