Charleston Ranked No. 1

For three years running, Charleston has been named the No. 1 destination in the U.S. and Canada by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. This year, Charleston was also named No. 2 in the world!Charleston's Battery

If you’ve never visited the Holy City, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. The CNT rankings are part of the Readers Choice Awards. Rankings are determined based upon reader ratings in the following categories:

  • Culture
  • Friendliness
  • Atmosphere
  • Restaurants
  • Lodging
  • Shopping

Charleston receives high scores across the board, and we have some sneaking suspicions as to why.

Culture

Like most seaports, Charleston is somewhat of a melting pot; blending Southern, English, French and West African cultural elements. Well known for art, music, cuisine, theater and fashion, downtown plays host to a variety of cultural events and fairs including:

  • Spoleto Festival
  • Festival of Houses and Gardens
  • Southeastern Wildlife Expo
  • Charleston Food and Wine Festival
  • Fashion Week
  • Cooper River Bridge Run
  • Lowcountry Jazz Festival

There is also an abundance of museums, galleries and historical sites to keep travelers busy.

Friendliness

Charleston might as well be the definition of southern hospitality and has been recognized as the “friendliest” city in the nation.

Atmosphere

The Holy City is downright picturesque with cobblestone streets, harbor views, historic buildings and a skyline dotted by church steeples. The downtown peninsula is also surrounded by beautiful beaches (including Folly, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Kiawah and Seabrook) and plantations. The setting lends itself to a laid back atmosphere for both tourists and locals.

Restaurants

Downtown Charleston and the surrounding areas boast a variety of up-scale and casual dining options. Flavors vary from local seafood to international cuisine. Some of our favorite lunch and dinner spots include:

  • The Charleston Grill – King St.
  • Cypress – East Bay St.
  • Halls Chophouse – King St.
  • O-Ku – King St.
  • Magnolias – East Bay St.
  • Husk – Queen St.
  • Poogan’s Porch – Queen St.
  • High Cotton – East Bay St.
  • Bull Street Gourmet & Market – King St.
  • Hominy Grill – Rutledge Ave.
  • Five Loaves – Cannon St.

Lodging

Charleston offers a variety of lodging options, from major chains to historic bed and breakfasts like the Governor’s House Inn. Most downtown accommodations are within the historic district and close to shopping, dining and nightlife.

Shopping

Downtown offers tons of shopping, the majority of which is split between King Street and Market Street. Options vary and include designer labels, local boutiques and national brands like:

  • Anthropologie
  • Banana Republic
  • J. Crew
  • Gap
  • Luna
  • Aldo
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Forever 21
  • Copper Penny
  • Steve Madden
  • Juicey Cotoure
  • Lacoste
  • BCBG MaxAzria

…And that’s just to name a few. The Market area also features a variety of candy and souvenir shops, and goods from local artists and artisans are also available.

To learn more about the Readers Choice Awards visit CNTtraveler.com.

Plan a Trip

If you haven’t visited Charleston (or if it has been a while), we hope you will plan a trip soon! Charleston’s Visitors’ Bureau is a great place to start, and we hope that you will book your stay with the Governor’s House. Call 800-720-9812 to learn more or make your reservation online.

Enter to Win

All guests who book reservations between now and August 31st will be entered for a chance to win a FREE two night stay! Learn more

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