Avondale is a West Ashley revitalization success story. As popular bars and restaurants opened there, many young adults moved into the neighborhood, consisting mostly of brick homes built in the 1940s and 1950s. There is vibrant nightlife there, and it is often difficult to find a parking spot during the lunch and evening hours. Half Mile North is a section downtown which seems to be following the Avondale model.
Half Mile North is a new “hot spot” downtown near Morrison Drive. The area was one home to auto dealerships before they left to form the Auto Mile on Savannah Highway in the 1970s. Revitalization is taking place now with a booming restaurant district and an emerging technology industry.
This new hotspot on the Peninsula has a diverse restaurant roster, including the Butcher and Bee, Edmund’s Oast, Lewis Barbecue, Mary Lou’s Kitchen, and The Tattooed Moose. Many of the buildings are refurbished industrial buildings such as Home Team BBQ which is made from a shipping container. Millennials (adults from 18-34) who live downtown are flocking to this area. It is away from the more expensive restaurants frequented by tourists in the historic downtown area.
Many of the Millennials who frequent Half Mile North choose to travel by bicycle rather than by car. Those traveling from other parts of Charleston have easy access right off I-26 at the Morrison Drive off-ramp. There is more (free) parking than in the historic district but may require street parking with a long walk. These restaurants are also popular with Charlestonians working downtown. Most of the restaurants have an outdoor patio area, which is great for the cool weather in fall and spring. The downside is the constant noise of trucks and cars traveling on Morrison Drive.
Half Mile North is a great example of the revitalization taking place around Upper King Street and north of Calhoun Street on the peninsula. It is frequented by locals who live and work downtown and enjoy the variety of new restaurants for reasonable prices.