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Chicago rated top big U.S. city by Condé Nast Traveler readers

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Voted second best in 2016 and third in 2015, Chicago has moved up the list once again

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Jason Rodman

For the first time, the Second City was voted the number one big city in the U.S. to visit by the 300,000 readers of Condé Nast Traveler. This year’s CNT Readers’ Choice Awards saw Chicago advance one spot from its number two ranking in 2016. The lifestyle and travel publication singled-out the city’s recent culinary accolades, popular riverfront cruises, reputation for world-class live comedy, and the 2017 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial as contributors to its top billing.

“This title is a testament to the innovation found in our amazing architecture, the ingenuity captured at our award-winning restaurants and 67 breweries, and the congenial character of Chicagoans,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel via official statement this week. “While our 77 neighborhoods each have unique cultures and characteristics, we are one Chicago, and we are proud of this distinction.”

The city’s hotels, however, didn’t fare as well as in years past. After Chicago’s Virgin Hotel and The Thompson earned top honors by respectively taking the first and second spots in 2016, not a single Windy City lodging establishment cracked Condé Nast Traveler’s The 10 Best Hotels in the U.S.” list this time around.

The news coincides with City Hall’s continued push to attract more tourists to Chicago. After announcing an ambitious goal in early 2014 to draw 55 million annual visitors by the year 2020, the city is on pace to break 54 million visitors in 2017.