Melbourne has ranked among the 20 best cities in the world for 2024

But only just…

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn
Melbourne Editor
Photograph: Shutterstock

Ask any Melburnian what makes this fair city of ours so great, and you’ll receive a looong list of valid reasons: a renowned dining scene, rich and diverse cultural offerings, a showstopping schedule of major events and (arguably) the best coffee in the world. But hey, we’re biased – so what does everyone else think?

Well, thanks to Time Out’s annual survey, we have an answer. According to ​​thousands of city-dwellers from around the world, and a global network of editors and experts, Melbourne has landed at number 20 on the list of the best cities for 2024. Top 20, baby – we’ll take it! Especially considering Sydney (the only other Aussie representative) only scraped in with a ranking of 31. 

The 2024 list was curated with help from research company Potentia Insight, and city-dwellers were asked about everything from the quality and affordability of food, culture and nightlife to how happy their city makes them feel and how easy it is to make social connections. The responses provided a really valuable snapshot of city life, and what makes a destination such a great place to live or visit.

So, which city beat out Melbourne for the coveted crown? None other than New York City. And look, we get it – it’s pretty hard to top the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Rounding out the rest of the top five were Cape Town, Berlin, London and Madrid. 

But back to Melbourne; according to the data, a whopping 97 per cent of locals would describe the city as beautiful – who says we need a harbour, hey? Melbourne’s culinary chops also got a shout-out, with the eating and drinking scene scoring a tasty 87 per cent approval rating. 

“Melbourne's a melting pot of diverse cultures and cuisines, and we're not afraid to shake things up around here,” says Time Out Melbourne food and drink writer, Lauren Dinse. “But we also care about respecting where different traditions come from, what food means for community and how it can bring people together. I think that beautiful social spirit makes us one of the greatest food cities in the world."

Need more convincing of Melbourne’s all-round greatness? Well, it’s also currently a haven for audiophiles thanks to a bevy of insanely cool, late-night listening lounges that have popped up across the city. Hit up hot spots like Wax Music Lounge, High Note and Music Room for live bands, jazz nights and DJs spinning vinyl tunes.

And look, while there’s no denying we shoulda been higher up that list, there’s always next year. Until then, we’ll be out and about soaking up all the sights, sounds and smells of this glorious city of ours. Yep, we’re pretty lucky indeed.

You can read the full ranking of Time Out’s best cities in the world here.


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