Revealed: the Best Cities in the World to Live

New York, London, Paris, Chicago and LA are apparently not all they’re cracked up to be.

Indeed, Mercer just released the newest edition of its always buzzed about quality of life rankings for cities around the world and none of the above even make the top 35. In fact, if you’re looking for urban nirvana, you’ll have to move to Germany (Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin all made the top 13), Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva and Bern were 2nd, 8th and 14th respectively), or, well, Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal all clocked in at 23rd or higher.)

Zurich image 1 - Mercer

This, of course, forces one to consider what one’s overpriced apartment in NYC or London is actually getting you. Some of the best restaurants in the world can be found in Copenhagen (#9); Amsterdam (#11), Berlin (#13), Melbourne (#15) and Montreal (#23) all boast pretty freaky nightlife. And great contemporary art scenes, let’s face it, can be found in just about every decent sized metropolis (i.e. Art Basel actually started in groovy little Basel, Switzerland).

Berlin Fashion Week Gilt Travel

#1 Vienna, long unfairly categorized as being somewhat conservative, was even feted in New York Magazine as a nightlife destination par excellence – and is, indisputably, a world class cultural city. As are the likes of Munich (#4), Sydney (#10) and Brussels (#21).

Admittedly, the rankings take into account such workaday factors as education, health and infrastructure…so if you’d readily forego such things for proximity to power and celebrity (“We spotted Leo and RiRi at brunch today!”), NYC, LA and London are surely the only places to be. But ask yourself…exactly how much are you willing to pay for that?

Vancouver image 1 - Mercer


Rank City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
6 Dusseldorf Germany
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
10 Sydney Australia
11 Amsterdam Netherlands
12 Wellington New Zealand
13 Berlin Germany
14 Bern Switzerland
15 Toronto Canada
15 Melbourne Australia
17 Ottawa Canada
18 Hamburg Germany
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
19 Stockholm Sweden
21 Brussels Belgium
21 Perth Australia
23 Montreal Canada
24 Stuttgart Germany
24 Nurnberg Germany
26 Singapore Singapore
27 Adelaide Australia
28 San Francisco United States
28 Canberra Australia
30 Helsinki Finland
30 Oslo Norway
32 Calgary Canada
33 Dublin Ireland
34 Boston United States
35 Honolulu United States
36 Brisbane Australia
37 Paris France
38 Lyon France
39 Barcelona Spain
39 London United Kingdom
41 Milan Italy
42 Lisbon Portugal
43 Chicago United States
44 New York City United States
44 Tokyo Japan
46 Edinburgh United Kingdom
46 Kobe Japan
46 Seattle United States
49 Los Angeles United States
49 Yokohama Japan
51 Washington United States
52 Madrid Spain
53 Birmingham United Kingdom
53 Rome Italy
55 Glasgow United Kingdom
56 Pittsburgh United States
57 Philadelphia United States
58 Osaka Japan
59 Aberdeen United Kingdom
60 Leipzig Germany
61 Minneapolis United States
62 Nagoya Japan
63 Dallas United States
64 Belfast United Kingdom
65 Houston United States
66 Miami United States
67 Atlanta United States
68 St. Louis United States
69 Prague Czech Republic
70 Detroit United States
70 Hong Kong Hong Kong
72 Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe
73 Seoul South Korea
74 San Juan Puerto Rico
75 Dubai United Arab Emirates
76 Ljubljana Slovenia
77 Budapest Hungary
78 Montevideo Uruguay
79 Vilnius Lithuania
79 Warsaw Poland
81 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
82 Bratislava Slovakia
83 Port Louis Mauritius
84 Taipei Taiwan
85 Durban South Africa
86 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
87 Athens Greece
88 Limassol Cyprus
89 Tallinn Estonia
90 Riga Latvia
91 Busan South Korea
92 Cape Town South Africa
93 Buenos Aires Argentina
94 Santiago Chile
95 Johannesburg South Africa
96 Panama City Panama
97 Victoria Seychelles
98 Zagreb Croatia
99 Wroclaw Poland
100 Taichung Taiwan
101 Shanghai China
102 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
103 Johor Bahru Malaysia
104 Tel Aviv Israel
105 San Jose Costa Rica
106 Brasilia Brazil
107 Muscat Oman
108 Monterrey Mexico
109 Bucharest Romania
110 Doha Qatar
111 Noumea New Caledonia
112 Nassau Bahamas
113 Tunis Tunisia
114 Asuncion Paraguay
115 Sofia Bulgaria
116 Rabat Morocco
117 Rio de Janeiro Brazil
118 Beijing China
119 Guangzhou China
120 Amman Jordan
121 Sao Paulo Brazil
122 Istanbul Turkey
123 Lima Peru
124 Kuwait City Kuwait
125 Manaus Brazil
h/t Mercer 

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