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Column 112513 Wall

Monday, November 25, 2013

Condé Nast Traveler: San Miguel de Allende World's Top City

By Allan Wall

The magazine Condé Nast Traveler, in its annual readers’ poll, named Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende as the top city of the world in 2013.


Condé Nast Traveler is published by Condé Nast, which was founded in 1909 by Condé Montrose Nast.  (The company is currently owned by the Newhouse family.)  


Condé Nast Traveler features writing and photography of exotic locales, plus it rates tourist destinations, hotels and airlines.  Click here for its online site.


On October 15th, Condé Nast Traveler announced its 26th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.  Nearly 80,000 readers voted and cast 1.3 million votes, which is quite impressive.  The awards are organized into various categories.


In the category of the world’s Top 25 Cities, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende received first place.  The city is located in central Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato.  It features a cool climate, a colonial downtown and a thriving art scene.  It also has a large American/Canadian colony.


According to Condé Nast Traveler, "The lack of street lights and billboards makes the region romantically and historically beautiful, and the city itself offers a traditional feeling of a small town in the heart of Mexico."  Other positives of the city were "great atmosphere, excellent restaurants, culture and ambiance galore."  Another comment was that San Miguel de Allende is simply "An amazing place to be."


I have enjoyed visiting San Miguel de Allende a few times.  The most recent visit was just last year with my wife and our two sons.  The old Spanish architecture, the impressive Parroquia Church, and the relaxed atmosphere combine to make it a special place.


Here is the entire list of world cities:


In first place was San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  Second place was a tie between Florence, Italy and Budapest, Hungary.  Fourth place went to Salzburg, Austria.


Fifth place was also a tie between San Sebastian, in the Basque country of northern Spain, and Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.  Vienna, Austria was in seventh place.  Rome, Italy was in eighth place.  Siena, Italy in ninth place.  In tenth place was Quebec City in Canada’s Quebec province.


Eleventh place was a tie between Cape Town, South Africa and Bruges, Belgium.  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was in thirteenth place, with Kyoto, Japan in fourteenth.  Fifteenth place was a tie between Prague of the Czech Republic, and Krakow, Poland.  Seventeenth was a three way tie among Victoria in Canada’s British Columbia Province, Sydney in Australia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico in the U.S.A.


Twentieth place was a tie between Beirut, Lebanon and Seville (Sevilla) in Spain.  Paris, France and Melbourne, Australia tied for twenty-second place.  And the tie for twenty-fourth place was between Venice, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain.


Italy had four cities on the list; Spain and Canada each had three; the U.S., Australia and Austria each had two; Mexico, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Lebanon, South Africa, and Japan each had one.


Of the twenty-five top cities, six (Paris, Rome, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Beirut) are national capitals.


Tied with San Sebastian, Spain this year, Charleston, South Carolina was in first place last year, and it has retained the title of top U.S. city for three consecutive years.  It was noted for "sand, sun, history, good food and friendly people."


In the U.S. list the top five were Charleston, South Carolina in first place, Santa Fe, New Mexico in second place, San Francisco, California in third; Honolulu, Hawaii in fourth, and Chicago, Illinois in fifth place.


The top five cities in Mexico were San Miguel de Allende at #1; San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas #2; Guanajuato City, Guanajuato in third place; and Morelia, Michoacan at #4.  Fifth place was a tie between Merida, Yucatan and Puebla City, Puebla.  Since there was a tie for fifth place, that means there are really six “top five cities.”  But that’s ok, there are so many good ones to choose from.


There was also a category for "Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World," in which two hotels tied for first place. The hotels were South Africa’s La Residence, and New Zealand’s Kauri Cliffs in Matauri Bay.


In the airline category, Singapore Airlines was the winner of the international airlines category.


For more on the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, with photographs on the periodical’s website, click here, here and here.



Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at

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