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Revealed: the best cities in the world according to Time Out

We quizzed 27,000 city-dwellers to come up with our annual ranking of the world’s greatest cities

Written by
Sophie Dickinson
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Living in a city during a pandemic seems kind of pointless. You live there for the culture, the social life, the stuff to do. And then, all of a sudden, you’re having to spend a lot more time inside – and everything has the potential to feel a bit claustrophobic.

Except, this past year, somehow, it hasn’t actually felt that claustrophobic. In cities worldwide, people have pulled together. And what came out of the doom? A whole load of positive stories and amazing ideas that could define the future of urban life.

So we thought we’d launch the Time Out Index again. We polled 27,000 city-dwellers about food, drink, culture, social life and sustainability. Then we combined their answers with some insight from Time Out staff and experts around the world, and came up with our definitive annual ranking of the best cities in the world.

In at number one? San Francisco, which ranked top thanks to its progressive politics, community initiatives and readily available weed. In second place was Amsterdam, with its pioneering approach to sustainability, and third was Manchester, which came top in categories including friendliness, resilience and nightlife.

Check out the full list of 37 amazing cities here. And then read why we ranked San Francisco number one in the world

Plus: Manchester mayor Andy Burnham explains why his city is the UK’s greatest.

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