BEST OF THE SOUTH
Southern Living names Austin a top Southern city and home to the best Texas barbecue
We already know Austin is one of the best cities for entrepreneurs, filmmakers, family-friendly vacations, remote workers, and retirees. Now, Austin has earned some impressive recognition as one of the best southern cities overall, according to Southern Living’s seventh annual South’s Best Awards. In the Alabama-headquartered magazine’s upcoming April issue, they tabulated the top 50 best Southern small towns, cities, hotels, state parks, and barbecue restaurants.
Austin ranked No. 10 in the South’s Best Cities list, with cities in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee ranking higher than the Lone Star State. Charleston, South Carolina was ranked the South’s best city, with Savannah, Georgia and Asheville, North Carolina respectively ranked in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
Featured on the magazine’s first-ever celebrity cover is Hoda Kotb, an NBC Today co-anchor. The cover spotlights her connection to New Orleans, which was ranked the No. 6 best southern city.
Sid Evans, the editor in chief of Southern Living, shared his excitement to have Kotb share her “longtime connection” to Louisiana’s most famous city.
“This whole issue is about the places we love, and in Hoda's case, the city clearly loves her back,” he shared in a press release.
The top 10 South’s Best Cities list includes:
- No. 1 – Charleston, South Carolina
- No. 2 – Savannah, Georgia
- No. 3 – Asheville, North Carolina
- No. 4 – Atlanta
- No. 5 – Nashville
- No. 6 – New Orleans
- No. 7 – Greenville, South Carolina
- No. 8 – Chattanooga, Tennessee
- No. 9 – Alpharetta, Georgia
- No. 10 – Austin
In a win for the Hill Country, Fredericksburg was the only Texas town to make the top 10 in the category for the South’s Best Small Towns. St. Augustine, Florida was named the No. 1 best southern small town.
"In a year when more people than ever are traveling and moving to the South, we wanted to put a spotlight on small towns in this year's South's Best Awards,” added Evans. “These are the hidden gems our readers picked for their character, charm, and unmistakable southerness.”
The top 10 out of 50 Best Small Towns include:
- No. 1 – St. Augustine, Florida
- No. 2 – Beaufort, South Carolina
- No. 3 – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- No. 4 – Dahlonega, Georgia
- No. 5 – Blowing Rock, North Carolina
- No. 6 – Fairhope, Alabama
- No. 7 – Tybee Island, Georgia
- No. 8 – Sanibel, Florida
- No 9 – Folly Beach, South Carolina
- No 10 – Fredericksburg, Texas
In the category for the best barbecue by state, Austin’s own Franklin Barbecue was declared the best in Texas.
Southern Living’s Top Barbecue by state rankings are:
- Alabama – Saw’s BBQ in Birmingham
- Arkansas – Wright’s Barbecue in Fayetteville
- Florida – Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach
- Georgia – Fox Brother’s Bar-B-Que in Atlanta
- Kentucky – Moonlite Bar-B-B Inn in Owensboro
- Louisiana – The Joint in New Orleans
- Mississippi – The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs
- North Carolina – Lexington Barbecue in Lexington
- Oklahoma – Leo’s BBQ in Oklahoma City
- South Carolina – Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston
- Tennessee – Peg Leg Porker in Nashville
- Texas – Franklin Barbecue in Austin
- Virginia – Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que in Williamsburg
- West Virginia – Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill in Charleston
Southern Living’s April issue goes on sale March 17.
The full list of Southern Living’s survey and its methodology can be found on SouthernLiving.com.