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Revealed: the coolest neighbourhoods in the world according to Time Out

We quizzed 27,000 city-dwellers and asked local experts to come up with our annual ranking of the world’s coolest districts

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

What makes a neighbourhood ‘cool’, anyway? Once upon a time it might’ve been craft beer, vintage shopping, skateparks – or lots of people wearing baseball caps backwards. But these days, a cool neighbourhood is much more than simply fashionable.

Over the past 18 months, neighbourhoods have been vital sources of community support. They’ve pulled together, not only to get through a pandemic but also, increasingly, to fight the climate emergency. These days, nothing’s cooler than inclusivity, social justice, sustainability and environmentalism.

So our definition of ‘cool’ has changed a bit, too. As well as the usual focus on food, drink and culture, this year’s Time Out Index survey was tweaked to recognise the places thinking and planning for the future, and making life that little bit nicer right now. We polled 27,000 city-dwellers around the world, and combined their feedback with the expertise of our local editors and contributors. 

And so which neighbourhood came out top? Nørrebro! This gorgeous, northern corner of Copenhagen has long been a hub of culinary and cultural activity, with countless environmental and community projects springing up here in recent times too.

A close second was Andersonville in Chicago: a stronghold of LBGTQ+ nightlife and home to many of the city’s finest bars and restaurants. And in third place was Jongno 3-Ga, a historic area of Seoul whose gay community was roundly stigmatised during the early days of the pandemic, but has now bounced back stronger than ever.

Want to know whether your area made the cut? Now read our full ranking of the 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world.

And find out a little more about why Nørrebro in Copenhagen came top.

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