Charleston falls on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of best small cities in the U.S.

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – After ranking among the best for years, Charleston has slipped to the #2 spot in Condé Nast Traveler’s list of best small cities in the United States via the Readers Choice Awards.

“Good things come in small packages, and nowhere is that more evident than in these 10 dynamic, reader-favorite cities,” the travel magazine wrote of its annual list.

While Charleston may be small in size, the city is brimming with big southern charm, culture, history and delicious food.

Charleston has topped the list for ten years running by visitors who Condé Nast Traveler said are “rarely prepared for the city’s good looks.” They credit the historic homes, cobblestone streets, waterfront views, and an “abundance of flowering window boxes” adding to the city’s vibe.

Taking this year’s top spot – Aspen.

“After a year that found many of us escaping to the great outdoors, it’s no surprise that Aspen tops this year’s list,” Condé Nast Traveler wrote.

A tourist destination known for its ski slopes and escape from the real world. But the Colorado town isn’t just a winter hotspot:

“If you’ve discounted the city as a summer destination, don’t: there’s plenty to do here when it warms up, like hiking the Grottos Trail just east of town, or checking out the revolving contemporary art collection at the Aspen Art Museum,” the magazine said.

After a pandemic year filled with shutdowns and regulations, will we see Charleston return to the top of the list next year? It’s certainly possible with tourism back on the rise.

Director of Tourism Analysis for the College of Charleston, Daniel Guttentag, told News 2 ahead of the Labor Day holiday last month that a tourism jump was expected in the final weeks of summer. Also noting that overall tourism in the Lowcountry is remaining steady.

In fact, Guttentag said that according to his research, the second half of the summer has outperformed pre-pandemic numbers when it comes to tourism.

The Lowcountry likely saw another tourism boost heading into the Cooper River Bridge Run weekend.

Charleston isn’t the only South Carolina city to make the top 10 list, Greenville ranked #5 on Condé Nast Traveler’s list. Savannah, Georgia was also included. You can see the full list by clicking here.

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