The 30 Best Cities in the World

The 30 Best Cities in the World

The 30 best cities in the world is no ordinary listicle. I generally hate all those lists going around the Internet these days. The 17 best this and the 25 best that; written by someone who hasn’t even been to the places or someone who I would not consider an authority. Since I’ve been to just about every major city in the world, I think I have some idea of what’s good and what’s not and a bit of credibility. So just for fun, I re-did the 30 best cities in the world list 2 years after I first posted it!

I preface my 30 best cities in the world with the following 2 rules:
– They have to be major cities i.e. a city like Florence, Italy does not qualify.
– I have to have been to the city at least 3 times.

Note – I have been to every city listed here more than 3 times except for Rio de Janeiro. I have only been to Rio 3 times-I know poor me! And Beirut…Beirut I’ve only been to twice but it’s such a great city I had to include it. I hope you’ll forgive me 🙂 

That stated and without further ado, here are the 30 best cities in the world…what do you think?

30. Tokyo, Japan

The 30 best cities in the world, Tokyo

Tokyo is the most populous city in the world and a treat to visit. I have it at 30 because I’ve been several times and feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything it has to offer. But the food is no joke and the organized chaos scenes at traffic crossings are the best on Earth!

29. Istanbul, Turkey


Istanbul not only spans two continents but it seems to span millenniums. It’s a hectic, timeless city that is truly ultra modern in areas meets Ottoman era old. The food is top notch and it’s a great walking city. Driving is sheer madness and traffic can be awful. Pay up for some great hotel options and enjoy old Constantinople.

28. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The 30 best cities in the world, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, better known as Saigon, is a frenetic Asian city with a ton on offer. I love strolling around the sweltering streets and just seeing what comes in between dodging motorbikes buzzing around every corner. Great street food, cool sites and a modern touch to an old city make it a lot of fun and a must in Southeast Asia.

27. Beirut, Lebanon

The 30 best cities in the world, Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut is the new addition to this list that I’ve only been to twice, ten years apart, and it’s a city that you cannot help but fall in love with. Take away the horrible traffic, and it is awful, and I’d have it higher on the list. It’s basically a cosmopolitan Mediterranean city with some of the worlds best food, great nightlife and a cool vibe. They call it the Paris of the Middle East and I totally get it. It’s also a great base to explore everything that Lebanon has to offer.

26. St. Petersburg, Russia

The 30 best cities in the world, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is just fantastic. It’s the Russia you dream about with towering spires, colorful buildings, world class museums, excellent hotels and restaurants with a lot of history to boot. I was there again this past summer for the World Cup Russia 2018 and they knocked it out of the park with perhaps the best stadium I’ve ever been to outside of America.

25. Toronto, Canada

The 30 best cities in the world, Toronto, Canada

Toronto is a great boring city. It doesn’t really jump off the charts at you for any particular reason but it’s a great place to be outside of Winter. I’ve been numerous times and each time I always have a great time. I have friends there which helps but it also has world class sporting venues, marginal at best teams, but fanatical fans which I love. It’s also home to the Hockey Hall of Fame, some cool sites, good restaurants and excellent hotels. It’s a very livable place but also great to visit.

24. Singapore, Singapore

The 30 best cities in the world, Singapore

Singapore has it all! It boasts some of the best restaurants in the world. It’s also home to Asia’s best cocktail scene and has one of the worlds greatest skylines. I was recently there for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix and it was run like an efficient machine. I love walking around Singapore and sweating profusely because it doesn’t even bother me. The people are a dream and aside from being very expensive and really humid, it’s an ideal, 100% safe destination.

23. Chicago, USA

The 30 best cities in the world, Chicago, Illinois, USA

I love Chicago, it’s possibly the best second city in the world even though they talk with a funny accent. I love to visit there 1-2 times a year and just stuff my face with deep dish pizza, steak and go to a Cubs game. The Windy City is brutal in the Winter but perhaps the best city in the world in spring and summer. The views from and of Lake Michigan are perfect. Chicago is my kind of town to quote the great Frank Sinatra.

22. Mexico City, Mexico

The 30 best cities in the world, Mexico City, Mexico, CDMX

CDMX or Mexico City is one of the most underrated cities in the world. From street tacos that’ll knock your socks off, world class soccer at Estadio Azteca, excellent sites and a cosmopolitan vibe-I love CDMX. Mexico City does nice really well from excellent hotels, parks and restaurants to a tremendous cocktail and nightlife scene, Then if you are wanting the best nightlife in the world then it’s got to be the sensational Magaluf strip as it is just incredible and known the world over for awesome nightlife. The traffic really sucks but stay near where you want to hang out and you’ll be good to go.

21. Los Angeles, USA

The 30 best cities in the world, LA, Los Angeles, USA, California

LA is like my second home. I’m basically there once a month or so and I will likely end up moving there at some point soon. To know LA is to love it. Yes the traffic sucks but again, stay or live where your life is. There’s so many great areas and neighborhoods in LA that you’ll never run out of things to do and if you get bored-go hiking or go to the beach!

20. Dubai, UAE

The 30 best cities in the world, Dubai, UAE

Dubai is what it is and you must accept it. Much like Las Vegas, if you accept it for what it is, you’ll love it. It has everything you want and need and much more. It has the best of everything and should be enjoyed and not looked down upon. Yes it’s hot in the summer but everything is air conditioned so just get over it!

19. Lisbon, Portugal

The 30 best cities in the world, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the single most underrated city in Europe. It’s a great place and I absolutely love it. It can hang with any of the great European cities. It’s beautiful of course but also boasts a killer food scene, great rooftop bars and is the centerpiece of amazing nearby towns that are great for day trips. Don’t ignore Lisbon because it’ll blow you away.

18. Vancouver, Canada

The 30 best cities in the world, Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal

Vancouver is a city you kind of forget about because it’s tucked away in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s absolutely stunning with sparkling new buildings everywhere, amazing Asian food and one of the best urban parks on Earth in Stanley Park. It’s also the gateway to Whistler and the stunning scenery that’ll greet you on your journey up there. There’s nothing must see in Vancouver but it’s a place that has to be experienced to get it. They also ran the best Winter Olympics I’ve been to back in 2o10.

17. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 30 best cities in the world, Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brasil

Rio de Janeiro is a great city and perhaps I’d have it higher but I haven’t been there since 2007. I remember amazing scenery of course, top notch food and acai plus excellent cocktails and a culture as vibrant as any on Earth. I cannot wait to return to Rio and perhaps my next update will have it much higher on the list.

16. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The 30 best cities in the world, Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a lot more than weed, red light district and sex shows. Amsterdam is amongst the most beautiful cities in Europe with stunning canals, amazing architecture and it’s one of the best walking cities in the world. The food isn’t that good but of course there are top restaurants where you can get international favorites. Just watch out for bikes, they’re everywhere.

15. Prague, Czech Republic

The 30 best cities in the world, Prague, Czech Republic, Praha

I love Prague. I’ve been many times and even lived there for a semester of business school. I’ve had some amazing times there and feel fortunate to have lived there with 4 friends in a great apartment. Prague is also gorgeous any way you slice it. There are views down every alleyway and across every bridge. If you’ve been you know what I mean and Prague is worthy of multiple visits.

14. Shanghai, China

The 30 best cities in the world, Shanghai, China

Shanghai is a great city-the best city on mainland China and it’s not even close in my view. Shanghai is distinctly Chinese but has a cosmopolitan European feel to it. It’s skyline is one of the worlds best and it’s full of amazing food for every budget. I love walking the Bund and heading across the river into Pudong and seeing what’s new. Great town spanning a century of changes.

13. Bangkok, Thailand

The 30 best cities in the world, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is ugly, dirty, filthy, it smells like crap, traffic is a nightmare, there’s a billion people and it’s hotter than hell…but I love it! I love all the crap about Bangkok and have learned to love this stinking town. I hated it the first few times I went but I learned to accept it for what it is and see the great parts come through. Mainly I love the food to be honest. That’s a common theme for my travels but few places do street food or gourmet food like Bangkok and it’s also amongst the cheapest cities on Earth.

12. Berlin, Germany

The 30 best cities in the world, Berlin, Germany

Berlin is just cool. It’s a great place to hang out, stroll the historic streets and contemplate modern history. It’s also a very cool, hip place to eat, play, drink and just take it all in. Berlin won’t blow you away with sites but it does have some good ones. Berlin is just a cool place that the experience will speak for itself.

11. Las Vegas, USA

The 30 best cities in the world, Las Vegas, Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is another of the cities I feel most at home in. I’ve been there over 100 times and know it as good as anyone both on and off the strip. The best parts of Vegas are off the strip and really within a 2 hour radius of amazing National and State Parks. The Nature around Vegas is what appeals to me and of course you have the bright lights of the Strip and casinos but talk to any local and they rarely even go. Vegas is what it is and if you don’t like Vegas, the problem is you!

10. Paris, France

The 30 best cities in the world, Paris, France

Paris of course is high up on the list. I mean, who doesn’t love Paris, although I don’t love it as much as I one did. We all may have some issues with French people being rude but there’s no doubting the greatness of the city of lights. I could stroll the streets of Paris for days and I have! Paris has it all and no matter how many times you’ve seen the sites, it’s always fun to go back and see it again. Especially in the spring time. Paris has untold amounts of great food, sports and just pure life.

9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

The 30 best cities in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aries or BA is without question the best city in Latin America. The vibe, the steak, the wine, the vibrant people and bustling streets are no joke. I love this city and debated having it higher on the list. I could spend a year in BA but then I’d probably have to learn to dance!

8. Rome, Italy

The 30 best cities in the world, Rome, Italy

Rome, the Eternal City, took a while to grow on me but after 7 visits or so, I love it! Walking the confusing streets will keep you occupied all day while the restaurant scene will keep you occupied and fat all night! Rome is a big city with so much to see and do with world class everything. You’ll need some time to see it all and really take in with all the stops for coffee and gelato. Rome rocks!

7. Melbourne, Australia

The 30 best cities in the world, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is an amazing city. I absolutely love it and debated having it higher. The only reason I don’t is because there’s no one thing to see or do in Melbourne. It’s more of an overall experience. Melbourne does big international events very well like the Australian Open, F! Grand Prix, Melbourne Cup and of course Aussie Rules Football. It also boasts perhaps the best coffee scene on Earth and a vibrant restaurant culture in the CBD. It’s also the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and wine country. Melbourne is great.

6. Barcelona, Spain

The 30 best cities in the world, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was my first favorite city. I still love it and I really love the FC Barcelona football club. Walking around the gothic streets around the Ramblas is one of my favorite things in any city. Barcelona has a great beach, great sites, shopping, food and is just a cool place to be. Barcelona’s nightlife is legendary. I’ve had some amazing nights out there since my first visit back in 1998. I cannot wait to go back.

5. Hong Kong, SAR China

The 30 best cities in the world, Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong is my biggest jump in this list. Before last year I had been to Hong Kong several times but always for a day or so here and there on long layovers with the exception of my first visit in 1999 when I was a kid. Now I see why it’s such a highly regarded city and think it’s one of the worlds best cities. World Class hotels, food, buildings, attractions and just an awesome vibe in a beautiful city. I just hope the Chinese political situation doesn’t affect this great city more than it already has.

4. London, England

The 30 best cities in the world, London, England

London is my OG city. It’s the first place I ever traveled to back in 1998 and literally changed my outlook on life. I still love it after more than 70 visits and always get excited to go back. London will always have a soft spot in my heart but it’s also a city that just keeps improving. Mainly, it’s food scene in the last 15-20 years is like night and day. Now it’s a great foodie destination with lots of great markets, international restaurants and of course great sports and sporting venues.

3. Cape Town, South Africa

The 30 best cities in the world, cape town, south africa

If you’ve been to Cape Town you get why it’s this high on my list. It’s the single most beautiful city in the world in an area of Africa that is truly God’s country. From the Cape Winelands to the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town and its surrounding regions are simply the best. They’ve also improved their hotels, food scene, nightlife and also safety. Now Cape Town is truly world class and I’ve always felt very safe there. Not to mention stunning beaches and natural landscapes.

2. Sydney, Australia

The 30 best cities in the world, Sydney, Australia

To visit Sydney is to love Sydney. I’m not sure how you couldn’t love this amazing city. It’s gorgeous, has gorgeous beaches, great walks, world class food, hotels, sites, parks and it’s literally on the sea with a bunch of little islets with great towns and beaches. I was just there and already can’t wait to return. Sydney is magical and needs to be visited by any traveler.

1. New York, USA

The 30 best cities in the world, New York, USA

My hometown is the best city in the world. It doesn’t have great beaches, although it does have them, but it really does have the best of everything with the exception of weather. But you deal with it because New York is New York. It’s gritty, it’s beautiful in a weird way (less the garbage and homeless people), and has the top of the line everything. It’s the capital of the world. It’s the epicenter of power, money, media, food, nightlife, fashion, real estate and sports. I’m not being a homer picking New York as number one, I’m just being honest.

Sharing is caring!


  1. I’ve only been to 21 on your list (I seem to be missing particularly a lot of Canada, oddly enough, as well as Australia, S. Africa, Argentina, UAE, Israel and Japan). I would have put Rome, Shanghai, Istanbul, HK and Chicago higher. I actually probably would have all of those in my top 10. I’d also put Miami and Stockholm higher. And I might put St. Petersburg on the list. And I would have put Barcelona, Bangkok, Vegas, Calgary, and LA much lower or off the list.

  2. Carina, I would have loved to have St. Petersburg on the list but I have only been there once. I almost made an exception for my rule of minimum 3 visits but I didn’t…I have been to Moscow 5-6 times but never even considered adding it to the list.

  3. I question putting Berlin before Rome, actually putting it on the list at all, but the rest of it looks terrific!

    • Berlin is a great town! I debated adding Munich on the list too but Berlin is way better and as for Rome, it’s a great city obviously…after the first 10 or so, the order could go in a lot of different ways!

  4. I ve only been to 17 cities from your list and probably won’t put Bangkok in the list that high or at least exchange it with Hongkong or Singapore 🙂

  5. No way NYC is #1! It totally sucks, Dude! 🙂

  6. R_Sellet says

    Your list is much closer to reality than some of the others I’ve seen online! I’ve been to 13 of these cities (but 24 countries), and have only seen a few of them 3x or more. In your future travels, some of the 2x visited cities you can make them 3x, and then adjust your Top25 as you see fit. Good stuff, thanks!

  7. R_Sellet says

    … make that “Top30”.

  8. No Toronto? 🙁

    • Toronto, like San Francisco, I really like and I teetered with but in the end it’s my 4th favorite Canadian city and I couldn’t justify having in on the list…kind of like Perth.

  9. Where’s Pyongyang?

  10. What about Adelaide and Dallas ?

  11. Julie Sykes says

    It’s incredible that you’ve been to all these at least three times. I’ve got some catching up to do – 13 down, 17 to go, with Istanbul and Buenos Aires high on my wish list. I’d agree with some of your top choices – Paris, Barca, Sydney, New York etc. But I’m surprised no Mexico City?

  12. Tom Frank says

    A fine list. But Vegas? Is it really a city?

  13. It’s a shame Venice is too small to make this list, as it’s my favorite city in the world after my home town, NYC. I’ve been to 13 of the ones on your list – I still have some traveling to do!

  14. Brendon says

    Wow, Sydney just after New York! We must have made a pretty good impression on you!

  15. like the list but NYC… really?? whats so great about it??? the traffic, pollution, crowds or god awful winters…give me miami anytime over nyc any day

    • I can’t disagree with any if what you mentioned but even still it’s the best city in the world for me! There’s a reason why we put up with all that crap!

  16. Great list and always fun to debate. Have to argue STRONGLY against Calgary. Lived there. Great location, but very little to recommend in the city. If you get to count going to the Rockies – 60-90 mins from Calgary… Maybe… I guess. But if you can’t count Florence!? How does Calgary make the list?? Simply not in the same class.

    • Calgary was a bit of a wild card but there’s about a million people or so in Calgary. It is a great city with a ton to do and a lot going on both in and close to the city. I have been here a dozen times and always had a great time!

  17. Jonatas from Boston says

    Las Vegas? Come on Lee, I’ve been to vegas many times, love it, but it’s like going to disneyworld, I don’t even consider it a city, more like a giant resort.

    I’m thrilled that my birth city of RIO made it to the top 10, hopefully as they continue to improve the infrastructure and security it might one day crack your top 5!

    P.s. Yankees suck! (it would be unbecoming of me to break tradition)

    • Vegas is a great town if you accept it for what it is and just enjoy. Also it has a ton off the strip as I tell everyone. I barely even go to the hotels when I’m there and they also have the best restaurants in the US.

      Rio is a great town and yes they need some work for sure but re natural beauty of that city is infectious.

  18. I’d only have 3 of these on my top 30 list but that’s the joy of travel – we’re all different! (Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam). I’d definitely have to have Belfast, Montevideo, Harar, Chongqing, Kerman and Yerevan in there. I can’t believe how much you have travelled – 3 times to each – that’s some effort! Safe travels. Jonny

    • Thanks man! Ya those are all great towns as well and yes everyone’s list is different. I really live both Belfast and Yerevan but I have only been to Belfast twice and Yerevan once so they wouldn’t make the list by my definition anyway…plus not exactly major cities. I do love your choices and style though!

  19. Great list Lee, but I’m not quite sure how you have come to define your idea of a ‘major’ city? Florence and Venice for examples are major cities in Italy and two of Europe’s most defining cities, famous throughout the world! From what I gauge, population is a criteria you look at, but if we are going on that then Vancouver is only the 8th biggest in the whole of Canada! In comparison, Florence measures the same in Italy.

    • I don’t think Vancouver is the 8th largest city in Canada…how do you figure that?

      • Peter Han says

        Vancouver is the 8th largest city by population in Canada, if you are only taking into account the legal City of Vancouver, however, that is silly, as the metro area of Vancouver, Vancouver by proxy, is 2.5+ million. Whereas the City of Florence is about 380,000, the metro is only 1.2 million.

  20. That’s only because you haven’t been to Baghdad 3 times!

  21. swati singh says

    Not a single city from#India made the cut! Guess you’re going to have to make a Travelfinesse journey here before you update the list next!

  22. I’ve been to 16 of these. Was going to ask about why no St Petersburg, Russia but saw your response on that above. Agree about leaving out Moscow – not a fan of it at all. I kind of question your definition of a “major” city, i.e. leaving out Florence – I would consider Florence a major city and it is certainly one of the top cities people visit in Italy after Rome.

    Of course, I would rank Chicago higher. 🙂 I’d also move up Istanbul and Rome and add in Budapest, Kiev, Tbilisi and Yerevan (although I know they don’t meet your criteria).

  23. I agree with New York as #1, but I’m puzzled why San Francisco isn’t on the list unless you haven’t been there more than 3X. Miami & Los Angeles?? Really?

  24. Jonathan says

    No NZ cities? Auckland should qualify as major – does it miss out because you haven’t been 3 times or you prefer these other cities? Wellington is better of course, but not “major” 🙂

    • I was back and forth on Auckland. I have been 5-6 times to Auckland and do consider it a major city. I just didn’t think I could out it ahead of the others…I do love that town though.

  25. Good list but I was hoping you’d include reasons for why you thought they were the best.

  26. Rui Guerra says


    Amazing your trips around the world. I am a traveller too, but to far away from you, of course I just visited 64 countries, and 24 of your best cities. But i am always sherching from new places to visit, the best restaurants, the best beaches etc etc.
    How about this lists.?The most dangerous cities (not in war) that you have been. ( cities where you felt less safe). The most beautiful beaches. And finaly, the most beautiful views. ( Landscapes)
    Rui Guerra – Portugal – Oporto

  27. I don’t know about TOP30, but my TOP3 is as follows:

    3) Hong Kong
    2) Taipei
    1) Seoul

  28. Phil Smart says

    Great list! I’ve been to 20 of your cities. San Francisco is one of my favorites as is Guadalajara. Were the Swiss and Austrian cities too small or they just didn’t rank in your mind? I might also include an Indian city – not because they are that nice, but because they are so fascinating.

  29. As a Stockholmer born and raised I’m happy it’s the sole representative of Scandinavia on your list, although Copenhagen is fantastic too. I’ve been to 17 of these cities but 61 countries last I counted – am much of a nature guy rather than city-goer 🙂 Would be neat if you’d make a list of your top 25/30 spots of natural beauty/natural landscapes. Would be fun to compare, given your wide travelling 🙂

  30. I’ve been to 25 of your 30. Love them all…but you’re missing San Francisco!

  31. Shocking that Copenhagen isn’t even in the list, far better than most of the cities that made it to the list.

  32. How can Calgary, Miami and Las Vegas are major cities and Florence no?

  33. Lee,

    As a well travelled Indian, I am proud of the fact that I have been to many of the cities on your list (which I think is quite a good representation along the commonly held parameters that define “good cities”), but I am also somewhat sad (yet not surprised) that no Indian city made the cut…hopefully, we will be able to leave a better impression on you the next time you come so that at least 1 or more of our cities feature on your future list.

  34. As a former New Orleans native who has also lived in D.C. & is currently living in Chicago, I’m surprised NOLA didn’t make the list. But then again, it may not fall under the “major city” category that you described. That being said, I look forward to your “30 Best Mid-Sized Cities” list! 🙂

  35. Csellina says

    You should come back to visit Budapest 1-2 times. 😉

  36. Lisbon should have been on this list! It´s one of the most beautiful cities of the World

  37. As an Aussie or former Melbournian I could have to rate Melbourne higher than Sydney! I really don’t understand the fuss about New York… I’ll have to go back there for longer next time (I was only there three days) and give it another chance.

    • Annette Liney says

      Ahh the great Sydney v Melbourne debate! As a Sydney resident I will add my biased opinion. Sorry Michelle, Melbourne is a great city and I enjoy visiting there, but the beauty of Sydney Harbour is outstanding and even though I have lived here all my life, it never fails to amaze me! Aesthetically speaking, Melbourne does not compare! And it seems that Lee agrees with me.

      • ProudAussie says

        It’s funny that only Melbourners think Melbourne is better!! Sydney is clearly superior in terms of scenery, weather and business. Granted, Melbourne is where the culture is at, Sydney is rapidly catching up!! But I definitely agree that NY is overrated. Other than Broadway there’s not a huge amount it had to offer that other big cities don’t (and London’s West End is far higher quality anyway imo).

  38. Been to at least 13 some for a while, some for half a day. St. Petersburg is nice too but only been for half a day but it’s so beautiful and has white nights in summer. Im from Moscow originally so I wonder why you didn’t add it :/, but I do have to say that St. Pet was a looot more tourist friendly then Moscow, even as a native Russian. Also Panama City, Panama is one of my favs that you should add to the list and San Francisco ahead of Vegas cuz other then the strip in Vegas it gets pretty boring and SFs really beautiful (as a past local of both SF and Vegas) 🙂 Thanks for the list though love all your blogs!

  39. Jesus Sanchez says

    I am really impressed about Stockholm…I haven`t travelled so much as you and I don´t even consider it as one of my favorites places. I´m even thinking I forgot to visit some part of the city…Why do you rank it so high? sock me that you prefer it rather than Copenhagen, for example.

    • Maybe it’s time you visit more of other Asian cities. You’ll be blown away. Cities in China, Japan and Korea are really safe and clean. Not to mention picturesque.

  40. Tokyo needs to be higher. It is quite possibly the greatest food city in the world. How did Shanghai and Amsterdam make this list? Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles are better than San Francisco?! Noooo wayyyy

  41. Finding Far Away says

    This is a great subjective list. Loving the fact that an Aussie destination is second but would have to agree with Michelle, Melbourne is much more livable 🙂 San Francisco would definitely be on my top 30 too Bonnie!

  42. U never been to Malaysia? Kuala Lumpur or Penang? Or to the Malaysian side of the Borneo?

    U’ll be amazed…

  43. Taipei really needs to be somewhere in the mix — have you been? The street markets, the KTV emporiums, the food, the temples, the spas, the hot springs, the food, the food, the food. Oh, and of course the people. It’s definitely one of the greatest cities in the world.

  44. richard barnak says

    I’AM from chicago and i would of ranked it maybe #20 i think paris is the best city or most beautiful in europe i especially liked the latin quaters,metro subway. i liked munich or muchen better then berlin. you don’t have sao paulo on the list now come on. the food,nightlife,70 museums and the worst traffic in the world. oh forgot the many many cultures that live there like 500k japanese 6 million italian more then boues aries. miami u can have. i agree n.y. is up there. rome is good i didn’t like london that much. i say rio and paris my first 2 picks. how about vienna or saltzberg. i know each to there own’t some like chevy and some like ford. now between europe and usa as far as beauty the usa. now u would think more people visit usa then any other country but france is #1 then usa. i have been to 14 of your 30 oh amsterdam is good so is vancouver. how about bern the capital of switzerland.

  45. I’ve only been to 13 of those, 8 more than 3 times, by far NYC is #1 and the rest I’ve been to seem right to me but two of my 3 plus Calgary and Vancouver on the list?! Say it ain’t so Lee! that’s almost sad to hear. You’ve been everywhere surely there’s better places. San Fran for sure off the top of my head! No?

  46. I like the list. Personally, I would remove Calgary and Vegas though and I would add Dublin in a heartbeat.

  47. Montreal not on this list? Really? You are better that this!

  48. No Dublin? No Vienna?

  49. I’ve been to about 9 on your list … for some reason I didn’t care for Rome, like pretty much everyone does.

    I traveled there alone for about 4 days — but it seemed awfully touristy for me. I know, that’s all these cities … but a bit overpriced, pre-packaged … eh. How many marble statues can you see after a while?

    I have a feeling authentic Italian food, at much better prices, can be found outside the city center of Rome. But maybe that’s just me.

    I’ve definitely had much wilder trips in other parts of the world. Speaking of which, Rome’s “nightlife” is a bit lacking for the swinging bachelor …. there’s “America Town” in the tourist district, filled with drunk college kids, and the “actual scene” which is 20 minutes taxi from the city center (transit shuts down at midnight).

  50. Raimon Duran says

    Surprised to see Tokyo only 30th … I’ve been in 50% of these cities myself and I rate Tokyo around 4th-5th … at least.

  51. Vienna: For the 6th time in a row, the world’s Most Livable City

    • So what? Perhaps, I don’t get it, but my impression was this list is about great cities. This has very little to do with livable. A livable city means: good schools, good health care, good business opportunities, low crime, low pollution, low corruption. It’s not that I like to visit crime ridden, dirty cities, but the absence of such negative attributes does not make a city great, although it does make a city livable.

  52. Hussein Raiani says

    Glad my favorites made your list
    New York
    Take care & buona Fortuna

  53. David Kyle says

    The fact that you have been to San Francisco many times and don’t have it highly ranked is the most shocking on the list for me. Does it not offer everything NYC has plus better weather??

  54. Hi Lee!

    Glad to see Calgary made it to the list. May I ask what you liked most about the city?

    Happy travels!

  55. Good list and I’ve been to 23 of the cities listed here! To me I think the biggest city missing is Athens (and I know some people don’t like it, but I know many travelers who love it). Great food, great nightlife, phenomenal history, some of the most famous ancient sites in the world and some great beaches that you can catch a tram to from the city center. It’s the best bang for buck major city in Europe – it has everything!

    Cheers and I enjoyed your talk at the 2016 NY Times Travel Show btw. Great stories and advice. Congrats on your accomplishment!

  56. I have been to ten of these and will visit a couple more this year. One glaring city missing – Boston! I am going to show you my town and make you fall in love with it, even if you don’t like our sports teams!
    Cheers, Priscilla

  57. beijing should be 2nd

    • Hari krishna says

      Yes. Beijing ia second and first is shanghai. China’s GDP vs America’s GDP. GDP of china is $20.853trillion. But America’s GDP is only $19trillion. China is rich.

  58. If you had choosed bangkok at number 7 then I think you should also choose Mumbai. Because Mumbai is better than Bangkok

  59. I mean maybe not in the top 10 … But Bridgeport, CT should be in the Top 30 at least!

  60. Any list that includes Dubai but skips Lisbon gives me pause.

  61. Charles Westrup says

    I’ve been to 27 of the cities. If airports count I’ve been to 29 after changing planes in Sydney and flying out of Tel Aviv. My only complete miss is Berlin. I’d have liked to see Delhi, Chang Mai, Kathmandu, Hanoi, New Orleans, Boston, etc. on the list. Otherwise, a good listing.

  62. I don’t understand why you decided to exclude “smaller” cities such as Florence and Venice. It seems a terrible injustice to replace such magical incredible places with a bunch of Big Smoke cities, overpopulated, over commodified, and over polluted =(

  63. I’ve only been to 13 of these but of these, but of those they are largely overrated on this list, especially Las Vegas (not on my list), NYC (top 15 maybe) and London (top 20?). Makes me want to travel less, actually. Istanbul is quite underrated and I would have found room for NOLA, Budapest, Munich, Toronto and perhaps San Francisco would have displaced L.A. Berlin would easily make my top ten. And if we counted smaller cities there are any number that could make the list.

    Calgary is the only genuine surprise here to me but I’ve never been there so I can’t knock it.

  64. Nadine Coquelin says

    I have been to 29 of your favourite 30 Cities (I have not been to Rio) . Vienna (Austria) and Capetown (RSA) make my list!

  65. Jonatas from Boston says

    Awesome! Rio moved up a spot!

  66. HK is number one on my list.
    I have been to most of them. Some twice some once. Here is what makes a city better for me. Always show up with a town car waiting for you. Then a nice 5 star hotel to get the jet lag off your back. Little by little stick your nose into the craziness. Then after a few days rent a private room city center and spend a month there. If not that a cheap hotel off season for a month.
    After a month anywhere you get to really know the city.
    I guess the hotels would be a anouther list. Manybe the food the women unless you are a woman then the men.
    For the most part Americans don’t make good travelers they always look at thinks and compare it to the states. I have done that before myself. After a month anywhere you get it.
    New Orleans is to small for your list but it has what I need ATM. I am from the Napa Valley.

  67. I love your top 10 but I’d switch New York for Cape Town and since I’ve not been to Rio I’d put Hanoi on it’s place.

  68. What about Athens ?

  69. i want to go to Paris with my love because it is my most favorite destination.
    Thank you Lee Abbamonte for sharing this wonderful list…

  70. Buenos Aires worse than Rio? Rio is just a beach destination. There’s nothing to do in Rio. There’s a lot more going on in Buenos Aires.

  71. What about Lima, Peru? I just visited for the 1st time and loved it.

  72. Gary Indiana is noticeably absent from this list.

  73. I’ve only been to 25 but the remaining 5 are all on my travel bucket list.

  74. Aaron Scherbel says

    But if you do not care about “power, money, media, food, nightlife, fashion, real estate and sports”, you might not agree that NY is number one.

  75. Have you ever been to Ukraine? I’m wondering whether you have and didn’t include a city from there in your list or you didn’t have a chance to visit yet.

  76. Adam Sun says

    I always hated NY personally haha, but totally can get why other people love it!

  77. Very nice list ?! I also liked your funny comments about some of the cities. We at have made an elaborated list of the best 150 cities in the world based on 13 criteria. Many of your favourite cities are also ranked high in our list. Some cities we rank in the top 20 and you didn’t include are Madrid, Istanbul, Vienna, Budapest, Moscow and Seville. Melbourne we rate currently only at #48, but that is because sights are for us the most important criteria and there aren’t that many in Melbourne. And by the way: Venice and Florence are way too important to leave them out as non major cities ?. In regards of tourism they are heavyweights. It would be interesting to hear what you think about our list…

  78. You’ve forgotten about Mumbai

  79. ProudAussie says

    So, Sydney is really #1 if we overlook that obvious conflict of interest hahaha. So glad you agree that my hometown is best xx

  80. Why you left Mumbai, India

  81. I would rate Seattle, Denver, San Diego and San Francisco far better choices than Los Angeles – the beach towns of LA were good – Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey etc. but the tourist areas inland i.e. Hollywood were awful. I would have had Vancouver as well and Kuala Lumpur. Edinburgh should have also been there although it probably would not be classed as a big city…

  82. I suggest that you give cairo a position in the top 10.
    Again has anyone ever visited my home city “Kampala”? If so, help me and you comment on it.

  83. I think LA is really just a big DUMP! You have many thugs and then the rich people think their so much better than you if your not. San Francisco sounds way better than LA. And Detroit should be in somewhere, and Las Vegas should be number ONE.

    • Billy Johensen says

      I agree perfectly with you Oliver. Detroit and Vegas are great. One thing, they should not mention Mexico City because all it is is a big rich and poor division, therefore making it a dump along with murder and thugs.

  84. how is london 5 it is 1 million times better than new york i went there last year and wanted to back home to london straight away up the uk

  85. I Love NYC so much

  86. what about india???

  87. Louis Palardy says

    Toronto, Ontario…
    Sorry, but Montréal, is a lot better, all the way,
    And Québec City, Capital of Province if Québec
    10,000 times better thanks Toronto.

  88. Bethanyann Busta says

    In my opinion New York, the USA should be the best city in the word because people all over the world come to New York. Also, we have probably not if not the best Baseball team in the world. I also live in New York and a huge Yankee girl.

  89. David Astorga says

    New York is a shit hole, lots of homeless people, people are arrogant, unhelpful, a lot of racist black people there and dangerous is far away to be even on the top 15, I went to a macdonalds and a lot of people will look at you even ask you for the recipe to use the bathroom, I didnt feel safe at all is a very old city, Shanghai and Toyko are waayyy better than NYC

  90. Mark Boom Boom says

    HAMBURG is missing.
    #1 on earth

  91. charles hawkins says

    Been to 18 of the 30, as mentioned by another poster Seville is a major omission , you mustn’t have visited 3 times?

  92. vov where is the istanbul? istanbul is best city in the world, you did a big wrong

  93. I think all Cities are best with their food, places, restaurants, beaches. Singapore is best in restaurants where as Sydney is famous for it’s gorgeous beaches, world class food, hotels, sites, parks.

  94. Fun to read. But, Montreal isn’t on the list, yet Miami, Dubai and VEGAS are? I’m taking issue with that! 😛

  95. Totally agree with you that CDMX and Lisbon are highly underrated.

    Cities too high: Vegas, LA, HCMC (I prefer Hanoi), Bangkok
    Cities too low: Tokyo, Rio, St Petersburg

    Cities that I think should be in a top 30: Budapest, Hanoi

    Fun read and great topic!

  96. Amiya Ranjan Acharya says

    I want to go las Vegas..any one can help me to travel????

  97. I always think the red light district in Amsterdam makes it so different from any city in the wolrd that it is a must do for at least one in your lifetime! You don’t have to go inside but there is so much more to see in this district than girls.

  98. Sorry but I think Toronto beats any city in Quebec or any Canadian city for that matter. In pretty much all categories other than housing price, Toronto wins. But hey, any large cosmopolitan city is expensive.

  99. Bangkok, Bali and Medillin are cities that I want to visit! So much beautiful places to explore and discover! Great list!

  100. Sydney should be one on the list.
    Perfect warm climate. 8 national parks surround it with colourful bird life. It has a major rail, bus and ferry transport system. Over 70 ocean beaches, 4 major river systems and the best views and food from Portugal, Lebanese, Thai, Indian, Turkish, Nepalese and Vietnamese countries. The best city on by a big shot.

  101. Justasking123 says

    Have you ever worked out how many airmiles you have clocked up to repeatedly visit all these cities? You could write about the carbon footprint of travelling the world by plane.

  102. Definitely San Francisco must be on the list, much better than many cities in the list. If Prague is on the list, where is Vienna?

  103. Haven’t you visited India . No Indian city on the list

  104. Miami, Vegas and Vancouver…Monica please….

  105. where’s Victoria Falls in Harare

  106. blessed murape says

    great list
    i would be happy to see Victoria Falls Zimbabwe ranking in your top 30 lis

  107. how is toronto out of the top 20 ? australia with 2 cities in the top 10 ? clearly list is flawed big time.
    toronto golden horseshoe area covers the same area as metro sydney, but it was 2X the population.
    toronto has the nba champions, best university in the world outside of japan, uk, and usa. you mention sydneys restaurants but what about toronto ALO ?

    Montreal ? 5 million people, densely populated. 6 hours drive from NYC.

    if weather matters so much NYC should be nowhere near top 10.

  108. Ghulam Mustafa says

    My city beautiful and nice weather very good no cool no hot food very good and cheap.. I love my city.. Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

  109. hi, this is the best collection. Las Vegas.

  110. Sydney? Mwah! I have there only once but wasn’t impressed. It probably wouldn’t make my top 30. Okay, one can eat well and it is nicely located on the water. However, many cities have equally good food and are located in more beautiful surroundings. Apart from the Opera House, I found the architecture pretty boring; down town has very few interesting buildings. No world class museums. The city seemed a little bit bland to me, not a lot of character. It reminded me of San Diego, CA. A great city to live, but short of truly interesting sights.

  111. Akimtewe Femi Victor says

    The man that wrote this needs to go back to paris if at all he has been there before… How will paris not make the top 10. They are even a lots of cities that are better than the new york that you put on top of the list.

  112. I’ve visited most of these cities.
    It took me 6 years to burn out in London.
    New York has fantastic food and shopping but it doesn’t have as much history and architecture.
    This is a great tourist list, but not to live in.
    I picked Adelaide to live in, Sydney too expensive.
    Vienna is apparently the most liveable city if you like dark freezing winters!

  113. I’ve only been to New York, Rome, Buenos Aires and London. My favorites are Buenos Aires and New York, but London is very nice.

  114. I have been to 26 out of 30 cities on your list. I agree with many of the entries, but not with the order in which they are presented. Istanbul, Tbilisi, Beirut, Mumbai, Dakar, Mexico City, Bogota would be much higher on my list, while places like Sydney, LA, Chicago, and Toronto wouldn’t be on my list at all. To me, places in the “anglosphere” lack a sense of authenticity and uniqueness that make great cities so great.

  115. I would love to go to Portugal and Tokyo someday. I have been to New York, London but there is so much more to explore in this world. I have bookmarked it.

  116. Thanks for the listing, Just a suggestion, You can add below cities as well St. Petersburg, Beijing, Jaipur, Udaipur, Miami, Singapore, Marrakech, Istanbul, Shiraz, Cape Town and Monaco.

  117. Shubh Kesarwani says

    Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Delhi and
    Mumbai are also top in this list. Alteast
    U should Include 2 of them.So bad and
    Your stereotypical image of India holds
    You while doing that ya?

  118. Cape Town?

  119. Nice article. I like it.

  120. I’ve visited 8 of these, and of those the only one I wouldn’t go back to is Las Vegas. In my list I’d include San Francisco, which is one of my favourites.

    Certainly quite a few on here that I’d like to visit; covid and money permitting 🙁

  121. Achikam Yogev says

    This list needs to updated since Covid. NYC is not even top 30 anymore. It has unfortunately lost its soul since the Pandemic and a lack of daily commuters and outflow of people working in Zoom. Time to update the list.

Speak Your Mind