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

Possibly it’s the cobblestone streets. Or the pleasant locals. Or the extraordinary foods, charming accommodations, and endless water sights. Whichever the explanation, our visitors go on to be utterly charmed by Charleston, South Carolina. In truth, it was just voted the greatest compact town in the United States in our 2022 Readers’ Option Awards.

Now in its 35th year, our annual Readers’ Selection Awards proceeds to capture the journey ordeals our viewers like finest, from inns and airways to cruises and islands. The quantities confirm what we currently realized: Enthusiasm for journey has under no circumstances been better, as demonstrated by the approximately quarter of a million of you who filled out this year’s study. The most effective metropolitan areas in the entire world (big and little) are a testomony to the being electrical power of perennial favorites, through thick and thin—with some newcomers to contemplate. 

Charleston is no stranger to accolades. Our readers named it the very best tiny metropolis for an incredible 10 consecutive several years until eventually it was edged out by Aspen in 2021—not astonishing, with most tourists looking for out wide open up areas in the course of the pandemic. But the Holy Metropolis took back again its crown this year, and anything feels reasonably typical when once again.

Although there are clearly a lot of explanations to enjoy this Southern city, you definitely can not talk about the location without having immediately contacting out its eating scene. “Excellent restaurants” and “delicious food” have been pointed out in many study responses, with unique consideration paid to seafood, sweet tea, and hearty breakfasts.

Wine and Spanish groceries at Malagón Mercado y Tapería

Picture by Olivia Rae James

Fried grouper cheeks at The Glass Onion

Photograph by Jonathan Boncek

The city excels at Southern delicacies, of training course, but do not snooze on Charleston’s far more numerous eating selections. Be confident to consider 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 wouldn’t dare explain to you to skip the Southern classics, even though: If you’re lucky sufficient to locate an empty parking spot at The Glass Onion, crack any mild targeted traffic rules to get it. The shrimp po’boys, fried grouper cheeks, and lemon meringue pie are the stuff of legends.

Thankfully for any calorie counters out there, Charleston also features an really walkable downtown area and a myriad of outside routines. You can hop onboard a single of the famous horse-drawn carriages (“carriage rides equally working day and evening are a ought to,” writes just one reader), or take a self-guided going for walks tour earlier Waterfront Park, the stay oaks at White Stage Gardens, Legare’s attractive properties, and more.

There are several wonderful beach locations to decide on from in the spring and summer, with “water as heat as a bath,” but we’re distinct admirers of the stretches of sand on Sullivan’s Island. These shorelines are large adequate to in good shape the crowds, have mild waves, and are surrounded by natural going for walks paths as a result of lush vegetation. Get out on the h2o with a kayaking tour—one of Charleston’s trademark out of doors activities—and you could possibly even location a pair of surfacing dolphins or an elusive summer time manatee.

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