Charleston is located near the middle of South Carolina's coast at the point where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston is the second largest city in South Carolina with a city population of 124,000 and a regional population of 665,000. Charleston's downtown area, centered on King Street, retains its historic flavor and attracts many shoppers who spend more than $3 billion annually. The Medical University of South Carolina is a major research institution and is the largest employer in Charleston. Also headquartered in Charleston is leading non-profit accounting and fundraising vendor, Blackbaud.
Founded in 1670 as Charles Towne in honor of King Charles II of England, it quickly became established as one of the most populous cities in the United States. This was a position it maintained through 1840 due to its role as an important seaport and trade center. During the Revolution, the British Navy was turned back in 1776, only to return in 1780 with an overwhelming army. The British captured Charleston and remained in control until the end of the war. Prior to the Civil War, Charleston’s economy flourished with the expansion of cotton and slave trade. South Carolina voted to secede from the Union upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, and subsequently, General Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. After the defeat of the Confederacy, Federal forces remained in Charleston to help rebuild the city. Despite efforts to rebuild Charleston to its pre-war prosperity, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that major reinvestment and municipal improvements, including a commitment to preserving the historic character of Charleston, led to a growth in tourism as an important contributor to the local economy. Today, Charleston is known for its diverse culture, rich heritage and one of America’s friendliest cities.
The climate in Charleston is mild and pleasant with 230 days of sunshine each year and a growing season that is almost 300 days long. Precipitation is heaviest between June and September, averaging between six and seven inches per month, with a rainfall average of around 3 inches through the remainder of the year.
Visitors to downtown Charleston can take advantage of the DASH trolley service, which provides free transportation around the popular downtown peninsula. The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) operates fixed route bus service, express commuter service, and flexible transportation throughout the Charleston region. Amtrak offers train service on their Palmetto line from NYC to Savannah, GA with a stop at the North Charleston station. The Charleston International Airport hosts American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United Airlines, and US Airways.
Cost of Living in Charleston
The cost of living in Charleston is 3% to 5% higher than the national average, with higher healthcare and utility costs offset by lower than average housing costs. Compare your budget to the cost of living in Charleston with these links.
The Charleston area offers a number of the best performing schools in South Carolina. The region is divided into four public school districts, which serve nearly 90,000 students. The Charleston region has made significant investments in schools designed to accommodate rapid advancements in technology and also designed to serve diverse learning styles. Learn more about Charleston schools using the link below.
Medical University of South Carolina is Charleston’s best-ranked medical facility. This hospital provides general medical and surgical facilities and is the number one hospital in the state of South Carolina. If you’re planning a move to Charleston, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you:
Charleston Real Estate
With housing costs 13% below the national average, buying a home in Charleston can be a wise investment. East Cooper is popular with families looking for great schools and close proximity to downtown. West Ashley is loaded with small, solidly-constructed World War II-era homes in a neighborhood with a diverse population. Use these links to explore your home-buying options in Charleston.
French Quarter Inn offers elegance in a central location at the City Market, the center of Charleston’s shopping and nightlife district. The Wentworth Mansion offers a unique hotel experience situated in a quiet residential area not far from Charleston’s center of activity. For a top-rated smaller hotel, consider The Restoration on King. It’s convenient, comfortable, and close to everything! Find your perfect place to stay using the links below.
Charleston is known for local oysters, and Pearlz Oyster Bar serves them up in a casual atmosphere. McCrady’s is an upscale favorite, serving elegantly prepared dishes from local producers. The French and Southern cuisine fusion menu offers a 4 course meal with selections ranging from Wagyu Beef Tartare to Creme Fraiche. For adventurous cuisine on a smaller budget, the Two Boroughs Larder offers a laid-back atmosphere and a menu that will delight even the most discerning foodie. Explore the many great restaurants in Charleston using the following links.
Things to Do in Charleston
With a remarkable history and an eclectic mix of fashion, arts, antiques, home furnishings and abundant restaurants, King Street is the place to go for shopping and dining. The College of Charleston sits just off King Street, adding youthful energy to the already vibrant pedestrian scene. Located in Charleston Harbor, the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier provides a rare opportunity to tour one of the largest vessels to navigate the global waters. Active duty military can board for free, but only if you arrive in uniform! Who can resist visiting America’s first museum? The Charleston Museum features artifacts from fossils to Civil War artifacts, and you’ll even find a whale skeleton on display! History buffs can take the ferry from Liberty Square to Fort Sumter and stand in the spot where the Civil War began. There is no end to the adventures you can have in Charleston, South Carolina. Visit the following links to discover more things to do in Charleston.