When tourists visit the city of Charleston for the first time, they are quick to notice that the architecture doesn’t jive with the typical cityscape consisting of modern skyscrapers and big corner offices. Part of the reason the city has yet to incorporate these types of buildings is due to a city ordinance restricting construction of structures taller than the church steeples that dot the Charleston skyline. In fact, the churches in Charleston, SC, are so prominent that the area earned the Holy City as its nickname. To learn more about Charleston’s history, request access to our complimentary Destination Guide.
A Few Popular Churches in Charleston, SC
St. Philip’s Church
Built in 1681, St. Philip’s Church was initially established where Broad and Meeting streets intersect, the current site of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. After suffering major damage during a hurricane, the church was rebuilt at its current home on Church Street, though the church was again destroyed and rebuilt after a fire in the early-1800s. Known as the first European-American parish, St. Philip’s Church is one of the most recognizable churches in Charleston, SC.
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church
Located on King Street directly across from Marion Square, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church is often noticed by passersby for its white-and-black checkered tiles leading to a grand, red door. Possessing both a distinctive appearance and history, this church was created in 1840 by a large from German immigrants who desired a congregation where they could worship in their own language.
Second Presbyterian Church
Sitting across from Wragg Square on Meeting Street, the Second Presbyterian Church was built on land donated by the wealthy and important Wragg family in the early 1800s. Planning for this new congregation began in 1809 when members of the First Scots Presbyterian Church realized that they need additional space to welcome the growing number of churchgoers.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Directly across from the Hotel Bella Grace on Calhoun Street, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is a stunning, historic congregation often referred to as the Mother Emanuel Church. Originally built in 1816, it is the oldest church of its kind in the southeastern region of the country. Sadly, a tragic shooting occurred here in 2015, leading many locals and travelers to stop by the church to pay their respects to those who passed. The city has recently revealed plans to build a beautiful memorial beside the building.
St. Patrick Catholic Church
The St. Patrick Catholic Church began as just a plot of land on St. Philip and Radcliffe streets that was originally purchased by Bishop John England in 1828 to be used as a cemetery. He intended to eventually add a church next to the plot and gained enough support by 1838 to get the project started. After several years, the new reverend recognized the need for a larger space, so a new church was constructed across the street in 1889.
Count the Church Steeples from the Roof at Hotel Bella Grace
Guests of the Hotel Bella Grace are staying in the heart of the Holy City near some of the most beautiful churches in Charleston, SC. You could spend the entire day wandering around the city admiring dozens of historical congregations.
When you book a stay in our Presidential Suite, you’ll have access to a large rooftop balcony from which you can spot the steeples of ten different churches throughout the city! In the evenings, enjoy a glass of wine outside or relax on the comfortable sectional couch.
Browse our complete catalog of available rooms and suites and start planning your getaway today!