With its cobblestone walkways, incredible historic sites and miles of stunning beaches, hundreds of residents are moving to Charleston, SC—and for very good reason. Charleston was recently named Travel & Leisure’s top city in the entire U.S. for the fifth year running. You’ll soon find out why.
You’ll immediately be drawn to its charm, slow pace of life and welcoming locals. But before you pack your bags and hit the road, we put together everything you need to know about moving to the South’s favorite city.
1. It’s the friendliest city in the U.S.
Living in Charleston is something you have to experience to understand. And with some of the nicest neighbors in the country, why wait any longer to experience it?
It’s welcoming. Southern hospitality reigns supreme in Charleston—so much that it was recently been ranked the friendliest city in the U.S. If you’re moving to Charleston from other parts of the U.S., prepare for a change in pace. Don’t be surprised if strangers go out of their way to help you, smile at you or strike up some friendly conversation. It’s just a way of life.
It’s not just the locals that love it. People around the world have grown an appreciation for Charleston. It was recently voted the No. 2 city in the entire world—and it’s the first domestic destination to earn the No. 1 ranking the year prior!
2. Charleston is a historical haven.
As the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is a fascinating town stemming from the beginning of the Civil War. The nearly 350-year-old city is the cultural capital of the south and continues to honor its deep-rooted history today.
Welcome to the Holy City. Charleston gets its nickname as “The Holy City” because of the religious freedom that was founded on the peninsula several hundred years ago.
Travel back in time. In Charleston, everything from the churches and cobblestones to the iron gates has a story to tell. No matter how long you’ve lived in Charleston, you’ll never get sick of learning the history behind some of the city’s famous landmarks. Take a ferry to Fort Sumter and stand where the Civil War began, visit some of Charleston’s largest and oldest mansions, and check out America’s oldest preserved plantation house still open to the public.
Appreciate a preservation city. Charleston landed the top spot for 10 best cities for historic preservation. The city prides itself on having the oldest community-based historic preservation group, The Preservation Society of Charleston. In 1931, Charleston also became the first city in the U.S. to establish a board of architectural review.
3. The weather in Charleston is pretty much perfect.
When it comes to weather, Charleston hits the sweet spot by avoiding harsh winters and brutally hot summers. The average low temperature on the coldest day of the year is 38 degrees, and the summer month temperatures rarely climb above the 90s. You can still enjoy outdoor activities even in the middle of winter.
If you’re moving to Charleston, SC and you’d do anything to spend a day outside, you’re in luck. Located on the coast of the Atlantic, the area takes full advantage of its seaside location and offers every kind of land and water activity you can imagine.
Find your beach. Charleston is a peninsula, so you’ll soon get used to being surrounded by water. There are three beaches within a 20-minute drive from downtown, offering plenty of water activities and boat storage in Charleston. Charleston was also recently named to the top 10 best cities for water activities!
4. You can build a strong future in Charleston.
Between impressive schools, low cost of living and a great economy, Charleston is a great place to plant some roots and grow a career. Here’s what you need to know:
Charleston County School District (CCSD) is the second largest school system in South Carolina, representing a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools that span 1,000 square miles. There are great colleges and universities in the area, including The College of Charleston, Trident Technical College and The Citadel—one of the most prestigious military colleges in the nation. If you have young children, there are several great elementary schools in the district: Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, Orange Grove Elementary Charter School, Montessori Community School and more.
The Job Opportunities
Last year, the Charleston region’s economy grew at 3.1 percent, nearly double the national average. The largest industries in the Charleston region involve the medical field, military and the ports (Charleston harbor ranks as the fourth largest port in the entire U.S.). With companies like Boeing, Volvo and Medical University of South Carolina adding thousands of new jobs to the region, it’s no surprise that the area continues to grow.
Because of a strong local economy, excellent job opportunities and city investments creating new businesses, Charleston has become a sought-after place to live–especially for millennials. NerdWallet crunched the numbers for 66 cities and towns in South Carolina to determine the best places for job seekers, and half of those places are within 30 minutes of Charleston. The city’s economy has been on the upswing and attracting the kind of tech startups that hire large numbers of Millennials.
The military employs over 27,000 people in Charleston. Aside from the renowned Citadel, there are a number of active bases in the Charleston area including the Coast Guard Sector Charleston and Joint Base Charleston—host to over 60 Department of Defense and Federal agencies.
5. There are endless things to do in Charleston, SC.
From rich history to arts and culture, to activities on the Atlantic coast, Charleston is full of things to do for anyone and everyone.
Try Out the Local Fare
If there’s one thing you don’t want to miss out on, it’s Charleston’s culinary scene. From dockside seafood to high-end restaurants, there’s a classic dish for everyone to enjoy.
Family-friendly city street houses and apartment complexes in Charleston SC
When it comes to raising a family, Charleston is one of the best cities to live in America. There’s a wonderful public school system, low crime rates and endless activities for kids and families.
7. Getting around Charleston, SC is a breeze.
Like any popular city, Charleston comes with some traffic. But for being such a popular moving destination, commutes are much more tolerable than cities of similar size.
Are you moving to Charleston, SC? If you’re debating relocating to Charleston, debate no further. This charming city is overflowing with historic landmarks, sprawling plantations, beautiful homes and some of the friendliest neighbors in the world.