Here Are the World’s Best Cities of 2021 — the Top Pick is In the U.S.!

published Dec 10, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Lolostock

Each year, the travel pros at Time Out give their annual ranking of the best cities in the world, but this year’s list definitely provides a different perspective given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While plenty of people in the U.S. have abandoned city life in favor of greener pastures in the suburbs, there’s no denying that there are so many incredible, electric metropolises out there worth visiting or even moving to.

This year’s list included feedback from more than 27,000 participants from around the globe, with each city’s ranking factoring in things like eating and drinking, culture and nightlife, community spirit, and environmental initiatives. Questions posed included how easy it is to make friends and find romantic prospects, the spirit of inclusivity, and insight into each community’s priorities when it comes to activism, sustainability, and other timely and important issues.

The full list features 37 global cities, with San Francisco topping the list for 2021. Securing the top spot due to its “unbeatable combination of progressiveness, acceptance and sustainability,” San Francisco particularly received props for the way residents supported each other throughout the pandemic, through fundraising and supporting local businesses. It’s also chock-full of green spaces, something particularly appreciated by residents during COVID-19 lockdowns, when spending time indoors with loved ones from different households has been unsafe.

Rounding out the top 10 are Amsterdam, Netherlands; Manchester, UK; Copenhagen, Denmark; New York, USA; Montreal, Canada; Prague, Czech Republic; Tel Aviv, Israel; Porto, Portugal; and Tokyo, Japan. Also making the larger list from the U.S. are Los Angeles (11), Chicago (12), Boston (22), and Miami (25).

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other incredible (and probably more affordable) cities that didn’t quite make the list, but it seems that during a period of unease and uncertainty, these biggies happened to shine.

As Caroline McGinn, Time Out’s global editor-in-chief put it, “This year’s list of the best cities in the world shines a spotlight on cities that adapted during a time where the key factors that make these metropolises the place to be — fun, culture and socializing — were largely off the table. You’d think a pandemic might defeat the point of living in a city, but the results show that community spirit is higher than ever, people are supporting each other as well as local businesses and initiatives, and many of us are even having some fun.”

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: These Are the World’s Best Cities of 2021