Rated the “Top City in the United States” by Conde Nast for two consecutive years (in 2011 and 2012) as well as “America’s Friendliest City” and “America’s Sexiest City” by Travel & Leisure in 2010 and 2011 respectively, Charleston boasts a mixture of old world charm, youthful vibrancy, and southern hospitality that makes it an unbeatable place to call home.
Peninsular Charleston is bound on the east by the Cooper River and on the west by the Ashley River. The downtown area is divided into neighborhoods, each with their own distinct personality while all maintaining a sense of historic charm. Popular neighborhoods include Cannonborough-Elliotborough, the French Quarter, Harleston Village, the King Street Historic District, Radcliffeborough, and South of Broad.
Cannonborough-Elliotborough has undergone considerable remodeling in the past few years and attracts a high number of college students and young professionals because of its affordability and close proximity to all that downtown Charleston has to offer. Spring and Cannon Streets serve as the focal point of this up-and-coming area, home to an eclectic blend of shops, restaurants, and bars.
Arts abound in the French Quarter. Here you’ll find art galleries galore, the infamous Dock Street Theatre, Waterfront Park, and plenty of inns and gardens waiting to be explored. This burgeoning art district has cobblestone streets, window-boxes full of blooming azaleas, and history dating back to the 1600s.
Comprised of college students, young families, elderly residents, and everyone in-between, Harleston Village is only a short walk from the City Marina, the Battery, and King Street. The area encompasses both the beautiful College of Charleston campus and Colonial Lake, a mecca for runners, dog-walkers, and sun-bathers.
The King Street Historic District stretches along Upper and Lower King Street, one of the most popular shopping and dining districts in the downtown area. Lined with an immense amount of high-end boutiques and popular eateries, King Street offers much to visitors and residents alike. Every second Sunday, the street closes to vehicular traffic and pedestrians spend the afternoon wandering in and out of the various storefronts and restaurants.
Radcliffeborough is situated next to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and contains Ashley Hall, a private, all-girls’ school. This picturesque area is popular with young families as well as with MUSC students and employees.
Known as the quietest and most exclusive part of downtown, South of Broad lays claim to a number of antebellum mansions like those found on historic Rainbow Row. In addition to these grand residences, you’ll find homes of all sizes nestled away in the quaint side streets. Also situated in this area is Battery Park, accompanied by breathtaking views of the Cooper River.
Whether it’s the close proximity to the beach, the celebrated food, arts, and cultural festivals, or the weekly farmers’ markets that pique your interest, the diversity of downtown Charleston offers something for everyone.