Chicago: Best Big City in the U.S.
16 October 2018
It should come as no surprise to residents of 1000M that Chicago is one of the most popular destinations within the U.S. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler, with their 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, has once again named Chicago the Best Big City in the United States for a second consecutive year. But what puts our midwest locale ahead of big-timers like NYC and the Big Easy?
It could be that Chicago simply has it all. Almost every cultural scene in Chicago is booming, whether it’s fine dining, brewing, music or art. Our lakeside city has access to great beaches and boating, superb museums, and the best in shopping; what more can you ask for?
Take the Magnificent Mile for example. The 13 block stretch of Michigan Avenue has over 460 shops, 275 restaurants, and 60 hotels with other sources for cultural engagement spread throughout the commercial district. While it certainly stacks up to Madison Avenue and Rodeo Drive, the Mag Mile is embedded within the city’s architectural landscape. There’s a reason why Chicago is on so many shortlists for most walkable cities.
Ben Hecht, celebrated Hollywood screenwriter and longtime Chicago reporter once wrote,”I have lived in other cities, but been inside of only one. I once wore all the windows of Chicago and all its doorways on a key ring. Salons, mansions, alleys, courtrooms, depots, factories, hotels, police cells, the lake front, the rooftops and the sidewalks were my haberdashery.”
Hecht’s expression of an intimate connection with Chicago happens naturally…A connection to the city’s rich history is made the moment you look outside your window, whether it’s from an airplane soaring over the city or from your 1000M terrace. And that connection is made stronger with every experience, big and small.
Chicago is now seeing some of its biggest exposure. According to the Illinois Film Office, Illinois now ranks among the top five states for film and TV production. With shows like Showtime’s Shameless and The Chi, Dick Wolf’s Chicago Trilogy, and numerous superhero films, more audiences are exposed to an image of Chicago than ever before.
This view, of course, is gritty. But Chicago has always had grit and takes pride in it. Urban developers are catching on as well, as parts of the city are experiencing revitalization and renewal while still preserving their past. Chicago reminds us that there is more to just having it all; to be a world-class city, you have remain authentic, as well.