by Sam Spence
In a normal year, being named the best city in the country would be great. Winning two years in a row? Even better. But this time, Charleston has beaten some stiff international competition.
For the second year in a row, Conde Nast Traveler has voted Charleston the top city in the nation, good enough news for most cities, we'd imagine, but this time, Charleston also topped the world's great cities to win the #1 spot as its readers' top destination on the planet.
After coming in third last year in the magazine's annual Readers' Choice Awards, Charleston edged out Cape Town, South Africa and Florence, Italy, to take top international honors this year.
In a nod to the city's unique architecture, Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Chairman Frank Fredericks said, "We are tickled pink," and Mayor Joe Riley called the recognition "absolutely wonderful news for our city," saying the award is "an acknowledgment of the pride and care that our citizens give to our city."
The recognition, based on votes in a Conde Nast website survey, averages ratings of each city in six areas such as ambiance, restaurants, and shopping. Charleston scored a rating of 86.7, with no other city scoring higher than 83.6, a convincing win for the Holy City. San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, and New York City rounded out the top 5.
The annual awards, which mark their 25th anniversary this year, also ranked the top resorts and hotels, with several in Charleston-area ranking among the best in the region and a handful making the magazine's Top 100 Hotels in the World list.
Video credit: CharlestonOnly.com (Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau)