Charleston Was Just Named the No. 1 City in the US by T+L Readers

Charleston, South Carolina, has once again enchanted Travel + Leisure readers, winning the top spot in the 2023 World’s Best Awards’ favorite cities in the US category for the 11th year in a row. Last year, the South Carolina city earned a coveted spot in the WBA Hall of Fame.

Readers especially loved Charleston’s thriving culinary scene and easy walkability, all done with Southern charm.

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The dining scene, of course, highlights Southern cuisine, with fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and she-crab soup as staples. Charleston’s must-try dishes include the okra soup at Bertha’s Kitchen; biscuits from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits; deviled crabs from Dave’s Carry-Out; and crab rice from Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen.

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The restaurant hype continues to surge with several new openings in the last few years, such as Bevi Bene Brewing; Sorelle, which just opened in February 2023 with a wine room and a pizza counter; and Raw Lab, an omakase-style raw bar. Perhaps the biggest restaurant news of this year is the opening of Filipino restaurant Kultura, by Chopped champion Nikko Cagalahan, who just started welcoming diners this month.

Other additions to the Charleston culture scene include the long-awaited International African American Museum in June 2023. The luxury offerings are also on the rise, with a new Soho House coming in next year.

The new hot spots add a fresh perspective to a city steeped in history — another aspect that resonates with T+L readers. Fort Sumter National Monument; Historic Charleston City Market; Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum; Magnolia Plantation and Gardens; Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens; and Rainbow Row all offer a look into Charleston’s past. The Charleston Heritage Federation preserves its history through centuries-old homes and museums, while the Historic Charleston Foundation holds an annual Festival of Houses and Gardens in the spring for an inside look at some of the nation’s most beautiful homes.