New York. Credit Matteo Miliddi_unsplash
New York. Credit Matteo Miliddi_unsplash

Time Out Reveals New York as the Best City in the World right now

Cape Town, Berlin, London and Madrid complete the top five of Time Out’s annual list

Written by
Time Out PR

New York tops the sixth annual list of the Best Cities in the World, released by Time Out today. The city ranked highly across the board for the quality of its food and cultural scenes, as well as its beauty and everything it offers making residents happy. New York was also by far the city that the most urbanites from other cities would love to live in, with 15 percent of all survey respondents globally saying they’d relocate there in a heartbeat: proof of its continued status as ‘capital of the world’.

Time Out’s annual list of the Best Cities in the World provides inspiration for travel this year, but also a global snapshot of city living, with an emphasis on the factors which Time Out believes make cities great places to live and visit. 

Each year, Time Out - the global media and hospitality brand that helps people experience the best of the city - surveys thousands of locals to get a unique insight into the reality of living in the world’s greatest cities right now. This year, city-dwellers were asked about the quality and affordability of the food, culture and nightlife scenes in their city and how their city makes them feel, from happiness to romance. Survey respondents were also asked about which other city they would most like to live in. These insights were combined with those of more than 100 well-travelled Time Out staff writers and editors, based in cities all over the world, who were polled for their take on which cities are the most exciting right now. All these factors contributed to this ranking of Time Out’s Best Cities in the World for 2024.

Grace Beard, Travel Editor at Time Out said: “Time Out knows cities like no-one else, and that’s thanks to the opinions and insights of our global network of local expert journalists on the ground in cities around the world. Our annual survey lets us keep a finger on the pulse of city-dwellers to create a global snapshot of city living right now. 

“Every city that made the list did so because locals rate it highly – so whether a city ranked at one or fifty, it’s still one of the greatest amongst the thousands of cities around the globe. This year, the top cities are not only incredible places to visit and go out in, with world-class restaurants, culture and nightlife, but they’re also great places to live, with strong community spirit and an undeniable vibe.”

Here’s the top 10 of Time Out’s Best Cities in the World right now – find the full list of 50 here:

  1. New York City, USA

New York tops this year’s Time Out list of the world’s best cities both for its quality of life for locals and for its global appeal for visitors. The city was ranked highest by its residents across the board, from food and drink to nightlife, culture and beauty, and it was also the place city-dwellers from around the world would choose if they could move to any other city (15 percent of survey respondents in other cities said so).

From must-see exhibitions at the city’s galleries and world-class museums including the MoMA, to neighbourhood community-led events like the Queens Night Market in Flushing, there’s always something going on in NYC, day or night. This spring will also welcome a jam-packed Broadway season, with new productions like ‘The Who’s Tommy’ opening alongside top-rated shows like Sondheim's ‘Merrily We Roll Along’.

  1. Cape Town, South Africa

From the heights of Table Mountain to the stunning beaches on the coastline, it’s not hard to see why every single survey respondent said Cape Town was beautiful. The city’s culture scene also ranked highest in the world for its quality, with studios, galleries and public events abounding, including the Cape Town Art Fair - the largest art fair in Africa - in February, the Esther Mahlangu retrospective at the Iziko South African National Gallery and First Thursdays throughout the summer seeing inner-city galleries extending their opening hours and hosting special viewings. Those looking for theatre and comedy should head to Artscape, Baxter, or Theatre on the Bay for everything from West End musicals, engaging drama and local stand-up comedy. The city has an exciting, diverse and vibrant food scene which has evolved in the last few years (a curated showcase of some of the city’s best culinary and cultural experiences can be found in Time Out Market Cape Town which opened at the V&A Waterfront in November and is home to over a dozen of the city’s best chefs and restaurateurs). Furthermore, 2024 sees South Africa mark 30 years of freedom and democracy, and a visit to the District Six Museum and Robben Island are places to visit to better understand the country’s history. 

  1. Berlin, Germany

It’s well-known that Berliners like to party, and the survey results backed this up, with Berlin’s nightlife scene scoring an impressive 82 percent approval rating. This year marks 20 years of Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke, Berlin’s best-known karaoke bar, a great excuse for visitors to belt out their favourite tune. Those looking for daytime or outdoor pursuits can hop on a bike, take to one of the many convenient bike lanes and head to one of the city’s green spaces, like Tempelhof Field, a disused airport turned into a massive park.

  1. London, UK

Londoners make London great, and despite the sometime reputation of misery and rain, the survey proved otherwise, with Londoners saying that – regardless of its occasional doom and gloom – living in this city makes them happy. It must be because of the many great things to do here – from traditional to new: Many of London’s museums and galleries are free, the parks are huge, and the pubs are legendary. Following a few years of criticism of its ailing nightlife scene, London’s newest nightclubs are bigger and more cutting-edge than ever, with state-of-the-art sound systems and stellar lineups – just check out Outernet, Drumsheds and KOKO Electronic.

  1. Madrid, Spain

Madrid is a welcoming and lively city that stands out for its authenticity, exceptional dining (and drinking) scene and vibrant culture. In the last year alone, Salmon Guru was crowned one of the best cocktail bars in the world, David Muñoz has once again been voted the best chef on the planet and the Royal Collections Gallery was one of the most important museum projects in Europe. 2024 will see lots of international concerts from the likes of Taylor Swift and Luis Miguel, following the renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

  1. Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City scored highly for its livability, with all local survey respondents declaring the city beautiful, the majority saying they were happy there and that it’s easy to make friends. It’s no surprise CDMX also scored highly for its culture scene, with a number of exciting emerging art spaces like new gallery Naranjo and eagerly awaited international exhibitions like Damien Hirst at Museo Jumex. The city is also at the forefront of a vibrant gastronomic revolution, from mushroom cultivation at Tencui, Japanese coffee at Panya and the best brisket at Ahumados Pelican. 

  1. Liverpool, UK

Liverpool scored 89 percent for the affordability of its art and culture scene, more so than any other city on the list. Still riding on the wave of hosting Eurovision last year, there’s plenty of music events to look forward to in 2024 including ‘In The Park’, hosted by much-loved local singer-songwriter Jamie Webster in collaboration with Cream Classical, where dance anthems from over the years will be accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra. Those looking to champion up-and-coming food talent should check out the small plates at Michelin-endorsed Belzan.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is surely one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the world, and 2024 doesn’t see it slowing down. The all-new teamLab Borderless digital art museum is one of the world’s most exciting cultural openings this year, with the new venue in Azabudai Hills hosting a number of never-seen-before installations. The city is also a hub of world-class dining, with some of the world’s greatest restaurants now in Tokyo: Massimo Bottura’s Gucci Osteria, Antwerp’s Michelin-starred Le Pristine, and MAZ, sister to Peruvian 2023 World Best Restaurant Central.

  1. Rome, Italy

Unsurprisingly, Rome residents rated the quality of their food scene highly, and in 2024 this historically carnivorous city is embracing more plant-based restaurants to cater to changing palates. Those looking for a plant-based meal should head to Buddy for a decadent vegan brunch, Grezzo for dairy-free gelato and new vegan pastry shop, Julietta. Survey respondents also agreed their city was beautiful, which is no surprise when the majestic Colosseum, intricately carved Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Pantheon are the backdrop to their daily lives.

  1. Porto, Portugal 

Porto was one of the highest scoring cities for romance, with 82% of locals saying it’s easy to find love in the city – and what better way to enjoy a romantic date than over a glass of vinho in this wine capital? Visitors can check into wine hotels like The Yeatman, enjoy a glass and a snack at stylish wine bars like Genuíno, or learn all about the drink at World of Wine (WoW), while Gaia’s cellars – like Sandeman, Cockburn’s, and Cálem – are open for tours. 2024 will also see the opening of Time Out Market Porto in a building on the grounds of the São Bento Station, featuring a structure designed by renowned local architect Eduardo Souto de Moura.

The full list of Time Out’s 50 Best Cities in the World right now can be found here:

  1. Paris
  2. Mumbai
  3. Lisbon
  4. Chicago
  5. Manchester
  6. São Paulo
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Amsterdam
  9. Lagos
  10. Melbourne
  11. Naples
  12. Singapore
  13. Miami
  14. Bangkok
  15. Lima
  16. Budapest
  17. Beijing
  18. Dubai
  19. Montreal
  20. Glasgow
  21. Sydney
  22. Buenos Aires
  23. Kuala Lumpur
  24. Manila
  25. Seoul
  26. Hanoi
  27. San Francisco
  28. Barcelona
  29. Abu Dhabi
  30. New Orleans
  31. Philadelphia
  32. Austin
  33. Boston
  34. Accra
  35. Marseille
  36. Taipei
  37. Istanbul
  38. Osaka
  39. Hong Kong
  40. Vancouver
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