3 New England cities rank among the best in the U.S., according to Conde Nast Traveler readers

They're in Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island.

Boston skyline from Nut Island.
A view of the Boston skyline from Nut Island. –Lee Toma

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When it comes to superb cities, New England does not disappoint, according to Conde Nast Traveler readers.

The travel publication released its annual list of America’s best cities as part of its 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, and three New England locales ranked among the best in the land.

The publication revealed the 15 best big cities in America (with a population of more than 1 million) and the 15 best small cities in America (with a population of less than 1 million). Boston ranked No. 10 out of America’s best big cities, while Portland, Maine, and Newport, R.I., ranked No. 11 and No. 14, respectively, out of America’s small cities.


The No. 1 big city in America is Chicago, Ill., and the No. 1 small city in the U.S. is Charleston, S.C.

Boston was the only New England city on the list of America’s best big cities.

“As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., Boston has aged with style,” the publication’s editors wrote.

Conde Nast Traveler recommended stopping at Neptune Oyster for some — what else? — oysters. Editors also listed the Freedom Trail, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Fenway Park as Boston gems worth exploring.

A crabmeat roll with fries and cole slaw outside the Portland Lobster Co. —Fred J. Field

Meanwhile, Portland, Maine, is “… having the proverbial breakout year,” according to the publication, which cited the city’s recent nod by Bon Appetit as Restaurant City of the Year.

“And how Portland’s earned it: a sprinkling of fine new hotels; a revamped waterfront that’s more self-aware and in touch with its roots than any time since the Old Port Tavern was a church; and, best of all, a restaurant scene that pound-for-pound outclasses any other on the East Coast,” Conde Nast Traveler wrote.

Finally, Newport, R.I., known for its mansions and sailboats, is “… one of the Northeast’s most popular coastal cities,” according to the publication. Editors recommended planning a weekend trip in the fall when the crowds are half the size. They also suggested visitors walk along Sachuest Point, order a sunset drink at the Vanderbilt Roof Deck, and eat at farm-to-table restaurant Castle Hill.

Editors compiled the Readers’ Choice Awards based on the results of an online survey available to readers between April 1, 2018, and June 30, 2018. The survey contained listings of hotels, resorts, islands, airports, cities, and cruise ships. More than 429,000 readers submitted ratings, according to the publication.