Chicago earns Best Big City in US for sixth-straight year by Conde Nast readers

ByLeah Hope and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Chicago earns Best Big City in US for sixth-straight year, Cande Nast reports
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For the sixth-straight year, Chicago has been voted the Best Big City in the U.S. by the readers of Conde Nast.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Conde Nast said hundreds of thousands of readers have voted Chicago the best U.S. city to visit for the sixth year in a row.

"There's beautiful architecture. There's delicious food, people are always friendly," said Bonnie Mitchell, a tourist from Washington state. "It doesn't surprise me at all."

The praise even expands outside the U.S.

"Norway is not a lot of people," said Simon Thorbjornsen, who was vacationing from Norway. "This is a whole new level of city and it's so beautiful. The weather has been amazing."

The announcement comes as Choose Chicago is finding tourism returning to the levels it saw back in 2019.

"We really have felt the energy coming back," said Lynn Osmond, with Choose Chicago.

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"One of the things they quoted was the hospitality of Chicago, so I think it really looks well on our hospitality workers and our residents because they are welcoming and Conde Nast travelers really took that in," Osmond said.

This summer visitors came back in droves, driving up hotel demand. In June, July and August alone, the demand exceeded 3 million room nights.

"We're almost 90% at 2019 levels, and we have to think that 2019 was a record year, and we've never had numbers like that before, so we're 90% of that," Osmond said.

The good news continues, as more and more conventions are booking in the city, too, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors back to Chicago.

Now, no place is perfect, including Chicago -- and visitors can see that, too.

"The in-and-out traffic is always bad, O'Hare is always terrible. Midway is a little better," said Texas tourist Shawn. "Today, the weather is fantastic, but there have been many times when I've come in November and it's been God awful."

But, through the lens of some just passing through, there is reason to come back.

"I feel like the city is clean compared to New York," said Sa Liu, a tourist from New York. "This is clean and more pet friendly, most importantly."