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The 53 best cities in the world in 2022

We quizzed 20,000 city-dwellers to rank the best cities in the world right now. Ready?

Edited by
Huw Oliver
Contributors
Time Out editors
&
Time Out contributors
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Every year, we quiz thousands of city-dwellers worldwide about life in their hometown right now. We want to know about the restaurant scene and the bar circuit. The theatre and the art galleries. The nightlife and the dating apps. What the neighbours are like and which neighbourhoods are actually cool. The idea is to create a global snapshot of city living, and point people in the direction of the places locals are really raving about.

And now... the results of the Time Out Index 2022 are in! As ever, we’ve crunched all that data and used it to come up with our annual ranking of the world’s greatest cities. For the past two years, the list has focused on how cities pulled together through the pandemic and made life (just about) tolerable during lockdowns. But now, after two years of travel curbs, the world is opening up again, and we – like you – are itching to get back out there.

So while things like community spirit and resilience were two of the most important factors last year, in 2022 we’ve added extra weight to the things that make cities great places to visit as well as to live. Our top cities this year are the ones with thriving nightlife, amazing food and drink, and art, culture and museums galore. We’ve highlighted places that aren’t boring or overly expensive or overrated, and we’ve ensured that our top picks also score well for practical stuff like walkability, good public transport and safety, as well as sustainability.

We’ve also tapped into our global network of expert editors and contributors for the inside scoop on what’s making each city tick right now, what’s new and what’s generally popping off. All of which means that if you are planning a city break this year (especially if it’s your first in a long, long time) then these are the places to go. Catch you out there.

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The 53 best cities in the world for 2022

Edinburgh
Photograph: David Ridley / Shutterstock.com

1. Edinburgh

What makes us great: We all know what Edinburgh is best known for. But year round, the Scottish capital is hard to beat, with landmarks, architecture and scenic hotspots that make it one of the most beautiful cities to explore on foot, as well as a food and drink scene that has an ever-evolving selection of forward-thinking bars and eateries, from new Leith restaurant and wine bar Eleanore to Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace at the St James Quarter. This is a city full of warmth that encourages self-expression across communities via its art, culture and nightlife. It’s progressive and forever welcoming of all groups (no wonder 88 percent of locals told us it was easy to ‘express who you are’ in the city). Plus, there’s the small matter of those festivals returning this August...

Visit now because: There are some terrific new openings worth checking out, including Glasgow Asian-inspired favourite Ka Pao, Stockbridge chocolate café Ocelot and Leith neighbourhood gem Cocorico. The city is also about to get Scotland’s first ‘vertical distillery’ in the form of the Port of Leith Distillery on the waterfront.

The big numbers: Edinburgh ranked highly in the Index across the board, coming top for both the number of residents who thought the city was beautiful (95 percent) and those who deemed it walkable (93 percent). And who would we be to argue with that very, very sweet combo? —Arusa Qureshi, Time Out Edinburgh

Explore the city: 
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📍 Discover the best things to do in Edinburgh

Chicago
Photograph: S-F / Shutterstock.com

2. Chicago

What makes us great: It may have been a tough week for our city, but we know Chicago will pull through: a massive 55 percent of locals described it as resilient in this year’s Index (the fourth highest in the world), and we’d be inclined to agree. After two years of on-off restrictions, we’ve come out stronger and more united, and now our beloved Midwest metropolis is thriving again – so much so, it was voted the funnest city in the world this year, too. Whether you want to try world-class dining, party until 4am at historic clubs, spend a day soaking up the sun along Lake Michigan, see iconic artworks or just wander among different neighbourhoods, there’s never a dull moment to be had (yes, even when winter rolls around).

Visit now because: The food scene is popping off. We’re talking everything from sleek, high-end restaurants on Randolph Street and the country’s first-ever Michelin-starred Filipino tasting menu to some of the best mom-and-pop Mexican joints you’ll find in a big US city.

The big numbers: A whopping 96 percent of locals rate Chicago highly for its food and drink – the second highest in the world – with 95 percent saying the same about the city’s art and culture scene. —Emma Krupp, Time Out Chicago

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Medellín
Photograph: Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com

3. Medellín

What makes us great: Known as the City of Eternal Spring, Medellín offers more than just good weather year round. Fervently proud of their city (this being the only one in Colombia to have a metro system), the Paisa people are brimming with energy, entrepreneurship and curiosity; it’s really hard not to make good friends here. In this year’s survey, Medellín’s nightlife was voted the world’s best, though that’s perhaps not all that surprising given this is the city that gave us reggaeton artists J Balvin, Maluma and Karol G. El Social, Salón Amador, Vintrash or any bar along La 70 will show you a good time.

Visit now because: Design-forward boutique hotels, like Quinta Ladera and Landmark, are popping up all over the city, showcasing impressive Colombian craftsmanship. Meanwhile, suave cocktail bar Casa El Ramal just opened in Manila and Mad Radio in Provenza hosts sets by DJs from Medellín and beyond.

The big numbers: This city sure likes to indulge itself. Medellín was voted the best in the world for eating and drinking (with 97 percent of Medellinenses saying the food and booze here is good), and the same goes for nightlife (90 percent) and community spirit (94 percent)Laura Field

Explore the city:
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Glasgow
Photograph: Jaroslav Moravcik / Shutterstock.com

4. Glasgow

What makes us great: Casual kindness and good humour prevail in the city voted friendliest in this year’s Index. Glasgow excels at being outgoing and at going out. At SWG3, the world’s first body-heated club, dancing literally helps keep the lights on. There are now two Michelin-star restaurants after a long drought (Cail Bruich and Unalome), yet a burgeoning dining scene is best characterised by friendly informality and good value for money (Glasgow was the city second least likely to be described as expensive). The dusty Barrowland Ballroom remains the reassuringly unchanging temple to live music you and your favourite band deserve.

Visit now because: Glasgow was doing quality meat-free dining way before it was fashionable and natural wine bar and vegetarian/vegan restaurant Sylvan continues the trend. Other top-tier recent openings include Crabshakk (for excellent seafood and cocktails) and Big Counter (uncategorisable, in the best way possible).

The big numbers: An enormous 78 percent of Glaswegians described their city as friendly, pipping last year’s winner Manchester to the top spot. The city also ranked well overall thanks to its vast amount of green space and the variety of things to do. —Malcolm Jack

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Amsterdam
Photograph: oliverdelahaye / Shutterstock.com

5. Amsterdam

What makes us great: In many ways, Amsterdam is the perfect destination. It brims with great places to see art and pick up jazzy gifts, but is also damn chilled out; it’s large enough to reward exploration yet still eminently walkable (or cyclable!) The city combines a buzzy social scene and vibrant nightlife with tolerance and diversity – Index respondents named their city the easiest place in the world to ‘express who you are’, and also voted it the second most progressive in the world. No wonder so many commentators say this is the model twenty-first-century metropolis.

Visit now because: The city’s festival circuit is finally back in action – go for Pride (August 5 to 7), when flotillas of boats will turn the inner canal ring into party central, or the notoriously wild (and very fun) Amsterdam Dance Event (October 19 to 23).

The big numbers: In news that will surprise absolutely no one, 100 percent of Amsterdammers said they could easily navigate the city on two wheels – making it the best place in the world for cyclists. One hundred percent! —Derek Robertson

Explore the city:
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Prague
Photograph: Milan Sommer / Shutterstock.com

6. Prague

What makes us great: Few capitals look so good, so it’s no surprise that Prague was voted the world’s third most beautiful city in this year’s Index. But it isn’t just a pretty face. Visitors are discovering an increasingly attractive quality of life, demonstrated by a huge number of galleries and museums, and quality, affordable dining all over the shop. Locals stress it’s easy to ‘get around on public transport’ too. For some peace and quiet, take their advice and get back to nature, notably at Divoká Šárka Valley, which you can reach without even having to leave the city.

Visit now because: Revamped public spaces have much to offer. The recently completed riverbank at Náplavka has been nominated for a prestigious architecture award. Downstream, leafy Střelecký ostrov island offers timeless views.

The big numbers: A good 90 percent percent of Praguers said their city was beautiful, and even more – 96 percent – said they rated the city’s public transport system. Trams, they rule, y’know. —David Creighton

📍 Discover the best things to do in Prague

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Marrakech
Photograph: Pe3k / Shutterstock.com

7. Marrakech

What makes us great: Community, creativity and faith in the future have seen Marrakech come roaring out of the pandemic with a new lease of life. The city has long been famous as an international melting pot, but lockdown created space for local entrepreneurs to flex their muscles opening cool new boutiques like Moro and restaurants such as Mouton Noir. A new international storytelling festival greeted the city’s first post-pandemic visitors in February, while big players like La Mamounia are sporting sassy new looks and El Fenn launched the hottest Sunday music nights in town. No wonder visitors can’t wait to return.

Visit now because: Morocco’s cultural capital is thriving right now. Those sessions on El Fenn’s rooftop are not to be missed, while MACAAL and MCC Gallery host brilliant modern African art exhibitions.

The big numbers: Think of Marrakech and you’ve almost certainly got the city’s packed, buzzing medina in mind, so it’s no wonder the city ranked so highly for getting to know your neighbours (68 percent of respondents said this was easy – the highest in the world) and making new friends (70 percent). Paula Hardy

📍 Discover the best things to do in Marrakech

Berlin
Photograph: JJFarq / Shutterstock.com

8. Berlin

What makes us great: There is truly something for every kind of visitor in Berlin. The city’s infamous weekend-long parties are in full force, and when it comes to fine dining, the German capital has never been more minted. From revolutionary walking tours to cutting-edge contemporary art shows, smaller budgets are very well catered for (just 10 percent of respondents described the city as expensive, in fact, which is the lowest anywhere in the world). Relax at one of the city’s beloved spas, or get your heart pumping at an all-night rave in one of Berlin’s world-renowned clubs – you’ll go away reinvigorated either way.

Visit now because: Travelling within the city has never been cheaper: between June and August, a pass that covers trains, trams and buses will set you back just €9 per month.

The big numbers: When it comes to transport, in fact, Berliners consider themselves very, very fortunate indeed. An incredible 97 percent praised the city’s public transit system – the highest in any city in the world. Nathan Ma

📍 Discover the best things to do in Berlin

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Montreal
Photograph: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

9. Montreal

What makes us great: There’s never been a more exciting time to visit Montreal. The city has bounced back post-pandemic, with a crop of new restaurants, bars and some seriously positive energy. Montreal’s awe-inspiring architecture, friendly vibes and legendary hospitality hasn’t changed – and that mix of European culture and Québécois joie de vivre is still alive and well – but you’ll discover fresh new stuff, whether it’s Michelin-calibre meals or mind-blowing budget food.

Visit now because: It’s prime festival season, with the whole city coming together to celebrate art and culture on every corner. We’re talking free concerts, waterfront festivals and a nightlife scene on steroids.

The big numbers: Montreal boasts solid results across the board: 93 percent of locals rate the city’s food and drink scene, while 82 percent praised its art and museums, and 80 percent said it’s easy to take a walk in nature. A true all-rounder. Laura Osborne, Time Out Canada

📍 Discover the best things to do in Montreal

Copenhagen
Photograph: vatolstikoff / Shutterstock.com

10. Copenhagen

What makes us great: The Danish capital is much more than bakeries and hot people on bikes. Enjoy these (and then some) by enjoying the city on foot (something 86 percent of Copenhageners said is easy, according to our survey). Dip into markets like Torvehallerne, Broens Gadekøkken, Banegaarden and Reffen, before hiring an electric GoBoat and chatting to other amateur cruisers when you dock for a beer in the sun. Come evening, explore the city’s world-beating nightlife and stay out until late – this really is a city that likes to party (and all the more so post-Covid).

Visit now because: Few cities have embraced their waterways quite like Copenhagen. Hydrofoil bikes, floating saunas, jacuzzis and even kayak bars will all be giving CPH life this summer.

The big numbers: Copenhagen is still one of the world’s great green cities, ranking second in the world for sustainability (with 75 percent of positive responses), walkability (86 percent) and ease of getting around by bike (97 percent). Alex Hayward

📍 Discover the best things to do in Copenhagen

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Cape Town
Photograph: Finn stock / Shutterstock.com

11. Cape Town

What makes us great: Good food, culture, mountains, beaches, nightlife – you can do it all in Cape Town. Few cities are better for outdoorsy types, what with all the excellent swimming spots, from Clifton and Camps Bay on the Atlantic side to Muizenberg and Simon’s Town on the Indian. Not to mention all the hiking opportunities offered up by the likes of Newlands Forest, Cecilia Forest and Kirstenbosch Garden (93 percent of locals described their city as beautiful, the second highest in the world, and for good reason). Head back into town, order a boerewors (hot dog) roll and you’ll basically be in heaven.

Visit now because: Cape Town nurtures theatre-making, and it shows. The city is known for its dance and experimental works – hit up the Baxter Theatre or Artscape.

The big numbers: Eighty-seven percent of those polled in Cape Town said it was easy to relax – more than anywhere else in the world. Meanwhile, 93 percent said they rated the city highly for the variety of things to do. —Yazeed Kamaldien

📍 Discover the best things to do in Cape Town

Madrid
Photograph: Raul Bal / Shutterstock.com

12. Madrid

What makes us great: Madrid isn’t how it used to be – very much in a good way. It’s just as fun and welcoming as it has been in years gone by, but each day, you’ll find more to do, see and – crucially – eat than ever before. No wonder a whopping 94 percent of people praised the Spanish capital for its food and drink. And with high-calibre museums including the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, it’s no surprise 95 percent of locals rate its art and culture, too.

Visit now because: Stroll through the recently renovated Plaza de España and dive into one of the area’s many brilliant restaurants (our fave is RavioXO by Michelin-star chef Dabiz Muñoz).

The big numbers: There’s never a dull moment in the Spanish capital – only 1 percent of Madrileños would describe their city as boring. And on top of those high food and culture ratings, 86 percent of locals say the city’s nightlife is excellent too. Noelia Santos, Time Out Madrid

📍 Discover the best things to do in Madrid

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Manchester
Photograph: estherpoon / Shutterstock.com

13. Manchester

What makes us great: Voted the second friendliest city in the world this year, Manchester will always make you feel at home, with its ever-welcoming landscape of restaurants, bars and top-notch culture (feline-themed eateries Neon Tiger and Kitten are two formidable recent additions). A true melting pot, Manchester is a resilient, progressive city, appreciative of its history but always looking ahead. Right now we’re in amazing shape, with expanding neighbourhoods like Ancoats and Prestwich surely among the best and easiest places to live in the world.

Visit now because: Well, perhaps wait until early next year, when Factory, one of Europe’s biggest and most exciting new arts venues, opens its doors. Nearby, the Victorian Castlefield Viaduct will also be turned into the city’s very own highline-style park.

The big numbers: Despite losing the top spot to Glasgow, a huge proportion of Mancunians (74 percent) still vouch for their city’s friendliness. On the flipside, just 11 percent said they thought Manchester was a beautiful city – the lowest in the world. Come on, guys – where’s the love for Manny’s post-industrial chic? —Rob Martin, Time Out Manchester

📍 Discover the best things to do in Manchester

Mumbai
Photograph: Snehal Jeevan Pailkar / Shutterstock.com

14. Mumbai

What makes us great: From the corporate giants to the glitzy film industry and the always-buzzing food and nightlife scenes, Mumbai offers a space for those who dream big. Pandemic or not, the city’s spirit is defined by the way its citizens bond in times of celebration as well as crisis. From helping those in need to creating opportunities for those who dare to try, this city attracts people like bees to honey. And the nightlife doesn’t just stop at the clubs – great food can be found 24/7, with a front row seat by the bay if you so wish.

Visit now because: Lately, the city seems smitten by Japanese flavours, with swanky new restaurants including Akina, Koishii, Wakai and, the current talk-of-the-town, Neuma by Bollywood stalwart Karan Johar.

The big numbers: Eighty-nine percent of locals rated Mumbai’s nightlife highly – the third best in the entire world. It was also third for community spirit (with 81 percent of positive responses) and scored very highly for its food and drink (94 percent). Kasturi Gadge

📍 Discover the best things to do in Mumbai 

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Melbourne
Photograph: Adam Calaitzis / Shutterstock.com

15. Melbourne

What makes us great: Keeping up with the latest bar, café and restaurant openings in Melbourne has always felt like a sport – but now it’s reached Olympic levels. After two years of lockdowns, the Melbourne restaurant renaissance is blessing us with a plethora of bucket-list drinking and dining experiences. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say every corner of the state is currently lit up and illuminated with arts festivals. Think live music, outdoor installations and stunning semi-permanent exhibitions. Truly, the city has never felt more alive.

Visit now because: As Melbourne temperatures plummet, head inside cosy new venues like Otōto, Serai and Parcs – all mirroring a prominent culinary trend of charry, caramelised dishes made with a waste-not approach to produce.

The big numbers: That blizzard of new post-pandemic openings has certainly boosted Melbourne’s position in the Index. Of those surveyed, a staggering 92 percent said the city’s food and drink scene is currently on point. —Eliza Campbell, Time Out Melbourne

📍 Discover the best things to do in Melbourne

Taipei
Photograph: Wassamon / Shutterstock.com

16. Taipei

What makes us great: We kept Covid out for more than two years without any lockdown – something that embodies Taiwan’s fantastic community spirit and resilience. Taipei is also Asia’s top queer destination, having legalised gay marriage in 2019. Transport is efficient and super-affordable and you’ll never go hungry, thanks to our night markets, stacked with sweet and savoury local treats. The messy urban landscape hides mysterious centuries-old temples, picnic-perfect parks and a Japanese-era police station with walk-in cell exhibits.

Visit now because: The pandemic taught subtropical Taipei the joy of partying outdoors, whether it’s a chilled craft beer from a riverside bar or a brand-new rooftop club with an astonishing citywide vista.

The big numbers: An impressive 86 percent of Taipei residents described their city as safe and 58 percent as sustainable, with 92 percent lauding its public transport system. —Dinah Gardner

📍 Discover the best things to do in Taipei

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London
Photograph: DrimaFilm / Shutterstock.com

17. London

What makes us great: London is properly fun again. While it’s true the cost-of-living crisis has seriously affected our ability to have a good time on the cheap, our city has a better vibe currently than you might reasonably expect. Having all of our free galleries and museums open up again (no need to book slots any more) was a great reminder of quite how democratised culture is here. Meanwhile, nightlife has experienced an unforeseen (by me, anyway) resurgence, with new club nights appearing, often jumping from venue to venue like glitter-and-baggie-strewn pop-ups. London gets a bad rap for catering exclusively to the moneyed and middle-aged, so it’s great to see something genuinely transgressive bubbling up again.

Visit now because: We’ve got All Points East and Field Day coming up in August. Two exceptionally fun, very credible, London festivals that take place in one of my favourite parks.

The big numbers: When it comes to the sheer amount of stuff to see and do, nowhere is better than London. Ninety-four percent of Londoners rate the city’s variety of things to do – the highest in the world – with the same proportion saying the arts scene here is particularly decent. —Joe Mackertich, Time Out London

📍 Discover the best things to do in London

Porto
Photograph: Shutterstock

18. Porto

What makes us great: Portuenses like few things better than a drink at the end of the day – especially if you manage to bag a table somewhere with views over the Douro River. The people of Portugal’s second city are also generally open-minded, albeit very particular about what they eat. Perhaps that’s why there are so many good restaurants in this city, serving everything from trad tripe dishes and sarrabulho porridge to avant-garde Michelin-star cuisine. Little wonder, in other words, that 96 percent of Porto locals rate the city’s food scene highly, according to this year’s Index. Bom apetite!

Visit now because: Two of the city’s most iconic restaurateurs have launched excellent new projects. Vasco Coelho Santos (owner of Euskalduna Studio) has opened a ‘slow fermentation’ bakery, while Ricardo Rodrigues (Fava Tonka, Terminal 4450) now runs a magical Mexican restaurant called La Dolorosa.

The big numbers: Aside from its extraordinary food and drink culture, Portugal’s second city was described as being pretty chill all-round. Seventy-five percent said it’s easy to relax in the city and 76 percent said it was easy to ‘express who you are’. Mariana Morais Pinheiro, Time Out Porto

📍 Discover the best things to do in Porto

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Lyon
Photograph: Keitma / Shutterstock.com

19. Lyon

What makes us great: Boy does Lyon look good. With its two major rivers, an immense urban park (with resident giraffes) and a new outdoor art gallery comprising 150 public murals, France’s second city is as attractive as they come. But it’s wine rather than water that flows through the city’s veins; the riverbanks are lined with floating bars and the city is sandwiched between the Rhône Valley and Beaujolais winegrowing regions (no doubt a contributing factor in a good 71 percent of locals saying they find their city relaxing). And ditch the car, why don’t you? Lyon has a whopping 540km of cycle lanes.

Visit now because: All sorts of incredible cultural events are hosted here year round, from concerts in Roman amphitheatres to the celebrated Fête des Lumières in winter. Stay for the food: artisanal food markets and new vegan restaurants are reinvigorating France’s gastronomic capital.

The big numbers: Lyonnais are famously proud of their own city and that’s certainly still the case in 2022. Ninety-five percent of residents tooted the horn of their city’s food and drink culture, while 88 percent described their city as beautiful. Anna Richards

New York
Photograph: JJFarq / Shutterstock.com

20. New York

What makes us great: New York feels more vibrant than ever. What could have destroyed the Big Apple over the past couple of years has just made it stronger – in fact, NYC was voted the most resilient city in the world this year. Our city has bounced back back with even more creative exhibitions and the best theatre we’ve seen in decades (we know, because NYC was also voted the third best in the world for art, culture and museums).

Visit now because: NYC’s rebirth has brought creativity to the forefront. At bars, you’ll find dedicated martini menus and more speakeasy concepts than you can handle. The fun and funk of roller discos is now at Rockefeller Center and Central Park. There are Pulitzer Prize-winning shows on Broadway and highly anticipated exhibition openings happening this year, from a Basquiat retrospective to an entire show on the Tudors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The big numbers: NYC topped both of the ‘international’ categories in this year’s Index. It was far and away the most popular city that Time Out readers wanted to visit in 2022 and also the place the most people actually wanted to move. —Shaye Weaver, Time Out New York

📍 Discover the best things to do in New York

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Buenos Aires
Photograph: Guaxinim / Shutterstock.com

21. Buenos Aires

What makes us great: South America’s most culturally exciting city, Buenos Aires is a magnet for cocktail aficionados, gourmands and culture vultures, thanks to its abundance of award-winning bars and restaurants, and a buzzing arts scene with free museums, art galleries and cultural festivals that keep porteños (the Argentinian capital’s residents) entertained long into the night. Chacarita is BA’s latest foodie hub – order haute cuisine or ramen, a slice of muza pizza or Filipino tapas, a late-night Negroni or a Malbec round the clock. A wave of indoor and outdoor food-hall openings is also satisfying porteño appetites, including freshly refurbished Mercado de los Carruajes, Bocha by Narda Lepes at the Palermo polo grounds and Mercat Caballito.

Visit now because: While BA retains its title as the world’s meat mecca, a dynamic plant-based food movement is now in full swing. Hot veggie restaurant openings include Chui, Marti and Amador Cantina over the past year.

The big numbers: This city sure likes to go out. With 92 percent of locals raving about BA’s food and drink, 88 percent lauding its arts scene and 86 percent celebrating its nightlife, BA remains a resolutely buzzy place to be. Sorrel Moseley-Williams

📍 Discover the best things to do in Buenos Aires

Birmingham
Photograph: nvphoto / Shutterstock.com

22. Birmingham

What makes us great: Diverse and dynamic, Birmingham never stands still. The host of this year’s Commonwealth Games takes gold when it comes to buzzing bars, Michelin-star restaurants, world-class museums, top shopping, meandering canals, green spaces, groundbreaking music, elite sport and vibrant culture. From the graffiti-strewn streets of Digbeth (once the stomping ground of the infamous Peaky Blinders), to the hive of creativity that is the Jewellery Quarter, this former workshop of the world has reinvented itself as a global city, where people of all cultures flock to thrive and flourish. ‘Mek yerself at home, bab,’ as the Brummies say.

Visit now because: The 2022 Commonwealth Games will herald a colourful collision of top-tier sport and diverse cultures, and Birmingham is banging it out the park with festivals, live performances and exciting cultural events.

The big numbers: A whopping 92 percent of Brummies described their city as diverse – the third highest in the world. Birmingham is also a great city for expressing who you are (78 percent said so) and ranks among the UK cities least likely to be described as expensive. —James Brennan

📍 Discover the best things to do in Birmingham 

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Stockholm
Photograph: cdrin / Shutterstock.com

23. Stockholm

What makes us great: History oozes from the Swedish capital’s postcard-perfect cobbled medieval squares, spice-hued Art Deco apartment blocks, and former factories converted into music and arts venues. But Stockholm is also a fast-growing cosmopolitan metropolis with a strong economy and a vision for a high-tech eco-friendly future (little wonder it was the city most likely to be described as sustainable in this year’s Index). You can enjoy a rooftop cocktail, sample the latest fusion food trends or take one of the city’s public e-bikes for a spin. Or slow down with a waterfront stroll, a smooth ferry trip out to the archipelago or a picnic in one of Stockholm’s ample green spaces.

Visit now because: The co-owner of legendary Stockholm open-air club Trädgården has just launched Eden, a new alfresco DJs-and-dining concept in the Kungsholmen district. You can’t beat the view at the top of the 102-metre-high Sjöstaden Skybar, which opened at the top of the city’s latest glass-fronted landmark Sthlm 01 last year. Meanwhile, the new Avicii Experience offers an interactive exhibition that celebrates one of Sweden’s biggest music icons.

The big numbers: Seventy-eight percent of Stockholmers told us they considered their city sustainable – the highest in the world. It also came top for green space (with 95 percent saying they’ve got easy access) and was the city least likely to be described as dirty. —Maddy Savage

📍 Discover the best things to do in Stockholm 

Tokyo
Photograph: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

24. Tokyo

What makes us great: Tokyo is very much an all-rounder. Having the most Michelin stars in the world means it’s great for food and drink (something 91 percent of locals highlighted in this year’s survey). Plus, with its vibrant bar and nightlife scene, Tokyo will give you a serious case of out-out fomo. It came as no surprise to us that the city was named the second most popular travel destination for 2022, with 12 percent of all those surveyed saying the Japanese capital is number one on their bucket list.

Visit now because: Tokyo’s traditional yokocho (alleyways crammed with tiny restaurants and bars) culture is going through a renaissance, with the concept being reimagined as contemporary food halls – one of the city’s best even houses a small-batch gin distillery in a business-district skyscraper.

The big numbers: Tokyo’s public transport network might seem like a bit of a maze to outsiders, but it suits Tokyoites just fine – 94 percent said it’s easy to get around the city, the third best in the world. —Lim Chee Wah, Time Out Tokyo

📍 Discover the best things to do in Tokyo

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San Francisco
Photograph: Mattschwarz / Shutterstock.com

25. San Francisco

What makes us great: After a long two years of closures, San Francisco is pretty much back to normal – it even has some upgrades, like an abundance of outdoor seating options built during the pandemic. Visiting SF not only means killer dining spots, from hole-in-the-wall joints to some of the best Michelin-star restaurants in the world, but also endless options for hiking, wine tasting, beach hangs, day trips and dispensary shopping. And with its reputation of being a welcoming place for all, it’s no surprise SF was voted the most progressive city in the world in this year’s survey (and also scored highly for ease of ’expressing who you are’).

Visit now because: Don’t miss brand-new national park destination, the Presidio Tunnel Tops, comprising 14 acres of parkland overlooking both the city and Golden Gate Bridge. The project opens on July 17.

The big numbers: Seventy-three percent of San Franciscans described their city progressive – more than anywhere else in the world. This was backed up by huge numbers also saying the Golden City has plenty of green space (83 percent said so) and that it’s easy to express who you are (also 83 percent).  —Clara Hogan, Time Out San Francisco

📍 Discover the best things to do in San Francisco

Delhi
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26. Delhi

What makes us great: Delhi has always been forward-looking yet firmly rooted in history – a spirit that’s reflected in today’s burgeoning culinary and cultural landscape. There’s a strong focus on contemporary regional Indian cooking, coupled with a revived interest in the city’s freshly restored heritage spaces. The result? Rooftop cocktails with views of the twelfth-century Qutub Minar. Sunday farmers’ markets at the tomb-studded Sunder Nursery. And possibly the best public transport network in the country – the Delhi Metro – linking the capital’s top spots.

Visit now because: Innovative craft cocktails featuring homegrown gins and distinctly Indian ingredients are shaking up the city’s bar scene. Try Sidecar, which featured on last year’s World’s 50 Best Bars list, and Perch Wine & Coffee Bar.

The big numbers: Think of Delhi and you’re probably thinking of the city’s sprawling bazaars and endless tasty nosh – and quite right, too. An impressive 91 percent of Delhiites applauded their city’s food and drink options. —Malavika Bhattacharya

📍 Discover the best things to do in Delhi

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Toronto
Photograph: V. Ben / Shutterstock.com

27. Toronto

What makes us great: After multiple lockdowns, Toronto has come alive again. This highly resilient city survived a long winter of heated outdoor patios, and now the food and drink scene is once again bustling as new restaurants, cafés and shops open up seemingly every week. In this year’s Index, the city scored highly for progressiveness and community spirit, which can be felt in the activism, community events and the thriving underground nightlife scene that’s back in full force for the summer.

Visit now because: Toronto’s diverse food scene has everything from French bistro brunch to a new Ossington salad hotspot and can’t-miss summer festivals (hello, Caribana!) that bring in droves of gourmets.

The big numbers: A massive 95 percent of respondents in Toronto described their city as diverse – the highest in the world. Eighty percent also said it was easy to ‘express who you are’ in the city. Lydia Hrycko

📍 Discover the best things to do in Toronto

Lisbon
Photograph: Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock.com

28. Lisbon

What makes us great: Terrace culture has always been big in Lisbon, but it feels like there are more alfresco bars and restaurants here than ever right now. Perch by the river or hit up one of the miradouro viewpoints to get a feel for what we mean – you’ll hear glasses clinking on every corner. Elsewhere, new restaurants are seemingly popping up all over the city, offering the best of local and global cuisine (no wonder 92 percent of locals said the city’s food and drink scene is thriving in 2022) while a crop of new bars will serve you the chicest cocktails around.

Visit now because: Restaurants... with dance floors? Bars... with excellent food menus? So-called ‘hybrid venues’ where you can grab dinner, stay for drinks and then have a boogie are really taking off in Lisbon. Descarado in Alcântara and Tricky’s in Cais do Sodré are two of the best.

The big numbers: On top of that solid food and drink rating, a notable 73 percent of Lisboetas described their city as beautiful. Too right. Steffany Casanova, Time Out Lisbon

📍 Discover the best things to do in Lisbon

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Boston
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29. Boston

What makes us great: Cliché it may be, but Boston really does have something for everyone. Rock your favourite outfit and head to a burlesque show at Midway Café or grab a boozy slushie at queer institution Club Café. The food scene will delight you with everything from fresh cannoli and fluffy injera bread to local craft beer. Warmer months are a perfect time to explore the Common or even take a swan boat ride.

Visit now because: The summer is the ideal time to scope out the vintage market that takes place weekly in Copley Square. Cool off with a beer and oat milk soft serve at the newly opened Plant Pub.

The big numbers: This city is rather lovely to look at, so it’s fortunate locals consider it a very easy place to traipse around, with 79 percent of respondents describing the city as walkable. The same percentage also rated the city highly for art and culture. Megan Hennessey

📍 Discover the best things to do in Boston

Mexico City
Photograph: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

30. Mexico City

What makes us great: Mexico may have remained largely open to travellers during the pandemic, but only now is the capital starting feel busy again. That should surprise no one. After all, CDMX has the best bar scene in North America, endless amazing live music and, very soon, it will be home to one of the world’s largest aquariums. A new museum arrives practically every year, and the city’s diverse food scene offers a veritable world tour.

Visit now because: Some of the world’s finest cocktails can be found at Café de Nadie, Handshake Speakeasy, Limantour, Baltra, Kaito and Hanky Panky. Anyone up for a bar crawl?

The big numbers: A whopping 92 percent of locals said they rated the city’s art and culture, with 90 percent saying they appreciate the variety of things to do. Say what you will about CDMX, it certainly ain’t dull. —Mauricio Nava, Time Out Mexico City

📍 Discover the best things to do in Mexico City

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Tel Aviv
Photograph: Boris-B / Shutterstock.com

31. Tel Aviv

What makes us great: Coming out after two years of Covid, Tel Aviv has embraced new concepts. Some of the best things in TLV are free – like yoga sessions at Gordon Pool on the marina, night buses on Shabbat (the weekend) and open-air gigs in the summer. Named the second funnest city in the world in this year’s Index, Tel Aviv brims with pop-up shops, bars and art galleries, often set in old Bauhaus buildings. While the new light rail and skyscrapers point to the future, the city still has that raw Middle Eastern spice.

Visit now because: There’s a new crop of restaurants in town, including Tirza (from the esteemed team behind OCD), George and John in Jaffa’s iconic Drisco Hotel, and Fed and Bev, which fuses tapas and Thai cuisine with live music.

The big numbers: Just pipped to top spot by Chicago, Tel Aviv is still considered fun by a massive 78 percent of locals. And that isn’t all. According to the Index, Tel Aviv is also mighty good for food and drink (93 percent said so). —Dan Savery Raz

📍 Discover the best things to do in Tel Aviv

Paris
Photograph: PoloF / Shutterstock.com

32. Paris

What makes us great: Paris isn’t just the historic city of Haussmanian blocks and café terraces you’ll find on postcards and fridge magnets the world over. This is also a place in the midst of change. It may have been named the best city in the world for art, culture and museums once again in our survey, but the French capital’s programming is becoming ever-more inclusive and diverse, with the feminist art movement riding particularly high. Elsewhere, natural wine bars are pushing out the stuffy caves of yore, and the city is becoming as well known for its street food as for its Michelin stars. Shame, then, that locals still consider the city the least friendly in the world (at least according to our poll).

Visit now because: After two pretty bleak years for the city’s nightlife scene, clubs are popping up in all sorts of unlikely places, including under the Périphérique ringroad. Our faves are Virage, a gigantic space in a former car pound, and Périph, now the city’s biggest open-air club (with capacity for 3,500 partygoers).

The big numbers: A whopping 97 percent of Parisians said their city was a good place to see art and culture – making it the best in the world for the second year running. It also came third when asked people anywhere which one city they’d like to travel to in 2022. Houssine Bouchama, Time Out Paris

📍 Discover the best things to do in Paris

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Kuala Lumpur
Photograph: withGod / Shutterstock.com

33. Kuala Lumpur

What makes us great: Everyone in and around Kuala Lumpur has always known our food is tops, which is why it wasn’t much of a surprise that the city scored highly on eating and drinking in this year’s Index. From soul-nourishing hawker food to creative fine dining and experimental bars, KL’s diverse cultural makeup begets an equally varied culinary scene. Even more welcome is the city’s burgeoning arts scene, which has grown over the past few years and exploded post-lockdown. Whether it’s fine art, theatre, music or spoken word, there’s never been a better time to discover local talent. Now, if only we could fix the traffic downtown…

Visit now because: It’s impossible not to have a good night out here. Try Nadodi for fine Indian food, Bar Trigona for honey cocktails and Jao Tim in Chinatown for live jazz.

The big numbers: A frankly phenomenal 94 percent of Index respondents in KL went wild for the city’s food and drink. Seventy-seven percent described their city as diverse, while 62 percent praised its community spirit. Florentyna Leow

📍 Discover the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Manila
Photograph: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock.com

34. Manila

What makes us great: Manila gets bad rap for chaos – from overpopulation to epic traffic jams. Do as the locals do and embrace the anarchy, even for just a couple of days before jetting off to one of the Philippines’ more than 7,000 idyllic islands. The legacy of Chinese, Spanish and American influences makes Manila an underrated hub for art and culture, with unique customs and cuisine to boot. The pandemic brought the longest lockdowns, cruel liquor bans and the demand for spacewear-like face shields, but a strong vaccine drive has helped this megacity stay afloat. Manila was voted the third most resilient in this year’s survey, and not a single respondent described the city as rude – instead, it was admired by many for the welcoming and infectious smiles of its people.

Visit now because: The city really is thriving again. Let Manila entertain you as it has before with its high-end shopping malls, eclectic contemporary art galleries and the edgy music venues of the south.

The big numbers: One hundred percent of respondents in Manila didn’t describe locals as rude, making it the least rude city in this year’s Index. Sixty percent said that the city was resilient, while 78 percent raved about its nightlife and party scene. Shirin Bhandari

📍 Discover the best things to do in Manila

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Athens
Photograph: Jaione_Garcia / Shutterstock.com

35. Athens

What makes us great: Where else in the world can you find vibrant rooftop bars overlooking temples built by ancient civilisations; dazzling beaches a mere 20 minutes away. Add to that the seemingly endless flurry of new openings: trendy boutique hotels popping up on almost every central street; restaurants specialising in everything from tacos to croissants; ultra-cool bars perfect for cooling down on a summer evening – each is helping Athens become as well known for its present-day creative energy as for its history.

Visit now because: Summer is when the city comes alive. Pack a picnic and head to SNFCC for free movies under the stars, or drink, dine and sleep at 2022’s hottest new hotel-restaurant combo: Estiatoria Milos at Xenodocheio Milos.

The big numbers: Not only did ninety-one percent of Athenians laud their city’s food and drink and 80 percent speak out in favour of its nightlife, but they generally think it’s pretty cheap, too. Seventy-seven percent didn’t describe the Greek capital as expensive, making it the third least expensive city in this year’s Index.  —Katie Silcox

📍 Discover the best things to do in Athens

Dublin
Photograph: Tilman Ehrcke / Shutterstock.com

36. Dublin

What makes us great: A vibrant, welcoming and compact city with a pub culture that bars across the world could only dream of replicating... Dublin really is one of a kind. Whether it’s Brogan’s, Hogan’s or Grogan’s (believe us, there’s a BIG difference), you’re guaranteed to finish the night with some new friends who will make you feel as though the Irish capital is your home. There are few cities where you’ll find beach crowds running into the sea come rain or shine, mountains with picturesque views of a low-rise city, buzzing streets with buskers and a drool-worthy food scene – but our city has the lot.

Visit now because: With new Michelin-star restaurants including Liath and Variety Jones, the tastiest Korean chicken from Chimac, burgers from BuJo and pizza from PI, Dublin offers something to satisfy any craving.

The big numbers: Not only did a measly 10 percent of Dubliners describe their city as rude, but a good 71 percent said it was an actively friendly place – making it the third friendliest city in this year’s Index. That old Irish charm, eh? Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

📍 Discover the best things to do in Dublin

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São Paulo
Photograph: Julio Ricco / Shutterstock.com

37. São Paulo

What makes us great: Don’t believe what they say over in Rio about people from São Paulo. It’s true that the industrious Paulistanos work hard, but they party even harder and there’s a scene for everybody in the clubbing capital of South America. The food here is some of the best on the continent too: decades of immigration have woven cooking traditions from Italy, Japan and more into cosmopolitan São Paulo’s culinary tapestry.

Visit now because: São Paulo’s LGBTQ+ community is bigger and bolder than ever: an estimated four million attended the city’s pride parade in June this year, making it the largest in the world.

The big numbers: A near-faultless 95 percent of Paulistanos said their city’s food and drink is on point, with 86 percent also praising its nightlife. —Dougie Loynes

📍 Discover the best things to do in São Paulo

Miami
Photograph: lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

38. Miami

What makes us great: Miami is hot right now (and not just temperature-wise!) A recent influx of tourists and transplants has raised its profile, attracting inspectors from the Michelin Guide for the very first Florida guide, globally renowned entertainers (Bad Bunny is opening his first restaurant here) and world-class sports events, from the Formula 1 Grand Prix to the 2026 World Cup. It seems like everyone wants to be in Miami these days and we don’t blame them.

Visit now because: The aforementioned Michelin Guide is hot off the presses and you’ll want to be first in line to try Miami’s finest restaurants, including contemporary American from a Top Chef-winning chef (who’s also got a spot at Time Out Market) and wildly inventive Cuban food.

The big numbers: Vice City was described as fun by 72 percent of respondents and beautiful by 74 percent. When it comes to food and drink, 93 percent of Miamians had something positive to say about their city. —Virginia Gil, Time Out Miami

📍 Discover the best things to do in Miami

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Barcelona
Photograph: Sergio TB / Shutterstock.com

39. Barcelona

What makes us great: As you’ll no doubt have clocked, everyone is heading to Barcelona right now. Whether or not it’s just the summer festival rush, we reckon the city is only going to get busier over the coming months. And that’s great. This city is only really itself when the bars and restaurants and beaches fill up, and stay that way from dawn till dusk. The city came fourth when we asked which one city Time Out readers would like to move to, taking 6 percent of all votes. No doubt the influencers (@moyamawhinney, @best.dressed among them) who’ve flocked here recently have had something to do with it. But the city’s perennial charms – culture, gastronomy, the heat – have surely helped too.

Visit now because: The cocktail scene must be among Europe’s finest. Venues like Paradiso, Two Schmucks and Sips are all world class, and it should come as no surprise that the World’s Best Bars gala is being held here later this year.

The big numbers: Locals rarely get bored here (94 percent of Index respondents didn’t describe their city as boring) and they also think their neighbours are pretty decent (just 11 percent described their fellow Barcelonians as rude). María-José Gómez, Time Out Barcelona

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Dubai
Photograph: Sriya Pixels / Shutterstock.com

40. Dubai

What makes us great: Dubai has all the stuff you’d want from a travel destination – from incredible restaurants and buzzing nightlife to some of the world’s best shopping and simply stunning beaches. What’s more, it’s modern, clean, super-safe and very easy to get around. This is a city of superlatives – take a selfie at the top of the world’s tallest building, swim in the world’s highest infinity pool and skydive over the world’s largest manmade island, all in one day.

Visit now because: The newly opened Museum of the Future is not only worth visiting in its own right, but also has a hidden viewing deck that few people know about. Follow it up with a beach club crawl along the rapidly expanding Palm West strip and a DJ set at Electric Pawn Shop.

The big numbers: Dubai was named one of the cleanest cities in the world, with 97 percent of locals saying it wasn’t dirty. And that’s not all – 83 percent described it as safe, too. —Louise Charlesworth, Time Out Dubai

📍 Discover the best things to do in Dubai

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Rome
Photograph: Petr Jilek / Shutterstock.com

41. Rome

What makes us great: After two years of restrictions, Rome is back — and the city’s cultural programming is better than ever. Whether you opt to walk through the Colosseum by moonlight to avoid the crowds, catch an opera in the third-century Baths of Caracalla, or watch a movie al fresco on the tiny Tiber Island, the Eternal City offers a plethora of original experiences in unforgettable settings. After a day of exploring, make like the Romans and head up to one of the city’s many rooftop bars to admire the skyline at sunset: Alto is a new addition which pairs craft cocktails with gourmet bites a short walk from the Vatican.

Visit now because: Natural wine is everywhere in Rome these days. The brand-new Vinificio in Testaccio has more than 500 international labels set across a large industrial space, while Enoteca l’Antidoto in Trastevere is a cosy spot that sells wine by the bottle along with creative small plates.

The big numbers: With nearly 3,000 years of history under its belt, it’s no surprise that 91 percent of Index respondents in Rome lauded the city’s art, culture and museums. Eight-four percent also think it’s beautiful. Livia Hengel

📍 Discover the best things to do in Rome

Los Angeles
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42. Los Angeles

What makes us great: Life in L.A. may be increasingly and uncomfortably hot and dry, but the breezy Mediterranean vibes still persist on the dinner plate thanks to the rise of crudo-forward and tapas-inspired spots, including Bar Moruno and Causita. The rapidly recovering dining scene reflects a range of cuisines as diverse as L.A.’s population, and that applies outside of the culinary world, too, as art shows and live music rebound with progressive purpose – and a signature weirdness that we’re glad to welcome back to the city’s again-brimming social calendar.

Visit now because: The Academy Museum wraps up its first year with major gallery refreshes and an exhibition on pre-1970s Black cinema, while the Broad has rolled out shows on Takashi Murakami and the American flag plus a new reservation process for Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. 

The big numbers: Ninety percent of LA residents spoke out in favour of the city’s food and drink and 87 percent lauded its variety of things to do. An impressive 87 percent also described the City of Angels as diverse.  —Michael Juliano, Time Out Los Angeles

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Accra
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43. Accra

What makes us great: Accra will reliably give you a good time. In the Ghanaian capital, the party either lasts until 8am or simply never ends. The array of delectable traditional foods to try is never-ending, and the eclectic Afrobeats sounds, seasonal cultural festivals and bold festive attire point to the city’s rich history. And community is important here. ‘Your business is everyone’s business’ is how many locals would put it. Accra’s warmth makes it nearly impossible to leave without establishing genuine connections (in fact, the city was named the third easiest city to make friends in, according to our survey).

Visit now because: Every week, there’s something new to discover on the city’s nightlife circuit. Club 69 is a recent favourite, and the capital’s first non-alcoholic bar is set to open soon, too.

The big numbers: Sixty-eight percent of locals said it’s easy to make friends here, with 63 percent saying it’s easy to get to know your neighbours. Just 2 percent would describe the city as rude. Christina Jane

📍 Discover the best things to do in Accra

Singapore
Photograph: nooaonphoto / Shutterstock.com

44. Singapore

What makes us great: Though we may be a small city, you’re never short on great stuff to do in Singapore. Almost anywhere on the island is accessible via public transport (something 92 percent of locals praised in this year’s Index) – but because it’s essentially summer all year long here, you’d do just as well to explore on foot and soak up some rays. Lately, Singaporeans have also started getting serious about wellness and relaxation, with many spending their weekends in the city’s beautiful parks, and also partaking in things like sound baths and sound therapy.

Visit now because: The city is back to its usual fun-loving self. People are dining out again, there are new openings every week and late nights are back with a vengeance. Lately, the Time Out team have enjoyed the food at Native, just around the corner from our office. Think elevated Singaporean cuisine with a cheeky twist.

The big numbers: Singapore was named the safest city in the world, with a massive 96 percent of locals saying their city was safe in our survey. Considering just how little space the city has, it’s also impressive that 78 percent of respondents noted the ease with which they can access green space and nature. —Delfina Utomo, Time Out Singapore

📍 Discover the best things to do in Singapore

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Abu Dhabi
Photograph: Sids / Shutterstock.com

45. Abu Dhabi

What makes us great: Not only is Abu Dhabi the capital of the UAE, it’s the unofficial arts and culture capital, too. The city is known for being safe, clean and relaxing – as locals made very clear in this year’s Index – which may well be why it’s so popular among expat families. You’re never short of exciting things to do here from cutting-edge restaurant openings to major new museums including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the National History Museum Abu Dhabi (both coming soon).

Visit now because: Yas Bay Waterfront and Al Qana are the latest neighbourshoods to open up with cafés and restaurants aplenty. Al Qana is also home to the National Aquarium, which is the largest in the Middle East.

The big numbers: Not only is Abu Dhabi one of the safest cities in this year’s Index (with 92 percent of locals praising this aspect of life in the city), it also ranks among the least dirty, stressful and rude. In short, it’s an all-round comfortable and pleasant place to live and work. Heather Cichowski, Time Out Abu Dhabi

📍 Discover the best things to do in Abu Dhabi

Sydney
Photograph: Destination NSW

46. Sydney

What makes us great: The world-famous architecture of our most recognisable building aside, it’s the natural wonders Sydney boasts that really make the city a must-visit. With more than 100 beaches, thousands of hectares of National Parklands surrounding the urban sprawl and the largest natural harbour in the world, few other cities can rival it for sheer jaw-dropping beauty. And thanks to the city’s waterfront restaurants, rooftop and high-rise bars and attractions like the Harbour Bridge Climb, you can always enjoy Mother Nature’s eye candy with a drink or a bite in hand.

Visit now because: Sydney is in the midst of a hospitality boom as the city bounces back from 2021’s rolling lockdowns. A number of new high-end hospitality precincts have created one-stop solutions for a great night out, with collections of bars and restaurants conveniently gathered on the same footprint for your drinking and dining pleasure.

The big numbers: Not only is Sydney beautiful, it’s pristine, too. Seventy-one percent of Sydneyites described the city as beautiful, while just 11 percent said it was dirty. On top of that, 80 percent said they could go walking in nature with ease. —Maxim Boon, Time Out Sydney

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Auckland
Photograph: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com

47. Auckland

What makes us great: Auckland might be New Zealand’s largest city but it still brims with natural beauty. It’s just as easy to hike up volcanoes or ferry-hop to islands as it is to order local wines at buzzy city-centre bars. No wonder Auckland scored highly for relaxation and ‘taking a walk in nature or a green space’ in this year’s Index. It also got a nod for diversity: recognition of the many cultural influences that have shaped the city, and are best explored through the city’s exceptional dining scene.

Visit now because: Top chefs are redefining New Zealand cuisine through native ingredients, and Māori and Pacific influences. Discover fresh takes on the taste of Aotearoa at Peter Gordon’s Homeland, Michael Meredith’s Mr Morris and Ben Bayly’s Ahi.

The big numbers: According to this year’s poll, the NZ city is incredibly easy to relax in – enormous 86 percent of respondents said so, the second most of any city in the world. It’s also easy to take a walk in nature or a green space (say 94 percent of Aucklanders). Petrina Darrah

📍 Discover the best things to do in Auckland

Rio de Janeiro
Photograph: Cesar Lima / Shutterstock.com

48. Rio de Janeiro

What makes us great: Rio is known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvellous city), and while that may sound immodest, what other city boasts such a wealth of stunning natural features? Dramatic rocky peaks tower over wildlife-packed forests, lagoons and golden beaches. Indeed, Rio scored highly this year for beauty, ‘hooking up with people’ and ‘making new friends’, and by night, that warm welcome comes to the fore as the city’s countless bars, street parties and samba clubs open up. Bring a smile and an easygoing attitude – in moments you’ll have made a host of new friends, ready to help you enjoy everything a night out in this vibrant city has to offer.

Visit now because: During the days of the pandemic restrictions, Rio put its party spirit on hold, but now it has returned with a vengeance. And in the downtime, many of the beachside kiosks and rooftop bars have been upgraded, offering better food, drinks and music.

The big numbers: Rio is the third best city in the world for hook-ups (66 percent of citizens said it’s easy to get with someone here), while 74 percent said their hometown was beautiful and 70 percent said they had easy access to green space. Tom Le Mesurier

📍 Discover the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro

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Johannesburg
Photograph: Rich T Photo / Shutterstock.com

49. Johannesburg

What makes us great: Johannesburg is a city full of life and possibilities. It’s a place where South Africans come for opportunities, which makes it incredibly diverse – people from all types of backgrounds come and live life together here. The nightlife is phenomenal, with clubs and pubs from the city to the township. And thanks to the melting pot of the surrounding ’burbs, the city’s restaurants offer up an exquisite taste of the wider world.

Visit now because: Outdoor markets are booming. Our fave is the Fourways Farmers Market – here you’ll find gourmet street food, tip-top cocktails and very good live music. The ideal place to start the weekend.

The big numbers: A remarkable 80 percent of Joburg respondents said their city was diverse. While the city came dead last for walkability – just 4 percent of Joburg residents reckon the city can be navigated easily on foot – 77 percent said they had easy access to nature and green space. —Thando Mpembe

📍 Discover the best things to do in Johannesburg

Istanbul
Photograph: saaton / Shutterstock.com

50. Istanbul

What makes us great: Despite political uncertainties – and a terrible economic downturn – it didn’t take long for Istanbul to shake off its Covid blues and return to its energetic self. As always, the city’s culinary scene is brimming with surprises, notably thanks to a recent influx of refugees from Syria and Iran. The launch of the city’s first Michelin guide also generated a wave of excitement within the industry. Add to that the 17th Istanbul Biennale and countless big musical events, and you must have one of the world’s most exciting cities right now.

Visit now because: Following years of turmoil the iconic Ataturk Kultur Merkezi is once again open with a bold programme of opera, theatre, concerts and film screenings. One other significant opening of 2022 was Galata Port, the huge redevelopment of the historic Karaköy waterfront, crowned by Renzo Piano’s new Istanbul Modern museum.

The big numbers: Ninety-seven percent of Istanbulites didn’t say their city was boring, while 82 percent said it was great for food and drink and 83 percent thought it was diverse. Seda Pekçelen, Time Out Istanbul

📍 Discover the best things to do in Istanbul

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Bangkok
Photograph: Sanga Park / Shutterstock.com

51. Bangkok

What makes us great: For a city reliant on tourism, Bangkok soldiered through the past couple of years without so much as a whimper, adapting to the new normal while opening hot restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. Unlike many capitals across the globe, its residents did not leave in droves (perhaps thanks to the affordability of living in BKK) and the city continued to tick, hosting festivals, fairs and gallery openings. Finally, nightlife looks set to return in earnest, now that restrictions to venue opening hours have finally been lifted, easing the City of Angels back into full swing.

Visit now because: The food scene is remarkably vibrant with recently opened Kin Kub Koi for seafood, fine-dining restaurant Maze and Thai-Chinese fusion spot Restaurant Potong all making serious waves. Plus, coffee connoisseurs will rejoice at Piccolo Vicolo Café in Ratchathewi.

The big numbers: The Thai capital’s food and drink scene reigns supreme. An enormous 86 percent of Bangkokians say their city is a great place to eat and drink. Lucie Grace

📍 Discover the best things to do in Bangkok

Hong Kong
Photograph: kylauf / Shutterstock.com

52. Hong Kong

What makes us great: Hong Kong has been rocked by protests and the pandemic, but the city remains resilient. While Hong Kong has been closed off to the world for two years, its food and drink scene has kept evolving. You’ll find everything here from hole-in-the-walls to Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as many of the region’s most-awarded drinking dens. With the opening of massive contemporary art museum M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, and events like Art Basel and Art Central finally held in person this year, Hong Kong is cementing its status as one of the world’s leading art capitals.

Visit now because: The food and drink scene is popping off. Grab a meal at the newly opened Heimat and Agora, then wind down with a drink at innovative bar Argo or omakase-style Mostly Harmless.

The big numbers: Public transport doesn’t get much better than in Hong Kong, with 92 percent of respondents praising the city’s transit system. For such a dense city, fresh air also isn’t too far away – 72 percent of Hong Kongers said they had good access to nature or green space. Tatum Ancheta, Time Out Hong Kong

📍 Discover the best things to do in Hong Kong

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Doha
Photograph: Erika Cristina Manno / Shutterstock.com

53. Doha

What makes us great: Ask anyone why they love living in Doha, and they’ll no doubt bring up how clean the place is (in fact, in this year’s Index, a whopping 87 percent of respondents said so). But more importantly, there’s loads of great stuff to see and do here, whether you fancy heading out to one of the city’s many cafés for breakfast (and we mean many, Doha’s coffee-and-cake culture is absolutely thriving), touring public art spots from Al Sadd Metro Station to Katara Cultural Village, or visiting a bar after hours. Pull up a chair, tuck into a French toast and embrace the slower (and less stressful!) pace of life Doha offers.

Visit now because: As Qatar prepares to host the World Cup in November, the city’s already brilliant art scene is about to get even better. Between now and the end of the year, 17 new exhibitions are set to open, including ‘Forever Valentino’. The immersive light installation from Pipiliotti Rist at the National Museum of Qatar (which opened back in March) is particularly stunning.

The big numbers: As well as rating the city highly for cleanliness, locals think life in the city is generally pretty stress-free (just 18 percent said it was a stressful place to be). —Dianne Apen-Sadler, Time Out Doha

📍 Discover the best things to do in Doha

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