7 Things You Wish You Knew Before Moving to Charleston

Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina where Southern hospitality intersects with coastal beauty. There’s certainly a reason why we’ve won the #1 City in the US spot by Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast for so many years. That being said, this historic gem has a few secrets that it holds near and dear to its heart, and many that the out of towner might not realize or think to take into account before making a move. In fact, beyond the iconic Rainbow row and romantic cobblestone streets, there are a few details that can really impact daily life if you don’t know what to watch out for when buying a home in the city.

So, read on, we’ll unveil not only the incredible cuisine and stunning natural landscapes, but also the subtleties of local etiquette, weather, and the unique cultural blend that defines this Southern city. And whether you are drawn to the captivating sunsets, the beautiful beaches, or the allure of the antebellum architecture that lines the downtown streets, we’re sure that these insights will make your transition to the Holy city that much smoother. So, let’s take a deep dive into the heart of Charleston, unravel its secrets, and prepare for a life where every street exudes history, and every breeze carries the spirit of the Lowcountry. Welcome to the city of charm!

  • Humidity is for real:
    Though we love the warm weather and mild winters, the humidity can be unbearable. So, be prepared for balmy almost tropical summers and make sure to have your air conditioning serviced in springtime.
  • The infrastructure is dated:
    Part of the charm of the city is narrow streets that are better suited to a horse and buggy, and thus, congestion and traffic are an every day reality. Oh, and also parking is a challenge.
  • Porch culture is a thing:
    Front porches are part of the Southern hospitality that exudes from the city. Many neighbors meet while sitting out front sipping on some sweet tea. So, grab yourself a glass and a good book and don’t forget to say Hi Y’all, because Southern hospitality is also a thing and people here value being very social and welcoming.
  • Charleston likes to party:
    Charleston is very social and it’s not just sweet tea with in our glasses. Not only do we have festivals galore, which always gives the city a reason to celebrate, but we’ve got Lowcountry boils, oyster roasts (the World’s largest as a matter of fact), and a culinary scene that is unrivaled. Oh, and don’t forget we also have that time between March and September known as spring break, so yeah there are quite a few distractions and with everyone and their mother coming to Charleston for vacation. As a local the responsibilities of daily life can be a challenge when there is just so much fun to be had.
  • Historic preservation is at its finest:
    Just don’t tell that to your builder or architect who jump through hoops as they try to navigate a sometimes dizzying array of complexities when it comes to what they can and can not build, renovate, and change. That being said Charleston is proud of its rich history and its preservation efforts have made it undoubtedly one of the finest around.
  • Grits, oysters, and fried green tomatoes are required:
    Yep, here these Southern staples are a way of life, and so if you live here you must embrace them on a rather frequent basis. Oyster roasts are a big to-do, fried green tomatoes are on almost every menu, and grits are serve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – no matter the occasion.
  • Palmetto pride:
    Everywhere you go there you’ll find the Palmetto tree and the white crescent. And that being said, the Palmetto tree is not just a symbol it’s a life motto, and one that is of resilience and strength. Much like the locals, it withstands storms with a quiet strength, casting its shade in the heat of the day and standing resilient against the coastal breezes. That’s why you’ll find it on Tervis cups and the South Carolina flag, and in every way you’ll also come to the conclusion that for South Carolinians it’s an identity.

Source: Kelly Stradling, Realtor®, Smith Spencer Real Estate

  • Share:

Let's Chat

    Buying a HomeSelling a HomeOther


    We Know Why You're Here,

    Sign up to receive our monthly market update