Though most key sights in Charleston do indeed have some tie to the city’s rich history, house museums are only a subset of the attractions here. Charleston’s sights are excellently integrated into its built environment, and often the enjoyment of nearby gardens or a lapping river is part of the fun.
Charleston is made up of many small neighborhoods, many of them quite old. The boundaries are confusing, so your best bet is to simply look at the street signs (signage in general is excellent in Charleston). If you’re in a historic neighborhood, such as the French Quarter or Ansonborough, a smaller sign above the street name will indicate that.
Other key terms you’ll hear are “the Crosstown,” the portion of U.S. 17 that goes across the peninsula; “Savannah Highway,” the portion of U.S. 17 that traverses “West Ashley,” which is the suburb across the Ashley River; “East Cooper,” the area across the Cooper River including Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, and Daniel and Sullivan’s Islands; and “the Neck,” up where the peninsula narrows. These are the terms that locals use, and hence what you’ll see in this travel guide.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition