Life in Charleston

Live Life in a Postcard

Experience a vibrant and diverse cultural life in a place small enough for anyone to feel right at home. Here, the lines between campus and the city blur – so you can learn something new every time you walk down the street. And then there's what makes Charleston iconic. The College of Charleston is in the middle of one of the most lovingly preserved historic districts in America — yet home to innovative companies like Google, Boeing and Blackbaud.

Arts & Culture

Charleston is America’s original artists’ colony. Throughout its 300-plus-year history, our city has been a playground for painters, jazz musicians, playwrights and more. This is where the New World’s first public theater was established, as well as the country's first resident ballet company and its first museum.
  • The School of the Arts

    The School of the Arts stages multiple plays, musicals and operas every semester. The school's weekly classical and jazz concert series are standing-room-only affairs, and the Concert Choir and Gospel Choir are nationally renowned.

  • Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

    The School is also home to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, a multidisciplinary laboratory featuring the work of emerging artists from around the world. The institute produces a half dozen exhibitions each year, in addition to hosting artist lectures, film screenings and events.

  • Music Scene

    Charleston is also home to numerous clubs and venues that feature a wide variety of live music ranging from bluegrass to jazz to contemporary rock and the blues. New venues has recently opened to attract a range of popular musicians. And several music festivals are produced every year in the Charleston area, including the popular Highwater Festival.

  • The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts

    In addition, College of Charleston students are actors, sculptors, jazz drummers and acappella singers. Nearly 5,000 students (half of all undergraduates) take a School of the Arts course each semester and some 600 are majors in visual arts, theatre, dance, music or computing in the arts. To better serve their needs, the College constructed a $27.2 million performance, rehearsal, studio and classroom space — the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts.


An arts, outdoor and culinary destination, Charleston hosts several events throughout the year that you might expect at a city twice its size. Whatever your niche, Charleston has the renowned festival or event to help bring it to life.
  • Spoleto Festival USA

    The College is proud to be a partner of the Spoleto Festival USA, the nation's premier arts festival. For 17 unforgettable days every summer, the College and the city host 700 events spanning the best of international performing, literary and visual arts. Our students, faculty and staff also perform in Piccolo Spoleto, a fun-loving offshoot of the original festival designed to reach all residents of the region, young and old.

  • Cooper River Bridge Run

    The Cooper River Bridge Run has been called the best 10-K race in the world. Taking place all across Charleston's breathtaking Cooper River Bridge, this 10-K features world-class competition and an outpouring of community pride, participation and passion.

  • Charleston Wine + Food Festival

    Charleston Wine + Food Festival is a non-profit organization that helped to put Charleston on the map as a top culinary destination. Enjoy five days of Charleston's legendary flavors, chefs, wine, storytellers and experts with a big helping of community pride.

  • MOJA Arts Festival

    MOJA Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival that elevates the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures across the visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theater, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much much more.


The outdoors are always calling at the College of Charleston. Year-round sunshine, beaches in our backyard, a 10-acre city park right next door and free access to campus athletic facilities make staying active easy.
  • Campus Recreation Services

    The staff members at Campus Recreation Services organize flag football, kickball and midnight basketball leagues among other activities. They also run weekend sea kayaking, hiking and climbing adventures. And they oversee 22 sport clubs that will give you a chance to experience and compete in everything from Ultimate, rugby and soccer to belly dancing, water-sports and ice hockey.

  • The Johnson and Silcox Centers

    On campus, the Johnson and Silcox Centers have basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, as well as an indoor track and squash courts, a dance/yoga studio, and weights and cardio equipment.

  • The George Street Fitness Center

    Right in the center of campus, the George Street Fitness Center boasts a 15,000-square-foot fitness facility with cardio and strength machines as well as free weights.

  • The J. Stewart Walker Sailing Complex

    The J. Stewart Walker Sailing Complex across the harbor offers sailing classes and is one of the best collegiate sailing facilities in the country.

  • James Island County Park

    Just down the road from the College is James Island County Park, where you can enjoy South Carolina's tallest outdoor climbing wall, run the winding trails or kayak and paddle-board on the lake or nearby river.