Charleston Harbor

11 Things to Know About Living in Charleston

Searching for a new place to plant roots with affordable homes, beautiful weather, incredible food, and fun around every corner? Consider moving to Charleston, SC! Despite being the oldest city in South Carolina, The Holy City is always finding new ways to grow, and it’s considered to be one the best places to live on the East Coast. Here are 11 things to know about living in Charleston!

You’ll Be Able to Find Work Here

One of the main reasons that residents love living in Charleston is the booming job market. Charleston’s unemployment rate has decreased over the years and currently sits at 2.6%, which is 15% lower than the national average! Not to mention, tons of major employers fill the area, such as Joint Base Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, The Boeing Company, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Publix Supermarkets, and more!

Public & Private Schools You’ll Love

Looking for a great school where you can send your little ones? You can find plenty of K-12 schools among the best schools in Charleston! For highly-rated public schools, check out Academic Magnet High SchoolMontessori Community School, and Charleston County School of the Arts. For top-notch private schools, give Porter-GaudAshley Hall, and Bishop England High School a try. Thinking about taking that next step and going to college? Ranked as the top public university in the SouthThe Citadel is a military college that focuses on developing leadership skills and academic distinction, drawing in more than 2,300 students from all over the world. There’s also College of Charleston, which boasts a beautiful campus, cutting-edge programs, and NCAA Division 1 athletics. No matter what kind of education you want, Charleston has it!

Affordable Homes for Every Lifestyle

With median home prices around $269,400 and median rent at $1,052 a month across the city, you’ll be able to find a safe, affordable neighborhood in Charleston that fits your lifestyle and budget! South of Broad is a fantastic area for singles and young professionals to settle down, thanks to its hip local bars and restaurants, walkability, and job opportunities. If you’re searching for the best neighborhoods in Charleston for families, plant roots in West Ashley, where you’ll find everything from quirky shops and beautiful parks to spacious single-family homes and excellent schools. There’s also Stiles Point, a neighborhood loved by retirees for its relaxing atmosphere and short commute to the beach.

Bask in the Great Outdoors

With an average of 230 days of sunshine, it’s no surprise that some of the best things to see and do in Charleston are outdoors! Walk along the harbor and dip your toes in the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park, or explore Chucktown’s flora and fauna with a swamp ride at Cypress Gardens. The Angel Oak Tree is a must see, as it’s rumored to be the oldest living thing in the country. Locals and visitors alike love practicing their backswing at world-class golf courses like Wild Dunes and Charleston National Golf Course. Life in Lowcountry is all about taking some time to enjoy life, and what better way than a day at the beach! Located just south of Charleston, Folly Beach is the ultimate spot to catch some major swells or a few fish. Sullivan Island is the place to go if you want to try sailing or kiteboarding. There are also beaches like KiawahIsle of Palms, and Seabrook nearby for even more fun in the sun!

Get Out & See the Best of Charleston

There are all kinds of fun things to do in Charleston! Take the kids out to the ball game to see the Charleston Riverdogs hit home runs. Or get a big group of friends together and see well-known musical artists—like Leon Bridges and Lord Huron—while enjoying some libations and a seafood boil at High Water Festival. Watch otters flip around in their tanks, feed a few southern stingrays, or admire loggerhead sea turtles at the South Carolina Aquarium. Climb up and zip through rope courses 35 feet in the air at Wild Blue Ropes. Want something to really make your heart jump? Take a ghost tour of haunted spots like Old City Jail (where Charleston’s worst criminals lived), The Powder Magazine, or the Provost Dungeon.

Explore Charleston’s Rich History

Living in Charleston means you’re living in a city that’s deeply rooted in American history! Travel back in time to 1738 as you explore the oldest unrestored plantation house in the nation at Drayton Hall. Learn about Gullah culture, wander through the butterfly pavilion, or pick out fresh produce from one of the oldest working farms in America, Boone Hall Plantation. The Charleston Tea Plantation is the perfect place to take a day trip—board the trolley and see thousands of tea bushes, as well as America’s only tea factory. Known as the location where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, Fort Sumter is a major landmark in both Charleston and American history. Today, you can tour the grounds to learn about the events leading up to the first shots, how Fort Sumter was built, how the artillery crew operated, and more!

Let the Arts Scene Move You

Charleston residents are just as proud of their arts scene as they are of their Southern history! Marvel at contemporary paintings of southern landscapes or neoclassical sculptures at The Gibbes Museum of Art. Or let the Charleston Symphony Orchestra serenade you with their performances and world-renowned guest artists like Dimitri Pittas and Leah Edwards. If you’re looking for things to do that the whole family will enjoy, take a trip to see locally-made bowls, paintings, and toys at one of the most popular Charleston attractions, The City Market. The Spoleto Festival USA is also a Charleston must-see! For 17 days, performers of every artistic medium—such as dance, theater, opera, and choral—fill the streets or the stage at Dock Street Theatre to showcase their craft in new and creative ways!

Take a Walk Down King Street

Located in the heart of historic Downtown Charleston, King Street is your one-stop shop for all things fashion, food, and fun! Originally built in the 1700s as a path for travelers and port trading, King Street has developed into a hub for dining and shopping. Make your way to Lower King Street Antiques District and browse 18th century Paris treasures at Jacques Antiques, or peruse antique brooches and bracelets at The Silver Vault. Middle King Street (also known as King Street Fashion District) has a mix of locally-owned boutiques and major national brands. Add a few sundresses and shirts to your closet from Worthwhile, or pick out your new go-to purse from Michael Kors. You’ll find some great places to eat in Charleston on Upper King Street! Try the ragu bolognese and rosemary focaccia at Le Farfalle, or indulge in some black chocolate pudding cake and a glass of Merlot at Charleston Grill.

You’ll Be Swimming in Amazing Seafood

The best food in Charleston comes from under the sea, and you can find it around every corner! Venture to the Hominy Grill to have a bowl of their famous She-Crab Soup and an order of the Shrimp & Grits. Or take a quick drive to 167 Raw to fill your stomach with little neck clams and lobster rolls. Hank’s offers a unique and upscale take on seafood favorites like the Steamed Mussels, Sauteed Lump Crabcakes, and Grilled Swordfish. Known for their locally harvested oysters, Bowens Island is one of the top restaurants in Charleston for delicious seafood, affordable prices, and beautiful sunset views during dinner. Speaking of oysters, this South Carolina city is home to the world’s largest oyster festival! Every year, people near and far travel to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival to shuck and eat 80,000 pounds of oysters, as well as enjoy live music and good company.

Fill Your Belly with Delicious Eats

While Chucktown is known for having delicious seafood, it’s not the only food that Charlestonians do best! Head to Bay Street Biergarten to indulge in Bavarian-inspired Southern food like Jägerschnitzel and Freaky Taters on the outdoor patio. Or taste dishes that are made from the freshest region-only ingredients at Husk. Let your taste buds go on the ultimate adventure when you dine at Workshop—a food court that has six rotating kitchens dishing out everything from eggplant parmesan to chicken tacos. If you’re someone who enjoys breakfast food any time of the day, Millers All Day is one of the best places to eat in Charleston! Locals and visitors love the waffles with caramel, bananas, and meringue, as well as the fried chicken biscuits. The Charleston area also offers tons of food tours for those looking for their new favorite lunch spot or place to grab a sweet treat!

Experience the Local Nightlife

Whether you’re looking to bust a move on the dance floor or grab a few cocktails with the girls, the list of fun things to do in Charleston at night is endless! Order some beers and compete in a friendly bowling match at The Alley. This local hotspot features three craft beer bars, tons of retro arcade games, concerts, and more! Enjoy a Red Moon Margarita as you take in the breathtaking view of the Charleston Harbor at The Rooftop Bar. Rock out to some live music in Charleston with local bands at the vibrant Pour House. Your feet will never stop grooving to the electric beat as DJs play nightly at DECO Nightclub. Trying to have a chill night out with friends? Prohibition serves a long list of inventive cocktails—like the Carolina Wren and the Warthog—as well as live jazz music every night.

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Things to Know About Charleston, SC