Mel Gibson yelled about freedom in Braveheart with such conviction for a reason. It's a pretty powerful feeling, and now that you're on your own, we want to make sure you find your own rallying cry-worthy stomping ground. As a student, you'll want to be downtown, but which hood will have you painting your face in devotion to it?
Once you find your dream area, learn about its perks and memorize how to get there from the smorgasbord of Charleston attractions because no one likes a drunkard trying to get into the wrong apartment at 3 a.m. That's also how you end up in the drunk tank.
Harleston Village is a hybrid of a neighborhood. It's the grapple — that weird but delicious grape tasting apple — of Charleston. Acting as a barrier between the ritzy homes South of Broad and the more typical college digs, the village is full of historic pads that are perfect for sharing with three of your closest friends (there's a local law that prohibits more than four nonrelated people from living together). The distance from the college bar scene also creates the perfect buffer for preventing unwanted after-parties from taking over your living room.
Want to be in the heart of campus life without living on campus? Then Radcliffeborough is the place for you. Blocks from the King Street bars and the college, it'll help you find the perfect balance between school and a social life. Or the perfect imbalance because the bars of King will call your name — a lot. Your neighbors will be a combination of students and young professionals. And with MUSC on the western border, it's a great opportunity to find the much-needed med school student friend who can answer all your illness-related questions. Be prepared to search for your apartment — it's a popular spot with a limited number of rentals.
Charleston has history, duh. But if you want to live in the first suburb of Charles Towne check out Ansonborough. Suburbs of Charleston have since taken on a new meaning, but this historic area is mixing traditional Charleston homes with new luxury apartments so you can have your pick of design aesthetics. Rent can be a little higher in this area, and be prepared to deal with lost tourists asking for directions.
Cannonborough-Elliotborough was once up-and-coming, but now it's up-and-come. That doesn't make it any less of a great place to live, but just expect to find rental rates on par with other downtown hoods. A perk of its more settled status? It's been updated with new townhomes and duplexes, and the area is home to a bevy of places to shop and eat. You've got your staples like Five Loaves, but new places like Warehouse and Xiao Bao Biscuit help to bring some more action to the scene. And with parts of King Street falling into this area, it makes a great stomping ground for those who like to party.
The Eastside and affordability go hand-in-hand. With few amenities in the area and some of its streets' reputations for not being the safest, the Eastside has some cons. A word to the wise: If you think you'll need a map to help find your way home on a drunken night or tend to wander home by yourself, we'd recommend checking out an area other than the Eastside. If the cheap rent seduces you, get to know your neighbors and quickly learn the ins and outs of this hood.
Upper King sounds like a cool place to live because it is. But with North Central expect the Upper King of young professionals and families, and not the Upper King of swanky cocktail bars and copper-mugged Moscow mules. Parking isn't an issue around the area, but you'll probably want to invest in a bike to make it to class. Your local hangouts will be Moe's Crosstown, the Faculty Lounge, and Recovery Room rather than A.C.'s or Beer Works, and that's not a bad thing. The area is becoming more popular with CofC students, but be prepared to be a little further removed from the college scene.
MUSC kids have been staking claim to the Hampton Park Terrace streets for a while now. Luckily, this isn't West Side Story and there won't be any singing rumbles over the territory. Hampton Park Terrace appropriately gets its name from Hampton Park — one of the best green spaces in town — and offers a more surburban-y setting. Two-story homes with back- and front yards that were built post-1800s are huge pluses to the neighborhood, but be prepared for a longer commute to CofC.
Wagener Terrace hugs up on North Central, which again means about a 20-minute or longer bike ride to CofC, but the area is starting to find its own with college kids. Santi's and Tattooed Moose have firmly carved out their place as nearby faves, but the semi-new Rutledge Cab Co. could give them a run for their money. The number of bars and restaurants doesn't even come close to the neighborhoods on the other side of the Crosstown, but if you're ready for a break from house-party central, Wagener Terrace could be your new BFF.