Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

For students, summer break has come to an end and school is back in session, which means hitting the books, turning on those screens and putting pen to paper. Sometimes studying or doing homework at home can be less than motivating, though. Maybe you’ve got a roommate who doesn’t know how to use their inside voice or a pet who wants all of your attention. 

Fortunately, downtown Charleston offers plenty of cafes for you to hide away and get work done. 

Here are six cafes to check out the next time you don’t feel like hitting the library: 

babas on cannon
11 Cannon St.
babas on meeting
804 Meeting St. 
(843) 284-6260
Open Tues.-Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Meeting St. Open Sun. 7 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Wi-Fi available

The Cannon Street location has been a staple for college students and locals who live in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood. Though the space is small, the outside seating is perfect for a nice outside read (when the weather calls for it). The Meeting Street location has a bit more space while maintaining the chill vibe of the original location. Both locations are open most days of the week to grab a bite to eat and sip on some espresso (or an espresso martini) while hitting the books. 

Ding Tea and Ha Long Cafe
281 Meeting St. 
(843) 501-7477
Open Mon., Wed.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Wi-Fi available

Sip an ice cold bubble tea while cracking open your textbooks at Ding Tea and Ha Long Cafe on Meeting Street. If you’re feeling hungry, order a steaming hot bowl of pho or a fresh summer roll. The smell of Vietnamese cuisine, music playing from the mounted TV and running water from the fish tank creates the perfect ambiance to shift your brain into study mode.

The Harbinger Cafe & Bakery
1107 King St.
(843) 637-3410
Open Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wi-Fi available

Many college students find themselves frequenting Harbinger during their college careers. The dim lighting inside combined with wooden interior and furniture create a cozy, comforting atmosphere, while the outdoor patio immerses you in the sounds of nature. It’s tucked away from lower King Street, and the distractions of tourists and busy drivers are seldom. Start a busy week with a cold brew, a big slice of quiche and a burst of chocolatey goodness from the trifecta brownie.

Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer
4 Vanderhorst St.
(843) 853-7186
Open Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
No Wi-Fi

Just a few blocks from College of Charleston campus, Kudu is like a second home to many current students and alumni. You won’t be the only one with your head in a book, headphones on or staring at a laptop screen. This space has no Wi-Fi, but the vibe is the perfect place to read. The sound of the espresso machine, the smell of toasted bagels and sandwiches, along with the chatter of peers, remind you that you’re not alone in your studies. And once you’ve finished homework for the day, celebrate with a craft brew on draft and relax. 

Maccaro Charleston
427 King St.
(843) 501-7576
Open Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Wi-Fi available 

Maccaro Charleston, a recently opened cafe on King Street near Marion Square, offers plenty of space, snacks and drinks for you to indulge in while studying. Partnering with local cold brew company Chatterbox, Maccaro offers cold brew on tap in four different flavors — black, sweet, chocolate truffle and bourbon pecan — as well as smoothies and bubble tea. Snacks like popcorn, pimiento cheese, cross waffles (croissant waffles) and more are offered. If you pay a visit, you might even find yourself featured on Maccaro’s Instagram page. 

Second State

70.5 Beaufain St.
(843) 793-4402
Open Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wi-Fi available

Second State is an intimate cafe, but you won’t be alone in your endeavors. Students and remote office workers stay plugged in and caffeinated to get their work done. Others may just enjoy the silent sounds of people tapping at their laptops, chatter amongst the baristas and an overall relaxed vibe. If the weather calls for it, studying outside on the sidewalk is a great way to soak in the sights and sounds of downtown Charleston.

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