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Best Cities in the U.S. in 2012

Article

No matter where you live, you have a certain amount of pride for the city you know and love. The number one city in the U.S. held onto the top spot for the second year in a row. Did your city make the top 10?

For the second year in a row the city of Charleston was voted the top city in the U.S., according to a reader survey.

Condé Nast Traveler allowed its readers to vote for their favorite U.S. cities based on a number of criteria and Charleston, S.C., was the clear favorite earning a rating of 86.7 out of 100. The southern gem took the top spot over cities like San Francisco, Calif., and Boston, Mass.

There were six categories for readers to judge their favorite cities: ambience, friendliness, lodging, restaurants, culture/sites, and shopping. And while Charleston didn’t do as well in shopping as, say, New York City or Chicago, Ill., it rated particularly highly in ambience.

Here are the top 10 cities in case you’re planning any upcoming getaways but don’t want to leave the country.

10. Boston, Mass.

Overall rating: 77.6

Newbury Street by the Public Garden

Ambience: 83.1

Friendliness: 56.9

Lodging: 76.4

Restaurants: 84.8

Culture/Sites: 91.3

Shopping: 72.3

9. Seattle, Wash.

Overall rating: 78.2

Ambience: 84.4

Friendliness: 75.0

Lodging: 77.8

Restaurants: 85.1

Culture/Sites: 75.8

Shopping: 70.0

8. New Orleans, La.

Overall rating: 78.4

Bourbon Street looking toward the Central Business District

Ambience: 82.3

Friendliness: 79.8

Lodging: 72.1

Restaurants: 90.9

Culture/Sites: 84.9

Shopping: 54.9

7. Napa, Calif.

Overall rating: 79.1

Ambience: 91.0

Friendliness: 80.2

Lodging: 81.7

Restaurants: 92.1

Culture/Sites: 72.4

Shopping: 50.3

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Overall rating: 80.4

Honolulu and Waikiki Beach as seen from the top of Diamond Head

Ambience: 85.1

Friendliness: 81.8

Lodging: 83.9

Restaurants: 78.6

Culture/Sites: 83.4

Shopping: 72.6

5. New York, N.Y.

Overall rating: 81.6

Times Square in Manhattan. ©iStockphoto.com/EdStock

Ambience: 82.0

Friendliness: 47.8

Lodging: 76.0

Restaurants: 92.9

Culture/Sites: 94.0

Shopping: 91.9

4. Santa Fe, N.M.

Overall rating: 82

Plaza in downtown Santa Fe

Ambience: 91.0

Friendliness: 78.7

Lodging: 80.3

Restaurants: 86.3

Culture/Sites: 88.4

Shopping: 72.6

3. Chicago, Ill.

Overall rating: 83.6

The Chicago River as seen from the Lake Street Bridge

Ambience: 81.0

Friendliness: 66.1

Lodging: 82.6

Restaurants: 90.0

Culture/Sites: 87.3

Shopping: 86.3

2. San Francisco, Calif.

Overall rating: 83.8

The Painted Ladies on Postcard Row as seen from Alamo Square Park

Ambience: 89.5

Friendliness: 66.1

Lodging: 81.3

Restaurants: 92.5

Culture/Sites: 90.7

Shopping: 81.8

1. Charleston, S.C.

Overall rating: 86.7

The Calhoun Mansion in Charleston

Ambience: 93.5

Friendliness: 91.5

Lodging: 85.8

Restaurants: 90.0

Culture/Sites: 89.6

Shopping: 72.4

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