Chicago's going to have a lot of guests come the Fourth of July.
The city by the lake just took top honors in Priceline.com' annual survey of the 50 most popular destinations for Independence Weekend. The draw for Priceline customers: Millennium Park and the promise of big festivals.
Last year's number one destination was New Orleans, but this year the home of Mardis Gras didn't even make it into the top ten. Priceline's sales experts believe the Gulf Oil Spill may be to blame for the plunge.
"New Orleans dropped 25 places on the list, from No.1 last year to No. 26 this year," said Priceline spokesman Brian Ek. "Another favorite Gulf destination, Destin, Florida dropped off this year's list entirely. Beach destinations this year were concentrated on the East and West coastlines."
Coming in second was downtown St. Louis, third was Boston 's harbor area, and downtown Toronto was fourth.
According to Ek, the other appeal to priceline customers was well, the price.
"With the economy forcing many smaller towns to cut back or eliminate their fireworks displays, the beneficiaries are the big cities, like Chicago, Boston, New York City and Washington, DC, that traditionally put on elaborate July 4th events," he said.
Speaking of the economy, a few months ago Chicago decided to scale back costs by canceling the big lakefront July fireworks show. They'll be replaced with three smaller shows spread throughout the city. Hopefully Priceline customers wont mind the city dashing their hopes for a big fireworks extravaganza.