Charleston named World’s Best City by readers of Travel + Leisure

Top of the World

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This historic Broad Street building houses art studios, a retirement home, and event space - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • This historic Broad Street building houses art studios, a retirement home, and event space
We did it, everybody. We’re No. 1. Charleston has not only been named the top city in North America and Canada by Travel + Leisure, but we’ve also claimed the title as World’s Best City. I am sure your prize is in the mail.

According to the announcement from the fine people at Travel + Leisure, Charleston is the first U.S. destination to earn the World’s Best ranking. Previously, Charleston had risen to the No. 2 spot in the world, but this year the Holy City was able to beat out runners-up Chiang Mai, Thailand; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Florence, Italy to receive the coveted title of World’s Best. This is Charleston’s fourth consecutive year as the top city in the United States and Canada. The Spectator Hotel was also recognized as the No. 1 Top City Hotel in the country.

“Charleston is a remarkably dynamic place, so it’s no surprise that it has achieved its highest ranking ever in our survey as this year’s best city in the world,” said Travel + Leisure Editor Nathan Lump. “The city has managed to preserve all the qualities for which it is widely known — a prime coastal setting, historic architecture, friendly locals — while also nurturing a creative culture that is making it one of the most notable destinations for those who seek out interesting restaurants, bars, and shops that highlight a dedication to distinctive craft.”

Dan Blumenstock, chairman of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, called the award a testament to the vitality of Charleston as a world-class destination and credited such accolades as a major driver of the local tourism industry, which reached $3.68 billion in 2015.

“The area’s tourism and hospitality community has enjoyed positive growth over the past four years, due in part to the numerous awards bestowed on the Charleston area,” said Blumenstock. “We look forward to continued and responsible economic impact as a result of the No. 1 City in the World ranking.”

Comedian and Charleston native Stephen Colbert took the time to announce his hometown's big win. You can check out his very special message in the video below.

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