When you're describing Chicago to out-of-towners, which adjectives come to mind first? If "beautiful" is near the top of the list, you're in good company: Chicago was just ranked the second most beautiful city in the world (and the first in North America) by 27,000 Time Out Index survey voters from across the globe.
How do we know this, you ask? A whopping 79 percent of voters—a percentage second only to Prague—deemed the city beautiful, beating out famously gorgeous spots like Paris (which ranked third), Amsterdam and Vienna. Chicago doesn't ordinarily get a lot of attention for its beauty, but the ranking makes sense when you consider our abundance of public parkland, stunning architecture and famously clean streets (thanks alleys!), plus our proximity to the glittering shores of Lake Michigan. For proof, look no further than beautiful gardens tucked away in Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center, or the many lovely vantage points to check out views of the skyline or even our most stunning restaurant spaces. It's like our adopted hometown architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said: "Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world."
But wait, there's more! Time Out Index survey respondents also voted Chicago the second most fun city in the world and the second best city for "community spirit" over the past year (Tel Aviv and Manchester were the first-place winners in those categories, respectively). We were also deemed the third friendliest city—perhaps unsurprising, given our status as a Midwestern metropolis—and an especially good spot for eating and drinking, according to 82 percent of respondents. That's a lot of second (and third) place rankings, but hey, we're used to being the Second City.
We all know that Chicago is great (and very beautiful), but are you curious about how it stack up against other major metropolises? Check out Time Out's ranking of the best cities in the world, based on the results of the Time Out Index survey. Chicago didn't break the top ten this year, but it came pretty close!