A look at the other ‘Best’ lists Chicago and Illinois made in 2022


CHICAGO — Throughout the year, we’ve brought you “Best Cities” and “Best of” stories featuring Chicago or Illinois. 

Now as we inch closer to 2023, we thought we’d give you a look at some of the other lists Chicago and Illinois made in 2022.

 2023’s Best Cities for Cookie Lovers

Cookies can bring a smile to your face and stomach whether it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal, gingerbread or sugar. Researchers at LawnLove compared 200 U.S. cities on several metrics to find which ones serve up the best cookies. 

  • 19th – Chicago
  • 92nd – Aurora
  • 116th – Naperville
  • 145th – Joliet
  • 196th – Rockford

Chicago ranked third in the Number of Cookie Shops category and fourth in the Average Monthly Google Searches for Cookie-Related Terms Over Past Year categiry. It also ranked 13th in the Late-Night Cookie Shops per Square Mile category.

Best Cities for Sweet Tooths

Researchers compared the 200 biggest cities based on 18 factors to find cities with plenty of candy, cookie, chocolate, and dessert shops.

  • 22nd – Chicago
  • 68th – Naperville
  • 127th – Aurora
  • 155th – Joliet
  • 178th – Rockford

Chicago finish 2nd in the Most Points for James Beard Awards for Best Pastry Chefs and Bakers (Last 3 years) category.

Best Cities for Pastry Lovers

200 U.S. cities were measured and compared on their access to highly rated bakeries and patisseries. Researchers also considered bakers awarded by the James Beard Foundation.

  • 3rd – Chicago
  • 50th – Aurora
  • 102nd – Joliet
  • 160th – Naperville
  • 195th – Rockford

Chicago finished second in two key categories – Most Pastry and Pastry Chef Awards Won and Most Google Searches for Pastry-related Terms Over the Last Year.

Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers

LawnLove researchers looked at 190 of the biggest cities in the country to see which ones were best for chocolate lovers. They compared the cities on factors such as the number high-quality chocolate shops and abundance of chocolate factories.

  • 7th – Chicago
  • 94th – Naperville
  • 127th – Joliet
  • 147th – Rockford
  • 165th – Aurora

Chicago ranked second in the Most Chocolate Shops category.

Best Cities for Sandwich Lovers

200 U.S. cities were compared on a number of factors to determine which city is the best for sandwich lovers. Researchers looked for cities with award-winning sandwiches and  high-quality sandwich shops; plus they weighed cravings from sandwich-related google searches.

  • 35th – Chicago
  • 91st – Naperville
  • 162nd – Aurora
  • 166th – Rockford
  • 178th – Joliet

Best Cities for Cheese Lovers – 

Researchers compared 181 cities on a variety of metrics including quality of cheese, affordability, access to cheese and local cheese events.

  • 1st – Chicago
  • 9th – Aurora
  • 22nd – Naperville
  • 163rd – Rockford

Chicago finished second in the Most Farmers Markets Offering Cheese and Dairy Products category; and also finished second in the Most Points for Latest for U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Awards Earned by County Producers. 

Best Cities for Naked Biking 

200 U.S. cities were measured on a variety of metrics to determine which ones were best for biking in the buff. Researchers looked at the legal landscape in each city, size of the cycling community, climate and popularity of naked biking.

  • 1st – Chicago 
  • 111th – Rockford 
  • 119th – Aurora
  • 120th – Naperville
  • 141st – Joliet 

Chicago finished first in the Most Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” In Past Year.

Most Irish Cities in America 

The Windy City is the second most Irish city in America, ranked closely behind Boston, Massachusetts. Researchers weighed 200 U.S. cities on a number of factors ranging from Most Celtic Spirit to the irish population.

  • 2nd – Chicago
  • 5th – Naperville
  • 26th – Joliet
  • 76th – Rockford
  • 99th – Aurora 

Naperville finished first in the Highest Share of Irish Population. Chicago ranked second in the Most Irish Restaurants and Bars category; and finished first in the Most St. Patrick’s day and Other Irish Cultural Events category. The Windy City also finished third in the Most Local Irish Organizations category.

Best BBQ Cities in America 

200 cities were compared on several categories to see which one could wear the crown as Best BBQ City. Researchers looked at which ones hosted “master-level” bbq competitons, held barbecue festivals, plus had award-winning barbecue restaurants.

  • 3rd – Chicago
  • 66th – Rockford
  • 150th – Joliet
  • 158th – Naperville
  • 191st – Aurora

Chicago tied for fifth in the Most Cooking Teams in Top 25% of Past 3 BBQ World Series Open Contests, and tied for second place in the Most Barbecue Fesivals category. Joliet tied for first place in the Highest Average Rating for BBQ Restaurants category.

Most Festive Cities 

Researchers looked at 200 cities to determine which one had the most holiday spirit. They compared them on a variety of factors ranging from holiday festivals to European-style Christmas markets, plus average snowfall.

  • 4th – Chicago
  • 91st – Rockford
  • 94th – Aurora
  • 108th – Joliet
  • 111th – Naperville

Chicago finished fifth in the Most Shopping Centers and Department Stores category.

Best Cities for Urban Gardening 

Researchers looked at 196 cities to determine which one was best for city-dwellers who want to garden. They compared the cities on factors ranging from local gardening communities to access to gardening supplies and space. 

  • 82nd – Naperville
  • 92nd – Rockford
  • 98th – Aurora
  • 181st – Joliet
  • 191st – Chicago 

Naperville finished 194th in the Shortest Growing Season category, and ranked 157th in the Fewest Community Gardens per 100,00 Residents category. Chicago finished 194th in the Smallest Yard Category.

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