Time Out's City Index: the most fun cities

Where's the party at? We surveyed 20,000 people to find out...


In our City Index, our readers rated their cities for six key characteristics...

• Dynamism - how vibrant and exciting life there feels.
 Inspiration - and whether the city feels like a pleasant or difficult place to live.
• Food & drink - if the city is somewhere you can eat well (and not too expensively!).
• Community - whether local neighbourhoods were rated highly.
• Sociability - and whether the city felt welcoming or isolating.
Affordability - whether people could generally get by OK.

Scores for each category were ultimately combined to give each city an overall City Index score – here's how they did!

The best cities for good times

1. Chicago, 60.1 points

Chicago claimed the top spot in our inaugural index with high scores across the board – they came #1 in our Food and Drink, Community and Affordability dimensions and didn't finish lower than fifth in any of the others. Here's exactly what makes Chicago so great.


3. Lisbon, 55.6 points

Our highest ranked European city, Lisbon topped the Sociability dimension of our index.

Lisboetas didn't just rank the city highly for making friends and finding love, they're the most likely to know their neighbours and bump into friends serendipitously, making them the least likely to describe the city as 'lonely' or 'overwhelming.'

4. New York, 53.3 points

People here are straight-up thrilled to be living there, even if they're super-stressed. NYC came top of our Dynamism index, and New Yorkers were the most likely to agree there's always something new to do, that the city is 'on the up', that they love exploring the area, and find it energising and exciting. They also go on more nights out – 6.4 times a month – than anyone else.

All that's more than enough to give the city a high overall ranking despite lower scores for affordability, it being a 'difficult' place to live, and only 4 percent of singles describing dating there as 'fun.'


5. Madrid, 51.4 points

Much like Lisbon, the people of Madrid gave their city high scores for Sociability and Inspiration.

They're less likely to work overtime than any of our other cities, leaving more time for going dancing, which funnily enough they happen to do more than anywhere else.

6. Mexico City, 50.8 points

Mexico City came third in our Food & Drink dimension, and DF residents were the most likely to agree it wasn't expensive to eat well in their city – but it was also the city with the most people saying it could feel unsafe at night.

They also ranked their city the best to make new friends in – and it happens to be the place where most people have taken a new lover recently.


7. Sâo Paulo, 50.7 points

Sâo Paulo came only second to New York for how exciting and invigorating people find the city, and they also gave the bars and restaurants great marks too. 

But like New York, all the urban buzz comes at a price – people here were the most likely to describe city life as 'overwhelming.' Just as well they socialise with their friends and colleagues more than any other city in our survey.

8. Los Angeles, 48.4 points

Angelenos put their city at #4 on our Dynamism dimension, but their ranking was brought down a little with lower scores for Affordability and Sociability.

True to stereotypes, people in Los Angeles were also the most likely to count calories...


9. Barcelona, 46.6 points

Barcelona gets high marks for Community and Inspiration.

We think Barcelona's got some great restaurants, but it finished dead last in our Food & Drink category – maybe why the people here go out the least (four times a month) compared to any other city. That said, they are the most likely to have a drink over lunch.

They also work the fewest hours, yet somehow still find the time to have had the most amorous encounters in the workplace.

10. London, 45.3 points

London gets middling rankings across the board – and rather poor ratings for Affordability and Sociability.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Londoners are the most likely to describe the city as 'sometimes feeling lonely' and the least likely to bump into someone they know by chance.

They were the second most likely to have been to the pub this week (after Paris) and most likely to have been hungover!


11. Hong Kong, 41.6 points

Hong Kong got its highest ratings for affordability.

People here are also most likely to head out to dine out at one of their great restaurants, be on the hunt for a new romantic partner, and to have never met their neighbours.

12. Miami, 41.4 points

Life's a beach in Miami.

The people here have more friends on social media, are the most likely to have taken drugs recently or to have had a threesome, and also the most likely to send bad food back at a restaurant.

We'll leave it to you to infer the mysterious connection between the four.


13. Tokyo, 41.2 points

The cultured folks of Tokyo visit museums and galleries more often than kindred spirits in other cities, and go on the most nights out (joint first with NYC at 6.4 times a month!)

As befits the land of the rising sun, Tokyoites are most likely to have stayed up until sunrise recently – although not in the romantic sense, since they're also getting laid the least.

14. Singapore, 40.2 points

The safest city in our index, with only one percent of Singaporeans saying it can feel unsafe at night.


15. Paris, 39.8 points

Parisians go out to bars and pubs the most, and, not coincidentally, also regularly connect with friends in real life.

They might give their city comparatively low scores, but then again, they're also having the most sex and the most likely to hook up on the first date, so there you have it. Oui, chef!

16. Sydney, 39.6 points

Sydneysiders have an average of 16 good friends in their city, three more than the typical city in our survey.

They might have given their city iffy marks overall, but we can reveal Sydney's survey-takers came near the top for workplace flings (#1), one-night stands (#1), hangovers (joint #1 with London) and drug use (#3).


17. Dubai, 37.6 points

Dubai is the best city for the absent-minded – 30 percent of people here said they'd expect a lost wallet to be returned with cash still inside, versus 3 percent of people elsewhere.

They've also made most of their friends through work (33 percent versus 19 percent elsewhere) perhaps because they also work longer hours than people in any other city (46.5 hours a week, on average).

18. Kuala Lumpur, 36.8 points

Kuala Lumpur is the city where people were most likely to say they've made a new friend recently. And in general, only Sāo Paulo socialises with friends more often!

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