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The Best Cities In The World According To Timeout May Surprise You

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When most people think of the best cities in the world, they likely picture some of the most well-known cities like Paris, London, New York, or LA. However, after a massive survey of over 20,000 city residents around the globe, the best cities in the world, according to Timeout, may surprise you. Not just because they aren’t the most well-known or the first to come to mind, but because several are known, but not for reasons that would point to them being the best. So, what are the best cities in the world according to Timeout?

1) Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Skyline

According to the 2022 Time Out Index, the best city in the world is Edinburgh, Scotland. With all this beautiful European city has to offer, it isn’t surprising that it secured the top spot. Some of the city’s attractive qualities include:

  • Incredible views and history dash the streets of this highly walkable city.
  • Independent shops are everywhere, offering unique merchandise you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
  • Edinburgh offers a progressive feel and welcomes everyone, with 88% of residents reporting that expressing who you are in Edinburgh is effortless.

2) Chicago, Illinois

Chicago skyline with park in foreground

A surprising second-place city due to a high-crime stigma, Chicago is often mistaken for the murder capital of the United States. In reality, Chicago was 10th on the list of cities with the most murders in 2022, with 24 per 100,000 people. In general, Chicago is a very safe city to visit, with high crime rates mostly restricted to specific neighborhoods. Below are some of the things that draw people to Chicago:

  • The Food! Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is an absolute must when visiting this city, and Chicago-style hot dogs line the streets from vendors throughout the city.
  • Iconic art and culture. Art galleries are all over the city, and shows are constantly taking place.
  • Thriving nightlife. Whether you’re into happy hours, dinners, bars, or nightclubs, Chicago offers something for everyone looking for entertainment after the sun goes down.

3) Medellín, Colombia

Medellín Colombia 4 South bridge with city in the background at night

Another surprise on this year’s list, Medellín used to be known as the most dangerous city in the world. When many people think of the city, they picture Pablo Escobar and crime. However, much has changed in the past 30 years, and Medellín is now generally considered safe. Here are some of the top reasons people visit:

  • The weather is almost perfect, with year-round averages of 72°F (22°C).
  • Medellín offers exceptional value for your money, with some hostels costing less than $10 per night.
  • Like Chicago, the nightlife is flourishing. Whether looking for a relaxed drink or a bass-fueled dance party, there is evening entertainment to suit every traveler.

4) Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow Scotland park with couple walking on bridge

Glasgow is the second-largest city in Scotland and was voted the friendliest in the Time Out Index for 2022. The people are kind, and the city is brimming with things to do. People love Glasgow for many reasons, including:

5) Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam canal with bikes locked up on bridge rails

Respondents to the Time Out Index voted Amsterdam the easiest place on earth to ‘express who you are’ and awarded it second place for progressiveness. Unsurprisingly, it is the best city in the world for bicyclists and is also extremely walkable. Here are some of the reasons people love this famous European city:

  • The nightlife is unlikely to disappoint. With countless nightclubs throughout the city and a closing time of 4 a.m. on the weekends, Amsterdam offers partygoers endless opportunities to dance to their heart’s content.
  • Coffeeshop culture. Amsterdam and Marijuana are two words that go hand in hand in many people’s minds. The city has over 160 coffeeshops to enjoy. Recently, the city proposed banning tourists from its coffeeshops, but for now, visitors are still allowed.
Tourist in Amsterdam with camera

The five cities above each offer visitors unique experiences they won’t find elsewhere. Each has a unique blend of culture, commerce, and charm that has earned them the top 5 spots for the best cities in the world, according to Timeout. Below are the top 20 cities on Timeout’s list of 53 best countries.

Top 20 Best Cities of the World List

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Chicago
  3. Medellín
  4. Glasgow
  5. Amsterdam
  6. Prague
  7. Marrakech
  8. Berlin
  9. Montreal
  10. Copenhagen
  11. Cape Town
  12. Madrid
  13. Manchester
  14. Mumbai
  15. Melbourne
  16. Taipei
  17. London
  18. Porto
  19. Lyon
  20. New York
Woman looking at sunset near river in chicago

For a complete list of all 53 of the best cities in the world according to Timeout, see their website.

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 14th of July 2022

The nightlife in Amsterdam? It sucks when you're not a local. Also 4 a.m. is rare and even if it's true you'd better go to other cities in the country, where you can party until 8 the next morning ;-).


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Cape Town? Hard to believe. And Istanbul isn’t even on the list.

Leonardo Morantes

Thursday 4th of August 2022

@Christian, I agree with you. While I think Medellin in an amazing place and deserves the spot, leaving Istanbul out made me lose credibility.


Thursday 14th of July 2022

@Christian, what's wrong with Cape Town?