Here's Why Chicago Is The Best Big City In The U.S. For The 5th Year


a boy on a boat looking down at the water with Chicago city skyline

Photo: Getty Images

Chicago ranks as the No. 1 on the list of “Best Big Cities” in the U.S., marking its fifth consecutive win.

Conde Nast Traveler released The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards on Tuesday (October 5), and the 34th annual rankings of the best cities — big and small — puts the Windy City in the top spot again. More than 800,000 readers responded to the Conde Nast Traveler survey, the report states.

These are the 10 best big cities in the U.S.:

  1. Chicago, Illinois
  2. New York City
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. San Francisco, California
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. San Diego, California
  8. Portland, Oregon
  9. Honolulu, Hawaii
  10. Nashville, Tennessee

Here’s why Chicago stood out:

“It's no wonder Chicago is topping this list yet again. A world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs, and massive brewing scene, it’ll take several repeat visits to get through your list of must-dos. Most people start downtown—from the Magnificent Mile to the ritzy Gold Coast to funky Old Town—but there are 77 neighborhoods to explore, where you'll find cutting-edge restaurants, chilled-out corner bars, and, no matter where you go, some of the most pleasant people you'll find anywhere.”

See the full list here.

“Last year, I said being chosen by Condé Nast four times in a row was truly a testament to rich diversity of our city and an accomplishment unlike any other. Now, we’ve one-upped ourselves,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “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.”


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