FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO NAMED BEST BIG CITY IN THE U.S. BY READERS OF CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER FOR AN ASTOUNDING SEVENTH STRAIGHT YEAR
Historic achievement is a testament to Chicago’s enduring allure as a destination and follows an outstanding summer of travel to Chicago
Chicago, IL (October 3, 2023) – Choose Chicago President and CEO Lynn Osmond is proud to announce that Chicago has once again been named the Best Big City in the U.S.! The historic recognition marks the seventh consecutive year that Condé Nast Traveler readers have recognized Chicago with this prestigious honor through the magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. This accomplishment speaks to Chicago’s enduring allure to all types of travelers from around the world and follows a record-breaking summer of travel that saw all-time highs for hotel revenue.
“Today’s recognition of our great city as the Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Big City in The U.S., for the seventh year in a row, is proof that Chicago continues to be a force as a destination for visitors from all over the globe,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “We have something for everyone — 77 amazing communities, beautiful parks and lakefront, world class arts, culture and food, and much more. This is a distinction to be proud of, and we will continue to welcome travelers from all over the world to experience all our city has to offer and the soul of Chicago.”
“For the seventh year running, I couldn’t be prouder that Chicago has been named the number one big city in the nation,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “From our unmatched infrastructure and picturesque lakefronts to our diverse food scene, world-class museums, and, of course, the kindest people you’ll ever meet, Chicago has it all—and the world is taking notice. Whether you’re looking to take a family trip or to relocate your small business, Chicago has something for everyone and we cannot wait to welcome you home.”
For 36 years, Condé Nast Traveler has captured input from readers to determine the winners of their Readers’ Choice Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. And every year since 2017, Chicago has led the pack as the Best Big City in the U.S. This year’s awards were based on the input of more than 520,000 readers.
“I am so proud to share that Chicago is once again the city of champions,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “For seven straight years, through the challenges of the pandemic and beyond, travelers have recognized the truth about Chicago – ours is a vibrant, hospitable city brimming with attractions and amenities for all types of visitors. I want to thank all Chicagoans for making our city so welcoming to visitors from around the world. I especially want to thank the Choose Chicago staff. This award validates all of our hard work selling and promoting this city we love.”
Chicago’s selection as the Best Big City in the U.S. is a recognition of the city’s incredible hospitality and tourism industries and the people that make our city so welcoming to visitors. For seven straight years, voters have recognized that Chicago is a destination unique among its peers, with something to offer every type of visitor. With 77 vibrant neighborhoods ready for exploration, best-in-class accommodations, an acclaimed dining scene, thrilling live music and theatre, world-renowned museums and cultural institutions, stunning architecture and natural beauty, visitors have endless ways to explore the seven-time Best Big City in the U.S.
“More than half a million people cast votes for this year’s Reader’s Choice Awards,” said Glenn Eden, Chairman of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors. “Clearly, those who come here are having uniquely memorable experiences that stick with them – the kind of experiences that will make them return to Chicago and recommend our city as a vacation destination to their friends and families. Winning this award seven straight years is a recognition of the resilience of Chicago’s tourism and hospitality sector and the unwavering affinity that travelers have for our city. It gives me confidence that we are going to see continued growth in our local visitor economy for years to come.”
Choose Chicago is also thrilled to release summer 2023 performance data today showing that Chicago experienced a strong summer of travel:
- Summer (June, July and August) hotel revenue totaled $825 million, and hotel taxes totaled $46 million, both all-time records for summer months.
- Over one million room nights were filled each month this summer, totaling 3.24 million hotel room nights. That is 4% higher than last year and represents a 92% recovery share compared to 2019 numbers.
- Leisure visitors in particular came to Chicago in droves this summer – buoyed by a packed calendar of concerts, events and festivals, total leisure hotel room demand increased by 8% compared to summer 2022.
- International visitation increased by 13% compared to summer 2022
While it was an excellent summer of travel in Chicago, the excitement does not end as fall begins. Visitors to Chicago will continue to experience a full calendar of events and attractions through the end of 2023. Later this week, we will be launching Theater Season, a new campaign to promote local theaters and the over 150 productions taking place across the city. Later this month, we will celebrate the one millionth finisher of the Chicago Marathon during the 45th running of the iconic race, open some of our city’s most notable architecture for exploration through Open House Chicago, and wrap up with Halloween celebrations across the city including Arts in the Dark and the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade. Later this year, Chicago will transform into America’s premier holiday destination, kicking off with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and continuing with events and activations through the end of the year.
As Chicago celebrates another Best Big City award, we are well on our way to significantly exceeding last year’s visitation numbers, when we welcomed nearly 50 million visitors. Year-to-date hotel room demand is 13% higher than the same period in 2022.
The 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards are published on Condé Nast Traveler’s website at cntraveler.com/rca and celebrated in the November issue.
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About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city, its residents and our partner business community. Follow @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and X/Twitter and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit choosechicago.com.