Chicago: Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Choose Chicago and World Business Chicago, has announced Condé Nast Traveler recognized Chicago as the #1 Best Big City in the U.S. for the fifth year in a row in the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
Since 2017, Chicago has ranked number one in this category for its incredible restaurants, interesting and diverse attractions, and welcoming residents.
“Last year, I said being chosen by Condé Nast four times in a row was truly a testament to the rich diversity of our city and an accomplishment unlike any other. Now, we’ve one-upped ourselves,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E.
“Since 2017, Chicago has rightfully claimed its spot as the Number One Best Big City in the U.S. and I want to thank each of our residents, our world-class restaurants and incredible businesses who continue to represent our city so well. I also want to thank the team at Condé Nast Traveler and its readers for honoring Chicago with this award for five straight years, as well as the countless visitors who come to our city year after year to enjoy the endless attractions we have to offer.”
“Chicago is not only the best big city in the U.S. but a reflection of what makes Illinois great – with world class restaurants, arts and theater, museums and convention centers celebrated here at home and around the world,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.
“The city’s winning streak is no fluke – Chicago has been and will continue to be a global gateway for tourism in Illinois. As we rebuild and recover post-pandemic, my administration is committed to supporting tourism workers and tourism businesses with the resources needed to keep visitors coming back year after year,” he said.
More than 800,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers submitted responses rating their travel experiences across the globe to provide a full snapshot about the places they can’t wait to return to next. The Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry.
“Before, during and soon after the pandemic, Chicago has earned the moniker of #1 Best Big City in the U.S. for five consecutive years,” said Glenn Eden, chair of Choose Chicago’s Board of Directors.
“The momentum and tourism growth that was built pre-COVID is roaring back, largely thanks to the resilience of the City of Big Shoulders and its residents who continue to look out for and support one another throughout a challenging time," Eden said.
"This achievement is a testament to all the businesses that contribute to Chicago’s top-tier tourism and hospitality offerings, and the individuals that work silently to provide entertainment and attractions that captivate seasoned travelers, and residents. Five consecutive years is an honor and a bar that is set high, and I couldn’t be more impressed with what our city has accomplished.”
James Meyer, Interim CEO of Choose Chicago, said: “Today, Chicagoans are recognizing this achievement as well as the reopening of theatres and live performances with a celebration at Broadway In Chicago’s CIBC Theatre.”
“We are thrilled to see civic, community, and hospitality leaders as well as the many partners of Choose Chicago that were integral to earning this achievement, come together for an exciting program featuring special guests, like the cast of RENT. This honor is shared by all of Chicago, every neighborhood, every attraction, and even our penguin friends at the Shedd Aquarium are joining in the celebration.”
Dr. Bridget Coughlin, president and CEO of Shedd Aquarium, said: "This award is a historic distinction for Chicago, and Shedd Aquarium is proud to play a central role in what makes this city one-of-a-kind."
"As a cultural organization that joyfully welcomes nearly two million guests a year, we understand that tourism is an important pathway toward recovery for Chicago and its communities.
"We are humbled that the videos of the Shedd penguin animal enrichment field trips did more than spread joy to the globe at the height of the pandemic - they centered Chicago at a critical time and sparked continued healing for all.”
“May today’s announcement remind us that we live and work in one of the best cities in the world,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago.
The pandemic also created an opportunity for Chicago to assess ways to further improve the visitor experience for both tourists and businesses.
In September, Choose Chicago announced the launch of a new AI-powered chatbot, The Bean, designed to answer visitor questions including where to eat, upcoming events, and generally serve as an online ambassador to the city of Chicago.
With the help of this new tool, all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods can easily be explored by the city’s first-time and repeat visitors. Earlier, this year, Healthy Meetings Chicago was also launched offering business travelers the opportunity to see how Chicago’s hospitality and tourism community is protecting their health by working together to create a safe environment to once again meet and network together.
As Chicago moves into the fall and winter, Choose Chicago’s newest campaign,” Capture the Excitement” has kicked off. The multifaceted integrated campaign highlights the cultural offerings of the City as well as the holiday experience.
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