Top Ten Misconceptions Folks Have About Charleston, SC

By Mark A. Leon

Around the country and the world, visitors have been flocking to Charleston, SC. by plane, car and boat to witness the spectacular beauty, historic significance, cultural renaissance and true southern hospitality our city has to offer.  With all the media comes awareness.  Though our name and face are more pronounced than ever before, not everyone truly knows the true Charleston.  As a result, some folks may have a few misconceptions about who we are.

We want to shed a little light on the situation and help you all out by knocking down some of those false ideas.

  • We are not in North Carolina.  For some reason, many of you in the North think we are Charlotte.  Even when we correct you, you still think we are in North Carolina.  The country does actually extend further south and we are in the heart of South Carolina.  Proud and true of our South Carolina coastal home.
  • There are a few rumors that we are “slow” or “dumb”.  A few little facts that may change your mind.  The Citadel is the #1 Public School in the South for the 4th straight year.  The College of Charleston MBA program ranks 3rd in the nation for percentage of graduates finding careers within six months of graduation.  Charleston Southern University is ranked #93 in the US News and Worlds Report Best Southern Schools in their 2015 report.
  • Always with a smile

    Always with a smile

    We genuinely like to say hello and smile.  Many of you that have recently visited for the first time may notice us locals making eye contact, smiling and saying hello to you.  It isn’t part of a master marketing plan or a shot at other areas of the country where the cultural norm is to avoid one another.  We really enjoy meeting you all and making your acquaintance.

  • We don’t believe the South won the Civil War.  Yes, the first shots of the Civil War were fired in Charleston.  Yes, the most number of slaves that came into the United States came through the Charleston port.  Yes, there is a rich historic heritage of plantations and slave ownership in this region.  Yet, we are fully aware of history and we embrace all perspectives and views.  Our tour guides, historians and history buffs believe in family, tradition and preservation and that includes not just our region, but the country as a whole.
  • We have a thriving business community.  With the additional of Boeing to compliment PeopleMatter, Benefitfocus, Blue Acorn and the incoming Volvo facility in Berkeley County, Charleston is becoming a thriving business community.  We are no longer built around health care, hospitality and small business.  Look at the many awards we have received in investment funding and development.  Some still think we survive only on hospitality (hotels, restaurants) and the hospital system, but are are so much more than that.
  • The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge / Cooper River Bridge is the longest cable stay bridge in the Western Hemisphere at 2.5 miles in length.  Some of you have heard that and said “this isn’t the longest bridge in the United States let alone the Western Hemisphere.”  You are correct, it is the longest cable stay bridge in the Western Hemisphere only behind Sutong Bridge in Chine.  A cable stay bridge is one that uses cables attached to towers to support a roadway.  In a very specific category, we are the largest.
  • We don’t just eat fried food and grits.  Charleston is a very health conscious city that thrives on its health and wellness businesses and lifestyle.  From Five Loaves to Verde to Gathering Cafe, Charleston offers a thriving list of dining options for the health minded individual.  With a strong community of yoga, bikers, runners and adventure seekers, Charleston is a haven for a lifestyle of health conscious resident.
  • We don’t just listen to country music.  We aren’t Nashville, TN, Austin, TX or New York City, but have a diverse and well rounded music scene.  With venues that include the Charleston Pour House, Music Farm and Charleston Music Hall, Charleston welcomes musical talents from all around the area to express openly their vision through music and lyrical poetry.  In fact, Awendaw, SC hosts a weekly Barn Jam  every Wednesday, 52 weeks a year, showcasing original singer/songwriters in an open outdoor setting.  This venue that includes outdoor live original music, a food truck, bonfires, play area for kids, dancing spot for fans and even a goat is our local scaled down version of Woodstock.  At $5.00 with BYO anything, it is a community party every week.
  • We don’t just own flip flops for foot attire.  Is it true that some people have flip flops in every color of the rainbow? Yes.  Is it true that some have a pair for every month of the year? Yes  Is it true that flip flops define a lifestyle? Yes.  Some would even say “barefoot” defines a lifestyle.  We do get classy and  dressed up on many occasions donning Aldo, pumps, heels and cowboy boots.  You may even witness some gals wearing high heels to church on Sunday.
  • We are not all raging sports fans that drive pick up trucks.  Many of us are and we are pretty darn proud of our teams.  It is true, you do not mess with SEC football in Charleston.  Ever.  We won’t turn on you, throw you in the back of the pick up and dump you in the pond or anything, but….  On game day Saturday, bars have crowds, we put on our jersey’s and start our day early with a couple of beers in the shower, but many of us find other ways of entertainment.  Charleston has a robust festival circuit, shopping and attractions scene to meet all locals and tourist needs.  You won’t find all of us drunk at noon glued to a TV set.

There you go, ten misconceptions about Charleston.  We hope we cleared the air and gave you a better understanding of our quaint little city of Charleston.


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