Charleston is not just reputed as being the oldest city but also the second-largest city in South Carolina. The city was found in 1670 and named Charles Towne after King Charles II of England, from whom the city’s current name is drawn. The name was adopted in 1783. Originally located in Albemarle Point to Ashley River’s West bank, the city was relocated to its present location, Oyster Point in 1680. By 1960, the city was the fifth largest in North America, and was rated amongst the ten biggest US cities. Today, it is ranked as the fastest-growing municipality within South Carolina.
Charleston is known for its rich history, distinguished recreational facilities, well-preserved architecture, and well-behaved persons. The city has received numerous accolades, with the most important ones being, “America’s Most Friendly City” by Travel and Leisure (2011), Condé Nast Traveler, (2013) as well as “the most polite and hospitable city in America” by the Southern Living magazine (2013).
Charleston is renowned for a unique culture blended with traditional Southern U.S., English, French, as well as various West African elements. This downtown Peninsula is credited for its amazing art, music, local cuisine, as well as fashion. Charleston hosts multiple events annually with Spoleto Festival USA, being the most pronounced. This is a 17-day arts festival featuring more than 100 performances from individual and group artists. Around the same time the Spoleto Festival is hosted, there is also the annual Piccolo Spoleto festival which features local performers, as well as artists who offer hundreds of performances across the city.
Other outstanding festivals/events include the Historic Charleston Foundation’s Festival of Houses, Gardens, and Charleston Antiques Show, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the Charleston Marathon, as well as Charleston Food and Wine Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, MOJA Arts Festival, and of course, Holiday Festival of Lights, among others. Amongst the major theatrical productions include productions by Charleston’s oldest community theater group, and Footlight Players. Other famed performance arts venues include the historical Dock Street Theatre.
Charleston is also home to many historical sites, museums and other outstanding attractions. The famous of all is the Gibbes Art Gallery which has local art dating from as back as the early 20th century, Charleston Renaissance. There is also the Calhoun Mansion located at 16 Meeting Street which was constructed in 1876 by George Williams. The Calhoun Mansion is a 24,000 square foot structure. There is also the Charleston Museum, which is America’s first museum, founded in 1773. There is also the Exchange and Provost constructed in 1767, the Powder Magazine constructed in 1713, the Fireproof Building, Nathaniel Russell House, Gov. William Aiken House, Heyward-Washington House, Joseph Manigault House, and Market Hall and Sheds, among others.
Other places of interest include South Carolina Aquarium, Fort Sumter, Rainbow Row, and the battery. In general, Charleston has a lot to offer in terms of history than most counties do. As a matter of fact, it stands out as a center of US history.