For the third straight year, the magazine had separate categories for big and small cities. In the past, Charleston took home the top spot regardless of city size, but for the last three years it had to settle for winning the "small city" (population under 150,000) category. Chicago was chosen as this year's Best Big City in the U.S.
Here's what Condé Nast Traveler had to say about Charleston:
"With its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets, Charleston remains one of the country’s most charming cities. Underneath its sleepy veneer, the city is known for its dynamic food scene—where destination dining reflects its English, French, and West African roots—along with a thriving theater scene, bustling King Street, and historic City Market. Come evening, stroll along The Battery and take it all in."
The magazine’s annual accolades have been around since 1986 and are based on each city’s rankings in several categories – Arts/Culture, Friendliness, Scenery/Sights, Restaurants/Food, Accommodations, Shopping, and Value. Charleston first appeared in the "Top U.S. Cities" list in 1993 with a sixth place finish. It first earned the #1 ranking in 2011.
In addition to the No.1 Small City in the U.S. ranking, Charleston's The Restoration ranked No. 10 on the magazine's Best Hotel in the U.S. list.
The following hotels ranked among the top 12 in the Charleston area:
- The Restoration
- The Vendue
- The Spectator Hotel
- French Quarter Inn
- John Rutledge House Inn
- Wentworth Mansion
- The Dewberry Charleston
- Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston
- HarbourView Inn
- Zero George
- Belmond Charleston Place
- Planters Inn