Home to CORE Languages Headquarters, Charleston is a charming, southern treasure found in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. For years, the “Holy City” has been known for its friendly locals, hospitality, and astounding food culture. However, over the past few years, a new industry has made its way into the spotlight. As of 2017, Charleston’s technology sector is outpacing the rest of the United States, developing the nickname “Silicon Harbor”. This technology sector makes Charleston key to many international businesses such as Bosch, Boeing, Mercedes, BMW, the ZF Group, etc. Many of these international companies use language and relocation services, such as CORE Languages to help their employees adjust to life in the United States.
If you or your company is seeking language training or relocation services, CORE Languages is here to help!
Whether you are just visiting for fun or relocating for business, Charleston has much to offer to make your time enjoyable! Read on for the perfect guide through the Peninsula and the rest of the Charleston area.
A Brief History
Charleston was founded as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England in 1670. From the colonial era up to the Civil War, Charleston was the leading city in the South. It became very wealthy through its export of rice and cotton. Charleston and Boston were sister cities, which meant a lot of residences ventured between the two cities. Along with the French, Scots, Irish and Germans who migrated to Charleston came religious diversity. Community continued to grow and so did the culture. Many societies were founded by elite merchants and planters, some include the South Carolina Society founded by French Huguenots, the German Friendly Society and the Hibernian Society founded by Irish immigrants. Slavery was a huge part of Charleston culture as well, since African slaves were used as a way to harvest and export crops. Charleston was a focal point in the start of the American Revolution and is also the place where the first fire of the American Civil War was shot.
Things to do in Charleston
Charleston is one of the most hospitable cities in the country. Don’t believe us? It has been ranked in the top list of “20 Friendliest Cities” for years by Travel and Leisure Magazine! No matter whether you end up Downtown, in Mount Pleasant, on James or John’s Island, there is something to do around every corner, and a friendly Charleston local to greet you.
The Battery & Water Front Park
Named for the location of the Civil War coastal defense artillery arsenal, The Battery is a lovely place to enjoy a walk by the ocean, get a view of the sailboats, and scope out the old-fashioned, antebellum-styled mansions along the edge of the peninsula (along with some Civil War-era cannons!).
Next to the Battery is the renowned Water Front Park, with the famous Pineapple Fountain. Here you will get the ultimate view of the Charleston Harbor, the historic Ravenel Bridge, and the U.S.S. Yorktown. On your way to either park, not to be missed is a stroll by the famous series of colorful historic houses, Rainbow Row.
Located on Market Street, right next to the Custom House, Charleston City Market is a popular tourist attraction. Walk through the “Daughters of the Confederacy” building to see many local artists, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and traditional Charleston-styled antiques. You can find locals crafting Sweetgrass Baskets out of palm fronds, which were originally made to filter rice on local plantations. The Market is open 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily and 6:30 p.m. -10:30 p.m. on Friday & Saturday nights during the summer for a night market. If you need a quick bite to eat while you are sightseeing, there are some fantastic restaurants for every palate along North and South Market street to keeping you going.
King Street & Marion Square
Named after King Charles II, this historic street has made the list of “Top 10 Famous Streets in America.” It is split into 3 sections: Upper King (design and dining), Middle King (fashion), and Lower King (antiques). Whichever direction you choose, there are stores galore: antiques, book stores, art galleries, coffee shops, jewelry shops and other specialty stores to fulfill your shopping desires.
Marion Square is a park located in the middle of downtown Charleston. The Farmer’s Market sets up here every weekend. Purchase local fruits and vegetables, grab a meal from one of the food vendors, and visit local artisans and craftsmen selling their goods. It is typically open on Saturdays from 8 a.m to 2:00 p.m. In the winter, the times change to Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Historical Things to Do
Patriot’s Point is home to the USS Yorktown, a historic aircraft carrier which served through World War II and the Vietnam War. The USS Yorktown is open every day from 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. With a general admission ticket, you can get a self-guided tour, audio tour, a guided VIP group tour, or just walk around – there’s a lot to see!
A real history fanatic must take a tour of Fort Sumter, the place where the Civil War began. Tours are offered daily and there are two different departure points: Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square and Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Regardless, employees will take you to Fort Sumter via ferry, where you can buy snacks and beverages during your cruise on the harbor.
For those outdoorsy people, Charleston’s plantations are beautiful places to get some fresh air. Middleton Place is home to America’s oldest landscaped garden, with many beautiful flowers and the House Museum. The Middleton House was home to the Middleton Family, who played an important role in American history.
Magnolia Plantation is the oldest public tourist sight in the Low Country and one of the most visited plantations in South Carolina. Take in thousands of flowers and gardens through a Nature Train, Zoo and Nature Center, or a Rice Field Boat Tour. You can even take a tour of the Drayton Family House.
Charleston Tea Plantation is the perfect place for tea lovers. It is the only tea plantation in North America, located on Wadmalaw Island. Here, walk through the tea factory and see how the tea is made. You can also take a tour on a trolley ride and browse through the gift shop.
Boone Hall Plantation is the most photographed plantation in South Carolina. It holds many events throughout the year, for something fun to do during your time here, check out their website to see what activities they offer!
Museums are a terrific way to spend an afternoon, especially in a historic city like Charleston. To get a glimpse of authentic southern heritage and culture, check out the Charleston Museum or the Gibbes Museum of Art, both located in downtown Charleston. The Old Slave Mart Museum is the first African-American museum, staffed by people who have ancestral ties to Charleston slaves. Perhaps 40% of slaves came to America through this market! In North Charleston come face to face with the historic and fascinating H.L Hunley, the famous submarine lost at sea for over a century.
Places to Eat in Charleston
Charleston has a spectacular food and beverage industry. Food is a major part of southern culture, so whatever restaurant you choose, you won’t go hungry or be left unsatisfied. The internet will offer many options, but these are few of our favorites.
There will forever be debate about which restaurant is home to the best shrimp and grits, but most fingers point to Hominy Grill. Hominy Grill just might be the perfect place to bite into this flavorful southern dish. You’ll find other classics such as hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, okra, pimento cheese, coleslaw, seafood, and more!
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant is located on King Street. If you’re venturing over here on a weekend, be prepared to stand in line for a while. It’s not only popular among tourists, but locals too! Grab a biscuit and some coffee and you won’t be sorry.
Hall’s Chop House
After dining out at Hall’s Chop House, be prepared to receive a hefty check. This restaurant is a family-owned steakhouse located on Upper King Street. Their steaks are imported from Allen Brother’s in Chicago. Of course, steak is not their only option. There are a variety of delicious meals to enjoy such as their signature sides, salads, seafood, etc. They also have a kid’s menu and live entertainment almost every night.
After a delicious dinner, you can grab a sweet treat at Carmella’s, located on East Bay Street. They have both sweet and savory dishes, but this is the best place to grab a dessert cocktail or a thirst-quenching milkshake.
Other Things to Do
Charleston holds many beautiful beaches that will also satisfy any outdoorsy needs. In Mount Pleasant, explore the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. On the other side of the peninsula lays Folly Beach.
Charleston locals are all about fitness. You can participate in anything from Yoga to Cross-Fit. Take a Yoga class at Charleston Power Yoga or take a Pilates class at Pilates of Charleston to break a sweat.
Music & Theater
Located on John Street, Charleston Music Hall is the place for a fun night out. Many bands, artists, comedians, and other events happen here throughout the year. You can also grab a show at the Dock Street Theatre on Church Street. Dock Street Theater is America’s first theater, and is now owned and managed by the City of Charleston. Charleston Stage has many shows throughout the year for the whole family to enjoy.
A Southern Charm
These are only a few of the many things Charleston has to offer! Even locals haven’t seen every treasure Chucktown holds. Charleston will take you back in time, entertain you in the now, and give you a glimpse of what its technological future holds. Whatever you decided to do, Charleston has enough to make your time here worthwhile!