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City Guide
What to Expect

Charleston is truly a Southern city. Charleston is well-regarded as a cultural and architectural gem on the Atlantic coast. Though many of its original buildings have been destroyed by earthquakes, the city has a thriving arts and cultural scene.

Downtown Charleston, situated on the bay of Charleston Harbor, is home to not only the city's industry, but to its French Quarter and the surrounding regions which are all on the register of National Historic Landmarks. Walking through this area of town, one feels a part of Southern history, as placards dot the sidewalk pointing out historical landmarks.

Charleston also has a great mix of culture and outdoor activities, with a number of city parks and public green spaces, numerous music festivals throughout the year, and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean that allows boating and watersports enthusiasts to get out on the water nearly every weekend.

Neighborhoods in Charleston

Summerville, located in the far northwest portion of Charleston, remains the premier destination for those looking for semi-affordable housing with a friendly neighborhood vibe. Here the rental market has a variety of housing options, including single-family homes and new developments. Nearby Mt. Pleasant is a neighborhood with similar rental types to Summerville. Expect to pay $950-1200 for a two bedroom in Mt. Pleasant, while similar rentals in Summerville go for $750-900.

Downtown and James Island regions: Downtown has a score of historical buildings for rent that are within close walking distance to shopping and trendy restaurants and bars. James Island has new developments with community centers, pools and other amenities. The Island also has the added benefit of being close to the beach!

The Old Village area has a number of new rental developments with several amenities including private pools and tennis courts.

Downtown, with two bedrooms ranging from $1400-1800, depending on amenities. James Island is as affordable two bedrooms can be found, from $850-1000.

North Charleston. This neighborhood more affordable. Focus on Whitehall and Cedar Grove if you want new developments. Prices for rentals in North Charleston with two bedrooms going for $750-800.

Rental Tips

Charleston's rental market is generally as friendly as its residents. Start your apartment hunt up to 60 days in advance.

If you're not totally sure what you're looking for, go through a real estate agent. Every Charleston resident is also a Charleston expert, and real estate agents in the area will have plenty of opinions for you about location, rental type and neighborhood. If you feel fairly decided about your future residence, there are a number of online apartment listing services that won't run their mouths about your decisions.

Be prepared to pay between $30-50 for credit and background checks in the greater Charleston area. Depending on the property type and owner or manager, deposits can range from $300 to two months rent, once you've secured your property.


Charleston is also serviced by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation System. CARTA operates several bus routes throughout the city. Recent improvements to the bus lines have made them faster and more efficient than in the past. Additionally, there are a number of water taxis that offer a fun and scenic form of transportation from the downtown area to many of the water-bound suburbs, including Mt. Pleasant and Patriot's Point. Only in Charleston can your daily commute include a dolphin sighting!

So welcome to historic Charleston! Enjoy the slow-paced, but ultimately enjoyable life around town!