Charleston, S.C. has once again earned top honors from readers of Travel + Leisure as the best city in America.
In its fifth consecutive year of earning top honors in the United States, you’re probably wondering exactly how much better the Holy City is than other travel destinations. Fortunately, the good people at Travel + Leisure have developed an elaborate methodology to accurately determine which city is the best down to the last decimal.
From Nov. 7, 2016, to March 6 of this year, readers of Travel + Leisure were invited to take part in the publication’s World’s Best Awards survey, developed by editors and digital marketing firm Wylei. Cities are rated on their sights, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value. While you may think that it would be impossible to ascribe a numeric value to a city’s culture and friendliness, leave it to Travel + Leisure to prove us all wrong.
So how much better is Charleston than everywhere else — statistically?
Well, this year Charleston took the No. 1 spot with a score of 91.54. For comparison, Santa Fe, N.M., this year’s runner-up scored a 89.94. This seems accurate, as Charleston definitely feels 1.6 better than the capital of the Land of Enchantment.
Looking at the rest of the surveys compiled by T+L readers, here are some other local shoutouts:
Top Hotels in the U.S.: The Vendue (#9) and Zero George (#12)
Top Hotels in the World: Aiken's The Willcox (#45) and Inn & Club at Harbour Town (#91)
Top Islands in the Continental U.S.: Hilton Head Island (#1) and Kiawah Island (#9)
Top Islands in the World: Hilton Head Island (#2)
But here comes the bad news: After having earned the title of Best City in the World during last year’s survey, Charleston has been unseated by San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. As the sole American city in this year’s top 10, Charleston was edged out by a mere 0.58 points. How could we have fallen so far, and what can we do to get revenge against Charleston’s No. 1 new enemy, San Miguel de Allende?
Certainly, San Miguel de Allende couldn’t have beaten Charleston on its own merits. There has to have been some concerted effort on the part of multiple cities to dethrone Charleston. Well, a quick look at San Miguel de Allende’s sister cities tells you all you need to know. Clearly carrying a grudge about their second-place spot among U.S. cities, Santa Fe likely turned to its sister city, San Miguel de Allende, to drive Charleston from its rightful designation as the No. 1 city in the world.
Maybe next year, Charleston can join forces with the likes of Chiang Mai, Thailand, or Allendale, Penn., to get back to its former glory and defeat San Miguel de Allende.