1. Harleston Village
One of the most coveted zip codes on the peninsula (at least by College of Charleston students) Harleston Village is the closest you can get to the College without actually living on campus. Tree-lined streets, Colonial Lake, and a five minute walk to campus and the library, this sometimes peaceful, sometimes poppin’ area is a college kid’s heaven. This is where you want to be when the world’s about to end.
The cold, hard streets of Radcliffeborough are home to a vast number of student apartments. The houses are often a bit ramshackle (watch out for what lurks beneath the shadows when the sun disappears from the sky forever, err, for two mintues) but encompass the neighborhoods between Harleston Village and Cannonborough. Chances are, you’ll wind up at many a party — or, uh, study session — in this densely-student-populated area.
Elliotborough and Cannonborough are almost indistinguishable, but are home to a mixture of families, MUSC students, and CofC students alike. The area has been on the rise over the past couple of years, and boasts a handful of local restaurants, a bubble tea cafe, and is home to D’Allesandro’s Pizza. Need we say more?
Ansonborough is where you would probably choose to live if you weren’t broke as a joke. One of the only areas of Charleston not swarmed by college students or tourists, Ansonborough is quiet, residential, and a great place to gawk at historic houses.
Founded in the 18th century, this neighborhood gets its name from the Wragg family who planned and developed the land. The hood is located between King and East Bay Streets and is bordered by some pretty clutch cultural hubs — we’re talking the Charleston Music Hall, the Galliard Center, and the Charleston Maritime Center. The homes here are gorgeous and steeped in history, and while you’re not likely to find too many student residents, this is a great place for HGTV daydreams.
The Eastside lies east of Meeting Street and offers fewer student housing options, with more long-term residents making their homes here. There are some cheaper rents, though, which is always a plus. If you do make the trek from campus, there’s great soul food to be found at Hannibal’s Kitchen, and you’re only a hop skip and jump away from edgy contemporary art gallery The Southern, which often hosts funky community events on the weekends.
The Westside is best known as the home of the RiverDogs’ stadium, plus the site of your friendly local DMV and police station. Brittlebank Park is a great place to go for a jog, and if you or an upperclassman has a furry friend, it’s the perfect spot for dog walking and watching. For eats, check out vegan-friendly Dellz (the Jazzy pizza is where it’s at) and veggie-heavy eatery (with Bill Murray ties) Harold’s Cabin.
8. North Central
If you’re hankering to get some meat sweats before the world ends, head to North Central for astronomically good barbecue from Lewis BBQ and Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ. Post-game the pulled pork and sliced brisket with a burger at Moe’s Crosstown — be sure to hit up Moe’s on Tuesdays for burger night. Get there early, it gets crowded.
9. Hampton Park Terrace
This verdant space borders Hampton Park, a veritable paradise smack dab in the middle of cracked sidewalks and historic buildings. It’s a bit quieter than the rowdy college kid-run neighborhoods, so this is definitely a place to keep in mind for when you’re tired of hearing keg stand chants at 3 a.m. Ashley Avenue is a great spot to apartment hunt, and if you end up continuing studies at MUSC, this is a convenient place to settle down.
10. Wagener Terrace
Wagener Terrace is where you might find your upperclassmen friends who already have one foot out of the door and one planted firmly in the world of the young professional. Mostly home to families and those seeking a quieter lifestyle that’s still on the peninsula, Wagener Terrace sits just past Hampton Park, and is the perfect spot to while away a Sunday afternoon.
11. South of Broad
South of Broad is usually what people picture when they think of Charleston; Rainbow Row, cobblestone streets, the whole nine yards. Most of the offerings South of Broad are art galleries and fine dining restaurants, so it’s a good spot to take your parents for a tour of the touristy side of the city before it goes up in flames. If you’re strapped for cash, it still makes for a good date spot; you’ll find many a couple strolling the streets at dusk to gaze at the beautiful homes and look out on the water.
12. King Street Historic District
King Street: the only place in Charleston that serves some of the finest foods and most wicked hangovers. Especially during the school year, King Street gets pretty wild most nights of the week, and is a great spot for people watching — we’ve seen everything from bachelorette parties crying over pimento cheese to a college senior smashing through the glass at Black Bean Co. During the daytime, it’s just as scenic, if somewhat calmer.
NoMo, a.k.a. North of Morrison, a.k.a. No-Way-Am-I-Schlepping-It-Out-There, is home to a luxe student apartment complex and, before the past couple of years, not much else. The area is on the rise, though — if you do make it out there, make it a point to swing by Butcher and Bee (preferably with the ‘rents).