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WalletHub ranks Chicago No. 8 on list of Most Fun Cities in America

Chicago named one of the most fun cities in America
Chicago named one of the most fun cities in America 00:42

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Remember how, year after year back in the 2000s and 2010s, Chicago would find it somewhere in the top 10 in Forbes Magazine's "Most Miserable Cities" list?

In 2012, Chicago came in at No. 6 on the list. In 2013, we came in at No. 4. The magazine would emphasize factors such as "gridlock traffic, high property taxes, and brutal winters." In 2010, the magazine even rubbed in the fact that Chicago had lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro the year before – in what may seem like ancient history today.

News stories about the subject, written so long ago by the same producer who's working on this story right now, might have included these paragraphs about how cities often do not appreciate appearing on such lists:

While few likely take best and worst city lists very seriously, such lists have had the power to make some cities' residents quite angry in years past. Just ask the residents of the perennial "miserable city" of Flint.

In 1987, Money Magazine ranked Flint the worst place to live in America, placing that city at rock bottom among 300 municipalities nationwide. In a scene famously shown in Michael Moore's documentary "Roger and Me," Flint residents responded by burning Money Magazine at a public rally.

Well, this year, Chicago has a far more welcome distinction to claim. WalletHub has ranked Chicago at No. 8 among the most fun cities in America for 2024.

To determine the rankings in the list, WalletHub compared 182 cities across three dimensions – entertainment and recreation, nightlife and parties, and costs. The dimensions were broken down into metrics with corresponding weights – with each metric being graded for each city at a 100-point scale.

For entertainment and recreation, the metrics included "number of attractions," "diversity of restaurants," "sports fan friendliness," and "ideal weather," and the number of various attractions such as bowling alleys, basketball hoops, public beaches, amusement parks, and spa and wellness centers per capita – among many others.

The nightlife and parties dimension included "bar accessibility" – a combination of bars per capita and number of bars per square mile – as well as lounges, beer gardens, and dance clubs per capita, and time of last call, among others.

The dimension of costs included the prices of beer, food, wine, and party tickets, and overall cost of living.

WalletHub did include an in-depth look at the most fun cities – but only the top three. Chicago received an overall score of 50.57, and ranked No. 8 at entertainment and recreation, No. 12 at nightlife and parties, and No. 144 at costs.

The top seven cities ahead of Chicago were Las Vegas; Orlando; Miami; Atlanta; San Francisco; New Orleans; and Austin, Texas. Honolulu ranked behind Chicago at No. 9, and New York City at No. 10.

Aurora was on the list too at No. 162.

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