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View of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. — Picture courtesy of ferrantraite/Istock.comView of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. — Picture courtesy of ferrantraite/Istock.comNEW YORK, July 12 — Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende has been named the top urban city of 2017 by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, for its seductive mix of open-air cafes, artisan culture, and colonial charm. 

In the 2017 edition of the publication’s World’s Best Awards which solicits reader input, San Miguel de Allende took top honours, marking a first for both the city and the awards, now in its 22th year. 

The city in central Mexico attracts visitors for its well-preserved historic centre, colonial architecture, leafy plaza, and rows of independent boutiques which line old cobblestone streets. The fortified town, which was founded in the 16th century, was also inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008.  

“San Miguel is one of the most authentic, creative and cost-effective destinations we’ve visited,” wrote one reader. 

“Over the years we’ve discovered more great restaurants and activities, but the town still maintains its Mexican heritage, culture and charm.” 

Only a few percentage points separate San Miguel de Allende from its closest rival, Charleston, South Carolina, which followed closely behind the top city. 

Along with nabbing second spot on the global list, Charleston was named the top city in the US for the fifth consecutive year. It’s also the sole American city to land a spot on the top 10 list overall. 

Rounding out the top five spots are Chiang Mai, Thailand; Kyoto, Japan; and Florence, Italy. 

This year’s results also signal a rising interest and appreciation for Asia, as more than half (seven) of the top 15 cities hailed from the region.  

While vastly different, editors note that common denominators can be found among this year’s top-rated cities, such as pedestrian-friendly features, ample green space and a rich history that’s been thoughtfully preserved. 

Here are the top 15 cities on Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2017: 

1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 
2. Charleston, South Carolina 
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand 
4. Kyoto, Japan 
5. Florence, Italy 
6. Oaxaca, Mexico 
7. Hoi An, Vietnam 
8. Cape Town, South Africa 
9. Ubud, Indonesia 
10. Luang Prabang, Laos 
11. Santa Fe, New Mexico 
12. Rome, Italy 
13. Siem Reap, Cambodia 
14. Udaipur, India 
15. Barcelona, Spain — AFP-Relaxnews

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