To answer that question, we surveyed 34,000 people around the world about the cities they live in for the Time Out Index 2019. We’ve now verified the data and crunched the numbers, and it turns out that London is indeed one of the greatest cities in the world – but it’s not number one.
In fact, the best city in the world right now is our old rival New York. The ranking was based on ten factors, and NYC beat LDN in seven: food, drink, culture, music, nightlife, other qualities such as affordability and beauty, and attractiveness to visitors.
The Big Smoke did triumph over the Big Apple for sociability (how often people make new friends and meet up with old ones) and progress (how many people think the city has improved). They tied on happiness: 79 percent of Londoners and the same proportion of New Yorkers are content.
Two other cities sneaked ahead of London in the global ranking: Melbourne in Australia came in second and Chicago in the US was third. Locals in each city had a more favourable view of their food, drink, music and nightlife scenes than Londoners, and were happier too.
Of course, it’s possible that people in all those cities went a little easy on their hometowns. After all, grumbling about London is a major pastime here. But it’s hard to argue with 34,000 people – and besides, if we’re going to eat humble pie, we may as well do it in London: the city with the best pie and mash shops in the world. No one’s taking that title away from us.
Now discover the rest of the 48 best cities in the world according to locals and experts.