We just got home from almost 2 weeks of a working vacation in the Charleston area. Of course we did all the sightseeing we could in Charleston and the environs. However, we fell in love with the old downtown North Charleston Park Circle area for everyday living.
Stayed at a convention center hotel (Hyatt Park) which was fine for a big hotel. The serendipity for us was on our first night when the hotel shuttle driver took us to the North Charleston downtown area for dinner, and we found a great selection of wonderful restaurants. Over the course of our time there we appreciated the excellent food (Fratello's, Madra Rua, Cork, EVO, Sesame) as well as DIG in the Park outdoor sports bar, Park Circle outdoor sports/fitness area, the family atmosphere everywhere we went, and small town relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We saw people of all ages and ethnic groups, everyone was very friendly, and it was delightful to enjoy the atmosphere. Lots of young families in restaurants and out for strolls on lovely fall evenings added to the charm.
We were there for the first (?) annual Halloween Street Party - what a hoot! The streets were blocked off, dogs/kids/adults in costume, restaurant dining on the sidewalk, games for kids, music for all ages. Just tons of fun!!
North Charleston is apparently trying to re-establish the old downtown Park Circle, and IMHO it has a lot to offer.