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Chicago voted best big city by ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ readers for the third year running

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The Second City is number one

An aerial image of a dense urban city with a tight cluster of tall buildings and a large body of water beyond.
The readers of Condé Nast Traveler love Chicago.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

For the third year in a row, Chicago was named the best big city in the U.S. by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. The popular travel magazine recognized the city as “a world-class destination” with impressive architecture, museums, culinary scene, and “some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.”

The publication collected votes from a record 600,000 subscribers for this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards. The Second City again held on to the first spot, retaining its best big city crown from 2018 and 2017. In 2016, Chicago was runner-up to New York—which slipped to seventh place in this year’s rankings.

“This wonderful recognition not only reflects the beauty and excitement of our great city but also our tourism industry’s dedicated efforts to attract people from across the country and around the globe,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement on Monday.

“Chicago will always roll out the welcome mat for visitors and continue showcasing the sights and sounds of our world-class institutions and cultural life throughout our dynamic neighborhoods and communities, as well as in our magnificent downtown.”

The Condé Nast award follows yet another year of record tourism numbers in Chicago. According to officials, the city has opened 26 new hotels in the last four years—including many in neighborhoods outside of downtown—and saw hotel occupancy increase 14 percent in the past three years.

With an expanded Chicago Riverwalk and cultural programming, including the ongoing Year of Chicago Theater celebration and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the city has more to offer than ever. Looking for a taste of what makes Chicago such a great place to visit? Check out our seasonal travel guide of 26 must-see sites.