Chicago is #1 again: So says Condé Nast Traveler

Chicago is #1 again: So says  Condé Nast Traveler
View from the Chicago River. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago, announced yesterday that for the second consecutive year, Conde Nast Traveler’s readers have voted Chicago as the best big city in the U.S.

Of course that’s no surprise to us Chicagoans.

From our award-winning restaurants, to our world-renowned cultural institutions and diverse city neighborhoods we’ve got it all.

Our popular riverfront cruises and the new riverwalk as well as the increasing number of hotel options and the city’s reputation for live theater, entertainment,  world-class architecture and our new architectural center, all played a part.

“It is always significant when a leading travel publication and its savvy and knowledgeable readers vote you the number one travel destination in the nation,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago.  “But to be selected now for a second year in a row – this simply speaks volumes of the kind of city and destination Chicago has become, the kind of experiences discovered here and validation of the overall effort so many in our community are making every day to invite and welcome the world here.”

About the awards

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.” Conde Nast readers have been rating their travel experiences via the publication’s Readers’ Choice Awards since 1988.

Tourism, growing, growing, growing

Mayor Emanuel and Whitaker also announced Chicago closed three quarters of 2018 with record tourism levels.  For the first nine months of 2018, Hotel Room Demand grew 4.9%, establishing another record for that time period.

Choose Chicago has also updated the annual visitor arrival analysis for the first half of the year.  Overall visitors to Chicago are pacing up 4.4%.  Of particular importance, of all visitors to Chicago, Overnight Visitors are up 6.0% through the first half of the year (double the pace of last year).

Along with record high Hotel Room Demand, Group Room Demand, including attendance for major meetings and conventions, was particularly strong through third quarter 2018, generating a year-to-date growth of 12.5%.  Fifteen of the major citywide conventions hosted this year in Chicago have reported record-breaking attendance and ten reported record-breaking exhibitor participation, helping fuel growth in Group Demand. 

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