One of the more delightful (and modern) year-end traditions is checking out what facets of culture have a vice-grip on the general public. With 2012 winding down, big name search engines are releasing their most-searched phrases of the year. Entries run the gamut of pop culture and beyond, from the presidential election, to New York Knicks (and now Houston Rockets) wunderkid Jeremy Lin, and even the union of the entertainment world’s most notorious egomaniacs, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Unsurprisingly, many turned to the interwebs to scope out vacation spots. What was unforeseen was how certain destinations would rank, and which cities – here in the United States and across the globe – would rise to the top.
Chicago was ranked Yahoo’s second most-searched city of the year, making it once again the “Second City.” Yahoo wasn’t the only mega-site to point out Chicago’s blossoming popularity; it was the second most-searched for U.S. city in Google Maps as well. Chi-Town edged out London and New York, and was second only to Las Vegas. Sin City is a perpetual favorite of thrill-seeking tourists, and often heads most year-end lists.
Yahoo’s rankings featured mostly U.S. cities, including Washington D.C, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Other international cities that made the grade were Dubai and Hong Kong. A running thread in each of the cities is a vibrant art scene, stunning architecture, and delicious grub.
In previous years, Chicago has ranked in the middle of the pack, but has rarely climbed this high in the pecking order. Perhaps the Windy City received a boost in popularity from the re-election of its native son, President Barack Obama. (Or, more likely, his much cooler wife, Michelle.) But whether they were sampling the deep dish, catching a Cubs game, or simply scoping out Oprah’s old stomping grounds, tourists had their sights on Chicago in 2012.