The well-heeled readers of Condé Nast Traveler have spoken: San Francisco is no longer their favorite city to visit in North America. Sadly, Charleston, South Carolina — which is like a Civil War-era version of the Marina but with even more boat shoes — now tops the list of favorite destinations for Traveler readers.
Attempting to shed some light on where we went wrong after 18 years at the top of the list are The Chronicle supersleuths Matier & Ross, who discovered the real reason tourists are starting to feel unwelcome in our fair city is because it is positively overrun with aggressive panhandlers. Joe D'Alessandro, head of the San Francisco Travel Association, explains to the Chronicle:
When it comes to natural beauty and the culinary scene, we're going to beat Charleston every time... But when guests come out of hotels and are harassed, many times people interpret that as an unfriendly environment.
Apparently, D'Alessandro is not surprised that San Francisco dropped to second place: his group has seen an uptick in the number complaints about the homeless problem, especially those looking for a handout.
On the bright side, we did get to take home one superlative: Parents Magazine ranked San Francisco the country's Healthiest City for Families. You know, if they can afford it.