Category: Interesting Charleston Facts
One of the most desirable vacation destinations in the U.S., Charleston, SC, has so much to offer both visitors and residents. Located along the coast of South Carolina in the area known as the Lowcountry, this charming little city was originally part of one of the first 13 colonies, making its historical background rich and interesting. If you’re thinking about moving to a new area, check out some of the Charleston Historic homes for sale and make new memories in one of the uniquely Charleston-style properties.
When you move to the Holy City, you’ll have access to dozens of outdoor activities you can do all year long because of the mild climate. History buffs will love delving into the area’s unique story and foodies can spend years exploring all the top-notch restaurants in the area. Find out more about some of the best attractions in Charleston and plan to visit the city for yourself.
With so much history surrounding the area, it’s no wonder history buffs flock to Charleston. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, this city had a major role in the early days of America. In fact, the state of South Carolina was actually where more Revolutionary battles took place than any other area of the country during that time. If you’re interested in this part of history, you can visit Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson or Middleton Place amongst other sites.
For Civil War enthusiasts, there are dozens of sites to visit and learn more about Charleston’s role. The first shots of the Civil War were actually shot from the tip of the peninsula, known as The Battery, towards a Union ship that was delivering supplies to Fort Sumter. Though these are the two most notable roles Charleston had in U.S. history, there is much more to be explored.
Places to Visit:
- Fort Sumter National Monument: A major landmark in the Civil War, Fort Sumter was originally a Union-held stronghold, but after the state of South Carolina seceded, the governor and Confederate general demanded the fort be surrendered. Over the course of several months, the Confederates attempted to regain control over Fort Sumter until April 12, 1860 when they opened fire on the fort, eventually leading to the Union surrendering and what is often credited as sparking the Civil War.
To visit one of the most historic Civil War sites in the country, you can take a beautiful ferry ride across the harbor to the man-made island where the fort still stands to this day. A national park ranger will guide you through some of the areas and let you explore on your own time. This is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in history.
- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum: Located just across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, less than 15 minutes from downtown, the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum can actually be found in the retired aircraft carrier the USS Yorktown. This is one of the most unique settings for a maritime museum as the building itself is an artifact. You’ll be able to see the inside of the ship as well as a number of historic aircrafts. With general admission, you can also explore the USS Laffey destroyer and the USS Clamagore And on the way out, history buffs will definitely want to swing by the Vietnam Experience exhibit spanning three acres.
- The Charleston Museum: To really learn the full scope of Charleston history, you may want to spend an afternoon at the Charleston Museum located on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston. Here, you’ll be able to get an up-close look at artifacts dating back to pre-colonial times when Native Americans inhabited the area––as well as natural history items, such as fossils and specimens and, of course, historic items like Civil War artifacts. The museum also welcomes a rotating list of visiting exhibits to explore new, interesting topics surrounding Charleston and its history.
- Rainbow Row: One of the most photographed places in Charleston, Rainbow Row is known for the pastel-colored houses that line the street. Just around the corner from The Battery, this area’s history mostly surrounds the architecture of the properties and many Charleston-specific features preserved as a testament to the history of the Holy City. If you’re interested in a traditional Holy City property, check out some of the Charleston Historic homes for sale right now.
- Historic Charleston City Market: Now a bustling shopping area, the Historic Charleston City Market was first given to the city in 1788 by General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who fought in the Revolutionary War. Pinckney specified the area must forever be used as a public market for the enslaved people. Although many people mistakenly believe this area was the slave market prior to the Civil War, this is actually untrue. It was a beef market for many years until it burned in a fire and was reconstructed as a city market, which it has remained since 1807. Now, you can peruse vendor stands and pop into local stores for a bite to eat or a cold beer.
Over the last decade, Charleston has become a pinnacle of Southern cuisine. When you visit or move to the area, you’ll discover hundreds of restaurants spread out through the city and surrounding areas. Though traditional Southern dishes reign supreme, many chefs are coming to the city to bring more eclectic offerings, like Vietnamese and Pakistani food. We couldn’t possibly name all the restaurants you need to try, but we’ve rounded up a few classics.
Places to Try:
- Rodney Scott’s BBQ: It wouldn’t be the South without real South Carolina barbecue. Rodney Scott spent much of his childhood in Hemingway, South Carolina, learning how to roast whole hog barbecue from his dad. But, after 25 years of helping his dad run his business, Rodney Scott partnered with Nick Pihakis and brought his style of barbecue to the Holy City. Now, this pitmaster has received the James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Chef Southeast and opened an additional two restaurants in Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta, GA. If you’re going to try barbecue anywhere in Charleston, be sure this is at the top of your list.
- The Ordinary: Seafood lovers looking for a fancy dining experience should head to The Ordinary, an upscale restaurant located inside an old bank. The decor is unique and the food is phenomenal, highlighting local catches and adding new specials to their menu on a regular basis. If you’re headed out to eat with a big group of people, be sure to order the seafood tower to get a little taste of everything.
- Bowen’s Island Restaurant: Charleston without seafood is like toast without butter. And, while there are tons of great seafood restaurants to choose from, nothing offers an experience like Bowen’s Island Restaurant. Don’t expect anything fancy from this joint though. Bowen’s Island Restaurant is a no-frills fish shack that doesn’t rely on fancy interior design or culinary experimentation. They stick to what they know—and they do it well. The menu consists of only a few basic items, including classics like oysters, fried fish, fried shrimp and frogmore stew. The restaurant has been passed down through the family since 1946 and they have perfected serving up these Southern classics. Head there around dinner time to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets on their outdoor patio.
- Oak Steakhouse: If you’re looking for a place to celebrate something special, Oak Steakhouse is an excellent choice. The ambiance and the service are top-notch, while the menu offerings boast some of the finest cuts of meat in the city, along with a vegetarian option and several seafood dishes like jumbo crab cakes, lobster tail and pan-seared scallops.
- Neon Tiger: A new addition to the Charleston food scene, Neon Tiger is only one of two all-vegan restaurants in the city—the other being a breakfast and lunch joint called Gnome Cafe. For anyone visiting the city looking for an upscale vegan/vegetarian restaurant, this is the place to go. Famous vegan chef Doug McNish collaborated with local restaurateur John Adamson to create a vegan cocktail bar that serves an extensive menu of vegan options, from pizzas and fried “shrimp” to pastas and burgers.
One of Charleston’s greatest attractions, the beaches in the area are gorgeous and offer plenty of activities for people of all ages. Whether you’re looking to stay near the water like in one of these gorgeous Folly Beach, SC rentals, or you want to be a bit closer to the city, you’ll still have easy access to the three beaches in Charleston or make a quick day trip to Kiawah or Seabrook islands.
Places to Visit:
- Folly Beach: Heading southwest from downtown Charleston, you’ll find Folly Beach on James Island. This shoreline of this beautiful part of the South Carolina barrier islands stretches six miles, providing plenty of space for visitors and residents. The beach area near the pier is usually the most crowded, but if you take a left at the end of Center Street, you can follow the road all the way to the end to visit the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, a private stretch of beach with an unparalleled view of the Morris Island Lighthouse.
- Sullivan’s Island: Heading the opposite direction of Folly Beach from downtown Charleston, you’ll first find the beach on Sullivan’s Island. You could spend the day grabbing lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area, or lay on the sand for a few hours before heading to Dunleavy’s Irish bar for a post-beach beer. From this beach, you’ll be able to see the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse as well as a unique view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and the colorful houses of downtown, depending on where you decide to set up camp.
- Isle of Palms: If you drive a bit farther into Mount Pleasant, you’ll reach Isle of Palms, another one of the beautiful beaches in the area. This beach tends to attract more of a family crowd, but there is a good mix of people of all ages. In the summer, the Windjammer is one of the most popular places on the Isle of Palms to hang out as they host live music and beach volleyball games all season long. Restaurants and stores line the street leading to the beach, so you can spend some time dining and shopping before or after you catch some rays and take a dip in the ocean. Keep an eye out for dolphins as it’s not usual to spot a pod of them swimming by!
- Kiawah Island: Only a 45-minute drive from downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island is the perfect place for a quick day trip. Kiawah is a gated community, but you can easily gain access to the island if you’re planning to visit the beach or play one of the five championship golf courses on the island. Spend the day lounging on the shore line or visit the Kiawah River to do some birdwatching and other wildlife viewing.
Come Home to Charleston
With so much to do in the area, Charleston should be at the top of your list for places to visit—or relocate! Between the gorgeous architecture, rich history, hoppin’ bar scene, outstanding restaurants and beautiful beaches, what else could you ask for? No matter what you’re looking for, there’s the perfect property waiting for you in Charleston. Those looking to take it slow can find property on Kiawah Island, while beach bums can look to Isle of Palms or Folly Beach. Mount Pleasant is the perfect place to raise a family, and the downtown area offers tons of attractions for those looking for a more lively place to live. Check out the Folly Beach, SC, rentals to visit the area and scope out places where you’d like to move before looking for your new dream home.
In part one of four, I made it clear these locations are not “secrets,” but rather places that even some long-time Charleston residents have yet to find and explore. Here are two more delightful neighborhoods and another great activity hidden in plain sight.
Kiawah River Estates
Do you love the Kiawah Island (KI) lifestyle but find it a bit too exclusive? Kiawah River Estates (KRE) is a great alternative with many of the same great features KI offers at a premium. This gated community is less than 5 miles from the front gate at KI and prices are significantly lower for its executive homes. KRE has tennis, a community pool, tennis courts, pickle ball tournaments, and party house where I’m told they hold one of the area’s top notch Kentucky Derby Parties! The newly redesigned golf course at KRE is managed by the Kiawah Island Club. There is also a picnic area near the community dock and you’ll see more golf carts than cars on the quiet streets. Perhaps the best feature is that Beachwalker County Park is less than 5 miles away and is open to the public. The county park is connected to the beach behind the gate and features the same white sand, dunes and dolphins! At KRE you can enjoy one of the finest beaches in the country and live where the homeowner’s costs are thousands less per year.
Looking for a bargain near historic downtown Charleston? The Bourdeleaux condominiums are located in Wagener Terrace on the banks of the Ashley River. This delightful neighborhood on the north end of the peninsula is walking distance to Hampton Park, the Citadel and some of the best new restaurants in town! The condos share a pool and fabulous views of the river. Walk the dog, or bike through the lightly traveled streets. The tidy homes in this older Charleston neighborhood are hot properties, so if you haven’t been to Wagener Terrace lately, you are in for a treat. If you are looking for a real sense of neighborhood, a downtown bargain, and the convenience of a condo, Bordeleaux might be right for you.
For years I watched people fishing and shrimping off the edge of the Ashley River under the bridge that links West Ashley to North Charleston via Cosgrove Avenue. Folks would park precariously along the edge of the road to throw in a line or net while cars whizzed past them in four lanes of traffic over the bridge. A couple of years ago, the City of Charleston developed this de facto fishing pier into a charming municipal park with a proper dock, plenty of parking, and a safe ingress and egress for walkers, bikers, and cars. Other amenities include security cameras, lighting, and restrooms. Put in a kayak, take your fishing pole, pack a picnic, or just sit on a bench and watch the boats and dolphins navigate the waterway at the Northbridge Park. The sunsets are truly spectacular!
One of the hottest travel destinations in the world, Charleston, South Carolina, has so much to offer its visitors, from a top-notch culinary scene to unique historic sites. However, if you’re like most travelers, you’re probably planning to fly into Charleston, leaving you without a vehicle to get around. Luckily, the downtown area of Charleston itself is fairly small, which makes it easy for active visitors to walk from place to place. If you’re traveling with small children or seniors on the other hand, you may want a quicker way to get around. If you’re not interested in renting a car, don’t worry–there are plenty of modes of transportation while staying in Charleston.
Getting Around Charleston Without a Car
Most people who live in downtown Charleston actually prefer not to own a car since it’s easier to get around, and there’s no need to pay for parking. If you’re moving to Charleston, you may want to consider the fact that your car could be a bigger burden than a convenience in the downtown area. However, if you’re moving to another area like James Island or Mount Pleasant, you’ll probably want a car to get around. If you’re just visiting the area and you have a place to stay downtown, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that you are within walking distance of most downtown attractions. Before figuring out which types of transportation you’ll need to use, it’s helpful to plan out all the places and sights you’d like to see. Then, you can determine the best way to hop from place to place.
Charleston Transportation Options
When walking around downtown Charleston, you’ll notice a number of trolley buses cruising through the streets with the words “FREE” painted across the sides. You’re not imagining that—the downtown trolley service is actually free for visitors and locals! This DASH trolley service stops at some of the most popular and frequented places on the peninsula, making it easy for you to see all the sights you want to without needing a car. You can stop by the Charleston Visitor Center to pick up a map and find out more, or simply look for the CARTA signs that line the streets.
CARTA Public Transportation
The Charleston CARTA is a larger public transportation system that can be useful if you need to get on or off of the downtown peninsula for any reason. CARTA has routes that run between downtown, North Charleston, James Island, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant. This is a great and affordable way to get to and from the airport, but be sure to catch a bus that leaves well in advance of your flight just in case of unexpected delays. Although CARTA is a great way to get around, it does not have as many stops in neighborhoods aside from downtown, so you have to carefully plan how you will get from your stop to your destination. If you’re looking to visit attractions like the Angel Oak on Johns Island, you may have to opt for a different mode of transportation.
Downtown Charleston has a handful of different bike taxi options. Although these pedicabs will only bring you to locations on the downtown peninsula, this is a fun, cheap and convenient way to get around. Each pedicab can fit two to three people, but you can request multiple bikes if you’re traveling in a large group. These pedicabs will often post up in popular areas to make catching a ride even more convenient, but you can also contact the company directly and have a cab pick you up and drop you off at any desired downtown location.
Always a viable transportation option, taxis are available throughout the Charleston area. However, unlike other larger cities, you won’t often see taxis driving around that you can simply hail down for a ride. Instead, it’s easier to call the company ahead of time and arrange for a ride. While this a great secondary option, there are several more convenient ways to get around Charleston.
Using a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft is a more efficient way to get from place to place over a traditional taxi in Charleston. Uber and Lyft drivers can be found most times of the day and night, with wait times usually being under ten minutes. Ride-sharing services can be more useful than public transportation as they will pick riders up from any destination and bring them exactly where they need to go. When using public transportation, you’re a bit more limited because of the specific stop locations.
When exploring downtown Charleston, you can walk to nearly any attraction easily. The entire downtown area covers about three miles in each direction, meaning you never need to go too far on foot. There are some areas that would be inconvenient or dangerous to walk because of traffic, but for the most part, all of the shops, restaurants and parks are within walking distance. You can even embark on a Historic Walking Tour of the city to learn more about its history and witness the many beautiful neighborhoods.
One of the top ways for locals to get around downtown Charleston is by bicycle. If you’re moving to the area and wondering about transportation options, purchasing a high-quality bike is a great option as you can quickly and easily navigate the streets of downtown without having to stress about parking. For visitors, biking through the city is a great option. Throughout downtown, you’ll find many different Holy Spokes bikeshare stations where you can rent bicycles and pay simply for the time that you’ve been using the bike. Just download the app, enter your payment information and you’re off! You can rent the bikes whenever you’re done at any of the stations around town, but keep in mind that even if you park the bike, you are still being charged for the time. You may want to return your bike at your destination. Then, start another rental period when you want to move on to another area.
Places to Visit by Foot
Waterfront Park is one of the most popular outdoor areas for visitors to walk or bike to. Located off Broad Street near The Vendue hotel, this area features a grassy park where you can sit and enjoy a picnic, as well as a pier that extends out into the harbor. Spend some time looking for dolphins passing by while relaxing on one of the large swings on the pier. If you have kids with you and you’re visiting in the summertime, you can also bring along their bathing suits and let them wade in the two fountains at Waterfront Park! Be sure to snap a picture in front of the Pineapple Fountain before you leave, as this is one of the most recognizable areas in Charleston.
Located on East Bay Street near The Battery, Rainbow Row is a series of thirteen houses that are painted in beautiful, bright colors. This is one of the most photographed areas in the city, and it’s easy to walk to from other popular destinations like The Battery, Waterfront Park and the market. If you’re going to walk to this attraction, try planning a route that will take you to several other nearby sites at the same time. This is also a great area to bike. You can round the corner after viewing the houses, and ride along the water while admiring the mansions that line the Battery.
King Street Shopping District
King Street is the main street that runs through the city and features many of the most popular bars, restaurants and shops. You can easily walk the entire length of the street to view beautiful Charleston-style buildings while shopping and eating to your heart’s content. If you’re in the area on the second Sunday of the month, you can walk here for the King Street Second Sunday celebration when the city closes the lower part of the street to traffic. Restaurants and shops will bring their business out to the sidewalks as visitors and locals walk through the street for a relaxing Sunday outside.
The Charleston City Market
Potentially the most popular tourist attraction, The Charleston City Market is located on Market Street between Meeting and East Bay Street. You can walk here from nearly anywhere on the lower peninsula, but be sure to consider what time and day you’re planning to visit as it can get very busy on weekends. The market itself features dozens of local artisans selling handmade goods, as well as food purveyors and artists. The market runs between South and North Market Street, both of which are also lined with individual shops. This is a great place to go to find unique souvenirs or gifts, and you can pop in to one of the restaurants if you start to feel hungry during your shopping trip.
On the corner of King and Calhoun Street, Marion Square is one of the most popular parks to spend time in. Bring a picnic and eat your lunch right here in this beautiful park or stop in to the Hotel Bennett, which overlooks Marion Square, to have a drink on the rooftop and get one of the most breathtaking views in the city. Between the months of April and November, Marion Square has a farmers market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can purchase fresh, local produce, browse local art and jewelry and indulge in some of the best food truck food around. Live music and a kids’ play area act as additional entertainment for the whole family.
Before booking a trip to Charleston, be sure to check the city’s schedule of events. Marion Square often hosts some of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Charleston Wine + Food’s annual culinary village is held right in this park, and attendees can walk around trying gourmet food samples, as well as sipping on a variety of wines and local beers. The Spoleto Festival, Charleston Fashion Week and SEWE (Southeastern Wildlife Exposition) are three other major events hosted in this park each year.
White Points Garden
White Points Garden is at the tip of the peninsula, connecting East Bay Street to Murray Boulevard. This is the start of what locals refer to as The Battery. Murray Boulevard runs along the tip of the peninsula with gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful multi-million dollar mansions. Hang out in the park and then explore The Battery to witness the exact location where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. This is the perfect place to visit during a bike ride through the city. Start your ride by renting bikes by Colonial Lake and then head towards The Battery. Ride along the water until you reach the park and continue up East Bay Street to see Rainbow Row and visit the Charleston City Market.
College of Charleston Campus
Voted the Most Beautiful College Campus in the U.S. by the readers of Travel + Leisure, the College of Charleston is located in the heart of downtown. If you find yourself exploring the city by foot, you should definitely take some time to walk through the campus, and get a glimpse of the gorgeous live oaks covered with Spanish moss and historic Charleston homes converted to offices. The Cistern is a large, open area where graduation takes place and is filled with beauty and history.
Explore the Best of Charleston
Whether you’re planning on moving to Charleston or just heading down for a vacation, this is one of the greatest cities in the country. If you’re staying downtown, you can easily walk or bike to many of the most exciting areas. You can also hop on and off the free DASH trolley to get to locations like the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston City Market and Waterfront Park. If you need to travel further distances, you can easily grab an Uber or Lyft from nearly any area in the city–or, for short distances, hop on a bike and enjoy the ride. However you choose to get around Charleston, just be sure to explore the best of the city’s food, history and outdoor activities.
I won’t call these locations “secrets,” because they simply are not; they are however, places that many people have not yet discovered and each is special in its own way. Here are two delightful neighborhoods, and an array of lowcountry activities hidden in plain sight.
Tucked away behind the all too obvious Archdale neighborhood with its large, vibrant sign right on Dorchester Road, are Baker’s Landing I & II. It’s hard to imagine a busier thoroughfare in the Lowcountry than Dorchester Road, but these two communities are tucked away on quiet streets. Each houses a small enclave of executive homes situated on the Ashley River, with community docks and breathtaking sunset views across the river. Within walking distance to Bosch and just a short drive from Boeing, both might be your ideal North Charleston commutes.
Across the highway from the highly visible Carolina Bay in West Ashley is a gently “patina-ed” sign for Croghan’s Landing. The sign is a little faded, and hard to see as you travel the Savannah Highway, but it is worth the slight detour to check out this neighborhood. As you turn into the neighborhood from the highway, you will suddenly find yourself in a quiet and highly walkable area with huge trees and slow moving streets. The dog walkers and golf cart drivers are treated to marsh views along the Intracostal Waterway portion of the Stono River. You might also enjoy the West Ashley Greenway – a former railroad route that runs from James Island to Johns Island – perfect for biking, running, or a leisurely stroll.
This might be my favorite free thing to do in Charleston. Start at the garden and cemetery at the Unitarian Church on Archdale Street downtown. It is a treasure trove of plants and critters year round. I’d bet even your grandmother would be hard pressed to name every variety of plant found there. The paths twist around and end at King Street. Cross the street ever-so-slightly diagonally to the right, and enter the grounds at the Gibbes Museum just behind the Charleston Library Society. A more formally designed venue than the former garden, it has its own verdant charms that foster certain serenity in the heart of downtown Charleston. When you exit this shady green, you will find yourself on Meeting Street. Cross to the cemetery at the Circular Church and follow the Zen-like paths through the beautiful and ancient headstones.
“According to one gravestone historian, there are more of these unusual 18th century slate stones in this graveyard than anywhere else in the country.”  Enjoy this unique way to experience Charleston’s history and beauty.
 Circular Church website
Anyone who is looking to escape the cold winter weather should consider Charleston as a potential place to move. Not only is Charleston a top travel destination, but it offers some of the most beautiful year-round weather. Located on the coast of South Carolina, this charming city has it all—festivals and events, top-notch dining, unique boutiques and shopping centers, beautiful beaches and more. It’s no secret summers can be hot, but the winters are very mild, allowing you to spend more time outside. If you’re planning on moving to Charleston, we’ve compiled a guide to help you navigate the winter and discover all the great things to do here.
Charleston’s Winter Weather
Charleston’s weather is ideal for anyone who is not a fan of the snow. In the summer, it’s not unusual for the temperatures to climb past 100 degrees Fahrenheit regularly. Though this may sound brutal, the city offers plenty of respite from the heat between beaches, water activities and pools. However, in the winter, you’ll find that the temperature stays around 50 or 60 degrees F. From the months of December through February, the usual highs are somewhere in the low 60s, and low temperatures rarely drop below 45 degrees F. However, in the past, there has been the rare snowfall. For Charlestonians, this is an exciting and unusual event that often shuts the entire city down for a few, fun-filled days.
How to Deal with Unexpected Snow
If you’re planning on moving to Charleston, you will probably experience a Southern snowfall at some point, though it may take several years to happen. Even if you were born and raised in a snowy environment, it’s important to know how to prepare for snow in Charleston as it’s a very different experience than snowfall up north or out west. Because snow is so rare here, the city does not have plows to clean up the streets following a storm. This means if the temperatures are cold enough and the snow sticks to the ground, there can be some very dangerous driving conditions until the sun can melt away the snow and ice. Be aware of this if you hear about a possibility of snow, and be sure to make transportation arrangements in advance.
It’s also recommended that you leave your faucets dripping when the temperature is expected to drop below a certain point (typically around 30 degrees F) to prevent the pipes from freezing. While this may seem like an unnecessary precaution to some, keep in mind that the pipes are not typically exposed to these temperatures, making it more likely that something could burst.
Indoor Activities in Charleston
Although the temperatures in Charleston are often warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities during the winter months, there are plenty of things to do indoors as well. Unlike in northern states, the winter weather only lasts two to three months, making this an ideal time to explore some of the other activities in the area.
Visit Art Galleries
Charleston has a thriving art scene with many downtown galleries and art-related events. During the winter, why not take yourself on a tour of the downtown art scene? The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a large gallery that is part of the College of Charleston art department. Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind student work that sheds light on a new generation of budding young artists. Redux Contemporary Art Center is another popular place to go for art-related events. This location often hosts exhibit openings, open studio nights and even live music events from time to time. Art lovers won’t want to miss an opportunity to walk through the Gibbes Museum of Art with rotating exhibits and regular events.
Though these are three of the larger art spaces in downtown Charleston, you can also pop into one of the many boutique galleries including Robert Lange Studios, Mary Martin Gallery and Corrigan Gallery.
Explore the Museums
Winter in Charleston is the perfect time to explore all those museums you’ve been meaning to visit. If you have young children, spend a day at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry where they’ll discover interactive exhibits like the Medieval castle, the art room and the kids’ garden. Each week, a new program is devised to teach children about a variety of topics from science to art. For adults, the Charleston Museum is a must-see place located downtown. With a combination of permanent and rotating exhibits, the Charleston Museum brings to life the history of the City and imagines where it might be in the future. You can admire museum artifacts from prehistoric fossils to historic textiles and everything in between. Throughout the city, you’ll also find an abundance of historic homes. Embark on a tour to learn more about the most prominent buildings and the families who lived there.
Head to the Dock Street Theatre
Known as the country’s very first theater, the Dock Street Theatre opened its doors in 1736 with a rendition of the play The Recruiting Officer. Over the last 300 years, the building has gone through many changes and it was destroyed in a fire before being rebuilt as a hotel. Like many of the structures in Charleston, the hotel suffered much structural damage after the Civil War and was going to be torn down but was later converted back into a theater. Today, Dock Street is one of the best venues in downtown Charleston to catch a show as performed by the Charleston Stage troupe. During the winter, you can catch one of their Christmas shows to get yourself into the holiday spirit.
Eat Your Way Through the City
If there is one thing that Charleston does not have a shortage of, it’s restaurants and bars. With some of the country’s best chefs right here in our own city, it would be a shame not to experience as much of the culinary world of Charleston as possible. Spend the winter months checking the top restaurants off your bucket list. Halls Chophouse and Oak Steakhouse are two of the most sought after places to go for a top-notch steak. When you feel like you’re ready to splurge on the meal of a lifetime, make a reservation at one of these two steak houses. You can also try out the food at Circa 1886, which is located inside the beautiful and historical Wentworth Mansion. But the fancy restaurants are not the only ones you need to visit. Try out other local watering holes like Jack of Cups Saloon on Folly Beach or Cuban Gypsy Pantry downtown.
Outdoor Winter Activities
Though winter is a great time to explore more of Charleston’s indoor attractions, the weather is mild enough to allow you to participate in outdoor activities, too. In fact, you may even want to save some of your indoor options for those brutally hot summer days when you just want to be inside with some icy cold air conditioning. During the warmer winter days, try out some of these activities.
Walk Along the Beach
Being so close to the beach is one of the best parts about moving to or vacationing in Charleston. And, guess what? You can take advantage of this perk all year long! Don’t get too excited, though. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to hit the shore with your best bikini in the middle of winter, but the temperature is usually nice enough that you can still throw on a light jacket and take a walk through the sand.
Sometimes, during the colder months, you can find dozens of starfish washed up on Isle of Palms in the town of Mount Pleasant. Sullivan’s Island is another great beach to visit during the winter before heading to one of the many restaurants like The Obstinate Daughter for a warm bowl of she crab soup. Folly Beach offers unparalleled scenery with a pier extending out into the Atlantic and another area known as the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.
Play a Round of Golf
On one of the warmer winter days, spend some time on the golf course. Locally, you’ll find a handful of gold courses from the City of Charleston Municipal Course on Maybank Highway to the more private Shadowmoss Plantation Golf Club and Patriots Point Links. There are plenty of great courses for you to test out, including the links at the Wild Dunes resort. However, if you want to play on some of the best courses in the entire country, you can make a day trip out to Kiawah Island.
From downtown Charleston, Kiawah is only about a 45-minute drive and offers some of the most challenging and rewarding courses you’ll find anywhere. Designed by renowned course designers and former golf champions, these courses can challenge players of any skill level. You’ll also get the chance to admire the beauty of this barrier island as you play amongst the natural landscape.
Winter Events and Festivals
Aside from the beautiful scenery and ideal climate, one of the best things about living in Charleston is the year-round events. Summer brings in the 10-day long Spoleto Festival, but winter means it’s time for fashion, food and laughter. These are three of the biggest festivals that take place every winter.
Charleston Fashion Week
Come winter, it’s time for fashion week to hit Charleston. Typically held in February or March, Charleston Fashion Week is a top event with a combination of established and emerging designers bringing their creations to the stage. The fashion show itself is held in Marion Square and offers several other events throughout downtown. The opening night is a celebration you won’t want to miss, but be sure you also make it to the after parties that take place over the course of the week. The Emerging Designer competition is one of the most exciting parts of Fashion Week as young designers show off their latest fashion for the chance to win.
Charleston Wine + Food
A highly anticipated event, Charleston Wine + Food is a foodie’s dream event. This festival spans five days and offers a range of great events throughout the city. The Culinary Village takes place each day in Marion Square and allows attendees access to dozens of delicious food and drink samples. You’ll receive a custom glass to commemorate the event, and you’ll have the chance to learn more about local products from vendors. By March, the weather is already warming up, making this a great outdoor event. Throughout the festival, you can also purchase tickets for special dinners, wine tasting demonstrations, parties and more.
Charleston Comedy Festival
Charleston’s only sole comedy venue, Theatre 99 presents an annual comedy festival each January with help from the Charleston City Paper. This is a unique event that will have people of all ages crying with laughter. For three days, comedy acts will take to the stage to entertain the people of Charleston. Headliners in the past have included big-name comedians like Hannibal Buress, Jim Breur and Quincy Jones. Though many comedians travel to the city to participate in the festival, there are tons of local comedians who take to the stage as well. Shows are held in several different venues throughout the city, giving you plenty of opportunities to catch your favorite act.
Make Charleston Your Forever Home
Moving to Charleston, SC is one of the best decisions you could make—the people are friendly, the weather is mild and there are so many things to do year-round. You could spend years trying to eat your way through the city, testing a new restaurant each time. During the winter, you can try exploring indoor activities like museums, art galleries and shows or opt to spend your time outside. There’s no shortage of golf courses or beautiful beaches here. And, don’t forget about all the exciting annual events. So, what are you waiting for? Discover your dream home in Charleston today!
Charleston, S.C. is one of the hottest travel destinations in the entire country right now, and after people visit once, they want to stay forever. If you’re looking for a truly unique place to go to college, Charleston is the city for you. With three beaches within a few miles of the campus and a bustling downtown scene with more bars and restaurants than you can count, you’ll love the atmosphere almost as much as the campus itself.
You’ll find gorgeous Spanish moss draped from ancient live oak trees almost anywhere you go on the College of Charleston campus along with historic buildings used as offices and classrooms. If you’ve never visited Charleston, find out all the reasons you should add this to your list of places to apply for school.
Reasons Charleston, S.C. Is a Great College Town
Southern Hospitality Is Real
For those who didn’t grow up in Charleston, S.C., it may come as a surprise that Southern hospitality is more than just a stereotype. As you walk around the downtown area, you’ll find yourself smiling and greeting strangers who are genuinely interested in how your day is going. For many northerners, this is an unfamiliar custom, but it makes it really easy to get comfortable in a new place when everyone you encounter is smiling and friendly.
Voted Most Beautiful Campus in the U.S.
We’re not the only ones who think that the College of Charleston has a stunning campus. Travel + Leisure voted this campus as the most beautiful in the entire country in 2017. The unique Roman architecture gives the impression that you’re stepping back in time as you walk through the sprawling campus. The cistern is the most photographed area of the college, which is where graduation is held each year. A large outdoor area, the cistern is filled with huge live oaks that are covered in enchanting Spanish moss. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the campus is the history and mystery that surrounds it. Professors’ offices can be found at the top of spiraling staircases connected to traditional Charleston single-style homes or even tucked away inside the arches that lead to the cistern.
Experience an All-American City
While many large universities have many forms of entertainment offered by the college itself, the College of Charleston is located right in the middle of the bustling city, providing students with access to the best activities in the area. From campus, students can walk through the streets admiring the brightly painted, Antebellum-style houses on their way to the tip of the peninsula known as the battery. Here, you can watch boats sail through the ocean or have a picnic at the White Point Gardens. You’ll find plenty of beautiful outdoor places to sit and enjoy the weather—from Marion Square, where the weekly farmers market is held, to Hampton Park.
For college students, there’s also no shortage of great bars and restaurants to check out. King Street is the hub for great dining, and you’ll find every type of food you could want—Italian, Vietnamese, classic Southern and so much more. On the weekends, King Street is flooded with young people bar hopping, exploring the best rooftop bars, hanging out in some of our favorite dive joints and listening to live music. It’s nearly impossible to be bored when you’re living right in the heart of historic Charleston, S.C.
Students living in Charleston are amongst the luckiest college kids in the country because not only do you have access to the city, but you can easily head to the beach on any day of the week. And, because of the area’s pleasant year-round weather, you can explore all of the Charleston beaches during any season. It’s not uncommon to see people heading to the beach in the middle of winter for a walk along the shore. Our climate may be mild, but you will still need to bring a jacket along for the stroll.
From downtown Charleston, S.C., students have three options when it comes to going to the beach—Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms. The Isle of Palms is the furthest from the campus but has one of the most popular beach bars in the area, The Windjammer, which hosts live music and beach volleyball competitions each summer. Sullivan’s Island is much closer to downtown but also located in Mount Pleasant. This charming little beach area is the Charleston beach with the best selection for food. Order mimosas and oysters for a fancy brunch at Obstinate Daughter, or head to HomeTeam for some Southern-style barbecue and their famously potent alcoholic drink, the Game Changer. The last of the three Charleston beaches, Folly Beach is located on James Island and gives off more of a bohemian beach vibe. Many students opt to go here because of the laid-back atmosphere and bars along Center Street.
The Football Team Is “Undefeated”
A running joke amongst current CofC students and alumni, the College of Charleston football team is notoriously undefeated—because they do not exist. For some, the lack of a football team might be problematic, but Charleston is just two hours from Columbia, S.C., home of the Gamecocks, meaning you can easily drive up for the weekend to catch a game. Although Charleston does not have a football team, there are frequent basketball games at the TD Arena with BYOB tailgates beforehand, baseball games at Patriot’s Point and our olympic-level sailing team. In fact, sports are a major part of the College of Charleston community. Students can even opt to take sailing or yoga as a class during the year.
Achieve a Liberal Arts Education
In today’s world, your major doesn’t necessarily make or break your future career path, and getting a liberal arts education can provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of many subjects so you can use your skills in multiple fields. Liberal arts schools try to cover humanities and social and natural sciences, as well as mathematics to give students some insight into many different areas before they select a major. People with degrees from a liberal arts school are attractive to employers after graduation because they have been taught how to implement their skills across multiple areas of study, making these employees self-sufficient and adaptable.
Colleges in Charleston, S.C.
The College of Charleston
The most popular school in Charleston, S.C., the College of Charleston is a liberal arts school located in the heart of historic downtown with a variety of excellent programs and a knowledgeable staff of professors. For those who aren’t quite sure what career they would like to break into after graduation, the College of Charleston is a great choice because the liberal arts program will set you up to explore a variety of classes and industries. Most students at CofC live in one of the many dorms during their freshman year before moving off campus into a downtown apartment. Because the downtown area only covers a few miles, it’s easy to find an apartment near the campus. For those looking to get a top-notch education and stay close to the beaches and city, College of Charleston is an excellent choice.
Trident Technical College
Trident has both a downtown and North Charleston campus. The main location in North Charleston is much larger and offers a greater variety of classes, but some students elect to take as many classes as they can at the downtown location to stay close to all that the city has to offer. Trident is a two-year school, which makes it an excellent choice for anyone trying to save money on out-of-state tuition. Many students come to Charleston, S.C., attend Trident for two years and then transfer to the College of Charleston. This is such a common process that the two schools have a seamless system for transferring students over.
Charleston Southern University
This small Baptist college is located in North Charleston, not far from the downtown area. Overall, the college welcomes about 3,600 students each year. For those who thrive in an environment with more direct instruction and smaller classes, Charleston Southern is a great option. This school also implements a liberal arts program, but because it is a private university connected with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the curriculum tries to tie in religion and spirituality.
Medical University of South Carolina
One of the top medical schools in the South, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is also located right in downtown Charleston and is known for its outstanding programs. Many people seeking a career in the medical field will choose to attend the College of Charleston for a bachelor’s degree and then stay in Charleston and continue their education at MUSC. This school is located on the west side of the peninsula in a quieter, more residential area then the College of Charleston.
Charleston’s military college was established in 1842 as part of a state-organized military to educate young people and train them for service simultaneously. Over the last century, the college continues to incorporate its military origins with many of the students intending to serve in some branch of the military after graduation, though some students simply attend the college for a more rigid type of higher education.
American College of the Building Arts
Located in downtown Charleston, the American College of the Building Arts is a unique college in the city that focuses on more hands-on artistic avenues of education, such as different types of architecture, masonry and plasterwork. This is a great option for students who have an interest in this specific career path and are ready to jump into a curriculum designed to train them to move directly into their line of work after graduation.
Downtown Charleston is broken into 11 different neighborhoods that stretch across the peninsula from the affluent South of Broad, which houses many of the mansions located on The Battery, to Wagener Terrace and Hampton Terrace on the northern end of the city, featuring more family residential areas. For students attending a school downtown, staying near the campus is important because you’ll have quick and easy access to classes and all that Charleston’s nightlife has to offer. Here are some of our top neighborhoods for students and young working professionals.
Much of the College of Charleston campus is located within Harleston Village, making this the most desired area of town for younger residents. You’ll be able to walk to almost every building on campus within 10 minutes, and you’ll find tons of great restaurants nearby. This area of town is also just a few blocks from King Street, where nearly all of the most popular establishments are in the city. From coffee shops to dive bars, college students will find everything they need in Harleston Village.
This area is probably the second most desired neighborhood in downtown Charleston for those attending school. Cannonborough/Elliotborough is a few blocks further from campus than Harleston Village, which means many students living in this area will ride bikes or skateboards to get to class more quickly, though it’s still within 25 minutes to walk to the college. Here, you’ll find easier access to those same upper King Street bars and restaurants, but you’ll also discover a wave of new and eclectic spots that have been popping up in the neighborhood. In the evenings, you can grab tacos from the well-loved Charleston restaurant Fuel or check out the intriguing menu of Asian Fusion options at Xiao Bao Biscuit.
Though both Wagener Terrace and Hampton Terrace are not highly populated by college students, this neighborhood is great for young professionals looking to settle down after graduation without having to leave the peninsula. Further north than many of the other neighborhoods, both areas are more laid-back with many families choosing to settle in this part of town. Here, you’ll find far fewer traditional Charleston single homes that have been split into apartments and more quaint, cottage-style houses. The best part of this neighborhood? The beautiful nearby Hampton Park, where events like outdoor yoga are frequently held. You’ll also be closer to places like Moe’s Crosstown Tavern, a dive bar with killer burgers, and The Park Cafe, a charming little place for brunch or lunch.
So many people are attracted to Charleston, S.C., because of the city’s many options for college students, but once young people have experienced the beauty and excitement of our unique city, they never want to leave. Whether you’re interested in getting a liberal arts education from the College of Charleston, a more religiously oriented study program at Charleston Southern or a hands-on experience at the American College of the Building Arts, Charleston has many diverse options for every type of student. Pick the college that speaks to you most and come experience all that Charleston, S.C. has to offer.
Thinking about launching your career in Charleston, SC? You’ve chosen the right city. With its diversified economy, low unemployment rate and robust job growth, the Charleston-metro region offers plentiful job opportunities for those seeking employment.
On top of it all, Charleston is simply an incredible place to live. In addition to bountiful job opportunities, the Holy City’s coastal location also provides gorgeous beaches, scenic views and an endless array of recreational activities. Not to mention the city’s globally renowned food scene and rich history, which further contributes to the economy with its vibrant tourism.
If you’re ready to enter the job market, where you live can make all the difference to your success. Let’s take a deeper look into what makes Charleston one of the best cities for job hunters.
Charleston Labor Statistics at a Glance
Finding a job and settling down in Charleston, SC could be easier than you think. According to the SC Department of Employment & Workforce’s latest Charleston Community Profile, the Holy City’s low unemployment rate is outperforming both the state and the nation.
South Carolina’s monthly unemployment rate was at 3.3 percent for March 2019, while Charleston’s was at 2.8 for the same month. With the nation’s monthly unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, Charleston beats it by more than a whole percentage point.
Here are a few additional facts and figures from the report:
- Monthly Unemployment Rate (unadjusted): 8 percent
- Unemployed: 5,830
- Employed: 204,462
- Population in 2010: 348,370
- Projected Population for 2020: 366,380
- Notable Employers: The Boeing Company, Medical University of SC, The Citadel, Comcast
Why Job Seekers Are Flocking to Charleston, SC
There is no doubt about it: the Charleston job market is hot. A growing number of job seekers are turning to the Holy City for steady employment due to the region’s thriving economy, ideal port location and ongoing support from the local community.
As you could probably guess based on the labor market statistics above, Charleston’s economy is fueling job creation and contributing to the city’s prosperity. According to the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities index, Charleston’s economy ranked 16th-best in the nation, jumping six places up from last year.
What’s behind the city’s economic growth? The following economic trends are playing a significant role in Charleston’s economic expansion:
- Job Growth: Charleston’s job outlook is promising. According to a Talent Demand Study by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the city will add nearly 35,000 jobs by 2022. The report stated that 80 percent of this job growth will be in 10 specific occupations.
- Fast-Growing City: Job seekers—especially millennials—are flocking to Charleston. Attracted by the area’s lifestyle and promising job growth, young professionals are now scooping up homes in Charleston and contributing to the overall health of the economy.
- Promising Outlook: A healthy and diverse economy is essential to any metro region’s future success. Fortunately, Charleston boasts a diverse and flexible economy that is fueled by tourism, its vibrant shipping industry, retailers, airlines and more. This diversity is critical to reducing the potential negative impact of future recessions.
- Capital Investment: Thanks to its business-friendly atmosphere and innovative workforce, companies are continuing to invest heavily in Charleston. From the new Mercedes-Benz plant in North Charleston to Boeing, capital is an essential component for cities to grow—and Charleston has it in spades.
Prosperous Port City
Charleston’s coastal location plays an enormous role in its economic boom and prosperity. The region has benefited from the wealthy seaport dating back to the 1800s when Charleston first rose to prominence as a hub for Atlantic trade.
Today, the Port of Charleston is a key player in the city’s economy and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs statewide. According to an Economic Impact Study by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SPCA), the Port of Charleston provides an estimated $53 billion in annual economic activity, 187,600 jobs and $10.2 billion in labor income.
The Port of Charleston—which is owned and operated by the SPCA—is continuing to pave the way towards a brighter future for Charleston. Not only did the SPCA report a record-breaking year for container shipments in 2018, but the Port of Charleston is also unveiling new infrastructure to accommodate “super ships.” With this major milestone, the Holy City is continuing to grow its presence in global trade and laying the groundwork for a booming manufacturing economy.
Job Seeker Resources and Assistance
Charleston residents and lawmakers have strived to create government agencies and organizations that can help job seekers and business owners achieve their life goals. If you’re currently searching for employment in the Holy City, be sure to make use of the resources available to you:
- Charleston Job Network: Job opportunities, resume and cover letter writing help, career events, webinars, etc.
- Charleston County Public Library: Job opportunities, technology learning services, business resources (printing, copying, scanning), one-on-one business counseling, etc.
- Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce: Networking events, expert panels, professional career development, etc.
- SC Works: Job opportunities, employer/employee resources, career coaches, veteran assistance, etc.
- Charleston Regional Development Alliance: Resources for entrepreneurs and established companies, connecting them to organizations such as Charleston Digital Corridor and Holy City Collective.
- Charleston, SC SCORE: Business-to-business mentoring, online workshops, local guidance and other assistance for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Strong and Supportive Community
There is little doubt that Charleston’s economic success is bolstered by its tight-knit community. Whether you’re a transplant or you were born and raised in the Lowcountry, the locals embody true Southern hospitality and are willing to go the extra mile to help their neighbors out.
This is especially true for those who wish to launch a business in the Holy City. The community is incredibly supportive of startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners, with residents making a conscious effort to shop local. From supporting Small Business Saturday to participating in the Charleston Art Walk, locals regularly support businesses large and small.
Top Industries in Charleston
As a coastal city with a deep port and a busy, international airport, it probably comes as no surprise that Charleston is teeming with business activity. While not every profession within an industry will have the same job outlook, you can maximize your chances of employment by launching your career in one of the city’s top-performing industries.
Charleston’s tourism industry is a huge driver of the economy and job opportunities in the region. According to CHS Today, tourism accounted for 20.1 percent of sales in 2017 in the Greater Charleston Metro and resulted in an economic impact of $7.4 billion for the same year.
It’s no big surprise, given the city’s vast amenities and offerings. Charleston has been voted the best U.S. city by Travel + Leisure Magazine for six years running and consistently ranked in the magazine’s ‘best cities in the world’ category as well.
What’s not to love? With the city’s historic houses, vibrant culture and award-winning food, Charleston has remained a hot travel destination for all types of adventure-seekers, from retirees and families to single ladies throwing bachelorette parties.
The hospitality and tourism industries often go hand-in-hand. After all, the millions of people who visit Charleston each year need somewhere to stay and eat as they explore everything the city has to offer.
The hospitality industry (which includes things such as restaurants, lodging, parks, transportation and travel) has plenty of open positions for job seekers. In fact, Charleston’s growing tourism industry has led to a staffing shortage as business owners struggle to fill positions in their restaurants and hotels.
Whether you’re a chef hoping to start a restaurant in Charleston or you want to work as a concierge at one of the city’s many hotels, the industry is ripe with opportunities.
Almost a decade ago, Boeing chose North Charleston as its new production facility, driving up the city’s aerospace sector along with it. Since then, other manufacturing companies have followed suit, including auto manufacturers Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.
The manufacturing industry has long been contributing to Charleston’s economic growth. In addition to tax-friendly policies and pro-business climate, the region has supported the advanced manufacturing sector through its workforce strategy. From rethinking school curriculum to apprenticeships and internships, the city has made a conscious effort to reduce the skills gap and produce a qualified workforce.
If you’re a nurse or physician, finding a job in Charleston is almost guaranteed in the current economic climate. Home to top-notch facilities such as the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Roper St. Francis, the Holy City boasts a diverse concentration of healthcare talent that is growing all the time.
As the need for healthcare services grows, Charleston is once again finding itself in a staffing shortage crisis for certain positions. If you’re a qualified nurse or physician, chances are good that you’ll easily land a job in the city.
Forget Silicon Valley—Charleston’s new nickname, ‘Silicon Harbor’ reflects its thriving tech scene that has been steadily growing in the past decade. Fueled by the increasing number of millennials moving to the region, Charleston’s tech scene is now home to more than 500+ tech companies and offers a vast array of job opportunities and resources for tech workers.
If you’re searching for a job in the tech sector, be sure to check out the Charleston Digital Corridor. Launched more than a decade ago, the community-backed initiative aims to attract and nurture tech workers in the Greater Charleston Metro area and grow the city’s sizeable talent pool.
Finding a Home in Charleston, SC
After securing employment in a new city, the next logical step is to relocate. If you’ve landed your dream job and are now ready to start searching for a home in Charleston, SC, you’ll no doubt want to explore all the options available to you.
Explore Charleston’s Diverse Neighborhoods
From its vibrant and historic downtown area to the small-town appeal of Mount Pleasant, each area around the Charleston coast has something unique to offer residents. Depending on where you’re at in life, some areas may appeal to you more than others.
Are you a retiree looking for privacy and relaxation? If so, life on Kiawah Island or Sullivan’s Island could be right up your alley. Searching for the best place to raise a family? Check out the award-winning schools on Mount Pleasant and see if it’s a good fit for you and your little ones.
Remember that buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. To ensure that you make the right choice, be sure to talk with Charleston real estate experts who can give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to live, work and play in the Lowcountry.
Spend a Few Weekends at the Beach
If you love white sands and the sound of crashing waves, consider relaxing on Charleston’s pristine beaches for a weekend. Spending time at one of the city’s gorgeous beaches is an excellent way to find your ideal beach—and choose a home in close proximity to it.
From the family-friendly shores of Isle of Palms to the unspoiled beaches at Seabrook Island, Charleston’s varied beaches are as beautiful as they are unique. Book a vacation rental and spend quality time with the family as you discover your ideal beach.
Historic Home or Modern?
One of Charleston’s key attractions for tourists and homeowners alike are its historic homes. Full of charm and beauty, historic homes can be a dream come true for some homeowners—and a total nightmare for others.
If you’re considering the possibility of buying a historic home, make sure that you consider the rules and regulations that the city has put in place. Renovations can be a tricky process that may not be worth the charming qualities and features.
To sum it all up, Charleston’s thriving economy and vast array of amenities has transformed the city into a haven for job seekers and entrepreneurs. Whether you want to try your hand at a career in the restaurant industry or take advantage of the growing opportunities in the technology sector, moving to Charleston could be the key to launching your career.
If you’re a true history buff, you’re sure to be fascinated by the long and rich military history in Charleston. Nearly 350 years old, Charleston has a long and turbulent past. From the arrival of early English settlers in 1670 to the Civil War and beyond, the Holy City has been defending her shores and showing her military might for centuries.
Charleston has played pivotal roles in the nation’s most significant wars, and the city has no shortage of iconic military sites and artifacts to prove it. To put it simply, it’s a military-history-lover’s paradise.
Ready to explore 350 years of military history in Charleston? Although nothing beats visiting the Holy City in person, we’ll give you the rundown of the city’s exciting military history and prepare you for your next Charleston vacation.
Charles Towne Landing
When it comes to exploring Charleston’s vast military history, start from the beginning at Charles Towne Landing. A group of about 120 English settlers arrived here in 1670, and they made the site their first permanent home in the Carolinas.
Located on the west bank of the Ashley River, Charles Towne Landing became a valuable trading post, as well as a village. Originally named for King Charles II of England, the settlement became known as Charleston in the late 1700s after the Revolutionary War.
Today, Charles Towne Landing is a state historic site with numerous attractions for the entire family to enjoy. The Exhibit Hall is where history lovers can learn about the founding of Charleston and how the city came to be, as well as its early history of fending off pirates and marauders.
Other popular attractions at Charles Towne Landing include The Adventure, a floating exhibit and full-scale replica of a 17th-century ship which both adults and kids will enjoy. Visit on the third Sunday of each month and you’ll see 17th-century cannons being fired for demonstrational purposes.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
You can’t leave Charleston without stopping by Patriots Point. Located in the charming town of Mount Pleasant, this impressive naval museum offers visitors a glimpse into Charleston’s rich maritime history.
Patriots Point Museum is the fourth largest naval museum in the country and the only maritime museum in the state. The museum is perhaps best known for being home to USS Yorktown, a WWII Essex aircraft carrier which participated in the Pacific Offensive against the Japanese in late 1943.
The USS Yorktown was turned into a museum ship in 1975 after being decommissioned in 1970. Although it is the museum’s centerpiece, Patriots Point is also home to two other monumental battleships: the USS Laffey, and the USS Clamagore.
The USS Laffey is the only surviving Sumner-class destroyer in North America. The ship was given the nickname, “The Ship That Would Not Die” after surviving multiple Kamikaze attacks and D-day bombings.
Currently, visitors can also see the USS Clamagore, a GUPPY III Submarine which served for more than 30 years during the Cold War. However, plans are underway to have the vessel sunk off the coast of Florida and turned into an artificial reef.
In addition to these impressive battleships, visitors will find numerous collections worth exploring at Patriots Point. One that should not be missed is the Vietnam Experience Exhibit. This interactive experience honors Vietnam veterans and tells the stories of those in the Brown Water Navy and the Tet Offensive.
Those interested in the Civil War will enjoy a trip to Fort Sumter, the famous sea fort where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Built in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter was still unfinished when Confederate forces fired more than 4,000 shells upon the island fortification on April 12, 1861.
The attack came after President Abraham Lincoln announced plans to resupply Fort Sumter. Confederate General P.T.G. Beauregard initiated the 34-hour bombardment, which resulted in Union forces surrendering on April 13. While little blood was shed during this battle, it marked the beginnings of the deadliest conflict in American history.
Confederate troops held Fort Sumter for nearly four years, fending off bombardments by Union troops. General Beauregard finally abandoned the fort when General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through South Carolina and captured the city of Charleston.
Fort Sumter is only accessible by ferry, but history lovers likely won’t mind the 30-minute ride. A voice-recorded history of Fort Sumter plays gently in the background for the duration of the ride.
Upon arrival, you can explore the grounds and see damage to the fort caused by the second battle at Fort Sumter in 1863. Tours last just over two hours, giving you plenty of time to explore the fort in all her war-ravaged glory.
Fort Moultrie may not be as grand or well-known as Fort Sumter, but history buffs will love it all the same. One of the first forts on Sullivan’s Island, and one of the oldest on the Eastern Seaboard, Fort Moultrie boasts over 170 years of seacoast defense history.
The fort holds significance not only for its important roles in the Revolutionary and Civil War, but also because it’s where South Carolina’s flag originated. The blue flag with its white palmetto tree symbolizes the state’s long history.
On June 28, 1776, Colonel Moultrie and his force of Patriot soldiers stood ready behind a series of unfinished palmetto logs walls, determined to protect the city from incoming British warships. When British forces attacked the fort, it didn’t matter that the log wall was unfinished—the soft palmetto logs absorbed the cannon attacks, allowing colonial forces to fend off the British army.
Although the fort was badly battered after the attack, it was a decisive victory for the troops and a stunning display of bravery. The fort was named for the brave colonel, and the state officially adopted a blue flag with a white palmetto tree in his honor.
Fort Moultrie isn’t large, but it’s still an important piece of American history that shouldn’t be missed!
As the first combat submarine to sink a warship (the Housatonic) the H.L. Hunley had a short, yet successful career in the Civil War. However, the deaths of the Hunley crew continues to capture our interest more than 150 years later.
The 40-foot long Confederate submarine was raised from the ocean in 2000 and can now be viewed at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston. In addition to the impressive submarine, you can also see salvaged artifacts from the Hunley and learn more about the eight-man crew.
While the deaths of the crew have long remained a mystery, recent breakthroughs have uncovered new insight. According to researchers at Duke, it was the blast wave from the torpedo fired by the ship that caused the immediate deaths of the crew.
Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
One of South Carolina’s most historic buildings, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon has served multiple functions over the years. Perhaps most notably, the cellar of the building was used as a Provost dungeon by British forces during the American Revolution, and it held pirates in the early 18th century.
Now a museum, the building has more history outside of its dungeon. The great hall in the building was the place where the South Carolina Convention ratified the United States Constitution in 1788. George Washington held several meetings here, and the Old Exchange has served various functions in major wars, such as the Civil War and World War II.
For a deeper look inside South Carolina’s colonial military history, walk through The Powder Magazine in Downtown Charleston’s French Quarter neighborhood. Originally used to store gunpowder, The Powder Magazine was built in 1713 and is the state’s oldest surviving building.
When South Carolina was a British colony, it didn’t have the luxury of a standing army or navy. Charles Towne was surrounded by walls guarded by 100 cannons. The gunpowder was stored in The Powder Magazine, arming the city with much-needed protection.
Although the building itself has an incredible amount of history, there are historical treasures to be found inside the museum as well. With interesting military artifacts, interactive exhibits, and models of the original walled city, both adults and kids will enjoy visiting The Powder Magazine.
Boone Hall Plantation
Boone Hall Plantation is steeped in history. Founded in 1681, this working plantation is one of the oldest in America, and it has weathered some of the nation’s most turbulent moments in history.
One of the most popular attractions at Boone Hall is Slave Street, which features nine pre-Revolutionary War slave cottages, built of brick and well-preserved. These brick cottages were home to skilled slaves, including cooks and house slaves.
Boone Hall has various exhibits, including “Black History in America,” which chronicles the struggle of African-Americans over the centuries. Their “Exploring the Gullah Culture” performance tells a powerful story and features the unique culture adopted by African slaves in South Carolina.
The Charleston Museum
Founded in 1773, The Charleston Museum is the oldest museums in the United States.
As one might expect from a long-standing museum, it boasts many eclectic artifacts and cultural objects of interest, including military relics. British and other foreign ships brought countless treasures to Charleston, sparking curiosity from those who view them.
“The Armory” exhibit will surely be of interest to military history buffs. This permanent exhibit features weaponry dating back to 1750 and up to the 20th century. Explore the exhibit, and you’ll discover Revolutionary War and Civil War-era swords, along with weaponry and equipment from WWI and II.
White Point Garden
White Point Garden is not only a great place to take in views of the Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter. The 5.7-acre park is also home to striking monuments and interesting military relics.
Located at the tip of the Charleston peninsula, White Point Garden is situated at the end of the Battery, Charleston’s defensive seawall and promenade. Memorials commemorating the city’s most prominent figures are scattered throughout the park, including the infamous pirate, Stede Bonnet, and celebrated general William Moultrie.
Stroll through the park, and you’ll also encounter numerous real Revolutionary and Civil War-era cannons and one replica It has become something of a game for visitors to try to guess which cannon is the imposter.
If you have enough time, consider stopping by The Citadel, Charleston’s historic military college. Graduates from this notable military college have fought in every American war since the Mexican War of 1846.
There is a museum located on its campus, which offers a deeper look inside The Citadel’s long and storied history. Visitors can learn about the founding of the school in the 1800s, in addition to the many notable alumni who have passed through its ranks.
Of course, be sure to visit on a Friday to catch its afternoon dress parade. Watch as cadets march in formation as drums and bagpipes fill the air, continuing one of its long-held military traditions.
Why read about American history when you can witness it for yourself? Charleston has no shortage of local reenactments for spectators to watch, from the early pirate years to the Civil War and beyond.
If you’re visiting Charleston in April, you can’t miss Legare Farm’s annual Battle of Charleston Reenactment. Head down to John’s Island to watch locals recreate Charleston’s most significant moments in military history through the centuries.
Whether you’re a Revolutionary War aficionado or you’re interested in the city’s more recent military operations, there is something for every kind of history lover in Charleston. The Holy City has such a long and rich history that it is impossible to cover it all in a single trip.
If you’re like most visitors, planning another Charleston vacation will be on your to-do-list before you even leave the city. That’s because people can’t help but fall in love with everything Charleston has to offer, from the award-winning cuisine to world-class golf—and, of course, her beautifully preserved architecture and history.
For your next Charleston vacation, live like a local and rent a vacation house on the beach. That way, you can explore the city’s storied history by day and relax at night listening to the gentle surf of the Lowcountry.
There’s so much about Charleston we can take pride in, like its beauty, charm, and history. And speaking of history, Charleston is credited with many of our nation’s firsts, like the first museum, and first theater. Want to learn more? Here are five firsts that Charleston can take all the credit for, and they’re five more things you can be proud of as a Charlestonian.
America’s First Woman Editor and Publisher, Elizabeth Timothy
You need to know her name: Elizabeth Timothy. One of the world’s first female journalists, she was also the first female newspaper editor and publisher. Of course in addition she also took on the role of being a mom and homemaker — a juggle the modern woman knows all too well. She was also a widow. In other words, she’s like a real life superhero. She immigrated tjo America with her French Huguenot family in 1731, arriving in Philadelphia from London. The family eventually moved to Charleston (then Charles Towne) so her father could take over the South Carolina Gazette. When her father passed away at an early age, none of his sons were old enough to take over but Elizabeth was — she had six kids by the time she became a partner. Although — the paper’s publisher had to be listed as a male, her brother Peter, who was 13, even though she in fact was the publisher. As publisher and editor she certainly had a large role in shaping the city and was inducted into the SC Press Association Hall of Fame in 1973. The South Carolina Gazette lived on Vendue Range, where there is now a plaque there on the bay recognizing her. She was inducted into the SC Business Hall of Fame in 2000.
America’s First Theater, Dock Street Theater
The Dock Street Theater is America’s first theater and where America’s first opera was performed. The theater opened in 1736 with The Recruiting Officer. About 64 years later, the theater turned into Planters Hotel, where Planter’s Punch was invented, and the hotel remained there until almost a 100 years. Dear old Dock Street was reconstructed in 1936. Today it’s a beloved local treasure showing theatre favorites and originals fro traveling companies during special times like our annual Spoleto Festival.
First Municipal College, College of Charleston
Established in 1770, the College of Charleston is the oldest municipal college in the nation. It’s also the 13th oldest institution of higher education in the country. Chartered in 1785, CofC’s founders include three (at that time) future signers of the Declaration of Independence — Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward — as well as three future signers of the US Constitution: John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Today the college continues to carry out its original mission, which is to “encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education.”
America’s First Submarine, H.L. Hunley
The H.L. Hunley is a hand-cranked Confederate submarine that torpedoed the USS Housatonic in the Charleston Harbor on Feb. 14 1864, during the Civil War, making it the first submarine to sink a warship. With it being the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship, that move altered naval warfare from that point forward, demonstrating the advantages, and the dangers, of undersea warfare. Invented by Horace Lawson Hunley, the Hunley was nearly 40 feet long and was built in Mobile, Alabama. The beast was discovered in the sea in 1995 and on Aug. 8, 2000 it was raised out of the ocean, just 3.5 nautical miles from Sullivan’s Island outside the entrance to Charleston Harbor, where a crowd of proud Charlestonians and history buffs loudly applauded.
America’s First Museum, Charleston Museum
Located on Meeting Street, the Charleston Museum was founded in 1773. It was inspired by the British Museum and established by the Charleston Library Society the day before the American Revolution. Oddly enough the museum didn’t open to the public until 1824 but closed again due to the Civil War. Although the original collections are widely varied and even include Egyptian artifacts, its main focus is still on the South Carolina Lowcountry. The collections include materials from natural history, historical material culture and both documentary and photographic resources.
There is a a long list of Charleston firsts, and these five only scratch the surface. Check back soon for another post with more information about trailblazers in our historic city.
The buzz about Charleston right now is all about the total solar eclipse — the Holy City is in the path of totality, and it’s all happening on the afternoon of Mon. Aug. 21. In fact, Charleston is the last place in the country to see it. Where will you be?
If you care to celebrate somewhere away from home, we have explored some of those options for you below. But no matter where you witness this once-in-a-lifetime event, one thing’s for sure: it will be memorable. Enjoy it, no matter where you are!
1. Riverdogs Game
Joseph P. Riley Park, 360 Fishburne Street
The Riverdogs play the Augusta GreenJackets on the 21st at 4:05 p.m., but the stadium is opening its doors at 1 p.m. so everyone can be in their seats to enjoy the sky go dark at 2:46 p.m. Special guests from NASA will be there as well to talk a little about how the solar system works.
2. MUSC Health Stadium
1990 Daniel Island Drive
Gates open at 11 a.m. at the MUSC Health Stadium on Eclipse Day, where a family-friendly event will take place complete with astronomy-related activities, a science-based kids zone, local food vendors, drinks, entertainment, and more. Tickets are $8 for adults, and kids under 12, first responders, and military personnel get in free. Tickets include solar eclipse glasses!
3. Eclipse on a Warship
USS Yorktown, Mt Pleasant
Eclipse on a Warship lets history and science buffs come together for an all-day event full of presentations from NASA scientists and more as well as space-focused kids’ activities. The first 3,000 people on the ship get a free pair of specialized eclipse glasses. Get your tickets on the day of the event at the ticket window beginning at 9 a.m.
4. Eclipse on the Atlantic
Pier 101, Folly Beach
From 1 to 4 p.m., do the eclipse Folly style at Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar. Local act Band of Brothers will perform, and eclipse glasses will be provided. Considering the overall bohemian nature of Folly Beach, this seems like a great place to do celebrate an occasion so cosmic.
5. Get Eclipsed on IOP
Front Beach, Isle of Palms
Ring in the eclipse with your feet in the sand and your ears tuned into the sounds of DJ Natty Heavy behind the Windjammer. Plane Jane takes the stage following the eclipse, and children’s activities will available at the Isle of Palms County Park. Attendees get eclipse glasses while supplies last, and the event is on from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
6. Free Eclipse Extravaganza
Citadel Mall, West Ashley
Don’t feel like leaving West Ashley? No problem. Head to Citadel Mall for a free celebration from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. in the parking lot by Planet Fitness. Free eclipse glasses go to the first 500 to arrive, and there will be kids’ activities, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Educational materials from NASA will be provided. Any cash donations collected via the inflatable hamster ball maze, sports arena inflatable, and dunk tank will benefit nonprofit Darkness to Light.
7. Dark Side of the Sun
Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Mt Pleasant
Next door at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina is the Dark Side of the Sun party on Harborside Beach with music from local reggae stars the Dubplates plus concessions, games, and more. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.
8. Solar Eclipse Festival
Yonderfield, Bowman SC
Head to Bowman, just an hour north of Charleston, to celebrate in the new festival grounds of Yonder Field. The day will include the Great Inflatable Race obstacle course as well as music from Uncle Kracker, Edwin McCain, and Corey Smith. Local food trucks will be onhand, and first-run movie will close the night. The best part? You can camp there, too, between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22.
Where will spend the afternoon of Mon. Aug. 21?