Charleston, SC

Population: 129,888 livability score shield

Key findings

  • Charleston has a Livability Score of 72/100, which is considered excellent
  • Charleston crime rates are 15% lower than the South Carolina average
  • Cost of living in Charleston is 16% higher than the South Carolina average
  • Charleston real estate prices are 88% higher than the South Carolina average
  • Rental prices in Charleston are 30% higher than the South Carolina average

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      Charleston, SC

      Charleston is a charming city in South Carolina that is often visited by tourists traveling to the beaches of the state. An abundance of history resides in the city in the form of historic homes, churches, and statues. Many people find that it's difficult to leave the city once they arrive due to the friendliness shown by residents as well as the beauty of the area. King Street is one of the areas in Charleston where many people go when they want peaceful surroundings or even when they want to retire. Known as the Holy City, Charleston has several churches of various denominations and is the location of where the Order of Secession singing took place.

      Before you even arrive in Charleston, you'll see the steeples of churches against the background of the sky. Many churches in the city have been in the area for hundreds of years, adding their own touch to the history that the city offers. Some of the steeples were once used as lighthouses for those in the Confederacy. In 1670, the city was formally founded by Protestants. Over the years, more religious groups have been accepted into the city. Even though there are quite a few different religions in Charleston, everyone comes together in a way that is beautiful so that they support the residents and the tourists who visit the area.

      A large number of homes in the city have stood the test of time as they have endured everything from hurricanes to floods. After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the American College of Building Arts helped residents rebuild their homes due to a lack of artisans who were available to offer assistance. The Citadel is also located in Charleston.

      Since there are so many city streets to navigate, the best method of transportation is walking. It can be quite difficult to find a parking space and to secure a space even when one is found because of the tight quarters of the streets. Another option is riding a bicycle. There are numerous locations where you can securely park your bike while shopping, eating at one of the restaurants or cafes, or taking a stroll through one of the parks.

      When searching for a home to move to, consider venturing away from the historic area of the city. Homes that are only a short distance from downtown are often larger and are usually less expensive. Popular areas include Mount Pleasant and Johns Island. Beach access is less than 30 minutes from the city, which is why it's an area tourists travel through when they go to other beaches on the east coast. Fishing is a popular activity that residents and visitors enjoy as well as hiking at Waterfront Park.

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      Charleston Reviews

      Write a review about Charleston Tell people what you like or don't like about Charleston…
      Worst place I ever lived
      Attractions3/10
      Community1/10
      Nightlife1/10
      Dining5/10
      Shopping5/10
      We lived in Charleston for 2 years and we hated it there. We lived in North Charleston and Goose Creek for a year each. I worked in both Mount Pleasant and Summerville. Traffic is horrible and the worst I ever experienced. I lived in the Dallas, TX area for 6 years and it wasn't this bad. It doesn't matter what day it is, you'll be stuck in traffic. Everything is extremely annoying to drive to due to the lack of roads and alternate ways you can go. I guess if you're one of the rich professionals who lives and works in Mount Pleasant, then you probably don't have any complaints. Basically, there's an expensive part of the area towards the beach where all the doctors and other rich people live. Everywhere else is basically low income and ghetto. There's not really a middle class area. We are a middle class family, but could not find a nice neighborhood to live in. The cost of living was very high for being in a crappy house in a crappy neighborhood. In both neighborhoods we lived in, you couldn't go on walks without some stray dogs chasing after you! Many people had trash in their yards. It was just very indicative of a poorly managed city.

      I loved my job, but we had to get out of there. We sent my son to a charter school in Goose Creek, in hopes that it would be better than the terrible public schools. It wasn't so we took him out to homeschool right before we left. Don't move here. It might be okay to visit as a tourist, but don't live here.
      0 0
      The worst place ever
      Attractions1/10
      Community1/10
      Nightlife1/10
      Dining1/10
      Shopping1/10
      This place is a high crime/low income nightmare. they have no attractions, no shopping malls, no entertainment. The crime goes mostly unreported. We have had at least 9 shootings near our home in "the nice area" in less than a year. The locals are extremely rude. The education is non existent. I fear for children growing up here because the access to decent education is scary. We have lived in all of the suburbs (mt pleasant, west Ashley....) and now live downtown. It is a living nightmare. The summer is so hot its unlivable and most restaurants are so hot during the summer because the air con can't keep up. We have never felt safe here. No one uses a leash to walk dogs, our dogs have been attacked many times. DO NOT MOVE HERE. It is a nightmare. everyone is broke. No decent jobs. Its the worst of the worst. Do not believe anything else you read about this place, Its all a lie.
      5 -13
      Can I give this place less stars?
      Attractions1/10
      Community2/10
      Nightlife2/10
      Dining1/10
      Shopping5/10
      You really don’t have a food place open 24 hours? With a city this crowded?! There’s nothing to do here besides go out and drink if that’s your scene, no theme parks, no laser tag places. Rivers Ave is a good place to stumble into the wrong kinds of people. Multiple times I’ve run into some aggressive homeless people that seemed intent to take what I had simply because I wasn’t carrying cash to help them. Traffic is God awful, and the people over here for the most part are terrible. Literally the worst city I have ever lived in. Stay away if you can
      4 -11
      Forgot To Mention Traffic and Accidents
      Attractions5/10
      Community4/10
      Nightlife3/10
      Dining2/10
      Shopping5/10
      The drivers in this city are God awful. You could count the number of seconds on your hand before an accident occurs here, signaling is disgraceful in this area and my goodness, the traffic is horrendous. I could walk the length of a block in NYC before I make it past a few lights on Rivers Ave or Dorchester Road. Terrible city planning to say the least. Make sure your insurance is up to date and be very careful driving. You know it’s bad when local cops have it plastered on their cars “Target: 0 traffic deaths”. Driving here is borderline life-risking.
      5 -8
      Nonexistent Late Eats
      Attractions3/10
      Community5/10
      Nightlife4/10
      Dining2/10
      Shopping5/10
      This place isn’t too bad. Scenery is pretty nice, fishing is rather nice as well. But if you are intending on staying out in this city, be prepared. Only things open past 11PM are bars. You’d be lucky to find a place in town open past that, and usually it’s not exactly you’re choice of good food. Hell, even the McDonalds in this town are never open. For a city, it’s embarrassing that there is simply no restaurants with 24 hour operations. Absolutely idiotic decision making by whomever thought it would be a good idea to make that the norm for everyone. Hope you packed some snacks or are pretty close to a Walmart if you want food!
      4 -2
      Living in Charleston
      Attractions8/10
      Community8/10
      Nightlife5/10
      Dining10/10
      Shopping7/10
      Most people have heard Charleston is a beautiful city. Charleston is unquestionably beautiful and needs to be seen by all. Bear in mind that the entire area is built around sucking you dry of money. From your air plane ticket, food, hotel, and attractions, plan on overspending. Walking is free, but nothing else is reasonably priced. Don't wear your heels, ladies! You will likely stumble and fall on the uneven sidewalks or the passed out drunks after the bars close. Did I mention how disgustingly hot it is in July and August? After spending an evening downtown, you may lose your sense of direction and find yourself driving on "Rivers Avenue.", a long stretch of road that will have you believing you are driving thru the set of "The Walking Dead". Lock your doors and keep driving, even if the light is red. Parking downtown is a hassle and it is getting more crowded everyday. Contributing factors for bad traffic include horse carriages pulling lazy tourists, narcissistic millennials taking selfies in the middle of the street, and junk cars driven by rednecks that break down in the middle of the road. You see, there are no emission laws here so you can smoke up the state with your polluting "puzzle piece" of a car that you resurrected from LKQ. In closing, Charleston is a good place to visit, but don't plan on spending much time here. Southern cooked meals will make you sick and fat. Be on the lookout for palmetto bugs, a southern euphemism for the giant flying coach roach that inhabits Charleston. You may find them walking on the wall of a restaurant or scurrying under your bathroom cabinet. They won't hesitate to drop on your head or run across your toes in the middle of the night. For this reason, it is my recommendation to travel with a man so he will do his duty of disposing the cockroach for you.
      4 -6
      They Mean Whites Only
      Attractions1/10
      Community1/10
      Nightlife1/10
      Dining1/10
      Shopping1/10
      Charleston and the surrounding areas or counties, no matter how much they build or the events they put on will always display their hidden racism. White Supremacy is alive and well here. Just go to downtown Charleston, the building is Gentrification and they are making the local economy an uneven playing field and moving at such an expedited rate that the Black Man will have no home in this city and that is the end goal. If White Supremacy was not a propagated agenda they would not build new communities with Plantation in the name.
      2 -15
      Southern Hospitality and affordable
      Attractions8/10
      Community8/10
      Nightlife9/10
      Dining9/10
      Shopping9/10
      Charleston is everything i thought it would be, quaint in feel but not small and the people are so kind! I never understood Southern Hospitality until I moved here http://www.drhorton.com/South-Carolina/Charleston.aspx it really is amazing! the Prices of everything and the people make it a great place to be.
      6 -1
      History, Southern Charm, Beaches, Great Food, and Friendly Smiles
      Attractions8/10
      Community10/10
      Nightlife8/10
      Dining8/10
      Shopping8/10
      Growing up on James Island, I lived in Charleston until I was 19, I then moved away to Houston, TX and have since moved back to the area. The best part about Charleston is this, since I was away for nearly 15 years, when I came back, things had changed. Changed for the BETTER! We are now one of the fastest growing relocation cities in America, there are many tech jobs, nursing jobs, Boeing is here, and Google, we didn't have any of this "progress" when I was growing up here. All of this is available now, and yet people will still say hello to you when you pass them on the street. We have some of the best restaurants available, we have miles and miles of ocean front and river front property. We experience mild winters and balmy summers. I love Charleston, I have lived in many places, including Charleston's sister city Savannah, and by far Charleston tops my list.
      4 -4
      Charleston, SC - Caught Between the Past and the Future
      Attractions8/10
      Community5/10
      Nightlife6/10
      Dining6/10
      Shopping7/10
      After settling into my new job in Charleston, South Carolina, this Yankee ventured out with a little trepidation. After all, for some in this area of the country the War still isn't over. Reminders of this are everywhere, in the people you meet, the way the city is still divided along racial lines, and the critical role Charleston played during that period in our history. Fort Sumter, where it all began, still guards the city's Atlantic entrance. But I soon warmed to the Southern hospitality and charm I encountered everywhere, and settled into my role as a tolerated foreigner.

      There is much to recommend in Charleston. The cost of living is probably half that of the west coast or northeast. Sandy beaches are a short distance away, and the drive presents a beautiful tapestry of salt marshes, inland waterways, drawbridges, marinas, and ocean views. The city of Charleston itself is a patchwork of more modern and pre-Revolutionary War buildings, with a definite European feel, accessed by driving or strolling down tree-lined cobblestone or brick streets. If you're into music, art, festivals, antiques, boating, history, fishing, or eating in the countless very good restaurants the city of Charleston offers, boredom will never be a problem.
      6 -2
      Source: The Charleston, SC data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).