Why Every American Should Care About Charleston

Thrillist is coming to Charleston because, frankly, everyone should be coming to Charleston. It’s a town that consistently punches above its weight, barely cracking the top 100 American cities by size, but still topping list, after list, after list of the best things the nation has to offer. Pound-for-pound, there’s probably no better place to live, and we can’t wait to let the rest of the nation know why. Here’s a start…

Thrillist is launching local coverage of Charleston starting 10/21! Sign up for the free Charleston email below to get on board -- if you're already a subscriber, log in and add Charleston to your cities now!

Sign up

1. We’ve been a center of culture for more than 300 years

Really. From its religious freedom and envy-worthy fashions of the pre-Civil War era to the melodies of the Jazz Age, the Holy City’s cultural reach has far exceeded its size since way before that scallywag Rhett Butler called it home.

2. Our restaurants get almost as much press as many in NYC, SF, or Chicago

And deservedly so. The best conversations start with, “Where have you eaten?” We’ve cared about good food for years, and we want you to join in on the fun. Meet a local, and they’re likely to give you a rundown of the best dishes at their favorite spots, often proceeded by a, “Well, whatever you do, don’t miss... ”

3. The bars, too

Whether your game is sipping the best whiskeys money can buy, drinking craft cocktails, sucking back a local beer, chatting up a master sommelier, or just housing bottomless brunch mimosas, Charleston has you covered.

4. Charleston actually is a true melting pot

Progressive vs. traditional. Historic vs. new. Seersucker vs. hipster jeans. You’ll see it all here. Charleston is a melting pot of melting pots, from Shepard Fairey murals on Calhoun St, to gentlemen in line for dinner wearing shorts with little lobsters embroidered on them. We have cobblestone streets, and Teslas driving down them.

5. A totally new experience is always just 15 minutes away

Looking to get lost in history among the live oaks on a historic plantation? Feeling like hitting the beach? Itching to get dressed up and go to dinner downtown? Ready to book a canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, or hiking trip? Hungry for a neighborhood bistro and a walk after dinner? Check, check, check, check, and check. Everything’s a short drive.

6. Festivals, festivals, festivals

Whether it’s oysters, wildlife, beer, jazz, art, flowers, or even sweet tea, we have a festival for that. Or more than one. Neon wristbands and lanyard passes are legit accessories.

7. We’re cool by association!

Stephen Colbert and Bill Murray call this home, and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively tied the knot here, not to mention all the countless celebs that choose to vacation here. We get it. People like us. We’re cool like that.

8. Thrillist is coming

We’re here because we want second helpings of shrimp and grits, but we’re also interested in keeping those tortilla chips at Minero coming. We’re not just going to hit the touristy high points; we’re going to dive deep and share with you all the best ways to have the best times in this city. And we’re doing it all for free. So sign up below, and get ready to whip out your zero dollars...

Sign up here for our daily Charleston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Stephanie Burt is a Charleston writer who can’t understand why people live in other, lesser cities. Follow her at @BeehiveSteph.