Charleston Is the Best Small City in the U.S.

Probably it’s the cobblestone streets. Or the friendly locals. Or the remarkable foods, charming motels, and infinite water sights. Whatsoever the purpose, our audience continue on to be completely charmed by Charleston, South Carolina. In fact, it was just voted the ideal modest city in the United States in our 2022 Readers’ Alternative Awards.

Now in its 35th yr, our once-a-year Readers’ Decision Awards carries on to seize the vacation encounters our visitors enjoy finest, from accommodations and airlines to cruises and islands. The quantities demonstrate what we previously realized: Enthusiasm for journey has by no means been greater, as demonstrated by the just about quarter of a million of you who loaded out this year’s survey. The very best towns in the world (massive and tiny) are a testament to the staying electric power of perennial favorites, through thick and thin—with some newcomers to take into consideration. 

Charleston is no stranger to accolades. Our viewers named it the most effective little town for an unbelievable 10 consecutive years until finally it was edged out by Aspen in 2021—not shocking, with most vacationers seeking out wide open areas all through the pandemic. But the Holy City took again its crown this year, and all the things feels relatively typical once all over again.

When there are evidently a lot of reasons to enjoy this Southern metropolis, you genuinely simply cannot talk about the location devoid of promptly calling out its eating scene. “Excellent restaurants” and “delicious food” have been pointed out in numerous study responses, with certain notice paid to seafood, sweet tea, and hearty breakfasts.

Wine and Spanish groceries at Malagón Mercado y Tapería

Image by Olivia Rae James

Fried grouper cheeks at The Glass Onion

Picture by Jonathan Boncek

The town excels at Southern delicacies, of system, but really don’t slumber on Charleston’s far more diverse dining alternatives. Be guaranteed to try out the escargot at Maison, the tender agnolotti and veal scallopini at Wild Olive, the gazpacho at Malagón Mercado y Tapería, and the fried smelt with garlic skordalia sauce at Stella’s. We would not dare inform you to skip the Southern classics, though: If you’re fortunate plenty of to find an vacant parking place at The Glass Onion, split any mild traffic guidelines to get it. The shrimp po’boys, fried grouper cheeks, and lemon meringue pie are the things of legends.

Fortunately for any calorie counters out there, Charleston also features an exceptionally walkable downtown spot and a myriad of out of doors functions. You can hop onboard one particular of the renowned horse-drawn carriages (“carriage rides both working day and evening are a ought to,” writes just one reader), or consider a self-guided walking tour past Waterfront Park, the reside oaks at White Position Gardens, Legare’s beautiful houses, and more.

There are a lot of fantastic seashores to opt for from in the spring and summer, with “water as warm as a tub,” but we’re unique admirers of the stretches of sand on Sullivan’s Island. These beach locations are extensive plenty of to healthy the crowds, have mild waves, and are surrounded by all-natural strolling paths by means of lush vegetation. Get out on the drinking water with a kayaking tour—one of Charleston’s trademark out of doors activities—and you might even location a pair of surfacing dolphins or an elusive summer season manatee.

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The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Option Awards study was manufactured out there via a protected site at This year’s tabulation of benefits from hundreds of countless numbers of respondents who submitted rankings throughout the sweepstakes interval of April 1 via June 30, 2022, was carried out by Condé Nast. […]
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