A top-10 downtown Charleston among nation’s best, Livability.com says

Charleston’s downtown, including King Street where Lynette Viviani of New Jersey shops with her dog Elvis, was named one of the top 10 in the country by Livability.com on Monday.

Ami Young isn’t surprised that Charleston’s downtown was named one of the nation’s top 10 by Livability.com.

She was shopping Monday on King Street as part of her annual visit to the city where she lived from 1998 to 2000.

“I’m seeing a lot of new shops, and that makes anything and everything you need accessible,” said Young, who now lives in South Florida.

After she finished shopping, Young said she would head to upper King Street to check out the new restaurants.

Charleston’s downtown ranked second on Livability.com’s list of the nation’s top 10 downtowns. Livability.com is a national website that highlights more than 500 of America’s best places to live and visit. Only Fort Collins, Colo., outranked Charleston.

The list includes communities with downtowns that are walkable, well-conceived, and have a wealth of dining and entertainment options.

“This list highlights those cities with downtowns that offer residents and visitors valuable experiences — museums and theaters for families to visit, restaurants and coffee shops where friends can gather, shops and boutiques for finding memorable keepsakes,” said John Hood, spokesman for Livability.com. “We chose cities in which the residents and government leaders have invested in downtown revitalization projects, providing a favorable atmosphere for older businesses to thrive and for new businesses to grow.”

Lindsey Merreighn and her 4-year-old daughter Stella also were shopping on King Street Monday. Merreighn now lives in North Charleston, but she called King Street home when she was a student at the College of Charleston. She moved from the downtown area in 2002, and said things have changed a lot since then.

She appreciates that there are a lot more stores in which she can shop. The only down side, she said, is that streets and stores are more crowded.

Chris Majure is a lawyer who comes to Charleston for work once or twice a week. “I call myself a Charleston lawyer that lives in Columbia,” he said. He thinks the city’s downtown is fabulous. “It’s one of the most livable downtowns around,” he said. The only problem he sees is with storm water drainage that causes the streets to flood during heavy rains.

But that flaw is easy to forgive, he said. “It’s a challenge, but they’re working on it.”

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.