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Historic Charleston SC

Charleston Peninsula Aerial View

Charleston is the second largest city in South Carolina and has a population of approximately 128,000. The historic Charleston SC downtown is on a peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper rivers which flow into the Atlantic, and is protected from the ocean by surrounding islands. The city is an important port, boasting the second largest container seaport on the East Coast and the fourth largest in North America. Charleston is known as the "Holy City" because of the prevalence of church steeples that dot the city’s skyline and the fact that it was one of the few places in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance to the Huguenots and Jews.

Map of Charleston SC

The greater Charleston area is comprised of five regions: East Cooper, West Ashley, North Area, The Islands, and Downtown. 

  • East Cooper - The Area just over the Ravenel Bridge that includes the neighboring town of Mt Pleasant.
  • West Ashley - The area west of the Peninsula, across the Ashley River. 
  • North Area - Includes North Charleston and the surrounding communities. 
  • The Islands - The Islands include Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Island, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, James Island and Johns Island. 
  • The Downtown Charleston Peninsula is about 17 square miles and home to antebellum mansions, museums, restaurants, shopping and quaint b&bs. 
Charleston Neighborhoods

The Five Neighborhoods of  historic Charleston SC

  • The Boroughs - The Boroughs are made up of 4 small neighborhoods: 
    RadcliffeboroughLocated next to the Medical University of SC, this area is home to doctors, professors, college students and other professionals. Columned antebellum mansions share streets with modern homes merging the old and new. Biking and walking are popular forms of transportation in this borough, with its proximity to shopping, dining, and cultural nightlife.
    AnsonboroughThis area, surrounded by the Historic Charleston Market, Waterfront Park, and numerous hotels, was the first suburb of the original walled city of Charles Town. Home to the oldest private residence,  the Col. William Rhett House dates back to 1712. Charming deli’s, shops and full-scale restaurants line the streets of this vibrant neighborhood. 
    Cannonborough/Elliotborough - These were originally considered two separate boroughs, but are now regarded as one. This area has been undergoing revitalization over the past several years and has seen many unique restaurants, bakeries and small boutiques popping up in the "Midtown" area around Spring St and Cannon St.
  • Mazyck-WraggboroughThis borough is bordered by the Charleston Visitors Bureau, the Galliard Auditorium, and the Charleston Maritime Center. Located along a portion of Charleston's Museum Mile, Mazyck-Wraggborough offers convenience to a number of cultural hotspots in Charleston, including the Charleston Museum, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, and the Charleston Music Hall. 
  • Harleston Village - Bordered by The College of Charleston and The Medical University of SC, Harleston Village is a lively and diverse area of downtown. This highly pedestrian friendly area of town has parks, corner cafes, boutiques and bars.
  • Business District - The Business district is home to some of the best antique shops in Charleston.  You can find furniture, porcelain, silver and art dating back to the late 1700s. This area is also home to the Fashion District.
  • French Quarter - The French Quarter was settled in 1680 and gets its name from the large number of French Huguenots that settled in the area. This neighborhood is famous for historic churches, art galleries, restaurants, and Waterfront Park.
  • South of Broad - South of Broad is the most exclusive part of downtown Charleston. This quiet residential area has cobblestone streets, stately antebellum mansions, and manicured gardens. 

For other helpful maps including maps to help you locate public restrooms, public parking garages, beaches, and attractions, visit our historic Charleston SC Maps page. 

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Weather in Charleston SC

Charleston Snow

Charleston has a humid sub-tropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. The daily high temperatures average around 75°F and daily low temperatures average around 56°F. The hottest month of the year is July and the coolest month of the year is January, with July and August being the wettest. Hurricane season runs June 1st to November 30th each year. It’s not uncommon for the Charleston area to experience some level of tropical depression or tropical storm activity during the season, although major hurricanes are rare. For further information including monthly average temps, monthly average precipitation, and yearly weather stats, visit our Weather in historic Charleston SC page. 

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Charleston Travel - Getting to Charleston

Southwest Airlines Charleston

Charleston, centrally located on the South Carolina coast, is a short drive from many East Coast cities. Travelers can take Interstate 95 and then Interstate 26 into Charleston. 

Travelers can also fly non-stop from 23 airports and 17 cities in the United States. The recently renovated airport is just a short drive from downtown Charleston.

Other options for traveling to Charleston include Greyhound and Amtrak.  Both the Amtrak and Greyhound station are located in North Charleston, about a 15-minute drive from downtown Charleston. 

Visit our Charleston Travel page for more information on traveling to Charleston.

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Historic Charleston Travel Guide - Getting Around Charleston

Charleston Water Taxi

Charleston is a very pedestrian friendly city, but if you wish to visit some of the nearby towns, plantations, and beaches, then you may need to rent a car, call a cab or request an Uber. 

If you are trying to get around Charleston, one of the easiest ways is to take a cab. Cabs are an inexpensive way to get around the city without the need to rent a car. You can choose from the standard taxicab, a Rickshaw Taxi, or the Charleston Water Taxi. 

If you need to get around Charleston and don't want to wait for a cab, then you should consider renting a car. If you are thinking about renting a car, you should check with your hotel to see if they charge for parking. If they do, then you should consider free street parking or check the rates at some of the nearby parking garages. You could save a significant amount of money parking somewhere else. 

A fun way to get around Charleston and take in many of the Lowcountry main sights and attractions is the Low Country Loop Trolley. This Hop-On/Hop-Off Trolley Tour is frequently used by visitors on their first day or two to quickly get an overview of how the area is laid out. 

Another cheap and easy way to get around Charleston is to ride CARTA  - The Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority. They offer a free downtown shuttle in the historic district, and there are also numerous other bus routes in the area. 

Learn More: Charleston SC Travel

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