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Park Circle

North Charleston location gains popularity as Lowcountry destination

Though Charlestonis world-renowned for its vibrant nightlife, made possible with lively bars and restaurants, its neighbor to the north has increasingly gained popularity as a local destination.

Once a quiet residential area, North Charleston's Park Circle has grown to include a wide range of restaurants, retail spots, breweries and mom-and-pop shops. The neighborhood is a mixed-use community, where young families have access to a range of amenities.

In fact, the community has become so desirable that housing prices have skyrocketed over the years into the $400,000 range.

Some of this has to do with the the community's prime location, just 15 minutes from the Charleston peninsula and under an hour from the Isle of Palms beach.

What's more, the redevelopment of Park Circle has spilled over farther south on Spruill

Avenue, where new businesses and office spaces point to the area's progress from Spruill's days as a crime-ridden corridor.

Nearby, the plans to revitalize the old Navy base call for adding new housing, a pedestrian bridge and commercial properties to the area.

Also, North Charleston's southern end could be changed as Park Circle's momentum spreads southward.

Though the Lowcountry Rapid Transit system that will run a dedicated bus route along Rivers Avenue is expected to spur transit-oriented development, North Charleston's potential to create mixed-use residential and commercial communities has already been realized in Park Circle.

There's a wide range of options for people to eat at all times of the day. Orange Spot Coffee offers hot and cold beverages, in addition to scones, muffins and other morning eats. The Junction Kitchen & Provisions provides all-day breakfast in addition to its sandwiches and tacos.

Nearby is Park Circle Creamery, where ice cream offers a cool break from the summer heat.

Ideal lunch spots include Sesame Burgers & Beer, DIG in the Park, and FOOD on Spruill Avenue. Many are drawn to the CODfather Proper Fish & Chips, a popular British eatery. Other seafood options include Lola, where diners can eat Cajun-and Creole-style seafood on a patio.

Italian cuisine is available at restaurants that include Park Pizza, EVO Pizzeria and Fratello's Italian Tavern.

People 21 years and older might visit Park Circle's breweries. Holy City Brewing is a community hub, providing space for people to drink beers with friends. Coast Brewing Co. also offers local brews.

You might also check out The Mill, which offers 100 craft, import and domestic beer varieties, or the recently opened Madra Rua Irish Pub.

But there's more than just good food and drinks at Park Circle. Shopping enthusiasts may want to explore the retail stores.

The Station at Park Circle is an antique store that offers vintage furniture, art, accents, lighting, music, plants, apparel, and gifts. The Itinerant Literate Book Shop offers a wide variety of new fiction, nonfiction, children's and various other kinds of books, as well as gift items. Craft and Canvas serves as an art studio for all ages.

Plant lovers should stop by Roadside Booms, a unique flower shop that sells bouquets, plants, and locally made gifts.

There's no shortage of spaces for recreational activity.

After all, the circle itself was modeled after London native Ebenezer Howard's vision for "garden cities" where green space, commercial and residential could all coexist within a walkable community. At the heart of the North Charleston neighborhood, a ring contains ball fields, a community center, butterfly garden and disc golf course.

For more interaction with nature, guests can visit the nearby Quarterman Park, where ducks and geese can be found searching for bread scraps around the pond.

Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr. rdennis@postandcourier.com

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