Chicago Officially a ‘Cool’ Place to Live
By Mary Boone
December temperatures aren’t the only “cool” thing about Chicago, at least according to the folks at Forbes magazine who recently named the Windy City one of “America’s Coolest Cities.” Chicago ranked a respectable No. 12 out of 20 cities in the survey. Not bad. But, what exactly does it mean to be “cool?”
Forbes looked at 65 of the largest U.S. metro areas across specific categories such as entertainment options per capita, amount of green space, cost and number of available outdoor activities, and the number of college and professional sports teams. The number of restaurants and bars per capita – sans chain establishments – were also figured in. The magazine also considered the city’s diversity, median age, migration statistics and unemployment rates.
Navy Pier, The Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium all helped Chicago scored high points in terms of arts and culture and recreation. The city’s new high-profile condo developments, including the 38-story Lincoln Park 2520 project and the Magnificent Mile’s Ritz-Carlton Residences, certainly help its coolness factor, too. And, the city’s median age of 35 was attractive.
The city’s lowest scores came in the category of diversity where Chicago scored 69.9. Researchers also subtracted points for net migration – Chicago’s population declined by 22,640 from 2010 to 2011.
If living in the nation’s 12th coolest metro area simply isn’t cool enough, you may want to scout out the cities at the top of the list.
Surprisingly, Forbes tabbed Houston as the coolest of city of them all. Evidently, the Texas city is not only about oil and NASA. Houston was recognized for its healthy economy and job market, growing population and a youthful median age of 33. Editors noted the once corporate cityscape is now dotted with trendy shops, galleries, restaurants and an abundance of loft living.
Other cities rounding out the top five are Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Dallas and Seattle.
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