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

Maybe it’s the cobblestone streets. Or the welcoming locals. Or the unbelievable food items, charming resorts, and infinite drinking water sights. Whatsoever the explanation, our readers carry on to be completely charmed by Charleston, South Carolina. In truth, it was just voted the most effective small city in the United States in our 2022 Readers’ Alternative Awards.

Now in its 35th 12 months, our yearly Readers’ Option Awards proceeds to capture the travel ordeals our readers appreciate very best, from motels and airways to cruises and islands. The quantities establish what we now realized: Enthusiasm for vacation has under no circumstances been increased, 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 entire world (huge and tiny) are a testomony to the remaining ability of perennial favorites, as a result of thick and thin—with some newcomers to think about. 

Charleston is no stranger to accolades. Our visitors named it the very best modest metropolis for an unbelievable 10 consecutive decades till it was edged out by Aspen in 2021—not stunning, with most travelers in search of out vast open spaces during the pandemic. But the Holy Metropolis took back its crown this calendar year, and everything feels comparatively normal after again.

Though there are clearly a lot of good reasons to adore this Southern town, you definitely can’t speak about the place with out promptly contacting out its eating scene. “Excellent restaurants” and “delicious food” had been mentioned in innumerable study responses, with particular awareness compensated 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

Picture by Jonathan Boncek

The town excels at Southern cuisine, of system, but do not slumber on Charleston’s more various dining alternatives. Be certain to check 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 wouldn’t dare notify you to skip the Southern classics, even though: If you’re blessed ample to uncover an empty parking spot at The Glass Onion, split any mild targeted visitors guidelines to get it. The shrimp po’boys, fried grouper cheeks, and lemon meringue pie are the stuff of legends.

The good thing is for any calorie counters out there, Charleston also boasts an really walkable downtown location and a myriad of outdoor pursuits. You can hop onboard a person of the well-known horse-drawn carriages (“carriage rides equally day and night are a have to,” writes one reader), or choose a self-guided walking tour earlier Waterfront Park, the stay oaks at White Stage Gardens, Legare’s attractive residences, and more.

There are many great beaches to pick out from in the spring and summer, with “water as warm as a tub,” but we’re unique fans of the stretches of sand on Sullivan’s Island. These seashores are huge enough to match the crowds, have light waves, and are surrounded by normal strolling paths by means of lush vegetation. Get out on the water with a kayaking tour—one of Charleston’s trademark out of doors activities—and you may well even place a pair of surfacing dolphins or an elusive summer season manatee.

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