Charleston's outer neighborhoods 

A students guide to what's where in greater Charleston

West Ashley

Savannah Highway, Magnolia Drive, Avondale Avenue, St. Andrews Blvd.
Miles to Campus: 3.5 miles
Average Room rent: $300-$500

West Ashley is the cheapest area on the Charleston totem pole of living, but the area lacks the "I'm not yet legal but I know how to drink" college-y feel. Desperate apartment hunters will find their gold mine here though. There's always something around $300-$500 available, and anywhere in this area will give you close access to the Savannah Highway golden treasures like Gene's Haufbrau, Junk 'n' Jive, Children's Cancer Society thrift store, Target, and the Coburg cow. Traffic can be very heavy along St. Andrews, Sam Rittenberg Blvd., and Savannah Hwy. Grocery stores are plentiful: look for Food Lion (65 Sycamore Ave.), Earth Fare (74 Folly Road), Publix (520 Folly Road), and the locally-oriented Homegrown Grocery (892 A Savannah Hwy.). The shops and bars on Sam Ritt and South Windermere aren't far away. It's easy to bar-hop at the center of the Avondale shopping district from Gene's (one of the oldest Charleston taverns) to Triangle Char & Bar to Voodoo to Uni Noodle Bar.

Cool Night Life & Cheap Eateries to Check Out:

  • Andolini's (1117 Savannah Hwy.)
  • Avondale Wine & Cheese (813-B Savannah Hwy.)
  • D.D. Pecker's Wing Shack (1660 Savannah Hwy.)
  • El Dorado (1109 Savannah Hwy.)
  • Earth Fare (74 Folly Road)
  • Gene's Haufbrau (817 Savannah Hwy.)
  • George's Sports Bar (1300 Savannah Hwy.)
  • The Map Room (1650 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.)
  • Med Bistro (90 Folly Road)
  • Nirlep Indian Restaurant (908 Savannah Hwy.)
  • Taste of India (851 Savannah Hwy.)
  • Triangle Char & Bar (828 Savannah Hwy.)
  • Uni Noodle Bar (9 Magnolia Road)
  • Voodoo (15 Magnolia Road)

James Island

Southwest of downtown, across the James Island Connector (Hwy. 30), along Folly Rd.
Miles to Campus: 2-10 miles
Average Room to Rent: $400

There's a good chance if you move to this oasis halfway between downtown and the beach you'll find yourself in a house or condominium off Camp, Harbor View, or Folly Roads. By writing a check around $400 a month, you'll ensure yourself a quicker trip to Folly Beach, but will probably live in a condominium with no personality, unless you score a marsh-front house for a reasonable price. Free WiFi is available at Muddy Waters (1739 Maybank Hwy.) Make all necessary grocery store errands at the Harris Teeter on the way home from school. Lots of attractive people wander the Ramen Noodleaisle. No joke.

Cool Night Life & Cheap Eateries to Check Out:

  • A.J.'s Sports Bar & Grille (1291 Folly Road)
  • Andolini's Pizza (967 Folly Road)
  • Bagel Nation (520 Folly Road)
  • Buffalo South (1409 Folly Road)
  • Common Ground Coffee House (2032 Maybank Hwy.)
  • The Daily Dose (1622 Highland Ave.)
  • DB's Cheesesteaks (915 Folly Road)
  • J. Paul'z (1739 Maybank Hwy.)
  • Kickin' Chicken (1175 Folly Road)
  • La Hacienda (808 Folly Road)
  • Necter (951 Folly Road)
  • Oasis Bar & Grill (788 Folly Road)
  • The Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy.)

Folly Beach

Center Street and Ashley Avenue
Miles to Campus: 10-12 miles
Average Room to Rent: $500-$900

Located at the end of Folly Road, past the south end of James Island from downtown, Folly Beach is nicknamed "The Edge of America." Everything you need in life is at Bert's Market (202 E. Ashley Ave.). Leaving the island is emotionally and logistically difficult, so don't live here and try to go to school unless you're 100 percent sure you'll be able to pack the backpack and leave the beach to sit at a desk before a monotone economics professor. It's tempting, but it might be better to wait and rent an apartment here during the summer. For your mom's sake.

Cool Night Life & Cheap Eateries to Check Out:

  • Charleston on the Beach(Holiday Inn) (1 Center St.)
  • Planet Follywood (32-A Center St.)
  • Rolling Thunder Roadhouse (123 W. Ashley Ave.)
  • Sand Dollar (7 Center St.)
  • Snapper Jack's (10 Center St.)
  • Surf Bar(103 W. Cooper Ave.)
  • Taco Boy(15 Center St.)
  • Terrapin Café (4 Center St.)
  • Woody's (39 Center St.)

North Charleston

Park Circle
Rhett Avenue, Montague Avenue, Spruill Avenue
Miles to campus: 8
Rent: $400-$625

While there are plenty of cozy, older neighborhoods and affordable townhouse and condo communities scattered across the vast north area — from the neck of the Peninsula up to Northwoods Mall and Summerville, the blossoming neighborhood of Park Circle is a special place. Live here if you plan on attending Trident or the Culinary Institute, or if you're on a tight budget. Parts of North Charleston are pretty far away from campus. While the greater North Chuck landscape lacks the historic elegance and personality of downtown Charleston, the little enclave of Park Circle is a place for pioneers looking for cute houses with character and a nice neighborhood feel. It's convenient to the two main interstates, Montague and Rhett Avenues, and the recent Noisette commercial developments in the nearby Navy Yards. Be careful coming to and fro: North Charleston was deemed fourth most dangerous city in America last year (the Chicora/Cherokee neighborhoods off Spruill Avenue are particularly rough). Grocery stores and major shopping centers are a little far away, north and south of Park Circle. Free Wifi is available in the main shopping district at Park Circle Coffee & Cream. The neighborly and popular Irish pub Madra Rua is great fun, no matter what.

Cool Night Life & Cheap Eateries to Check Out:

  • Aunt Bea's (1050 E. Montague Ave.)
  • EVO Pizzeria (1075 E. Montague Ave.)
  • Madra Rua (1034 E. Montague Ave.)
  • Park Circle Coffee & Cream (1078 E. Montague Ave. # A)
  • Sesame (4726 Spruill Ave.)
  • Thee Southern Belle (2028 Pittsburgh Ave.)
  • The Wild Joker (1337 King St. Extension)

Mt. Pleasant

Old Village/North Mount Pleasant
Coleman Blvd., Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
Miles to Campus: 4-6
Rent: $500-$1200

Most college kids cant afford to live across the big bridge in the ever-growing and increasingly expensive East Cooper area. The rent per room is about the same as it is downtown. In the hodge-podge of Old Mount Pleasant and the Old Village (south of Coleman Blvd.), one block might contain million-dollar mansions wile the next might be a smattering of tiny cinder block cottages. The older, smaller, two-bedroom houses for rent are the best finds (two roommates could each pay $500 or per month). Grocery stores are plentiful, including the acclaimed Whole Foods Market (923 Houston Northcutt Blvd.). The numerous condo and townhouse neighborhoods along the northern stretch of Mt. Pleasant — from Johnnie Dodds Blvd. toward Towne Center — offer slightly more affordable units as well. But it's a crowded scene. Traffic along Johnnie Dodds is a major headache every morning and afternoon. Mt. P is close to two of Charleston best beaches, though, and accessible to the Shem Creek, the harbor, and the Wando River. Rents are high and small apartments are rare further east on Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, unfortunately. There's a happenin' two-block tavern scene on Middle Street on Sullivan's. Over on the Isle of Palms, most of the action takes place in the old Pavilion spot on Ocean Blvd.

Cool Night Life & Cheap Eateries to Check Out:

  • A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria (1220 Ben Sawyer Blvd.)
  • A.C.'s Bar & Grill(1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.)
  • Andolini's Pizza (414 West Coleman Blvd.)
  • Art's Bar & Grill (413 Coleman Blvd.)
  • Kickin' Chicken(1119 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.)
  • Poe's Tavern(2210 Middle St.)
  • Red Drum Gastropub (803 Coleman Blvd.)
  • Red's Ice House(98 Church St.)
  • Tsunami(1909 Hwy. 17 N)
  • Vickery's Bar and Grill (1313 Shrimpboat Lane)
  • The Village Tavern
  • (1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.)
  • Wild Wing (664 Coleman Blvd.)
  • The Windjammer(1008 Ocean Blvd.)
  • Yo Burrito(675 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.)


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