Tokyo city during the blossom

100 best cities in the world 2021 – ranked

The 100 best cities in the world have been ranked for 2021 based on where to live, work, invest and visit. We take a look at the results

15th November 2020

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, Resonance Consultancy has collated a report ranking 100 cities with populations of over one million.

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, parks & outdoor, COVID-19 infections
  • Product: airport connectivity, attractions, museums, university ranking, convention centre
  • People: foreign-born residents, educational attainment
  • Prosperity: global 500 number, GDP per capita, income equality, unemployment rate
  • Programming: culture, nightlife, dining, shopping
  • Promotion: Facebook check-ins, Google search, TripAdvisor reviews, Instagram hashtags, Google trends

Click on a city in the map below to see how it scored in each category.

What is the world’s best city?

London has been named the best city in the world for the sixth year in a row. The ‘capital of capitals’ has taken top spot despite concerns surrounding the city’s post-Brexit future. The report’s authors believe the city’s historic financial and educational institutions can weather the storm and even emerge stronger.

London is ranked no 1 best city in the world
JAKUB BARZYCKI/SHUTTERSTOCK London is ranked as the world’s best city

The UK capital also scored highly in the programming, promotion and place categories. In particular, its plethora of outdoor green spaces and many trees proved invaluable during the pandemic and in helping the city’s population deal with the subsequent restrictions.

“Today, there’s no better urban experience anywhere, no matter the global forces swirling above the ancient streets.”

World’s Best Cities 2020

London is closely followed by the usual suspects of New York and Paris. Even though New York was the initial epicentre of America’s coronavirus outbreak, the report remains optimistic about the city’s future.

It points 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’.

New York and the Hudson River
Thorsten Weinert/Shutterstock New York remains one of the world’s great cities

Moscow, the world’s fourth-best city, wins praise for its ‘atmosphere of young, free-thinking exuberance’ along with its recently renovated subway system, outstanding airport and range of diverse art galleries, museums and performance spaces. The recently inaugurated Zaryadye Park, the city’s first major new public park in 50 years, was also highlighted in the report.

“Russia’s beguiling capital

is a cultural gold mine

spanning the ages.”

World’s Best Cities 2020

Tokyo is Asia’s highest-ranked city and the best city in the world for shopping. The report also highlights Tokyo’s continually expanding food scene. The metropolis offers as many restaurants as the rest of the top five cities combined – more than 100,000 in total!

St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow
Baturina Yuliya/Shutterstock Moscow is the world’s fourth-best city

“Tokyo continues to mesmerise global visitors with its innovation, efficiency and round-the-clock kinetic mobility.”

World’s Best Cities 2020

best cities in the world – complete ranking

View the complete report from Resonance Consultancy.

RankCityCountry
1LondonUK
2New YorkUSA
3ParisFrance
4MoscowRussia
5TokyoJapan
6DubaiUAE
7SingaporeSingapore
8BarcelonaSpain
9Los AngelesUSA
10MadridSpain
11RomeItaly
12ChicagoUSA
13TorontoCanada
14San FranciscoUSA
15Abu DhabiUAE
16St. PetersburgRussia
17AmsterdamNetherlands
18BerlinGermany
19PragueCzech Rep.
20Washington DCUSA
21IstanbulTurkey
22Las VegasUSA
23DohaQatar
24SeoulSouth Korea
25SydneyAustralia
26BeijingChina
27MiamiUSA
28MunichGermany
29MilanItaly
30San DiegoUSA
31BangkokThailand
32ViennaAustria
33DublinIreland
34VancouverCanada
35BostonUSA
36ZurichSwitzerland
37MelbourneAustralia
38BudapestHungary
39HoustonUSA
40SeattleUSA
41MontrealCanada
42Hong KongHong Kong
43FrankfurtGermany
44São PauloBrazil
45Tel AvivIsrael
46CopenhagenDenmark
47CalgaryCanada
48OrlandoUSA
49AtlantaUSA
50DallasUSA
51HamburgGermany
52OsakaJapan
53LisbonPortugal
54AustinUSA
55PhoenixUSA
56NaplesItaly
57OsloNorway
58DenverUSA
59StockholmSweden
60PhiladelphiaUSA
61RiyadhSaudi Arabia
62DelhiIndia
63Buenos AiresArgentina
64San JoseUSA
65BrusselsBelgium
66PortlandUSA
67OttawaCanada
68HelsinkiFinland
69ValenciaSpain
70BrisbaneAustralia
71WarsawPoland
72MinneapolisUSA
73ShanghaiChina
74LyonFrance
75AdelaideAustralia
76EdmontonCanada
77MarseilleFrance
78MuscatOman
79AthensGreece
80StuttgartGermany
81Rio de JaneiroBrazil
82BaltimoreUSA
83AucklandNew Zealand
84CologneGermany
85New OrleansUSA
86KuwaitKuwait
87KyivUkraine
88HanoverGermany
89PerthAustralia
90MinskBelarus
91BucharestRomania
92NashvilleUSA
93DüsseldorfGermany
94ManchesterUK
95SacramentoUSA
96GlasgowUK
97Mexico CityMexico
98Salt Lake CityUSA
99RaleighUSA
100KracowPoland

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: Richie Chan/Shutterstock