Last updated: 01:14 PM ET, Thu July 07 2016

Travel + Leisure Names the Best Destination Cities in the United States

Destination & Tourism | Michael Schottey | July 06, 2016

Travel + Leisure Names the Best Destination Cities in the United States

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According to Travel + Leisure, the best cities in the United States are in the south.

As part of their annual “World’s Best” series, Travel + Leisure named the top 15 cities in the U.S. Of the 15 that made the cut, five were in the Southeast and two more were in Texas.

Charleston, South Carolina topped the list, which was created by a survey of Travel + Leisure readers over the span of four months from November 2015 to February 2016.

While it may not be the first city that immediately comes to mind when Americans or foreign travelers think of buzzworthy destinations, Charleston is a city that clearly belongs on the top of this list for anyone who has spent time there. The Travel + Leisure experts point out its merits in terms of cuisine, romance, historical significance and good old-fashioned Southern hospitality.

In fact, Charleston took not only the top spot in the U.S. category, but in the world as well!

After Charleson, New Orleans and Savannah, Georgia took the next two spots before the first Western city on the list with Sante Fe, New Mexico at No. 4. Nashville rounds out the Top 5 with the South taking four out of those coveted spots.

Cities were rated on the basis of sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, value.

With those criteria, it’s easy to understand why the south performed so admirably, as tourism destinations in the American South are known world-round for those exact things. From the aforementioned Southern hospitality, to Carolina BBQ, low-country boils, jazz on Bourbon Street, Graceland, and so much more, the South hits on all those points in major ways.

Moreover, cities like Charleston and the others on the top of the list offer first-class hospitality and experiences without a lot of the cost and pretense of other cities lower on the list like San Francisco (No. 6), Chicago (No. 7) and New York (No. 8) where a top meal is spent in a Michelin Star restaurant rather than over a smoker or a pile of crawfish and landmarks like Alcatraz or the Statue of Liberty might be must see, but can be quite a hassle due to expense, crowds and the size of the cities.

More of Travel + Leisure's World's Best of 2016 lists can be found at their website

The Top Cities in the U.S. According to Travel + Leisure

1. Charleston, South Carolina            

2. New Orleans

3. Savannah, Ga.

4. Santa Fe, N.M.

5. Nashville

6. San Francisco

7. Chicago

8. New York City

9. Austin, Texas

10. Asheville, N.C.

11. Honolulu, Hawaii

12. San Antonio, Texas

13. Boston

14. Seattle

15. Portland, Ore.

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