This City Was Just Named the Best in America—for the First Time Ever

Hint: It’s not New York or LA!

riverf11photo/ShutterstockFor those pondering their next great American getaway, New York or Los Angeles might be the first cities that come to mind. But why go for a run-of-the-mill trip, when you can aim for a life-changing experience, instead? (And while you’re at it, check out the best city in the world, too!)

Our top choice is a little off the beaten path—but it’s a crowd favorite. Every year, Condé Nast Traveler asks its readers to vote for their favorite cities in America. Over 300,000 respondents participated in the annual survey this year, which included more than 30,000 listings of favorite cities, hotels, cruises, islands, and airports. The results revealed over 1,800 “best travel experiences in the world,” which you can view here.

For the first time in the survey’s 30 years, Chicago topped the list as the best city in the U.S. And it’s easy to see why; the Windy City has had a lot going for it lately. Not only does it boast a beautiful Riverwalk and giant Starbucks roastery, but it also hosts plenty of outstanding dining and hotel options. Plus, it’s on track to receive over 54 million visitors this year.

New York, which “buzzes with the energy of a city (of 8.49 million) perpetually caffeinated,” ranked second on Condé Nast’s list. San Francisco and Honolulu, Hawaii were also among the readers’ top choices.

“Condé Nast readers recognize what residents of Chicago have always known: the Second City is the best big city in the U.S.,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This title is a testament to the innovation found in our amazing architecture, the ingenuity captured at our award-winning restaurants and 67 breweries, and the congenial character of Chicagoans. While our 77 neighborhoods each have unique cultures and characteristics, we are one Chicago, and we are proud of this distinction.” (Check out the city in America where your car is most likely to get stolen.)

It may be known as the “Second City,” but Chicago is the first city in readers’ hearts. Are big cities not exactly your thing? These nicest small towns in America might do the trick, instead.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

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