Welcome to Charleston
Picture-perfect houses, quaint cobblestone streets, and buzzing nightlife await
There is no city in the country just like Charleston; with its cobblestone walkways, incredible historic sites and world-class restaurants. Charleston has been named Travel & Leisure’s top city in the entire U.S.
for many years in a row, and the city has even been ranked one of the friendliest cities in the U.S.
How could you not love that?
The nearly 350-year-old city is the cultural capital of South Carolina and continues to honor and reflect on its steeped history today. Like many of the local areas, Charleston has deep roots in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and features many historic relics right in town. Charleston even got its nickname as “The Holy City” because of the religious freedom that was founded on the peninsula several hundred years ago. In fact, it’s a local law that no buildings can exceed the height of the tallest church steeples — there are hundreds of steeples along the skyline of Charleston. These landmarks were once used to guide ship captains into the city, which was one of the most important ports on the eastern seaboard.
Charleston sits on a peninsula with three gorgeous beaches within a 20-minute drive from downtown, offering plenty of water activities and boating opportunities for residents. Within the city, there are many distinct neighborhoods like the vaguely-European French Quarter, the exclusive South of Broad, and the quirky Wraggborough. From early in the morning until the last bars close, there is a buzz on the streets that you just don’t get in the suburbs. This is truly a fantastic place to set down roots and fall in love with the local culture, people, and terrain.
What to Love
- Buzzing, vibrant city with great dining, nightlife, and events
- Robust local history with cobbled streets and timeless architecture
- Charming and colorful houses, pieds-a-terre, and condos
Charleston residents were voted the friendliest in the United States, and that should tell you a lot of what you need to know: this city is warm, inviting, hospitable, and kind above all. Neighbors help each other, and the parents are actively involved in the local school district to better their children’s futures. Many people love being outside: how could they not with such a perfect climate all year round? Residents keep active by running, walking, and biking the waterfront paths or heading to a workout class at a major fitness studio in the city.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
It will be hard to encompass all the fantastic dining options in this vibrant city; there is truly a cuisine for every palate!
First things first, Halls Chophouse
is the famed steakhouse with generous cuts of beef that features the popular Sunday Gospel Brunch — a must-try. For a great date night, Fig
provides Southern classics in an upscale bistro atmosphere. If oysters are your thing, there is no other spot as good as 167 Raw
that serves up New England oysters, lobster rolls, and fish tacos amongst a buzzy atmosphere. The top-rated Charleston Grill
has modern fare at an elegant location, making it a great spot for a business dinner, night out with family, or a special occasion. But to try the South Carolina classic Frogmore Stew, you must head to Bowen’s Island Restaurant
, a no-frills fish shack serving daily fresh-caught oysters and all the Southern favorites.
For retail therapy, King Street
is the main shopping district and a lovely way to pass the day wandering up and down the shops, with plenty of places for you to get lunch or a drink. Additionally, the farmer’s market
in Marion Square on Saturday mornings is fantastic. Stock up on your produce for the week and please try the crepes from Irish Jack with the Charleston Crepe Company!
For weekend getaways to the beach, Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms are popular family destinations. Folly Beach
is also a well-loved destination among locals and offers great surfing, locally-owned restaurants, and shops along the pier. For golf, Wild Dunes Resort
in Isle of Palms is voted “Best In State” by Golf Digest, and The Ocean Course
and Osprey Point
on Kiawah Island are absolutely fabulous.
Take a ferry to Fort Sumter
and learn about the many Civil War battles that took place, visit some of Charleston’s largest and oldest mansions, and check out America’s oldest public gardens at the Magnolia Plantation. Charleston’s Cypress Gardens
is a captivating swamp with 3.5 miles of nature trails — a peaceful retreat into nature. James Island County Park
also offers nearly 650 acres of trails, bike paths, and camping cabins. Downtown also offers a handful of beautiful parks like Waterfront Park
, White Point Gardens, and Marion Square, which often hosts annual events like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival
. If you make a trip out to John’s Island, you’ll discover the Angel Oak
, a live oak estimated to be between 400 and 500 years old — one of the oldest living trees in the country!