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These Are 2024's Best Cities in the World, According to a New Survey

A total of nine American cities made the top 50 in Time Out's latest survey.

<p>Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure</p>

Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure

Cities around the world are constantly clamoring to the race to the top of various ranking lists, but one of the most comprehensive is Time Out’s annual Best Cities in the World, which surveys thousands of locals in the world’s urban centers to rank all aspects of city living, from the affordability and quality of local food, culture, and nightlife to lifestyle factors, like romance and happiness.

“Every city that made the list did so because locals rate it highly — so whether a city ranked at one or fifty, it’s still one of the greatest amongst the thousands of cities around the globe,” Grace Beard, Time Out’s travel editor, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. “This year, the top cities are not only incredible places to visit and go out in, with world-class restaurants, culture and nightlife, but they’re also great places to live, with strong community spirit and an undeniable vibe.”

With all those variables taken into account, New York City clinched the top spot. Of all the urban respondents, 15 percent named the Big Apple as the one city they’d love to live in. Time Out named highlights like globally famous museums like the Museum of Modern Art to the community-run Queens Night Market in Flushing. It also called out the perennial must-do activity: catch a Broadway show, naming Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez, and the upcoming The Who’s Tommy as the hottest tickets.

The next American city on the list was Chicago in 14th place, followed by Los Angeles in 17th place, showing the power of U.S. urban’s centers on both coasts and in the midwest. A total of nine made the list, with Miami in 23rd, San Francisco in 37th, New Orleans in 40th, Philadelphia in 41st, Austin in 42nd, and Boston in 43rd.

The second place honors went to the southern hemisphere, with Cape Town. “From the heights of Table Mountain to the stunning beaches on the coastline, it’s not hard to see why every single survey respondent said Cape Town was beautiful,” the publication said in its release.

<p>Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure</p>

Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure

The South African city also scored the highest global ranks for its culture scene, boosted with events like the Cape Town Art Fair n February and its First Thursday program in the summer when city galleries extend their hours. Its food scene has also shown marked growth, with Time Out suggesting its own Time Out Market Cape Town that opened in November at the V&A Waterfront. This also marks a poignant year for the nation, marking 30 years of the end of apartheid  — a history that can be seen at the District Six Museum and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once held.

A trio of European cities round out the top five. Berlin came in third, best celebrated for it nightlife, like at Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke, while London was fourth, thanks to its variety of activities, from free museums to “huge” parks, “legendary'' pubs, “cutting-edge” nightclubs. (The U.K. capital was also one of the cities that made its locals happiest, despite “occasional doom and gloom” from its rainy reputation.) Finally, Madrid snagged the fifth place spot for its dining and drinking culture, as seen with cocktail bars like Salmon Guru and noted chef David Muñoz.

Mexico City, Liverpool, Tokyo, Rome, and Porto completed the top ten. The full Time Out’s 50 Best Cities in the World rankings can be seen at timeout.com.  

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