Best Places to Live

Charleston, SC

Population: 147,457
LIV
SCORE
650
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Founded in 1670, Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and is known as the “Holy City” due to the prominence of many churches around the low-rise cityscape, and for being one of the only cities in the original thirteen colonies that promoted religious tolerance. That tolerance extends to today and the city is a unique combination of history, hospitality, creativity, culture and an epic foodie scene. 

Top Industries and Employers: Technology and tourism are the titans of industry in Charleston. 

Best Coffee Shop: The Harbinger Cafe

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Don’t miss the Pluff Mud Porter from Holy City Brewing, which was awarded a gold medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. 

Must-Have Meal: Shrimp and Grits are to Charleston as bagels are to New York City. Located on the popular King Street, The Darling Oyster Bar is one of the best spots in the city to get your grit fix as well as many other seafood favorites. 

Best Co-Working Space: Holy City Collective is both a beautiful and practical space with 4,000 square feet of communal space and two large exterior decks. 

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Élevé Lounge, the whimsical rooftop garden at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, is the perfect spot to grab a drink. The art deco-inspired spot specializes in cocktails and has an extensive wine and craft beer list. 

Creative Hub: Home to more than 50,000 volumes of books, Blue Bicycle Books is a local favorite for readers and writers alike and has the largest collection of new, rare and local reading materials in the area.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Pay a visit to the Charleston City Market, one of the nation’s oldest city markets and home to more than 300 entrepreneurs. The market’s stalls are filled with local artisans, home goods and stops for snacks and libations.  

Free Way to Have Fun: Pack a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon at Charleston’s Riley Waterfront Park. The park has plenty of room to spread out, fountains to cool down on summer afternoons and paths for biking and walking, all while offering gorgeous views of the harbor. 

Local Dream Job: Curator at the Gibbes Museum of Art, which was established in 1858 and is one of the oldest art organizations in the U.S, housing more than 10,000 objects. 

Read More:
Moving to Charleston? Here Are the Basics
10 People on What it's Really Like to Leave NYC for a Smaller City
Southern Pride: A Guide to Charleston’s LGBTQ Scene

- Cara Sanders

"People relocate to Charleston for its diverse and growing economy and its incomparable quality of life. With beaches, rivers and Charleston Harbor, water is literally everywhere, presenting a wealth of recreational opportunities."

Maggy Brown
Media Relations Assistant, Explore Charleston

Charleston, SC Ranking Data

Civic
69
Demographics
43
Economy
56
Education
61
Health
49
Housing
53
Infrastructure
57