I attended a computer conference in Chicago in 1995. We stayed at a hotel downtown. We went walking along the lake to the Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum. I've never felt safer in any of my travels.
We saw a lot of cops on bicycles and cars. People were walking and jogging along the lake. Moms with baby strollers were enjoing the sunshine. It was hard to believe this was a big city in 1995.
In contrast, we stayed at the Biltmore in LA.
There were scary people hanging around right outside the door. We were warned not to even walk to a restaurant unless we were in groups of 10.
Does Chicago have special police protection downtown? How do they keep it so clean and welcoming? My trip there was the best travel experience I've ever had.