Where To Stay in Charleston [5 BEST Neighborhoods!]

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When you think of Charleston, South Carolina, you probably think of Gone with the Wind, old-world charm, and graceful, beautiful buildings – and you wouldn’t be wrong. Charleston is just as advertised; it’s an old-world city that attracts travelers from all over the world who want to experience the charm and history that’s around every corner in this city.

You might think with all of these attractions that Charleston is out of your price range. But the truth is that you’ll have a lot of choices when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston on a budget or looking for a bit of luxury. That’s why we’ve created this Charleston neighborhood guide, so you can find somewhere to stay that’s right for your trip.

Table of Contents

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Charleston

At A Glance: Where To Stay In CHARLESTON

Where to Stay in Charleston

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Charleston.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHARLESTON
htjltbl-table__image Best AirbnbBest AirbnbExecutive Rental
  • Free Wifi
  • Laptop-friendly workspace
  • Upper King St., MUSC, South of Broad all just 5 min walk!
Book on Air BnB →
htjltbl-table__image Best High-End AirbnbBest High-End AirbnbGorgeous, Bright, and Spacious Apartment
  • Wi-Fi, TV, Essentials
  • Free parking on premises
  • Washing machine, Dryer
Book on Air BnB →
htjltbl-table__image Best HotelBest HotelBelmond Charleston Place
  • Bar, 1 swimming pool
  • Airport shuttle
  • The hotel is 100 m from Peninsula Grill, 300 m from Charleston Historic District and 500 m from Old Slave Mart Museum. Charleston International Airport is 15 km away.
Book on Booking.com →

Best Airbnb in Charleston – Executive Rental

Executive Rental

Executive Rental is the best Airbnb in Charleston

This apartment is located in the best neighborhood in Charleston for your first time. It’s suitable for up to two guests and offers spacious rooms, a marble kitchen, full bathrooms facilities, and a porch. The apartment is within walking distance of local attractions and located in a historic home for extra atmosphere and impact.

 

Best High-End Airbnb in Charleston – Gorgeous, Bright, and Spacious Apartment

Gorgeous, Bright and Spacious Apartment

Gorgeous, Bright, and Spacious Apartment is the best high-end Airbnb in Charleston

Suitable for up to three guests, this sunny first-floor apartment has everything you’ll need during your stay. It’s close to local restaurants and shops and provides a full kitchen, private bathroom, laundry facilities, and a claw foot tub. There is parking included, and the apartment overlooks historic homes just for an extra bit of atmosphere.

 

Best Hotel in Charleston – Belmond Charleston Place

Belmond Charleston Place

Belmond Charleston Place is the best hotel in Charleston

Close to the Charleston Market, and within walking distance of local attractions, this hotel is a great choice when you’re looking for where to stay in Charleston for your first time. It offers a massage center, fitness center, beauty salon, and entertainment events in the evening, as well as large, comfortable rooms for travel groups of every size.

 

Charleston Neighborhood Guide

Charleston-south-carolina

Charleston

Just about everywhere you go in Charleston, you’ll find amazing things to look at, tasty treats, and a slice of the past. But you will want to make the most of your trip, which means that you need to choose your neighborhood carefully when you’re deciding where to stay and spend most of your time.

The historic Downtown district is hands down the best neighborhood in Charleston for your first-time visit, or even on a return visit. It has everything – including easy access to transport and the charm and atmosphere that you’re expecting from the city.

Cannonborough is the best neighborhood in Charleston if you’re on a budget. It’s a more residential part of the Downtown area, and you’ll find some great budget places to eat in this part of the city.

The next area to think about is Mount Pleasant. It’s east of the city center and across the Cooper River. There are lots of great restaurants, interesting tourist sites, and things to do in this area, which is why it’s great for families.

North of the center of the city is Upper King, a modern area filled with restaurants, bars, and shops. That’s why it’s a great choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston for nightlife.

The final area is the French Quarter, which is easily one of the coolest places to stay in Charleston because of its sophisticated architecture and atmosphere.

Charleston’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in:

Whether you’re looking for the best neighborhood in Charleston for your first time or are on a return trip, here’s where you should be looking.

Neighborhood#1 - Downtown

(Where to stay in Charleston first time)

Downtown

Downtown is our pick for where to stay in Charleston first time

COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – Wander down Rainbow Row and take pictures of the historic Georgian row houses.

BEST place to visit in Downtown – Escape from the city at the beautiful Waterfront Park.

The best neighborhood in Charleston for your first time is the historic Downtown. Filled with all the charm and history travelers are looking for when they visit this city, it’s just as beautiful as you might be hoping. Even better, it’s filled with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars that will keep you entertained for days.

The Downtown area is mostly for tourists, so the accommodation can get a little expensive. But it’s worth it to be in the center of the city and have lots of entertainment at your fingertips. You’ll also find easy transport links to other parts of the city in this area.

Here are the most amazing things to do in Charleston’s Downtown:

  • Check out the slightly precarious-looking Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, which is only a few feet above sea level.
  • Learn about the city’s darker history at the Old Slave Market.
  • Check out the marine creatures at the South Caroline Aquarium.
  • Check out the oldest public gardens in the US at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
  • Have a meal at Magnolias, the Charleston Grill, or Smoke BBQ.
  • Learn about the maritime history of the city at Patriots Point.

Where to Stay in Downtown

Best Airbnb in Downtown – Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home is the best Airbnb in Downtown

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston for families, this is a great choice. This home has two bedrooms and enough space for up to four guests, as well as a full kitchen and laundry facilities. It’s also close enough to the city center that you could walk everywhere you want to go from your private home base.

 

Editor’s Note: Get to know the Charleston Southern University from these great hotels near Charleston Southern University!

Best High-End Airbnb in Downtown – Charming Charleston Classic

Charming Charleston Classic

Charming Charleston Classic is the best high-end Airbnb in Downtown

Located on a quiet lane, this house is close to everything and gives a real feeling of atmosphere, history, and hospitality. The house is fully furnished to be both elegant and welcoming. It has enough facilities and space for up to four guests, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

 

Best Budget hotel in Downtown – Days Inn by Wyndham Charles Historic District

Days Inn by Wyndham Charles Historic District

Days Inn by Wyndham Charles Historic District is the best budget hotel in Downtown

This hotel is close to sites like the Open Market and most of Charleston’s best restaurants, making it a great choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston on a budget. It offers a restaurant and lounge on-site, as well as walking tours and rooms that contain fridges and microwaves to make your stay even more convenient.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown – The Restoration

The Restoration

The Restoration is the best luxury hotel in Downtown

This hotel is right in the center of the best neighborhood in Charleston, close to everything. It’s located in five newly renovated buildings that blend history, modern conveniences, and community with chic ease. The hotel has a fitness and massage center, group events and classes, and the rooms are suitable for all travel group sizes.

 

Neighborhood#2 - Cannonborough

(Where to stay in Charleston on a budget)

Cannonborough

Cannonborough is our pick for where to stay in Charleston on a budget

COOLEST thing to do in Cannonborough – Head to 5 Loaves for one of the best meals you’ll have in the city.

BEST place to visit in Cannonborough – If you like sweets, head down to Sugar for homemade treats.

If you’re after the best neighborhood in Charleston if you’re on a budget, look for somewhere to stay in Cannonborough. This residential neighborhood is technically part of the Downtown area, so it’s close to everything yet has a more local feel. This is where you’ll find lots of sites, restaurants, and shops priced for locals rather than tourists.

Cannonborough has a laidback feel and is perfect if you like wandering the streets and finding local treasures. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants in the city – the ones you won’t find in the guidebooks – so be prepared for some of the best meals when you stay in this area.

Here are the most amazing things to do in Cannonborough:

  • Have a bite at 5 Loaves, Trattoria Lucca for excellent Italian food, or Sugar for baked goods to die for.
  • Head down to D’Allesandro’s Pizza for fantastic food, beer, and theme nights.
    Grab your friends and move one neighborhood over to Upper King for the best clubs and pubs.
  • Wander the streets and look for offbeat shops and local hangouts.
  • Relax in the beautiful Joe Wiley Waterfront Park.

Where to Stay in Cannonborough

Best Airbnb in Cannonborough – The Inns at 154 Spring

The Inns at 154 Spring

The Inns at 154 Spring is the best Airbnb in Cannonborough

Suitable for up to two guests, this private apartment is located in the best neighborhood in Charleston for couples. It’s elegantly decorated, with custom finishes that showcase historical touches and local artists. There’s a kitchenette and a private bathroom. There’s also a parking spot and shared common areas where you can sit and get to know other guests.

 

Best High-End Airbnb in Cannonborough – Boutique Home

Boutique Home

Boutique Home is the best high-end Airbnb in Cannonborough

This home is like a hotel – private, elegantly decorated, and containing everything you’ll need during your stay. Relax in the pool, bring your dogs to enjoy the dog run, or just sit on the private porch and enjoy the evenings. The home has room for up to four guests and is within walking distance of the city center for the ultimate in convenience.

 

Best Budget hotel in Cannonborough – Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn is the best budget hotel in Cannonborough

This hotel is a good choice if you’re trying to work out where to stay in Charleston on a budget. It’s within walking distance of all the best attractions, shops, and restaurants, and offers clean, simple surroundings at a reasonable price. The hotel has a swimming pool, fitness center, and a restaurant and tapas bar for those nights when you don’t feel like going far for a meal!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Cannonborough – Hyatt House

Hyatt House

Hyatt House is the best luxury hotel in Cannonborough

If you like a bit of luxury but still want to be located in the best neighborhood in Charleston close to everything, try this hotel. It offers suites as well as studio rooms and is within walking distance of shops and restaurants in the heart of Charleston. There’s a fitness center and mini-market on-site, and the hotel offers a complimentary breakfast for visitors.

 

Neighborhood#3 - Mount Pleasant

(Best neighborhood in Charleston for families)

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is our pick for the best neighborhood in Charleston for families

COOLEST thing to do in Mount Pleasant – Spend time enjoying the sun at Isle of Palms Beach.

BEST place to visit in Mount Pleasant – Explore the past at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Mount Pleasant is the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Charleston for families. A suburban area east of the city center and across the river, it has a rich maritime history and lots of activities and places of interest. You won’t find too many tourists in this area; instead, you’ll enjoy peaceful nights and a welcoming family atmosphere.

But don’t think that Mount Pleasant is boring, either. It’s technically a town on its own and has plenty of restaurants and attractions. It’s close enough to the historic center of Charleston that you can head there for sightseeing then return to your quiet base at the end of an active day.

Here are the most amazing things to do in Mount Pleasant:

  • Grab a table and a meal with a view at Water’s Edge.
  • Check out the city’s history at the Fort Sumpter National Monument.
  • Get out of the city and into nature on Dewees Island.
  • Grab a delicious meal at the Old Village Post House, Coleman Public House, or Crave Kitchen and Cocktails.
  • Take the kids down to see the warships at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Where to Stay in Mount Pleasant

Best Airbnb in Mount Pleasant – Totally Private Guest Suite

Totally Private Guest Suite

Totally Private Guest Suite is the best Airbnb in Mount Pleasant

Close to the beach, this guest suite can accommodate up to four people. It has a private entrance, two bedrooms, and a small kitchenette. It’s located close to local shops and restaurants and only five minutes from the beach. The guest suite is decorated in a fun and unique style and offers touches of home, with books and board games available.

 

Best High-End Airbnb in Mount Pleasant – Babington Way Beach Getaway

Babington Way Beach Getaway

Babington Way Beach Getaway is the best high-end Airbnb in Mount Pleasant

Located in the best neighborhood in Charleston, close to everything, this house is only a few minutes’ walk from the beach. It’s ideal for large groups as it can accommodate up to eight guests. There are plenty of facilities to make your stay comfortable and fun, including a hot tub and equipment for water sports. The rooms are spacious and welcoming, and there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

 

Best Budget hotel in Mount Pleasant – Comfort Suites at Isle of Palms

Comfort Suites at Isle of Palms

Comfort Suites at Isle of Palms is the best budget hotel in Mount Pleasant

Just a short walk from the beach, this hotel is perfectly positioned for a comfortable, convenient stay in Charleston. Enjoy a free hot breakfast, on-site pool, free morning newspaper, a guest laundry, and the fitness center during your stay – as well as modern, spacious rooms.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Mount Pleasant – Residence Inn by Marriott

Residence Inn by Marriott

Residence Inn by Marriott is the best luxury hotel in Mount Pleasant

This beautiful hotel is in the best neighborhood in Charleston for families. It’s just a short walk from the beach, local shops, and restaurants. There’s a fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary breakfast. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and contain all the usual amenities.

 

Neighborhood#4 - Upper King

(Best area to stay in Charleston for nightlife)

Upper King

Upper King is our pick for the best area to stay in Charleston for nightlife

COOLEST thing to do in Upper King – Wander the streets and do some serious shopping.

BEST place to visit in Upper King – Spend a morning at the Saturday Farmer’s Markets.

Close to the Downtown area and filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs, Upper King is the best neighborhood in Charleston for nightlife. This modern area is north of the historic center and always filled with students and locals going about their daily life. If you enjoy an energetic holiday, this is a good area for you to stay in.

Upper King also has the benefit of offering cheaper accommodation options than some other parts of the city. It’s close enough to the main Charleston attractions that you won’t have to walk far to see something beautiful.

Here are the most amazing things to do in Upper King:

  • Have a picnic and enjoy some sun in Marion Square Park.
  • Make sure you head down to the park for the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
  • The park also holds events year-round, so check out what’s on there while you’re in the city.
  • Try some of the local restaurants like Basil Restaurant, The Macintosh, or the Charleston Grill.
  • Try some local beers at one of the breweries, like Coast or Palmetto.
  • Raise a drink with friends at Closed for Business Draught Emporium, Charleston Beer Works, or Barsa.

Where to Stay in Upper King

Best Airbnb in Upper King – Bankshia Cottage

Bankshia Cottage

Bankshia Cottage is the best Airbnb in Upper King

This apartment is a good choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston on a budget. It’s close to the city center and within walking distance of everything, including restaurants and shops that you’ll want to visit during your stay. Suitable for two guests, the homey furnishings, private garden, and historic surroundings offer a real atmosphere of peace and relaxation that’s rare in the heart of the city.

 

Best High-End Airbnb in Upper King – Tranquil Apartment with Pool

Tranquil Apartment with Pool

Tranquil Apartment with Pool is the best high-end Airbnb in Upper King

Tastefully and elegantly decorated, this one-bedroom unit has a private entrance, shared courtyard, and a heated pool. The apartment itself is carefully furnished to convey comfort and southern hospitality and includes a full kitchen, private bathroom, and everything else you’ll need during your stay. It’s also close to King Street and all the other attractions of the city.

 

Best Budget hotel in Upper King – Barksdale House Inn

Barksdale House Inn

Barksdale House Inn is the best budget hotel in Upper King

Located right in the heart of Charleston, this Inn is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Charleston on a budget. It’s within walking distance of the city center and offers a patio, laundry facilities, complimentary breakfast, and clean, comfortable rooms in various sizes.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Upper King – Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett is the best luxury hotel in Upper King

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Charleston for nightlife and want a little luxury at the same time, this hotel is a great choice. It’s located right in the center of Charleston, close to everything – from shops and restaurants to the best city landmarks. The hotel has a business center, fitness center, outdoor pool, and restaurant, so you’ll have everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay right at your fingertips.

 

Neighborhood#5 - French Quarter

(The Coolest place to stay in Charleston)

French Quarter

French Quarter is our pick for the coolest place to stay in Charleston

COOLEST thing to do in the French Quarter – Browse the wares at the Historic Charleston City Market.

BEST place to visit in the French Quarter – Visit Charleston Waterfront Park for great food and wine.

The French Quarter is one of the coolest places to stay in Charleston because it has something for everyone. It’s located between Market Street and Cooper River and has an unbeatably French atmosphere, lots of great restaurants, and historic buildings. This is what makes it the best neighborhood in Charleston for couples, families, and solo travelers.

You’ll also enjoy this neighborhood if you like art. There are art galleries spread throughout the French Quarter, as well as striking buildings and churches left behind by the French merchants who originally lived in the area.

Here are the most amazing things to do in the French Quarter:

  • Check out some of the historic buildings like the Oak Slave and the Pink House Tavern.
  • See the darker side of the city at the Old Slave Mart Museum.
  • Head down to the Dock Street Theater for a show.
  • Marvel at the art at the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Atrium Art Gallery, or the Gordon Wheeler Gallery.
  • If you’re an architecture fan, check out the oldest church in the city – St Michael’s Church – or the French Huguenot church.
  • Grab a meal at Blossom, Bumpas, or Fleet Landing for delicious seafood.

Where to Stay in the French Quarter

Best Airbnb in the French Quarter – Light Filled Studio

Light Filled Studio

Light Filled Studio is the best Airbnb in the French Quarter

This studio is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Charleston for couples. With enough space for two people, it offers easy access to local attractions and a view of the Ashley River. The apartment is very small, but the convenience, location, and facilities make up for the size. It has everything you’ll need for your stay in the city.

 

Best High-End Airbnb in the French Quarter – Entire Apartment in the Heart of Charming Charleston

Entire Apartment in the Heart of Charming Charleston

Entire Apartment in the Heart of Charming Charleston is the best high-end Airbnb in the French Quarter

When you visit Charleston, you want a place to stay that matches the vibe of the city, and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you stay in this apartment. In the heart of Charleston, it’s close to excellent restaurants and attractions and offers a touch of old-world charm. It has its own kitchen and bathroom, and the space is suitable for up to four guests. There’s also a lending library and an outdoor fountain area where you can socialize with other guests.

 

Best Budget hotel in the French Quarter – Church Street Inn Ascend Hotel

Church Street Inn Ascend Hotel

Church Street Inn Ascend Hotel is the best budget hotel in the French Quarter

Located close to everything, this inn has all the comforts of home. Each room has a fridge and microwave, and you’ll have access to the garden and laundry facilities during your stay. The rooms are simple but spacious and contain everything you’ll need during your visit.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in the French Quarter – Andrew Pinckney Inn

Andrew Pinckney Inn

Andrew Pinckney Inn is the best luxury hotel in the French Quarter

Offering the perfect mix of luxury, convenience, and character, this Charleston accommodation option is right in the heart of the city. It’s located in a restored historic building and pairs old-world charm with modern amenities. The charm and history of the decor make this boutique hotel an experience not to be missed while you’re in the city. With a fitness center, complimentary breakfast, terrace, laundry facilities, and impeccable service, you can’t miss out on this experience.

 

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Charleston

Grace, charm, and history – Charleston has a lot of appeals. It’s also becoming known as one of the most popular food destinations in the US, so if you aren’t interested in history, you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself by eating your way around the city. When staying in Charleston, life is easier if you’re close to all the best restaurants and attractions, so make sure you keep this list close when looking for the best neighborhood in Charleston that’s close to everything.

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About the Author Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.