For the fourth consecutive year, the Holy City has been named the “Top City in the United States” in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition, Charleston jumped from the fifth "Best City in the World" in 2013 to the second spot this year. In a very close finish Florence, Italy took this 2014's No. 1 ranking.
“The people of Charleston are honored to once again be named Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice No. 1 Top U.S. City,” Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said in a press release. “To be recognized for the fourth consecutive year is truly a testament to Charleston’s vibrant culture, genuine hospitality and wonderful people, who make it such a special place to both live and visit.”
The magazine’s annual accolades have been around since 1986 and are based on each city’s rankings in six categories – Atmosphere, Culture, Friendliness, Lodging, Restaurants, and Shopping. Charleston first appeared in the Readers’ Choice "Top U.S. Cities" in 1993 with a sixth place finish. It first earned the #1 ranking in 2011..
Conde Nast Traveler senior editor Lindsay Talbot said the following about the Holy City:
...the ultimate Charleston itinerary starts with a walk along the waterfront: strolling under palm trees with the Atlantic glistening just beyond. Take time to wander the side streets, which boast beautiful homes, the best of which are found at Rainbow Row just by The Battery.
She also praised the city's culinary scene - mentioning that Husk and The Ordinary were her favorite restaurants.
For the second straight year, Santa Fe, New Mexico was chosen as the second best U.S. city, while Budapest, Hungary followed Charleston on the World list. You can view the full rankings here.
The city, some of its neighbors, and their respective businesses earned many other top designations in the following categories:
- Top 30 Islands in the World
- # 2: Kiawah Island (top ranked U.S. island)
- # 27: Hilton Head
- # 28: Isle of Palms
- Top 25 Hotels in the United States
- # 25: Wentworth Mansion
- Top 25 Resorts in the United States
- # 20: The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
- Best Resorts in the South
- # 4: The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Resort
- # 6: Inn at Harbour Town, Hilton Head
- # 8: The Beach House, Hilton Head
- # 9: Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton
- # 13: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head
- # 19: Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, Hilton Head
- # 22: Wild Dunes
- Best Hotels in the South
- # 3: The Willcox, Aiken, SC
- # 5: Wentworth Mansion
- # 9: French Quarter Inn
- # 16: Planters Inn
- # 17: Belmond Charleston Place
- # 19: John Rutledge House Inn
- # 22: Market Pavilion Hotel
- # 24: Restoration on King
- # 26: HarborView Inn
- # 38: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
You can view all of the Readers’ Choice Awards here. The Readers’ Choice Awards will be in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, which hits newsstands on October 28th.
You may also remember that earlier this summer Travel + Leisure's readers chose the Holy City as the "Best City in the U.S. and Canada."
Below is a video created by the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrating Charleston's strong finish: