Few cities on the Top 100 Best Places to Live list are as steeped in their history as Charleston. Since the mid-1970s the Mayor has generally been credited with helping grow Charleston into a modern small town while maintaining the antebellum charm that drew so many to it in the first place. If you look at the other cities on the Top 100, you’ll see some trends in amenities and programs that make them great places to live. Many of those ideas had their seeds in Charleston.
The city began its modern resurgence by developing the waterfront area into public space with surrounding low-rise development. Getting the parks right was an important first step. Parks are forever. Charleston has invested greatly in creating public waterfront spaces.
The Spoleto Festival, a two-week long arts festival, helped put the city on the international map and forced it to up its game. If you’re going to present a world-class event you have to be a world-class city.
Additionally, the Citadel is one of the most prestigious military colleges in the nation, which has its home in Charleston. The South Carolina Aquarium is located here as well, and Charleston has ranked well on the Top 10 cities for historic preservation, top 10 downtowns, top 10 spring break destinations among others.
Charleston has borrowed ideas from other cities too. A program that celebrates the start of the school year with a giveaway of backpacks and schools supplies to 10,000 families. There is also a monthly open house in the mayor’s office and any resident can drop in on the first Tuesday of each month and tell say what’s on their mind.
Creating great cities for all residents is one of the core values that is looked for in its Best Places.