Astronomers are pretty sure that Charleston is not the center of the universe, but the city's residents would like a second opinion. Fierce local pride is a Charleston institution. It has helped sustain the city for more than 300 tumultuous years—from colonial times, through the Revolutionary and Civil wars, to the present.
Pride has also sustained thousands of historic Charleston buildings—a big reason that travelers visit today. A stroll down East Bay Street (especially the section known as Rainbow Row) to admire the pastel houses bedecked with their breezy piazzas will give you an idea of where the pride comes from. Spend some time lolling in the near-tropical warmth of Charleston's beaches, admiring the stoic architecture of The Citadel (the state's military college) or exploring the Charleston historic district, and you'll likely find this a very pleasing corner of the cosmos.
Charleston is on a peninsula bound by two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, which provide a natural, watery barrier that has pushed growth and development toward the north. For instance, King Street, the city's main shopping strip, is now bustling not only on its lower end (long famous for high-quality antiques) but also on its upper end (known for home furnishings and cafes that appeal to the younger set).