Charleston has been called one of the most mannerly cities. Indeed, this is what Southern hospitality is all about. The place has all the genteel charm you’d expect, and then some. The city manages to strike the perfect mix of old and new. It has the second largest historical district in North America (behind Savannah). Preservation is serious business around here: Many of the houses look the same as they did in the early 1800s, but this is a living, breathing city. The dollhouse-like homes with large verandas that catch the breeze off the harbor are just as lived in today as they were back then. Take plenty of time to stroll the residential lanes (“downtown” Charleston is on a peninsula that is less than two miles long) to observe all the different types of architecture, including Georgian, Adamesque, Victorian, Italianate and Greek Revival. Most homes have tiny plaques that explain the architecture (residents are used to people stopping and looking). One of the most famous parts of the city is Rainbow Row, named for the burst of pastel colors from the homes that line the streets. These candy-colored homes mostly represent an 18th-century Georgian style, with arched doorways and gambrel roofs. One of the most popular activities is a carriage ride, which is a nice introduction to the city. Guides (usually students from the College of South Carolina) take you on a leisurely hoof, casually filling you in on historical facts and points of interest.