7 of the South’s Friendliest Cities
The South is known for its sense of hospitality and people who will generally go out of their way to make you feel like you’re welcome. If you’re thinking about hopping on your motorcycle for a road trip to the South, or maybe you’re traveling by RV or flying to the area and you’re looking for the friendliest cities, the following are seven great options.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, isn’t just one of the warmest places to visit in the South in terms of temperature—it’s also where you’ll find some of the warmest people. Southern hospitality is at its finest in Charleston, a city rich in elegance, tradition and history.
It’s hard to envision that America has a city as beautiful as Charleston. You’ll feel more like you’re in Europe at times there.
Charleston is frequently ranked as one of the best cities in America to visit. Walk down King Street and stop into the many boutiques, stroll the Waterfront Park and the Battery or take in the colorful houses on Rainbow Row.
Charleston is also a destination for foodies, so make plenty of time for the restaurants, many of which are distinctively inspired by homestyle and Lowcountry cooking styles.
College Station, Texas
College Station is a growing city, and it’s home to the massive Kyle Field, which is, in turn, home to the Aggie football team. College Station is also where visitors will find the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Texas A&M University takes up a massive portion of College Station, and surrounding the school is a lot of new development, restaurants, entertainment and more.
This all comes with the fact that there’s a definite sense of big Texas friendliness when you meet people in this youthful, college city.
Nashville is country music’s home and includes a number of tourist attractions, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Nashville also boasts the Music City Walk of Fame, The Parthenon at Centennial Park (with a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon) and music venues like the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.
The Bluebird Café is a world-famous listening room where singers and songwriters go to perform their own songs. Then, of course, there’s the so-called Honky Tonk Highway, which is on Lower Broadway. This is what most people think of when they think about Nashville: the neon lights with live music spilling out of nearly every venue day and night.
The people in Nashville also happen to be incredibly welcoming, which is why in the past decade, it’s become one of the country’s most in-demand places to visit.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is an outdoor-friendly, quaint place to visit in South Carolina. There’s a charming Main Street, it’s a bike-friendly city, and there are a lot of festivals, all topped off with quintessential Southern hospitality.
Forbes magazine has described Greenville’s downtown as one of the best in America. Picture a floating suspension bridge against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There’s also shops and boutiques, restaurants and historic sites. A few things you can’t miss in Greenville are Falls Park on the Reedy, the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail for biking and the Peace Center theater.
Chattanooga life centers around the Tennessee River Gorge, which runs directly through the city’s charming and growing downtown. You can rent a boat or paddleboard on the river and take in the city’s scenery.
Audubon Acres is popular among tourists, which has more than five miles of hiking trails. In the summer you can kayak, canoe and swim.
The Art District is a neighborhood accessible from downtown that also has beautiful views and great restaurants. The Chattanooga Art District is on a hill that overlooks the river. Speaking of the river, make time to walk the Tennessee Riverpark, with 10 miles of waterfront.
The Tennessee Aquarium is a key attraction in the city because it’s the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. If you have a chance to climb Lookout Mountain, which separates the city from Georgia, there’s a walking trail with views of the entire city and river.
Inside Lookout Mountain is Ruby Falls, the deepest commercial cave and the largest underground waterfall in the country.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, or the Big Easy, is all about fun and partying, and with that comes a heaping dose of hospitality. New Orleans is inspired by Creole and Cajun influences in the food, plus it has live jazz, street performers, amazing history, public art and stunning architecture.
The French founded New Orleans in 1718, and their influences are everywhere in the city. When you’re there, be sure to make time for the French Quarter, with 18th-century-old homes sporting wrought iron balconies. There are also the partiers on Bourbon Street or you can sneak away to Royal Street to shop for antiques. Keep an eye out for the spires of St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest in the country.
Between the French Quarter and the Garden District is the Arts/Warehouse District, which has seen a lot of revitalization. Once-empty warehouses have been turned into restaurants, galleries and shops, as well as apartments.
The Garden District is home to ornate mansions and is a bit quieter and more relaxed than the French Quarter. Book a tour or take your own walking tour to get a true feel of New Orleans’ architecture and atmosphere.
Finally, Atlanta has a long history and amazing restaurants, and it was named by National Geographic as one of the best places for visitors in 2022. Lonely Planet included it on its list of the “Best in Travel” for 2022—it was the only U.S. city making the list.
There’s the Atlanta History Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. You can go to Truist Park, which is the home of the Atlanta Braves, who won the 2021 World Series. Atlanta is also one of the most important places in the country to learn about the history of the Civil Rights movement.