Time Out’s 2024 Ranking of the World’s Best Cities


It’s the city that steals the spotlight in all your favorite TV shows and movies, serving as the muse for countless songs and art. It’s a renowned destination that captures the imagination of people worldwide. It’s no surprise that Time Out, a media company, has chosen New York City as the best city for 2024.

Time Out conducted a survey of approximately 20,000 urban residents worldwide, in addition to collaborating with its team of international writers and editors, to create its most recent compilation of the top cities around the world.

Various factors, such as the vibrant food scenes, unique architecture, and exciting cultural happenings, were considered. The aim, according to Time Out, is to offer “travel inspiration” while also providing a “global snapshot of city living.”

Time Out highlighted New York City’s diverse range of museums and vibrant theater scene as key factors in securing its position as the top city. The global reputation of NYC also had an impact – the city was ranked as the top choice for relocation among residents of other global cities.

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A city of contrasts

Ranked number two on Time Out’s list is Cape Town, South Africa. This city has been described as “beautiful” by every single survey respondent. It’s no surprise, considering its breathtaking combination of sea, cityscape, and majestic mountains.

Time Out highlighted Cape Town’s vibrant cultural scene, including its late night museum events during the summer, theater and comedy shows at Theatre on the Bay, and the recently launched Time Out Market Cape Town.

Katy Scott, a Cape Town native now residing in France, describes the city as a refreshingly unpretentious coastal destination. She highlights the abundance of natural attractions, along with its highly regarded dining establishments, immaculate wineries, and vibrant nightlife.

However, Scott highlights the fact that these things are not easily accessible to the majority of citizens.

“South Africa may be celebrating 30 years of democracy, but the disparity in cities like Cape Town is more pronounced than ever,” remarks Scott.

Considering this, Scott suggests that in order to gain a genuine understanding of the city and its inhabitants, visitors should venture beyond the typical tourist attractions and explore places like Robben Island or the District Six museum. These locations, recommended by Time Out, offer meaningful insights into South Africa’s apartheid history.

“Both locations provide fascinating and impactful perspectives on the history of South Africa,” Scott remarks.

Completing Time Out’s top five are Berlin, Germany, known for its vibrant nightlife scene, London, UK, famous for its renowned pubs and free museums and galleries, and Madrid, Spain, celebrated for its exceptional dining and drinking options.

Among the top 10, there are smaller cities like Liverpool, UK (ranked 7th) and Porto, Portugal (ranked 10th). Interestingly, Porto was identified by respondents in a Time Out survey as a fantastic city for “romance.”

According to a statement from travel editor Grace Beard, all the cities on the list share a common thread of a strong community spirit and an undeniable vibe.

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Time Out’s Top 10 best cities

  1. New York City, USA
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Berlin, Germany
  4. London, UK
  5. Madrid, Spain
  6. Mexico City, Mexico
  7. Liverpool, UK
  8. Tokyo, Japan
  9. Rome, Italy
  10. Porto, Portugal


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