The Time Out City Life Index 2018

We quizzed 15,000 people to rank the most exciting cities in the world. Discover the results of our huge global survey

Time Out City Life Index

What’s life like in the city today? What are city-dwellers around the world feeling, thinking, eating, drinking, and doing for fun? And which are the most exciting cities for living life to the full? We’ve got the answers, thanks to the Time Out City Life Index: our huge, anonymous survey of urbanites all over the planet.

We collaborated with Tapestry Research to survey 15,000 people in 32 cities: London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Porto, Berlin, Zurich, Istanbul, Moscow, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San FranciscoMiami, Philadelphia, Austin, Washington, DC, BostonMexico City, Tel AvivDubai, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok. Here’s what we discovered.

Time Out City Life Index 2018

More from the Time Out City Life Index

Our survey found that NYC is not in fact the greatest city in the world

Our survey found that NYC is not in fact the greatest city in the world

New York is the greatest city in the world—we all know this. But that maxim is undoubtedly biased.

Feel the love: Time Out City Life Index reveals that Melbourne is the happiest city in the world

Feel the love: Time Out City Life Index reveals that Melbourne is the happiest city in the world

It’s said that Melburnians can be a little smug sometimes – but who can blame us?

Time Out City Index 2018: apparently Singapore is boring?

Time Out City Index 2018: apparently Singapore is boring?

The people of Singapore have spoken, and we're a stressed out and sleep-deprived bunch. According to the results of the Time Out City Life Index – a poll of 15,000 people – Singapore takes the 31st spot in a ranking of 32 of the world's most exciting cities, some would even say that makes our city boring compared to the rest. And to add more insult to injury, only 66% of the 235 people surveyed actually enjoy living here, a stark contrast to 89% of people living in Tokyo or 78% of Hong Kongers. There are plenty of reasons for this. Common complaints include a lack of kindness and politeness – 20% of people polled think that this is the biggest issue facing the city – overcrowding (19%), a lack of social integration (10%) and insufficient support for the elderly (9%). Within a 24-hour period, 55% of people living here report feeling stressed, 43% feel lonely and 35% feel sleep-deprived. Yikes. We also work longer hours on average compared to other cities around the world, so that explains things. Singaporeans love to complain, therefore, it's no surprise that we're supercritical of our home city and what it has to offer. While 58% of people think living in Singapore is a rip-off, 34% argue that the city is expensive but worth every penny (hear,hear). Only 17% of respondents think that there's always something to see and do in Singapore's art and culture scene – one of the lowest out of the cities surveyed. Our live music and nightlife scenes don't rank too well either. ¯_(ツ)

Bondi is the most overrated suburb in Sydney according to the Time Out City Life Index

Bondi is the most overrated suburb in Sydney according to the Time Out City Life Index

The people of Sydney have spoken, and they sure hate tourists.

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Glen W

Melbourne at number 4, you been to this shit hole. Hong Kong should be higher as it is way better than a lot of these cities. On and I love all the African and South American cities, can you remove some of them, there are too many lol.

Fernanda S

MEXICO is in Latin America or North America. But never in Central America... basic geography lesson.

Fede A

Not a city in South America !! what a frightening and unserious survey. You really don´t know Buenos Aires???!!! I can´t believe

jeff k

melbourne - biggest Chinese city outside of China

Appu D

20th 21st January this year 30 people were shot at in just one weekend with 6 fatalities. To call this City Chicago Number One is a moribund statement. The people who polled must be crazy. How can you go out at night in Chicago? You get killed, so the killing cities are the best for these survey people. What a stupid survey.


Chicago is highly (self-)segregated.

Alison X

I would certainly take this with a grain of salt. There are cultural differences in each city, even within the same countries, that may lead people to be more generous with their scores or critical. More of those surveyed in one city can also have an exceptionally great situation or exceptionally poor compared to others, affecting the score given. Time of year asked can affect the results as well. If it's the time of year the weather is comfortable, the score for a city may be higher than if it were the peak of summer or winter. 

Lulu L

Sorry, Canadians, but the only really interesting city in Canada is Montreal; I know--I lived in Toronto for two years--zzzzzzz, and Vancouver's fine for a long weekend. Vienna should be on the list, though--lovely city, but I'd never dream of living in Dubai, a miserable place, and can't love Istanbul anymore since Turkey became a police state. Two other cities that should have made the cut, however, are Buenos Aires and Cape Town. And Austin over Paris?!?! I don't think so!

George O

This is a ridiculous survey! 

If you reached the conclusion that Chicago is the best city in the world then you haven't seen anything of the world!! 

Best for who??????

Who were these 15 000 people (out of 7.5 billion, say people over 18 = 2 billion then the 15000 people you asked comprise .00075% of the adult population). I don't know anyone who was surveyed???

enzo f

you should study a littke bit of sociology and statistics, where you are apparently 0.

A key factor in the survey is the sampling of about 500 ppl per city: the sample structure says all. But we can’t tell, wthout a research report.

Glen W

@enzo f Maybe they should sample better cities then.

Philipe S

And you simply ignored South America because...?


Because this is a survey of TimeOut cities...

Chris X

What? You didn't interview Toronto, which ranks #1 on countless lists? Judging that there are no Canadian cities here, it sounds like something else got in the way of this survey. So many other cities missing from the list.

Calling this "The 32 greatest cities in the world!" while utilizing a 32 city sample size...

Ben's B

this study is such a tiny sample size. 32 cities, and there is a statement, with regards to Sydney, "In fact, we rank very close to the bottom of the list of the world’s happiest places to live."

It ranked 28th out of the 32 cities in the study. There are 195 countries in the world, assuming you take 2 cities from each country, you've included 0.08% of a sample size that would have actually been meaningful, and that's being conservative.

Furthermore, 1500 people surveyed over 32 cities, so 468 people per city. That is 0.01% of the population of Sydney, and the results are based off the answers by 0.01% of an entire city. And where did these survey contributors come from? Is it just Time Out readers? Or did you go out and find people from all socio-economic statuses, all suburbs etc etc 

I think fewer broad statements and talking in absolutes would help this article. Rather than "we rank very close to the bottom of the list of world's happiest places to live", just keep this from the paragraph and lose the rest: "Sydney ranked at 28 on the list of 32 world cities, beating Dubai, Boston, Singapore and Istanbul"

These kind of statements are also a bit misleading: "37 per cent of Sydneysiders had positive feelings towards the dining scene, and only 28 per cent felt excited about Sydney's cultural offerings." 

Better would be "37% of those surveyed" or "28% of those surveyed". The same size just isn't large enough to make most of the claims in that article 

Quiela C

I really appreciate to see Mexico City in your list, and it is true mexican people love tourists, for sure you will have and amazing time in Mexico, but FYI México is part of North America not Central!

Susannah M

Seriously raising one eyebrow at a list of cities ranked by food, drink, culture, friendliness, affordability, happiness, and livability, in which no Canadian cities appear in the top  30. Toronto and Vancouver always come in the top 5 of these kinds of lists; why aren't they here?