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A Decade at the Top: Charleston Once Again Tops Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards



For the tenth consecutive year, Charleston has been named the best small city in the U.S., according to Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The periodical’s 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards represented the first time that the public had to choose their favorites when almost no one was traveling.

“Charleston may be a small town, but this city punches well above its weight,” Valerie Marino wrote for the magazine. “When you consider everything it has to offer—history, culture, food, charm—it’s no wonder the so-called Holy City has topped our list of the best small cities in the U.S. for ten years running.”

The Best Small Cities list broke down as follows:

  1. Charleston
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
  4. Laguna Beach, CA
  5. Alexandria, VA
  6. Greenville, SC
  7. Aspen
  8. Savannah
  9. Jackson Hole, WY
  10. Key West

Chicago was voted as the country’s Best Big City.

In addition to Charleston’s No. 1 Small City in the U.S., Isle of Palms (7) and Kiawah Island (5) were both included in the 10 Top Best Islands in the U.S. list. Nearby Hilton Head took home the top honors.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (3) and The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina (8) were named among the top 20 resorts in the South.

Condé Nast also published a list of their readers’ favorite hotels choices in Charleston:

  1. French Quarter Inn
  2. The Spectator Hotel
  3. Wentworth Mansion
  4. The Dewberry
  5. John Rutledge House Inn
  6. The Vendue
  7. The Restoration
  8. Hotel Bennett
  9. HarbourView Inn
  10. Belmond Charleston Place

Condé Nast Readers also voted Charleston’s airport among the best airports in the country. Ranked No. 9, this is the second time Charleston International has earned a distinction among Condé Nast Travelers’ top 10.

For the complete list of the 2020 Awards, visit

In July, Charleston was named No. 1 City in the U.S. by Travel+Leisure readers. The 2019 award marked Charleston’s seventh consecutive year atop that list.

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