“Best” is a loaded word, especially when you’re describing a city. If you asked 100 people to name their favorite one, you’d probably get 100 different answers. There are, however, objective criteria you can use to rank cities, such as livability, outdoor experiences, air quality, job availability, emphasis on innovation, and this year, COVID-19 response.
Chris Fair, president and CEO of Resonance, told AFAR, “Our goal here was not to just create an index for tourism or just for business or just for livability. It was really to provide and create a ranking that took a holistic view of the city. When we say ‘best cities,’ it’s not just best city to live, it’s not just best city to work, or best city to visit. It’s taking a cross section of all those factors.”
Cities with over one million people were ranked using a combination of statistics and qualitative evaluations taken from places like Instagram and TripAdvisor, where user information and opinions are readily available. Cities were ranked based on the following categories: place (weather, safety, and outdoor spaces), people (diversity and education), programming (“things to do”), product (infrastructure, logistics, and institutions), prosperity (GDP per capita), and promotion (online popularity).
London ranked as the best city in the world primarily thanks to its success in the promotion and programming categories. Its historic sights, trendy bars and hotels, and abundance of outdoor spaces combine to make it a jack-of-all-trades destination. London is followed by New York, whose high ranking is owed to its museums and culture. Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, Dubai, and Singapore also featured in the top 10.
Bringing up the rear on this list might not sound like an accomplishment, but it’s still not a bad position considering the stiff competition. Krakow, Poland, ranked 100th on the list, with Raleigh in North Carolina, Salt Lake City in Utah, Mexico City, and Glasgow keeping it company.