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18 Mar 2024
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Southern Living Says Charleston is #1 (Again)

Southern Living knows the South.  They’ve been around for almost 60 years, and over those decades they’ve become experts on what makes the South so special.

And it comes as no surprise that they just looooooove Charleston.

The South’s Best Awards

Southern Living sponsors a competition naming the very best of the best, all throughout the region.  It covers several categories – the South’s Best Cities, Cities on the Rise, Small Towns, Food & Drink, Local Treasures, Islands, Arts Culture & Entertainment, Road Trips and a bunch of others.

Voting was done by readers of the magazine, with over 20,000 participating.  Readers were also able to nominate their favorites.

2024 marks the eighth year of the magazine’s South’s Best Awards.  And for the eighth year in a row  -  Charleston has been named the very best city of them all.

Charleston – “The Best City in the South”

It’s official.  Again.

Here’s what Southern Living had to say about our fair city:  “The Holy City's gorgeous architecture, picturesque streets, and welcoming Lowcountry spirit continue to impress year after year…we love every last detail that makes Charleston the shining star it is.”

Well, aww shucks… thanks, y’all!

Explore Charleston is the primary tourism organization of the region.  Board Chairman Dan Blumenstock responded to the accolade with a gracious statement:  “This recognition from the readers of such a respected and longstanding publication strengthens our region’s legacy as an iconic destination and is evidence of our ability to remain relevant in a highly competitive industry.  From our vibrant urban core to our beautiful islands, visitors continue to make meaningful connections with the people and places of our unique and engaging community, and we can never take that for granted.”

The South’s Best Cities 2024

In case you’re curious, here’s the list of the top ten cities in the South, according to Southern Living’s readers:

1. Charleston, SC

2. Savannah, GA

3. Nashville, TN

4. New Orleans, LA

5. Asheville, NC

6. Greenville, SC

7. Atlanta, GA

8. Austin, TX

9. Raleigh, NC

10. Orlando, FL

Other Bests in the Lowcountry…

“Best City” isn’t the only win for Charleston and the surrounding area.

The International African American Museum was named the Best New Museum in the South.  It opened last summer at Gadsden’s Wharf on the downtown peninsula, near the SC Aquarium and the Fort Sumter Visitor Center along the Cooper River.  IAMM is situated near the spot where approximately half of all enslaved Africans first arrived in America.

Also, Vern’s Restaurant was named the Best New Restaurant in South Carolina.  Located at 41 Bogard Street downtown, it’s getting rave reviews from diners and critics alike.   A recent online review by a local guide called it “Absolutely.  Hands down.  Amazing.”   She recommended the terrific wine selection, the Roast Spring Chicken and the Campanelli with Rabbit, Black Pepper and Piave Vecchio.  The escargot is also supposed to be delicious. 

And last but not least, our beloved Isle of Palms was named one of the top islands in the state

Be sure to check out all of the South’s Best Awards here.  It makes for some good reading and might inspire some future adventures for you and your family.

What are some favorite things to do while visiting Charleston?

Glad you asked that.  Since Southern Living loves Charleston so much, they have kindly compiled a handy list of the 28 top things to do while here in the Holy City.

Their recommendations are quite good.  They break them down into these categories:

  • Check some restaurants off your bucket list   -  the best seafood, soul food, fried chicken, dessert and insider favorite dishes around town; 
  • Learn about the city’s history firsthand - via museums, walking tours, boat trips and more;
  • Toast your travels with delicious drinks  -  Libations galore, from cocktails to breweries and beyond ;
  • Revel in the city’s arts scene  - theater, art museums, galleries and festivals;
  • Shop for a memorable souvenir;
  • Play outside - where to get outdoors and experience the natural beauty of the Lowcountry.

They cover all the bases nicely, and have some solid suggestions.  Read the whole list of Southern Living’s top recommendations of the best things to do in Charleston here.

So check out the very best city in the South… and make the home base for your visit, a beach house right here on the Isle of Palms.


All best,
Lowcountry Lisa

your Isle of Palms vacation blogger