Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston was founded in 1670 and is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses, particularly in the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a Federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.
The Old City is located on a peninsula at the point where, as Charlestonians are fond of saying, the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean. The entire peninsula is very low and frequently floods during heavy rains, storm surges, and unusually high tides. As Charles Towne grew, so did the community’s cultural and social opportunities, especially for the elite merchants and planters. The first theatre building in America was built in 1736 on the site of today’s Dock Street Theatre. By the mid-18thcentury, it had become a bustling trade center, the hub of the Atlantic trade for the southern colonies. Charles Towne was also the wealthiest and largest city south of Philadelphia.
Rainbow Row’s 13 houses along East Bay Street were the commercial center from the Colonial era until the early 20th century.
Theater Charleston known for its unique culture, which blends traditional Southern, English, French, and West African elements, Charleston and its downtown peninsula are home to America’s first theater and is one the country’s top 10 cities for the performing arts as well as the Spoleto USA Festival.
Tourism Shopping Food and Shipping Charleston is a major vacation destination with award-winning restaurants and shopping. Fashion Week is held each spring in Marion Square brings in designers, journalists, and clients from across the nation. Charleston is known for its local seafood, which plays a key role in the city’s renowned cuisine that includes gumbo, she-crab soup, fried oysters, deviled crab cakes, red rice, and shrimp and grits. Rice is the staple in many dishes, reflecting the rice culture of the Low Country. The city’s two shipping terminals are part of the fourth-largest container seaport on the East Coast and the thirteenth largest seaport in North America.
The Charleston Digital Corridor is Home to an Increasing Number of High Tech Businesses