Business Week: The World's Best Cities to Live In

Since I never get tired of geography rankings like this, here are the Top 30 Best Cities to Live In according to a survey passed along by Business Week.

The official BW title is "The World's Best Places to Live," but since they only ranked big cities I think that's a misnomer. As far as rankings go this list actually kind of sucks - I have no idea what their criteria are, so it's impossible to say if they've chosen well or not. You might as well call this the "top 30 cities in Germany and Scandinavia, with a few other places thrown in" because that's basically all that's on here. And I mean, weather obviously can't be a big factor, cause how did so many relatively cold-weather places get on here? Isn't "not freezing to death" high on these rankers' priorities? Anyway what would you rank as your top places to try living for, say, a year?


  1. I have never been to Germany so I would really like to know what is so freaking great about that place. I feel like I very rarely hear people rave about how awesome Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf are.

    Congrats to SF for barely making the list though. Weather must be somewhat of a factor on this list I guess, cause Honolulu made it and they have nothing going for them there BUT the weather; the traffic and home prices in that place are twice as bad as LA.

    Personally I'm all about living down under... particularly Wellington in New Zealand or Perth in Australia would be amazing. My Australian cousins have told me that Melbourne is pretty cool.

    I feel like the slightly-removed cities in somewhat more remote areas would be even more enchanting, although job prospects obviously wouldn't be as good.

  2. Since it is a listed stat, and every listing does better than the US, I'm going to guess that life expectancy plays a decent part in their ranking.

  3. You are not going to share your preference of living places worldwide, if you could just go and set down for a year or more?

  4. No. I’m pretty happy with my life right now. I would never live in LA, and it is more important to me to be near friends and family. I’m becoming an old, married guys (if I haven’t been one for a while). I like the suburbs. I like being able to drive into the city for a game or show or museum, but I like walking to the park at night with my wife and our dog even more.

  5. Seriously - wtf?!? Not even a blurb about each city? This list sucks...

    As I haven't really traveled the world much, I can't comment on many foreign cities, but of those that I've been to, here's my top 5 (excluding SF since I already live here):

    1) Miami
    2) Washington, DC
    3) Salvador (Brazil)
    4) Hong Kong
    5) Seattle

  6. Hey Scott, I'm sure it was just a minor oversight but where's Madison, Wi on your list?
    I mean, with the 8 months of winter, cow smell in summer, and the excellent fashion everywhere it must have just slipped your mind :)

  7. C-Mac are you based in Madison? Your snarky tone says you don't love it...

    I always see Madison come up in the "best places to live in the US" lists as far as affordability and whatnot. Care to give a quick breakdown of what life is really like in the area, and if you recommend it? And I'm going to warn you now, if fashion is your number one selling point...

  8. Germany, more than most other Euro countries that double as desirable living spaces - France, UK, Italy - is relatively cheap. I think that's why there's such buzz surrounding Berlin, Hamburg, etc. I've never been, so I can't say for certain. But I think cost of living is a huge factor on these lists; and that, more than even the weather (60 degrees in July, anyone?), is what dinged SF. People get used to the weather; it's hard to get used to the astronomical costs of apartments & groceries. Then again, Vancouver (the SF of Canada) did make the Top 5.

    A nickel's worth of free advice for BW:
    1) Don't give me a list and make me scroll through city by city to see the whole list. It's clunky, time-consuming, and really drives me nutso to have to click every time.
    2) Limit the entries per country. We get it, Germany & Switzerland are immensely desirable places to live. But do we need the list dominated by 2 countries? If you don't care for Germany or Switzerland (and you have your reasons), then how are you supposed to find your Best Place to Live?

    I'm sticking with my list:
    1) Paris
    2) San Francisco
    3) Rome
    4) London
    5a) Austin
    5b) Seattle

  9. Mik I've been to your top 4, and I'm not certain why Rome is in there? You'd really rank it above London? Or say Barcelona?

    Although speaking of affordability, isn't London the 2nd most expensive city in the world behind Tokyo?

  10. I've heard Moscow's expensive as butt as well...

  11. Yeah, Royce, I unfortunately had to slide London behind Roma for cost purposes. Paris, Rome, and even San Francisco (to say nothing of Austin) offer you opportunities to live cheaply. I have never encountered such opportunitites in London, and believe me I've tried.

    If money were no object, my list might look like this:
    1) Paris
    2) London
    3) San Francisco
    4) Rome

  12. Ok, my list which only includes general metropolitan areas I have been to and can feel confident recommending:

    1) San Diego
    2) San Francisco
    3) Hawaii
    4) Las Vegas...right now cost of living is pretty low, can buy a decent house if you like the suburbs and lifestyle is fine if you can avoid the strip. Then, when you want to have fun, you're already in Vegas!

    ummm... Tucson's a normal desert city, LA sucks, Jamaica's great to vacation, bad to reside, Austin's ok...just like the rest of Texas. Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis are the opposite of Las Vegas. Instead of hot, they have cold and more major urban areas, not all suburban, like Vegas.

    wow...compared to you guys, my list is sad. I'll fix that over the next couple weeks.

  13. I suck at this cause I think I could be happy living in about a billion places. Here are my lists divided by where I've visited and where I've not visited.

    Top 5 Cities I'd Live In (visited):
    1) London
    2) Any city in Hawaii
    3) New York
    4) Paris
    5) Madrid

    Top 5 Cities I'd Live In (not visited):
    1) Auckland, New Zealand
    2) Lyon, France
    3) Any city in Australia
    4) Any Scandinavian capitol
    5) Zurich, Switzerland
    1,897) Detroit

  14. Holy crap - after seeing it highlighted by our new friend Buzz Beast, this French villa in Cape Ferrat has vaulted into #1 on my list of where I want to live... *drooling visibly*