Guide to Student Living in Clemson, SC

If you’re moving to Clemson, SC, for the first time or back after some time away, welcome! A thriving college city, Clemson has a little bit of everything for everyone. But with so much to choose from, we put together a quick guide to student living in Clemson, SC!

Districts of Clemson, SC

With a population of around 31,000 including the area’s colleges, Clemson, SC, is a relatively small college city. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do.  We highlight the two most student-friendly areas of the city, which are conveniently close to Clemson University.

Downtown/City Center

The Downtown and City Center areas of Clemson are the most student-centric in the city. Many restaurants, nightlife spots, and businesses are accessible by foot, bike or public transportation. The south side of City Center borders Clemson University, making it easy to travel to or from campus between classes.

Clemson University/State Highway S

Like City Center, the majority of residents in this neighborhood are fellow Clemson students. The area has high walkability ratings and above-average safety levels, making it a popular place for students.

Best Areas to Live In

There are many neighborhoods and areas of Clemson, SC, for students to live in, but some are more student-friendly than others.

City Center

More than two-thirds of the City Center area residents are students. Those who choose to live here will find a variety of small- to medium-sized apartments for rent in Clemson, SC. Most of these apartments near Clemson University were built between 1970 and 1999.

Clemson University/State Highway S

It’s hard not to find student apartments in Clemson, SC, in this part of the city. Website NeighborhoodScout found 97.9 percent of the neighborhood population was made up of college students, making it one of the best areas to live in Clemson. Many of the neighborhood’s old homes have been divided into apartments, giving them an eclectic look and feel.


If you’re looking for a slower pace than the usual college-focused areas, the Calhoun neighborhood is a good fit. Here students will find a variety of off-campus student housing near Clemson University. A blend of renters and homeowners, Calhoun is close to Clemson University yet far enough away to escape the hustle and bustle of campus.

Can’t-Miss, Be-Seen Spots

Like many college towns, Clemson, SC, is full of things to do and places to see. Luckily, much of the off-campus student housing near Clemson University is within either walking or short driving distance to many of these spots.

Nightlife & Restaurants

The Esso Club

A Clemson staple since 1933, The Esso Club serves up traditional bar-style food and is known as the place to watch Tiger football games in the fall if you’re not at Death Valley.

‘All In’ Coffee Shop

Whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee and catching up with friends or settling in for a long study session, ‘All In’ Coffee Shop is a great place for Clemson students. The coffee shop has couches and tables inside along with outdoor seating, and it serves pastries, breakfast sandwiches and a small lunch menu.

‘55 Exchange: Clemson Ice Cream

Run by Clemson students, this on-campus ice cream shop has been a staple for many years. From product design to quality assurance and marketing, students are responsible for the success of ‘55 Exchange.

Pot Belly Deli

Soups, salads and deli-style sandwiches highlight the menu at Pot Belly Deli. Founded more than 20 years ago, students and residents return time and time again. Pot Belly offers call-ahead ordering in case you need to grab a bite on the go.

Museums, Festivals, Performing Arts

Clemson Festival of Arts

Local artists, food, music and more are on display during the Clemson Festival of Arts the third Saturday in May. This well-known festival draws attendees from Clemson and surrounding areas each year.  

Fort Hill Plantation

One of three historic homes located on the Clemson campus, Fort Hill Plantation was founded by the university’s namesake.

Bob Campbell Geology Museum

Located on the campus of Clemson University, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum houses more than 10,000 minerals, fossils and rocks from South Carolina and around the globe.

Brooks Center for the Performing Arts

From student theatre to professional dance and musical performances, the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts hosts many acts throughout the academic year.

Parks & Recreational Areas

If you enjoy the outdoors, Clemson, SC, and the surrounding areas are packed with things for you to explore. A handful of popular spots include:

South Carolina Botanical Garden

Surround yourself with 295 acres of nature at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Visitors can take in nature-based sculptures, one of the many outreach programs offered, or go for a walk along one of four main trails traversing the garden.

Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park

Mere minutes from the Clemson campus, Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park is a popular yet hidden gem in the Clemson area. Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the mostly shaded boardwalk or spend time fishing or kayaking on Lake Hartwell.

Sassafras Mountain

The highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain is a popular getaway location for Clemson students. An hour north of Clemson, it’s an easy day drive with hiking trails and scenic overlook platforms showing off the Blue Ridge Mountains and neighboring North Carolina and Tennessee.

Twelve Mile Recreational Area

Close to Clemson University is Twelve Mile Recreational Area, a popular boating, swimming, fishing and picnicking spot. Lake Hartwell forms here, where the Seneca and Twelve Mile rivers converge.

W.C. Nettles Park

Featuring lighted adult softball fields, tennis courts, soccer fields and a dog park, W.C. Nettles Park is on the east edge of Clemson city limits, but still close to Clemson University. Many residents, Clemson students and pets alike spend time year round enjoying this park.