Second City? More like the Second Best City in the World. That’s according to the latest Time Out Index survey results, which ranked Chicago in the No. 2 spot for our 2022 roundup of the world’s very best cities.
A bit of context: Every year, Time Out quizzes more than 20,000 urbanites from across the world about life in their cities, inviting them to weigh in on everything from the local food, drink and culture scenes to friendliness, affordability and livability. Based on those results, Time Out editors crunch the numbers and assemble a ranking of the world’s greatest cities. This year’s list—which pays special attention to the qualities that make a city great to live in and visit—ranked Chicago as second best in the world, beat out only by Edinburgh, Scotland.
Wondering what qualities make us so great? Well, to put it simply, Chicago is a good time! Our beloved Midwest metropolis was voted the funnest city in the world this year, a fact borne out by the city’s near-overwhelming docket of summer festivals, outdoor events, art exhibitions and free stuff to do every weekend. After two years of on-and-off restrictions, Chicagoans are more eager than ever to get out and enjoy their city; for proof, just head to your local beach on a sunny Saturday afternoon, fight your way through crowds during street fests or attempt to snag a reservation for a buzzy new restaurant at a sensible hour (Hint: You might need to give it a couple tries).
Speaking of restaurants! A stunning 96 percent of locals rate Chicago highly for food and drink, thanks to the city’s glut of dining options. Whether you’re itching to splurge on the country’s first-ever Michelin-starred Filipino tasting menu, explore top-tier Mexican food or argue about the merits of deep dish vs. tavern style, there’s enough culinary variety to satisfy even the pickiest of gourmands. We’re also looking pretty good on the culture front, with 95 percent of respondents giving high marks to the city’s art and culture scenes that have roared back to life over the past year.
We already know what some of you cynics are thinking: But what about crime? Isn’t Chicago dangerous? Did the city pay you to write this? (Ha! If only.) We won’t deny that Chicago grapples with many of the same issues that other big cities are facing, including violence, disinvestment and a transit system that’s struggling to keep up with pandemic-era staffing shortages. But behind those challenges, there’s an incredible network of community groups, activists and mutual aid workers fighting for a better future—that might be why readers voted Chicago the fourth-most resilient city in the world. Our city may not be perfect, true, but those who love it know it’s one of the very best.
Curious about which other cities made the cut this year? Take a look through Time Out’s ranking of the best cities in the world for 2022.