Special Issues » College Student Guide 2011

A Guide to Charleston's Neighborhoods

You're Going to Want to Avoid the Ones With Leprechauns

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Leprechauns can be good luck, or, if they're of the horror-movie variety, pretty darn scary. Some neighborhoods in Mobile, Ala., have lived in fear of the little Irish scourge (or in anticipation of finding his gold), and you'd want to know which ones before you move there, right? But you didn't just move there, and the City Paper doesn't really know anything about the neighborhoods of Mobile. We can, however, guide you through the neighborhoods of downtown Charleston.

If you're a college student, no matter what school you're attending, you're going to want to live downtown. Period. That's it. No arguments. Because it's called "the walk of shame" for a reason — it doesn't count when you're hopping into your car to take the Bridge to Suburbithia instead.

But downtown is a very, very big place. Maybe you're looking for more of a metropolitan feel in an apartment above a King Street shop. Or maybe you want a backyard that's bigger than your bedroom. There are a lot of factors to consider, so we figured we'd help you sort some things out.

For some Southern charm, scope out Harleston Village. We like to call it "South of Broad adjacent." The homes are quaint, and you're definitely walking distance from the College of Charleston, but you're not subjected to quite the same insanity as you would the further north you go. You'll be a quick stroll from cute grocery-cafés like Queen Street Grocery and Bull Street Gourmet, but you'll have to get used to passing horse-and-carriage tours.

Like to drink? Like to party? Hey, we're not judging. Not at all. And if you want to be where the action is, then Radcliffeborough is where you want to be. Living here is like living in a dorm without the communal bathrooms — you'll basically be completely surrounded by students, or at least young adults. You'll also be close to all of Upper King's bars; we suggest figuring out whether you're an A.C.'s person, a Charleston Beer Works person, or a Midtown person. Cannonborough-Elliotborough is just as convenient, plus it has that wonderful up-and-coming tag that you can brag to your friends back home about. There, you can often find some cheapies mixed in with the renovations, so it's a pretty affordable 'hood, and you're close to coffee (Hope and Union), pizza (D'Allesandro's), and the brand new Two Boroughs Larder. And hell, if you can splurge, or if living right above your favorite bar is a dream come true, find yourself a King Street apartment. You just might regret it during finals week.

The older and more mature a student gets, the more likely they are to venture above the Crosstown for their living arrangements. Seriously kids, North Central is not as far away from the action as it sounds. Besides, you've got a bike, right? (If you don't, um, you should remedy that pronto.) Plus, you're close to the Recovery Room, which means you're close to cheap PBR and tachos (as in nachos made from tater tots).

And you won't find too many students — besides occasional Citadel cadets — in the Hampton Park Terrace and Wagener Terrace neighborhoods, and for some kids, that could be very appealing. The houses are newer (and by newer, we're talking the 1940s instead of the 1840s) and are the closest you'll get to suburbia on the peninsula. Biggie's Gastropub recently opened here, and we expect it to be a pretty happening hot spot. Plus Moe's Crosstown should be open up again pretty soon.

Don't know what Moe's is? Oh, you will little student. You will.

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