Long considered the crown jewel of the South, Charleston is an American treasure. From roots as a Colonial port city to the Civil War to today, Charleston prides itself on refined manners, fervent support of the arts and historic and cultural preservation. The Historic District and King Street are–by all accounts–a virtual living museum. Eighteenth-century homes and plantations abound, public buildings remain in use after hundreds of years, ancient trees flourish in quintessential Southern gardens. Residents take pride in the hospitality of a bygone era. There are countless art galleries, boutiques, antique dealers, fine restaurants, home and gardens tours, museums, and an extensive aquarium.