The 32 most exciting cities for 2018

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Never mind the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, the competition between cities has gone global. 

It takes a lot to be a top city these days. No longer is it enough to be liveable, cities need to be affordable and, most importantly, exciting, which is where Time Out comes in with their City Life Index. 

On a mission to uncover the greatest city in the world, they’ve surveyed 15,000 people from all around the world to help find the answer. With readers ranking their city across criteria including food, drink, culture, friendliness, affordability, happiness and liveability, scores for each category were then combined to give each city an overall City Life Index figure. 

Taking out the title of overall winner for the second year running, there was only a .4 difference between Chicago and runner-up Porto – who knocked Lisbon off their 2017 ranking of third, falling all the way down to eighth position. The second US city in the top 10, the Big Apple, beat the British capital, with Manchester coming in seventh. Spain also took two places with both Madrid and Barcelona recognised for their food and culture. 

Closer to home, Melbourne didn’t quite retain its position of second place from 2017 but still took out the title for the world’s happiest city, and fourth most exciting city. And as for that rivalry with Sydney? Well, Sydney came in fifth … but from the bottom, in 28th place with locals less enthusiastic about the city’s eating and drinking options, culture, expense and liveability. 

The City of Love also lived up to its name with Parisians having more sex than anyone else … but they’re also the most sleep-deprived. 

The full results for the City Index were: 

1. Chicago, 138.2 points

One of the happiest and proudest cities worldwide, Chicagoans love their city’s bar scene, live music, culture and affordability. 

2. Porto, 137.9 points

Beating Lisbon in most categories across the board, locals claim Porto is the best place for making friends, finding love, feeling free to be yourself and keeping in touch with family. Some of the locals, though, feel that ‘too many tourists’ is the city’s biggest problem! 

3. New York, 134.6 points

While it may have excelled when it comes to culture, nightlife, eating and drinking, the Big Apple also ranked joint first as the most stressed city in the world. 

4. Melbourne, 132.3 points

Reconfirming their solid title as the ‘world’s most liveable city’, 92 per cent of Melburnians enjoy living there. It’s also the city that does the most exercise (we can thank the Tan for this)!

5. London, 131.4 points

One of the world’s best cities for culture and eating, what stopped London from ranking higher were having the longest commutes in Europe, high stress and poor affordability. 

6. Madrid, 131.1 points

With a strong food scene and great culture and nightlife, it’s no surprise that Madrilenians go out to bars and clubs more than anyone else on the planet. This may contribute to the fact that they are also the most likely to send naked pictures of themselves to a stranger! 

7. Manchester, 130.9 points

Despite the horrific events of 2017, locals said what they loved most about Manchester is that they ‘… carry on, no matter what’. 

8. Lisbon, 130.2 points

While it may have been beaten by Porto, Lisbon was one of the proudest and most liveable cities surveyed, with most people still expecting to live there in five years. 

9. Philadelphia, 192.2 points

The most affordable city in the world, Philly was also rated as one of the most enjoyable to live in. 

10. Barcelona, 45.3 points

With more people volunteering than anywhere else in the world, the Catalonian city was commended for its food and culture scene. It also came in second in the category of ‘wanting to stay if money were no object’. 

11. Edinburgh, 128.2 points

12. Tel Aviv, 125.8 points

13. Austin, 125.3 points

14. Paris, 124.9 points

15. Mexico City, 121.2 points

16. Shanghai, 119.5 points

17. San Francisco, 119.4 points

18. Berlin, 119.2 points

19. Tokyo, 117.7 points

20. Los Angeles, 116.8 points

21. Zurich, 115.3 points

22. Beijing, 113.0 points

23. Washington DC, 111.3 points

24. Bangkok, 111.0 points

25. Moscow, 110.2 points

26. Hong Kong, 109.6 points

27 Miami, 107.9 points

28. Sydney, 106.1 points

29. Dubai, 105.3 points

30. Boston, 103.7 points

31. Singapore, 98.7 points

32. Istanbul, 87.1 points 

See the full details of the City Index at Time Out. Do you agree with these results? How many of the 32 cities have you been to and which was your favourite?

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Written by SJ


Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    wheres PERTH W.A…………

    • 0

      Yes I’d put Perth above quite a few of these ones.
      Can’t think why Singapore is so low down – it has always been a favourite of ours and Bangkok is one of my least favourites!

  2. 0

    what about Canberra

  3. 0

    Not to quibble but the difference between first and second place was 0.3 (not 0.4) by my calculations.
    Chicago has changed – tell that to Al Capone etc.



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