Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

A lot happened in the Holy City and in S.C. in 2021 — some alarming and questionable, like continued questions about the state’s execution methods, others lighthearted and entertaining, like the latest season of Charleston-filmed Outer Banks topping Netflix charts.

We dug through the data to find out which stories our readers clicked, liked and shared the most this year. Here’s what we found:

Most Read Online Stories

Best of Charleston 2020 winners announced
Y’all love a good friendly competition, and this year, you were anxious to find out who topped the lists of our Best of Charleston categories from classic categories like Best Barbecue to special 2020 categories like BestLockdown Takeout/Delivery Experience. Review some of last year’s winners here.

But, get ready because Best of Charleston 2021 is just around the corner.

South Carolina develops a new method of execution … again
One story that particularly caught readers’ attention had to do with the state’s decision to look at the electric chair as a state-endorsed execution method. Seeking to find another way to carry out capital punishments with lethal injection drugs becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, state legislators also opted to implement firing squad executions as a third option. Since the bill was passed in May 2021, the state has refused to release details about the method, including types of rifles and amount of ammunition purchased.

It’s all over: Charleston falls to No. 2 in Conde Nast Traveler ranking
Charlestonians took a major blow to their collective egos last year when the city fell from No. 1 to No. 2 on Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards list of Best Small Cities in the World after a decade at the top.

Meet Trash Gurl: The woman behind Charleston’s ubiquitous purple dumpsters
Locals have long recognized the eye-catching purple dumpsters around town with ‘Trash Gurl’ scrawled on the side in bright, bubbly letters accompanied by a funny, inspirational quote. But this year, CP offered readers a deeper dive into the story of the legandary dumpsters and the woman behind the business, Melissa Polutta.

Charleston anchorman Bill Sharpe set to sign off
After 48 years with Live 5 News, beloved news anchor Bill Sharpe made his final appearance on air before retiring this past October. Sharpe started in the newsroom as an afternoon reporter and late night anchor in 1973 at 22 years old. Through the decades, he reported on major local stories, entertained viewers, won awards and became a central part of Charleston’s news coverage.

McMaster to end COVID gathering bans as SC virus rate leads nation
One of the earlier stories of 2021, McMaster’s decision to lift the ban on large gatherings in late February garnered much attention and varied reactions. At the time of the decision, the New York Times was reporting S.C. as the state with the highest COVID-19 infection. Some Charlestonians welcomed the lifted ban as an early sign that life was returning to normal, while others criticized the governor for preemptively relaxing COVID protocols in the midst of high infection rates.

Outer Banks hits No. 1 on Netflix in US after debut weekend
The hit Netflix series Outer Banks filmed in Charleston released its second season on July 31, 2021 and was an instant hit. The second installment shot straight to the top of Netflix’s most popular shows with days of being released. Outer Banks season three is expected to be released sometime mid-2022.

Veganism is on the rise nationwide, but is Charleston ready to join the movement?
In a city with only a few vegan restaurants, vegan meal deliver kits and other plant-based food businesses have been cropping up around Charleston in the last few years. CP talked with restauranteurs, small business owners and farmers to get the scoop on all things vegan and plant-centric happening in the Holy City.

And finally, a look at some of our more memorable social media posts in 2021:

That time when Bernie Sanders descended upon Charleston

Johns Island’s Woodlands Nature Reserve offered glamping options

Lowcountry Local First attempting to keep chain businesses out of Avondale

CP surpassed 40K followers on Instagram — woohoo and thank you!