Charleston Ranks High Among ‘Best Of’ Lists

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Battery In the last year Charleston added a number of accolades to its already lengthy list of awards. In 2012 Charleston came out on top of the world as readers of Conde Nast Traveler voted it the best city in the world and the No. 1 city in the United States.

Here’s what the magazine readers had to say: With the “best beaches in the
southeast,” it’s no wonder Charleston took first place in our list of Top 10 Cities
in the United States. The seaside proximity doesn’t just allow for some picturesque views, but for some one-of-a-kind seafood as well. “The food, history, architecture and people are wonderful,” said one reader. “A bucket list city!”

In addition to being a beautiful city, the people of Charleston aren’t bad either, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure who voted the people of Charleston the fourth most attractive, only trailing behind Miami, San Diego and San Juan.

carriage horsesTravel + Leisure gave Charleston a high rating in its list of Top Cities in
the U.S. and Canada. Charleston came in at No. 4 behind much larger cities of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In 2011, Charleston was in the No. 2 spot. Also, Travel + Leisure named the historic Wentworth Mansion No. 1 on its list of Top Small City Hotels in the Continental U.S. as part of its annual World’s Best Awards.

The Market Pavilion Hotel came in at fourth place, and Planters Inn was ranked No. 7. No other city had multiple hotels in the top 10. The Wentworth Mansion took the No. 12 spot on the magazine’s list of Top 100 Hotels Overall. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island was No. 11 on the Top Resorts in the Continental U.S.

Even specific areas and streets of Charleston garnered national attention. ranked Charleston No. 2 on its list of Top 10 Downtowns in 2012.
The website, a resource of the best places in America to live, work, visit and play, highlighted the downtown for its gardens, restaurants and historic homes along with its walkability and low commercial vacancy rate.

Also, the American Planning Association put Broad Street on its list of Great Streets in America. It praised Charleston for preserving Broad Street and its “rich colonial history, stunning 18th century architecture, and pedestrian orientation.”

One charming Charleston suburb is tops for retirees. CNNMoney rated the town of Summerville as one of the best places to retire. It ranked No. 24 on a top 25 list. The site credited the charm of nearby Charleston and the medical care available at Summerville Medical Center.

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Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding:

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit:

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit:

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit:

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here:

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here:

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article:

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article:
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities:

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events:

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save:

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit:

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move:

Additional Places to Explore

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