World-class museums, stellar restaurants, Lake Michigan shoreline, deep-dish pizza: Chicago’s long list of attributes just got longer. Add to it the unwavering admiration of travelers.

The city was ranked as the best big U.S. city for the third year in a row in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, the magazine announced earlier this month.

Some of the top reasons cited for the ongoing lovefest is the dining scene, the city’s 77 vibrant neighborhoods and impressive architecture.

Need proof that the city rocks in the dining department? The James Beard Foundation — which awards the Oscars of the food world — announced that it will hold its annual awards ceremony in Chicago through 2027.

The distinct neighborhoods include West Loop, a hot spot for restaurants like Girl & the Goat and Avec; Pilsen, known for its Mexican flair; and artsy Wicker Park. We wrote about five of the city’s culturally rich neighborhoods; read our take at

The architecture of the city has long been highlighted with tours that ply the Chicago River. The Chicago Architecture Center, which offers docent-guided boat tours, also has a miniature model of the city.

That’s enough to pack into a weekend.

Lucky for us, the No. 1 city is easy to access via a quick flight, relaxing train ride or a drive.

Of course, we could content ourselves with exploring the Readers’ Choice Awards runner-up: our very own Minneapolis.

“Guthrie Theater. Walker Art Museum. One of the best park systems in the whole country. More than 10 James Beard Award semifinalists and the winner for best chef in the Midwest in 2019, alone. Prince’s Paisley Park Museum. Oh, and there’s that whole, ‘Minnesota nice’ thing. Sign us up,” the magazine gushes.


Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.