Charleston is the largest city of South Carolina known as the top city under the list of Travel and Leisure in the USA. Brimmed with cobblestone walkways, incredible historic sites, world-class restaurants, and miles of stunning beaches, there’s a lot to explore in the city. This Charleston tour Guide will be including merely everything you need to know about this town.
With a range of remarkable attractions and 400 church steeples, Charleston is a prominent city and ranked as the best place to spend a vacation in South Carolina. While this travel book can be a little overwhelming, you will certainly love each ounce of it as a hodophile.
Charleston has a population of 408,235 as per 2020 U.S. Census. In addition, the Charleston metropolitan area comprising Berkley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties with approx 799,636 residents is the most densely populated region of the city. It has the third-largest population in South Carolina and is the 74th largest metropolitan area in the USA.
Being the third-largest populated city, Charleston is nestled in the southern part of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina’s coastline-Charleston Harbor. Additionally, this harbor is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Resembling a shape of a triangle, the city borders North Carolina in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and Georgia in the south and west.
Charleston city’s history came into picture when people arrived in South Carolina 50,000 years ago. Additionally, native American tribes including the Cherokee, Creek, and Santee have been inhabited in this city for thousands of years.
In 1670, English men established a large settlement in this region and named it Charles Towne and later divided it into two parts: North and South Carolina. Soon after, Europeans started the plantation of rice and indigo in Charleston, to be used as natural dyes for cotton.
Furthermore, after fighting endless battles to achieve independence from England, South Carolina achieved success and became a renowned state of the USA in 1778. In addition, in 1783, the Charles Town was reincorporated as Charleston.
Religion in Charleston is a whole another story and there’s a reason for that. Known as the “Holy City of the USA” Charleston boasts 400 church steeples. In addition, the city locals are majorly Christian(78%) with other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam (1%), Jewish(2%). Furthermore, the other religious denomination in Charleston is Roman Catholic Congregation(10%).
Culture in Charleston is a traditional blend of various diversified cultures placed together, making it a multi-ethnic city. This bend includes Southern USA, English, French, and West African elements. Furthermore, the city annually organizes a cultural festival known as Spoleto Festival USA held in late Spring and was founded by Pulitzer Prize in 1977.
With the majority of African-Americans residing in the city, Gullah-English is the most spoken language in Charleston. Rest there are a total of 91 languages spoken in the town. With 3,552,240 English speakers, it is the second-most spoken language. Moreover, Spanish(110,030) and French(19,030) are next after English. Surprisingly, South Carolina has the highest number of Gullah speakers in the whole USA.
The official currency of Charleston is the U.S. Dollar ($, US$, USD).
Charleston has five neighboring boroughs: Radcliffe, Anson, Cannon, Elliot, and Wragg Borough. Additionally, the city has a strong Mayor Council Government, with an elected mayor acting as an administrator and the executive officer of the municipality.
The council also consists of 12 members who are elected from single-member districts. The mayor also presides in city council meetings and has a vote. Moreover, the current mayor of Charleston is John Tecklenburg, in power since 2016.
Charleston encounters a humid subtropical climate with mild winters, hot humid summers, and moderate rainfall all year-long. However, freezing rain/snowfall is most common in January with temperature falling to 7 °F (−14 °C). Summers are relatively hot and experienced during June to September with temperature reaching to 87.8°F(31°C).
When to Go
The best time to go and explore the city is an important factor to consider, when you really want to enjoy a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. Nevertheless, if you have flexible dates, then travel here around March to May or from September to November, when the weather is mild and favorable enough.
If you are visiting South Carolina from another country for 90 days for tourism, business, and medical purposes, an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required. You have to apply for ESTA at least 3 days before your scheduled departure.
Due to Covid-19, there are some travel restrictions in Charleston. Hence, read the updated government guidelines before applying for a visa.
If you belong to one of the 40 countries part of the Visa Waiver Program, you can apply for ESTA. Additionally, you must have an e-passport to use the Visa Waiver Program. However, the purpose of your visit to Charleston, South Carolina should be tourism, business, or medical. For other purposes, the eligibility criteria would be different.
For a trip to South Carolina for 90 days, ESTA is the quickest and easiest way to get travel permission. However, check your ESTA eligibility criteria before applying for a B1 and B2 visa.
B1 Business Visa: If you are going to the US for a business meeting or conference.
B2 Tourist Visa: If you are traveling to the US for tourism.
While applying for a visa, the first step is to complete the DS-160 form. Once you submit it online, schedule an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your country. You will need to provide some documents at the interview.
From luxurious hotels to affordable B&Bs Charleston has a variety of accommodations to choose from. Let’s look at the best hotels in Charleston where you can consider staying during your trip in this city.
Hospital and Ambulance
When in the US, call 911 in case of any emergency. In addition, the Emergency Medical Services Department of Charleston offers medical assistance to all the residents and tourists visiting Charleston, South Carolina. Furthermore, below are the emergency contact numbers of emergency services in Charleston.
MUSC Health University Medical Center
Address: 171 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29425, United States
Contact: +1 843-792-1414
Address: Roper Hospital, 316 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States
Contact: +1 843-724-2000
- Dress Code
One of the fun facts about Charleston state is that there’s no specific dress code followed in the city. However, many locals like to dress up or casually chic during the day but that doesn’t mean you need to wear a classy dress too. Dressing up like a gentleman is an option if you really like a bowtie or you can simply swore up in denim, if you like.
Luckily, Charleston is a drinking-friendly town and it’s totally okay to say “yes” when asked “Would you like another?” However, follow social etiquettes while drinking and avoid indulging in any unnecessary chaos.
Tipping in Charleston is a real thing even for locals. So, do remember to spare a minimum tip of 10% of your total bill even if the service provided isn’t up to your expectations.
While checking out this Charleston tour guide, you should also know more about photography trends in the city. Fortunately, clicking pictures in Charleston and might as well in South Carolina is completely legal, and in fact you will find tons of photoshoot spots in different corners of the town.
Moreover, you can click pictures of any subject as long as you’re in public, but capturing photos is strictly prohibited in any private establishment.
The area of Charleston city which is of high interest for tourists is known as South of Spring Street. Being renowned as the “Historic Charleston,” it comprises 5 boroughs: Radcliffe Borough, Anson Borough, Cannon Borough, Elliot Borough, and Wragg Borough. Let’s have a look at each of these boroughs which is also considered as one of the best things to do in Charleston.
This neighborhood is nestled between Rutledge Avenue and King Street (West to East) and Morris Street to Calhoun Street (North to South). In addition, it is a residential area blended with vibrant dining scenes and nightlife.
Settled somewhere between Meeting Street and East Bay (West to East) and George Street to Pinckney Street (North to South) this neighborhood consists of houses built in the 17th century. Furthermore, the area is well known for clustered bakeries and the best restaurants in Charleston.
- CannonBorough and EliotBorough
Both of these neighborhoods are situated between President Street and Meeting Street (West to East) and Line Street to Bee Street (North to South). In addition, they attract young professionals, considering the area is devoted to colleges, cafes, and wood-front houses.
You will find this neighborhood in between Meeting Street and East Bay (West to East) and Mary Street to Calhoun Street (North to South). Moreover, this neighborhood is known for 18th century historic museums and many activities to do in Charleston.
Museum and Cultural Tour
Museum tour is a crucial part of Charleston tour guide and luckily, there are tons of museums you can explore in this city. From historical centers to popular art museums the city receives a lot of appreciation for the conservation of American culture.
In addition, the boroughs of Charleston are immensely dedicated to such world renowned museums and art galleries that augment the beauty of this place and attract several tourists here.
Top Museums and Art Galleries
The Charleston Museum
Nathaniel Russell House Museum
Robert Lange Studios
The George Gallery
South Carolina Aquarium
Old City Market
Charleston Food and Wine Tour
High End Dining
If you’re thinking about the best restaurant in Charleston, then here comes a list of all the eateries you can have a delicious bite in. Additionally, Charleston boasts plenty of delectable restaurants that often attract tourists visiting the city.
With a decent amount of finest restaurants, this foodie town pays a considerable respect to culinary traditions of South Carolina. The creative chefs of Charleston are gifted with a talent to sprinkle flavors of America in each dish they prepare.
So, let’s explore the list of top-rated delectable restaurants this city has to offer. But do remember to check the latest travel restrictions in Charleston.