Ranked: 100 best cities in the world 2023

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31st December 2022
Dubai skyline at night

The 100 best cities in the world have been ranked for 2023 based on where to live, work, invest and visit. We take a look at the results

In 2018, a UN study suggested that 55% (4.2 billion people) of the world’s population lived in urban areas.

This proportion is projected to increase to 68% by 2050. Wherever the world’s expats, digital nomads and remote workers choose to relocate, chances are it will be in a city.

With this in mind, Canadian consultancy film Resonance, which has offices in Vancouver, Montreal, Singapore and New York, has published its annual report ranking 100 cities with populations of over one million.

Contrary to similar “best-of” lists, Resonance’s index assesses a city’s culture, diversity, prosperity, infrastructure and employment opportunities.

They use 25 factors grouped into six categories covering a range of criteria including climate, access to outdoor space, education and work prospects, population diversity, leisure options and even social media popularity.

The six categories and 25 factors are:

  • Place: weather, safety, sights & landmarks, outdoors
  • Product: airport connectivity, attractions, museums, university ranking, convention centre
  • People: labour force participation, educational attainment
  • Prosperity: global 500 number, GDP per capita, income equality, employment rate
  • Programming: culture, nightlife, dining, shopping
  • Promotion: Facebook check-ins, Google search, TripAdvisor reviews, Instagram hashtags, Google Trends

What is the world’s best city?

This year, the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was named the 2023 honorary world’s best city in recognition of the city’s – and the wider country’s – courage and resilience in the face of Russia’s invasion. The Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg were also removed from this year’s report, two cities that finished in the top 20 last year.

London has been anointed the best city in the world for the seventh year in a row. The ‘capital of capitals’ has taken the top spot despite concerns surrounding the city’s post-Brexit future. However, the report’s authors believe the city continues to draw talent and visitors en masse and will eventually weather the storm and even emerge stronger.

London is ranked no 1 best city in the world
London is ranked as the world’s best city

The UK capital scored highly in the programming, promotion, product and prosperity categories but was some way behind in the place category. Unemployment and a waning economy have meant the city’s number one position is under serious threat.

“As the ‘capital of capitals’ negotiates the uncharted, perilous terrain of a post-Brexit and pandemic world, London continues to reign as the planet’s best city for the seventh year running.”

– World’s Best Cities, Resonance

London is closely followed by the usual suspects of Paris and New York. Paris remains ahead of New York, thanks to its ambitious sustainability policies which have included expanding cycle routes, reducing city speed limits and tree planting as it aims to become Europe’s greenest city by 2030.

New York, America’s greatest city, is in third thanks to the high number of Global 500 companies located in the Big Apple as well as the city’s endless nightlife, shopping and attractions that sustain its ‘enduring allure’.

“Cities are the engines of the global economy and the badges of human ingenuity. Yes, they’ve been hobbled over the past 18 months, exposing the long-ignored foundational and institutional problems that manifested on their streets and in their hospitals and seniors homes. But they’re also leading — like they always have — the recovery and future-defining next stage of human innovation.”

– World’s Best Cities, Resonance
New York and the Hudson River
Thorsten Weinert/Shutterstock New York remains one of the world’s great cities

Tokyo in Japan is Asia’s highest-ranked city in fourth place – moving up two places from last year – and the safest metropolis on the planet. The city is poised to benefit from the range of new infrastructure constructed for the Olympics which will no doubt come in handy in the future.

“The futuristic metropolis is tapping its ancient feudal roots by investing in street-level livability and resident well-being — in the wake of the Olympics.”

World’s Best Cities, Resonance

The report also highlights Tokyo’s popularity with shoppers as well as the city’s relentlessly expanding foodie scene. The metropolis offers as many restaurants as the top five cities combined – more than 100,000 in total!

Tokyo city during the blossom
Richie Chan/Shutterstock Tokyo is the world’s fourth-best city

Dubai in the UAE remains in the top five best cities in the world thanks to its ‘alluring blend of over-the-top experiences, Arab heritage and luxury shopping’. The city continues to attract the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any city in the world, and they tend to be well-educated – ranking consistently highly for Educational Attainment globally.

Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s autonomous community of Catalonia, is the world’s sixth-best city, narrowly beating archrival Madrid which was ranked eighth. The city performed well in the nightlife category but also won praise for its commitment to traffic calming and creating community space. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, has introduced several schemes as part of her superblock initiative as well as added over 100 miles of bike lanes.

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is one of the most interesting facts about Catalonia
Dreamstime The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also scarred this year’s rankings. In our view, no city can be a “Best City” that is part of a country that is taking unprovoked action against another and we have removed Moscow and St. Petersburg from this year’s report, two cities that finished in the Top 20 last year.”

World’s Best Cities, Resonance

Wherever you decide to live, work or visit, make sure you have travel insurance. We’ve used several providers over the years and are now covered by an annual multi-trip policy from Heymondo. The policy covers us for theft, medical expenses up to $10m USD, cancellation and Covid-19 coverage.

Heymondo offers several policies including single trip and annual multi-trip as well as a long-stay option which is ideal for digital nomads and remote workers. All policies come with the Heymondo App which features 24-hour medical chat, free assistance calls and easy claims management. 

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best cities in the world – complete ranking

View the complete report from Resonance Consultancy.

  1. London, UK
  2. Paris, France
  3. New York, USA
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Dubai, UAE
  6. Barcelona, Spain
  7. Rome, Italy
  8. Madrid, Spain
  9. Singapore, Singapore
  10. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  11. Prague, Czech
  12. Los Angeles, USA
  13. Chicago, USA
  14. San Francisco, USA
  15. Berlin, Germany
  16. Hong Kong, China
  17. Washington, USA
  18. Beijing, China
  19. Dublin, Ireland
  20. Istanbul, Türkiye

  1. Las Vegas, USA
  2. Milan, Italy
  3. Budapest, Hungary
  4. Toronto, Canada
  5. Sydney, Australia
  6. Seoul, South Korea
  7. Doha, Qatar
  8. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  9. Osaka, Japan
  10. Bangkok, Thailand
  11. Vienna, Austria
  12. San Diego, USA
  13. São Paulo, Brazil
  14. Melbourne, Australia
  15. Zurich, Switzerland
  16. Boston, USA
  17. Lisbon, Portugal
  18. Warsaw, Poland
  19. Seattle, USA
  20. Orlando, USA

  1. Munich, Germany
  2. Houston, USA
  3. Austin, USA
  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  5. Naples, Italy
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. Dallas, USA
  8. Helsinki, Finland
  9. Frankfurt, Germany
  10. Atlanta, USA
  11. Stockholm, Sweden
  12. Miami, USA
  13. Athens, Greece
  14. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  15. Hamburg, Germany
  16. Denver, USA
  17. Montreal, Canada
  18. Brussels, Belgium
  19. Tel Aviv, Israel
  20. Oslo, Norway

  1. Taipei, Taiwan
  2. Valencia, Spain
  3. Minneapolis, USA
  4. Philadelphia, USA
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Portland, USA
  7. Nashville, USA
  8. Auckland, New Zealand
  9. Vancouver, Canada
  10. Santiago, Chile
  11. Mexico City, Mexico
  12. Mumbai, India
  13. Shanghai, China
  14. San Jose, USA
  15. Lyon, France
  16. Bilbao, Spain
  17. Liverpool, UK
  18. New Orleans, USA
  19. Brisbane, Australia
  20. Manchester, UK
  1. Fukuoka, Japan
  2. Seville, Spain
  3. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  4. Jerusalem, Israel
  5. Nanjing, China
  6. Minsk, Belarus
  7. Salt Lake City, USA
  8. Phoenix, USA
  9. Jakarta, Indonesia
  10. Gothenburg, Sweden
  11. Perth, Australia
  12. Glasgow, UK
  13. Nagoya, Japan
  14. Baltimore, USA
  15. Stuttgart, Germany
  16. Ottawa, Canada
  17. Hanoi, Vietnam
  18. Sendai, Japan
  19. Cologne, Germany
  20. Marseille, France

More rankings and articles can be found in our remote work area:
► Most dangerous countries in the world
► Countries with the best healthcare in the world
► World’s worst countries to drive in
► Best countries for women
► Happiest countries in the world
► World’s most powerful passport
► Countries with the fastest internet in the world
► Most stressed countries in the world
► Most expensive cities for expats
► World’s most democratic countries

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Lead image: RED87PUTRA/Shutterstock