The oldest city in the Palmetto State is a terrific place to look when you begin your search for a new home. 345 years after its founding under the name "Charles Town," Charleston, South Carolina maintains a welcoming reputation, receiving Travel + Leisure's accolade for being "America's Most Friendly City" in 2011 and 2013. At a size of just over 127 square miles and about 130,000 people, Charleston has plenty of new people to meet without the high population density of other major east-coast cities.
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Charleston is accommodating to a wide variety of lifestyles, with homes and condos available for just about any price range. Winters are mild, with hot and humid summers and rain throughout the year. With regard to the economy, tourism has been a major source of the state's income for years, with hotels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts, as well as many restaurants and stores conceived with the traveler in mind. Charleston being a coastal city, the shipping industry also has a major presence. With five terminals, it boasts one of the largest ports in the United States and is ranked first across the North American continent by supply chain executives. The informational technology industry is also in the midst of a major growth period. For families, the Charleston County School District offers a number of K-12 choices as well as opportunities in higher education with institutions like the College of Charleston and the Citadel military college.
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The local culture is known for its mix of traditional southern United States, French, English, and West African influences. In recent years, the annual Spoleto Festival USA in the late spring has become a major performing arts festival on the international stage. While you enjoy these festivities, you can try some of the city's local seafood dishes, including gumbo, fried oysters, deviled crab cakes, and shrimp and grits. Continuing in the vein of the performing arts, Charleston plays host to a thriving theatrical scene, considered to be one of the top cities in the country for theater. The city is also home to the United States' first ever theater built in 1736 exclusively for the purpose of live theatrical performances. Charleston has a great number of museums and historical sites to visit and appreciate as well. The Charleston Museum, the very first museum established in the United States, preserves the natural and cultural history of the region. In Charleston Harbor, you'll find Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. No matter your tastes or ambitions, odds are you can find something in Charleston, South Carolina that will fit with your lifestyle.