Looks like you've gotten a lot of feed back already, but I suppose I'll add my 2 cents being a former NYC resident.
If you're looking for a charming, quiet, and safe area that's still within walking distance of all the good stuff down town you may want to consider Wagner Terrace. You'll still be in Charleston proper, 10-15 minutes walk to upper king (a lot of the action) and the farmers market on saturdays. I have some friends who moved from DC and fell in love w/ the area for many of the same reasons you described.
Anyway, good luck w the search and if I can help answer any more questions about different areas, real estate or even local eateries nearby, am glad to do so.
It is close to the bridge, many restaurants, parks, etc. You can be in downtown Charleston, Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island or the best shopping centers around. You have Boone Hall Plantation which hosts festivals and big name concerts, the baseball stadium (go Riverdogs!) and a great Memorial garden at the Mt. Pleasant pier. At the pier they host tournaments (not just fishing) and in the summer they show movies out on the lawn.
Love it so much we have decided to retire to the area from Asheville, NC. We are currently looking for that special place to call our own.
Congratulations on finishing Law School and even better landing a job in Charleston. We are the number one travel destination in the world this year. There are so many nice places to live in the Charleston area that to suggest just one or two without getting to know you a little bit is a bit silly. I you send me your address and email information I will see that our relocation department sends you a relocation package with lots of information about Charleston and when you are ready we can talk more and I can find you the perfect agent to take you around Charleston to find the perfect home for you and your partner. I am the Broker in Charge for Coldwell Banker United In Goose Creek at Bedroom community just North of Charleston but my agents know the entire Tri-county area like the back of thier hands. Just let me know when I can help you. Thanks and safe travels.
Goose Creek Office
Coldwell Banker United Realtors
I would love to recommend you look at Daniel Island. The island is a picturesque and charming area of Charleston. The island boasts many parks, miles of bike and walking paths, and a vibrant downtown just to name a few. This little island town is safe, quiet, and yet very convenient to the airport, neighboring beaches as well as historic downtown Charleston. Let me know when you are planning a visit, I would love to give you a tour of Daniel Island!
Daniel Island Real Estate
Congrats on finishing up Law School! I'm a local Realtor in the Charleston area and would love to help you and your partner find the right place to rent. I have rentals on my website you can search: http://abbyengles.kwrealty.com/ and please contact me so we can discuss some details:
Keller Williams Realty
I'd love to help!