Reader's Picks: Attractions & City Living 

click to enlarge BEN WILLIAMS

Each year about this time, they begin to descend upon our town, like an army of dumbstruck, digital camera clickin' zombies. Of course, we're talking about tourists. And there's a reason they come here — we've got attractions galore. But our city is about more than entertaining ghouls from Ohio. It's a place where folks work and play. Most importantly, it's a place where people live. And that's precisely why the living dead envy us. Especially Yankees.

Best Neighborhood
I'On
www.ionvillage.com

Foreclosure, shmoreclosure ...The birds are chirping and everything's rosy in Pleasantville.

Best Suburb
Mt. Pleasant

From the Towne Centre to the Old Village, the soccer moms are bustling and the corporate chains are hustling.

Best New Development
Mixson

It's just like living South of Broad ... but in the nation's seventh most dangerous city.

Best Attraction
S.C. Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf. Downtown.
(843) 720-1990
www.scaquarium.org

There's nothing like six inches of glass between you and two rows of razor sharp shark teeth.

Best Tourist Trap
The Market
Everything you could ever need to remember your trip to Charleston ... and plenty that you don't.

Best Tour Company
Palmetto Carriage Company
40 N. Market St. Downtown.
(843) 723-8145
www.carriagetour.com

Giddyup and hold on tight. There's nothing like wooden wheels on cobblestone to help digest that three pound bag of benne wafers.

click to enlarge BEN WILLIAMS

Best Building
Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
122 East Bay St. Downtown.
(843) 727-2165
www.oldexchange.com

They're not the undead ... they're made of wax. Get your spook on in Charleston's authentic dungeon — no orcs included.

Best Old Thing
The Market

Enough old stuff (and kitschy new junk) for sale to deck out your house like it's 1700 all over again. But inflation's a bitch.

click to enlarge JOSHUA CURRY

Best New Thing
Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge

Ahhh ... it's finally safe to text while driving over the Cooper River. Rearview mirrors, rejoice.

Best Church
St. Philip's Episcopal Church
142 Church St. Downtown.
(843) 722-7734
www.stphilipschurchsc.org

The brown steeple poking up over Charleston's French Quarter is home to one of the world's most famously haunted graveyards (zombie alert), and a Friday night youth program that's apparently been drawing in the tweens by the hundreds.

Best Public School
Wando High School
1000 Warrior Way Road. Mt. Pleasant. (843) 881-8200
www.wandohigh.com

This sizeable school may be making news for a few students playing Frank and Jesse James, but that fortunately doesn't overshadow the scores of talented, college-ready graduates it continues to produce.

Best Private School
Porter-Gaud School
300 Albemarle Road. West Ashley.
(843) 556 3620
www.portergaud.edu

Consistent winner Porter-Gaud saw its first presidential candidate this year in class of '83 grad Stephen Colbert. Perhaps if another P-G grad had been on the election board that turned him down, we'd have a whole new race for the White House.

Best Daycare
Roper St. Francis
Learning Center
316 Calhoun St. Downtown.
(843) 724-2111

With a one-to-four child-to-teacher ratio, one of Charleston's largest employers deserves serious accolades for providing yet another "life-saving" service.

Best Public Space
Marion Square
Corner of Calhoun and King streets

What other park in the country turns up 300-year-old relics every time you dig a hole? Cheers to the warm months to come, CofC coeds.

Best Free Wi-Fi Spot
Kudu Coffee
4 Vanderhorst St. Downtown.
(843) 853-7186
www.kuducoffee.net

There's something very 21st century about surfing the net with high speed access floating in the air, surrounded by authentic relics from the heart of the dark continent.

Best Outdoor Event
Lowcountry Oyster Festival
Boone Hall Plantation.
1235 Long Point Road. Mt. Pleasant.

Sixty-five thousand pounds of oysters and a beer truck sounds like a recipe for some weird-looking vomit, but the crowds keep growing bigger at Boone Hall's annual throwdown.

Best Festival
Spoleto Festival USA
www.spoletousa.org

Spoleto is very likely the event that put Charleston on the cultural map. Two weeks of art, opera, and theater? It's enough to make us all use fake British accents and wear coattails.

Best Fund-raising Event
Susan G. Komen
Race for the Cure
www.komen.org

Breast cancer continues to effect the lives of more women and their families every year; 5,500 runners raised a half million dollars during the 2007 event.

Best Street Character
Byron

A night on King Street is not complete without a run-in with Charleston's favorite vagabond. We were proud when we got word he was moving home to Arkansas to take a job last summer, but we're secretly glad he stuck around.

Best Apartment Complex
Heron Reserve
3301 Glenn McConnell Pkwy.
(843) 556-6822
www.heronreserve.com

An oasis of ponds, pools, and easy living amenities right off the Glenn McConnell.

Best Place to Work
Roper St. Francis
316 Calhoun St. Downtown.
(843) 724-2111
www.roperstfrancis.com

Working for the hospital, you can count on health care in your benefits package, but Roper provides everything from life to pet insurance as core basic benefits, plus generous time off and a Best of Charleston-voted child care program.


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