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London’s mayor says Chicago is more than deep dish pizza—it’s its people

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

When Time Out talked with London Mayor Sadiq Khan after his September visit to Chicago, no one was sure just what he’d say about our great city. But most of us probably didn’t expect him to say that he loved our weather.

Khan was in the city in mid-September to speak about social inclusion and talk about regeneration projects and tech start-ups. While here, he spent two days with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and gave a speech at the Chicago Global Alliance on the importance of integration. “As our cities become more diverse, we need to make sure we integrate so people get to know each other. Live cheek by jowl, live interconnected lives,” he said. “Don’t just tolerate each other, but respect and embrace and celebrate.”

But the trip wasn’t all work. Khan also had a little fun during his third visit to Chicago, and shared with us some of his favorite moments and spots. The mayor made a stop at the Green Mill to listen to some jazz, had dinner at the Art Institute and walked along the Chicago Riverwalk, marveling at the continued improvements along the waterfront. He also explored the city’s tech scene with a stop at 1871, where he was taken aback by the young entrepreneurs. He visited Englewood, too, saying, “There’s great work being done to train local youngsters to get jobs that are skilled.”

What really stood out to the mayor about his trip, though, was Chicago’s people—especially our generosity. (It’s true. What other major city would you visit to find people opening doors for one another, asking confused tourists if they need directions or complimenting each others’ jackets?) But when asked what he’d “steal” from Chicago if given the chance, he said, surprisingly, the weather. “I love your weather compared to London,” Khan said, remarking on the amount of rain he sees at home. “I want your summer and autumn and spring.” But not winter, he said. No way.

All in all, it was quite the trip, even if the mayor didn’t indulge in our pizza this time around.  “We had a great time,” Khan said. “(But) I didn’t get a deep dish Chicago pizza, I’m afraid. I’ve been told off for that.”

Make sure to take time to vote for your favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops, cultural venues and coffee shops in the city in our Love Chicago Awards at from October 6–31. You can also vote for your favorite spots in cities around the world, our Love Awards are taking place in New York, L.A., London, Paris and Lisbon, so share the love now! 

Dorri Olds contributed to this post.

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