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Charleston the World's Best City, Travel + Leisure readers say

The pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston. (Brian Troutman / WCIV)

There's no place like home and it seems those of us who live here aren't the only ones who love Charleston. The Holy City picked up a fairly prestigious ranking Wednesday morning.

While there are several monikers for Charleston, it's now the "Best City in the World" according to Travel + Leisure Magazine, which compiled a long list based on readers votes.

The news will be officially shared in the magazine's 2016 World's Best Awards. The special spread will be in the August issue of the magazine, which hits newsstands on July 15.

"Charleston is a remarkably dynamic place, so it's no surprise that it has achieved its highest ranking ever in our survey as this year's best city in the world," said Travel + Leisure editor Nathan Lump. "The city has managed to preserve all the qualities for which it is widely known as a prime coastal setting, historic architecture, friendly locals while also nurturing a creative culture that is making it one of the most notable destinations for those who seek out interesting restaurants, bars, and shops that highlight a dedication to distinctive craft."

First time visitors agree.

"Absolutely," said New Jersey visitor Sarah Kupryk. "If we had to, that would be our vote."

Tourists said it's an American city worthy of any bucket list.

RELATED: Charleston named Top City in the World by Conde Nast

"(It's) absolutely magnificent. Hot, but magnificent," said Karla Schneider, visiting from Illinois.

Schneider was traveling with John Little, who said it is also his first time to the area.

"The architecture is just incredible, the beaches are wonderful," said Shneider.

"The people are great too," said Little. "We're having just a great time here."

"(It's) just the charm, you know, the history, just walking around, you won't get bored," said Kupryk.

And it's the charm of the people that's also part of the draw.

"You always hear about Southern hospitality and it's 100 percent true," said Caitlin Ratz, also visiting Charleston for the first time. "Every person, from the cab drivers to the waitresses and the waiters, they talk to you like you're their best friend."

Sometimes, tourists become locals. After four visits to the Low Country, Stacey Rosone moved her family from New Jersey.

"Yeah, today's our first day. We actually just drove in and we're excited," said Rosone. "We just decided that it was a good lifestyle change to come down to the south to slow down the pace and we love the beach. We love downtown Charleston so it was a perfect match."

After traveling near and far, even locals find themselves drawn back to the Charleston charm.

"I've been all over the states and Charleston is one of those places that never change, like everybody is friendly," said Wilmont Capers, born and raised in Summerville. "You can walk by somebody and they'll tell you 'hi' and talk to you and if you need help, somebody will help you and I've been places where, they won't look at you twice."

New Orleans and Savannah also made the top ten best cities list. Hilton Head was voted "Best Island" in the country.

Travel + Leisure reports Charleston is the first U.S. destination to earn their "coveted World's Best City ranking."

This year also marks the fourth year Charleston has been ranked the top city in U.S. and Canada by Travel + Leisure readers.

Travel + Leisure reports the rankings have impacted tourism in a positive way.

"Since 2012, the first year Charleston was awarded the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada ranking in the Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards, the total economic impact of tourism has increased 14% to $3.68 billion in 2015 according the Office of Tourism Analysis at the College of Charleston. Additionally, the average expenditure per adult and the total labor earnings has increased," Travel + Leisure reports.

In addition to the No. 1 City rankings, Travel + Leisure reports The Spectator Hotel, located in historic Charleston, was recognized as the No. 1 Top City Hotel in the U.S.

The issue hits stands on July 15th.


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