What is it about Charleston? Is it the charm? The Hospitality? The Food? The History? The Friendliness? The Beaches? The Houses? The Churches? The Walkability? The Antiques?
I would argue it is all of those items plus more that has resulted in Charleston, SC being named the top U.S. city for the 7th year in a row in 2019 (and the highest rated U.S. city at #12 for the top 15 world cities, Santa Fe, NM was 14th) as tabulated by the annual Travel & Leisure Magazine rankings (see below link).
Over the past several years, Charleston has maintained those virtues plus added and enhanced the various existing areas. From its first Istanbul Kebob buffet to a major league lacrosse game and a recent U.S. Women’s Golf Open to Volvo’s first American manufacturing plant. A growing high tech industry and new craft breweries are shaping the lowcountry landscape. Even part time local legend, Bill Murray, has invested in Charleston from restaurants/food trucks and his part ownership of the local minor league team Charleston River Dogs.
Here is a list of reasons Loc=vetoDineOut.com has developed for loving this city:
*the city is not too big or not too small;
*the cobblestone streets which had pirates like Blackbeard/Edward Teach and Stede Bonnet roaming back a hundred plus years ago;
*the various waterways, from marshes to creeks, rivers flowing to the ocean, pluff mud to tidal basins, and lakes to ponds, all seemingly interconnected;
*the diversity of food from barbecue to seafood and fresh produce to grits, prepared in so many delicious/tasty ways (one staple is boiled peanuts which is called Southern Caviar!);
*the music of all types, classical, rap, jazz, Cajun/zydeco, country, Broadway, from local stars like Hootie/Darius and Edwin McCain to Shovels & Ropes Daniel D/Ranky Tanky;
*Churches of all types dotting the Holy City from the Emanuel AME to the French Huguenot to the Circular Congregation, some with graveyards dating back centuries;
*the trees, like the amazing hundreds of years old Angel Oak with alluring limbs like arms ready to embrace you with beauty and many Charleston drives from the trees reaching across the roads in a canopy like kissing trees;
*the people who are not overbearing but also so willing to help with directions, roadside assistance, restaurant tips, shopping ideas, and maybe just a warm hello greeting;
*the history from many firsts (preserved not rebuilt fake houses, rainbow row colors, earthquake rods, one of the first building murals. Hat Man on Broad Street – see if you can find all 16 hats, and side porches) to Porgy & Bess/Gershwin, to having a song/dance named after the city, and world class festivals like Spoleto Arts to Moja Celebration to Flowertown to Second Sundays to Family Circle to the Cooper River Bridge Run; &
*the various languages (international visitors and transplanted folks) and dialects (Gullah, Southern, & Geechee) spoken in the area dating back when in the late 1600’s people came from around the world to trade their goods and share their artistic talent.
Maybe it is the combination of all these factors which keep us ahead of New Orleans, Savannah, Santa Fe, and others?
Here is the link to the Travel & Leisure 2019 listing — https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/cities.
LovetoDineOut.com, July 2019