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Forget about European summer, this US city can compete with any overseas, survey says

For the 12th year in a row, participants in the Travel + Leisure magazine's “World’s Best Awards” survey have chosen Charleston, South Carolina, as the top U.S. city.
Charleston South Carolina French Quarter
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 09, 2024

If you were hoping to have a European summer but can’t justify the price of international flights, don’t worry. There’s one city in the U.S. that readers of Travel + Leisure magazine said can compete with any European capital: Charleston, South Carolina.

For the 12th year in a row, participants in the magazine’s “World’s Best Awards” survey have chosen Charleston as the top U.S. city for its arts, culture, walkability and “unbeatable culinary scene.”

Respondents said Charleston is a perfect destination for any type of trip: family vacation, couple’s weekend, friends’ getaways and bachelorette parties.

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The second spot on Travel + Leisure’s best cities list was captured by Sante Fe, New Mexico, which was noted for its Pueblo-style architecture and blend of culture.

Savannah, Georgia came in third for its “leafy parks, great shopping, carriage rides and cemetery tours,” the magazine said.

Rounding out the top five were Honolulu and New Orleans.

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For the first time since Travel + Leisure started conducting their survey, Aspen, Colorado and Annapolis, Maryland made the list of top cities.

Overall, the magazine said travelers tend to favor a city with a strong identity, and a sense that it is unlike any other city in the country.

The annual survey included over 700,000 votes across a variety of properties like hotels and cruise lines, Travel + Leisure said. The cities were rated on a list of criteria: sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, and value. Participants choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average or poor for each characteristic to be calculated into an average.

Other categories for the magazine's "World's Best Awards" included the best hotels and resorts, the best spas, the best cruises and more.