Ten "Top Ten" Lists for Charleston

December 10, 2009

Each year, it seems, our fine city scores an increasing number of national accolades touting various aspects of the quality of life that Charleston offers both residents and visitors. There are always the “usual suspects” — such as Southern Living magazine’s “Readers’ Choice” Awards and the coveted title of “Most Mannerly City” (which Charleston has won so many times, it now holds a “Lifetime Achievement Award”). But this year, in particular, Charleston rose to the top of some highly visible global lists, including one that recognizes the area’s economic development practices – a good sign that we are poised for a strong recovery as the economy begins to improve.

Here’s a round-up of Charleston’s latest bragging rights:

Top 10 Smartest Cities in the World
Forbes Magazine

Forbes’ list of the world’s “Ten Smartest Cities” was compiled by evaluating infrastructure, livability and economic fundamentals. Charleston, which shares the spotlight with cities like Singapore, Amsterdam and Seattle, is praised for promoting economic expansion while preserving the city’s historic core, and is described as being “poised to emerge as a major aerospace center,” now that Boeing has announced plans to build a Dreamliner assembly plant here.

Top 10 Places in the World to See in 2010
Lonely Planet Travel Guides

This annual collection of the best places to go and best things to do in the year ahead included Charleston in its collection of top cities to visit — the only U.S. city on the list! Istanbul, Vancouver and Abu Dhabi were among the other places recommended as “must see” destinations for the new year.

America’s Most Livable Cities
U.S. Conferenc
e of Mayors
For the past 30 years, cities have competed for this prestigious award, which recognizes mayoral leadership for developing and implementing programs that improve quality of life. This year’s winning cities — Charleston and Chapel Hill, N.C. — were selected by former mayors from a pool of more than 200 applicants.

Top Ten Cities for Technology Jobs
Forbes Magaz
This year’s list of the top cities for technology jobs was powered by factors including tax rates, the cost of housing, the overall climate toward business and entrepreneurial spirit. Charleston, which has posted a 21% increase in information sector jobs since 2000, is in the company of cities large and small, including Seattle, Madison, Wisconsin, Santa Fe and Boise, Idaho.

No. 2 Top American City
Conde Nas
t Traveler Magazine
Readers of Conde Nast Traveler have named Charleston among the “Top Ten U.S. Cities” for 17 consecutive years, but this year the city nabbed the number two slot, topped only by San Francisco. This ranking maintains Charleston’s listing as the top east coast destination.

Top Ten Cities in the U.S. and Canada
Travel & Leisure Magazine

For the second year in a row, Charleston has been ranked as the fourth best city in the U.S. and Canada in Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards.” Last year, the “Holy City” moved up from its previous number 6 slot. It is now led only by New York, San Francisco and Quebec City in the U.S./Canada division.

Best Southern City
Southern Living Magazine

Every year readers of Southern Living magazine vote on their favorite cities in a variety of categories. This year, Charleston once again nabbed the title of “Best Southern City,” along with “Best City for Families,” “Best Festivals” and “Best Weekend Getaway.”

America’s Friendliest City
CNN Headline
News & TravelAndLeisure.com
In a survey conducted by these two media giants, 125,000 people rated American cities in 45 different categories, covering everything from the attractiveness of the people to the quality of the food and dining. Charleston residents were ranked as America’s friendliest people. The city also earned second-place rankings for its noteworthy neighborhoods, vintage stores, flea markets and peace and quiet.

Top Ten Shopping Districts in the U.S. (King Street)
s Traveler
Just ten years ago King Street in downtown Charleston was a sleepy shopping district that was hardly worthy of national recognition. Now, however, its mix of antique shops, eclectic boutiques, national chains, locally owned businesses and luxury retailers has helped it land on this national list of top shopping destinations.

Top Ten Best Places to See Before You Die
Andrew Harper

This internationally-known luxury travel expert included historic Charleston on his annual list of ten top American places to see, calling the Charleston Battery and its surrounding areas among the “prettiest neighborhoods (he’s) ever seen.”