The oldest and largest city in South Carolina, Charleston is known for its low country charm and its colorful history as a major southern port. A popular tourist destination, Charleston’s romantic, historical neighborhoods feature many antebellum mansions converted to bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, adding to its appeal as a favorite wedding and honeymoon location. Charleston was voted one of the 25 top art destinations by American Style magazine. A lively music scene, featuring the Spoleto Festival also attracts scores of tourists each year, as do the stately homes lining the Battery overlooking Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter, where the first battle of the Civil War was fought.
Nearby Hilton Head and Kiawah Island offer popular private golf resorts, while Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach support the summer vacation rental industry. The Port of Charleston accounts for a major sector of the city’s economy. Owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, Charleston’s two shipping terminals form a part of the East Coast’s fourth-largest container seaport and North America’s thirteenth-largest container seaport. Mercedes and Volvo use the port to transfer automobiles and car parts for their manufacturing businesses. On top of its significant tourism industry, information technology has been a growing sector of the economy, since 2011, due in part to the Charleston Digital Corridor. Companies such as Blackbaud, SPARC, BoomTown, CSS and Benefitfocus call Charleston home. Because of its growing IT sector, the Milken Institute ranked the Charleston region as the ninth-best performing economy in the US. Named “America’s Most Friendly [City]” by Travel+ Leisure in 2011 and 2013 and by Conde Nast Traveler, and Southern Living Magazine’s, “most polite and hospitable city in America.” In 2016, Travel + Leisure ranked Charleston the “World’s Best City.” With all of that going on, Charleston’s a great place to grow your business and live your life.