Located on the Atlantic coast halfway between North Carolina and Georgia, Charleston is the county seat of Charleston County, South Carolina. A major port during the Civil War, Charleston now thrives as a vacation town as well as a fast-growing, modern city. Downtown has become a popular tourist destination with beautiful plantation homes, cobblestone streets, a city market, and historic buildings in a picturesque setting.
By some reports the fastest-growing city in South Carolina, Charleston has approximately 120,000 residents. Along with the beautiful scenery, Charleston residents enjoy mild winters and hot, often humid summers.
With its location on the water, Charleston offers a multitude of recreational activities, including fishing, sailing, and kayaking on the Atlantic Ocean. Carolina Ice Palace features two NHL-sized rinks for ice skating. Hunting is a popular outdoor activity. Charleston has several public and private golf courses.
The tourism industry is a major employer in Charleston, as is the medical industry. Although the Charleston Naval Base has been closed since 1996, Charleston continues to employ many government and military workers, and it is still home to several training centers and units of the Coast Guard, the 437th Airlift Wing, the South Carolina Air National Guard, the Naval Weapons Station and the South Carolina Army National Guard.
Charleston's Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and grow Charleston's technology companies. This is accomplished through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming. With the goal of offering tangible resources to the business community, the Digital Corridor serves as a portal to government, infrastructure, real estate, education, venture capital, professional resources and a trained workforce.
The City Market is a historic public market, offering affordable space for the operation of small retail businesses. The Market is open 365 days per year, with regular daytime and evening hours. A favorite shopping place for tourists and residents alike, the Market offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to start a small business in a high-traffic location.
The city's major private sector employers include Piggly Wiggly, a grocery wholesaler/retailer headquartered in Charleston, Robert Bosch Corporation and Wal-Mart.
Charleston has a mostly urban population of more than 110,000. The city accommodates around 45,000 houses with more than 40,000 houses occupied. The owners occupy approximately 20,000 houses and the renters occupy about 19,000 houses.
Charleston is one of the oldest port cities in the country and has a rich history involving wars and pirates. The city is known for preserving its history through its homes and buildings within its neighborhoods.
Downtown Charleston has homes dating back to the early 1700s and includes the highest concentration of homes built before 1900. Some of the oldest downtown neighborhoods include:
Charleston is served by the Charleston County School District, which is responsible for approximately 49,000 students.
Colleges and universities in Charleston include:
Charleston's shopping malls include the Northwoods Mall, the Citadel Mall, and the Tanger Outlet Center. Charleston's unique downtown open market features vendors and booths selling clothes, jewelry, artwork, books, food, and more. The King Street shopping district features mostly high-end jewelry and clothing stores and numerous restaurants.
There are several minor league and amateur sports teams in Charleston:
Charleston's location on the coast of South Carolina makes the beach a major attraction. Some of the beaches in the Charleston area include:
Charleston hosts a number of events throughout the year, many held outdoors:
Charleston is served by the Post and Courier, Charleston City Paper, the Charleston Mercury, and the Charleston Regional Business Journal.
Broadcast stations include: