Name your Top 3 favorite cities in the world


What are your 3 favorites cities in the world outside of your home country?  I'm talking in general, so that you're not hemmed in by my making this an architectural discourse, unless you want to.  It could be for biogeographic reasons, cultural reasons, or anything else.

My list, being from the U.S., in no particular order:  1) Montreal, Canada, 2) Lisbon, Portugal, and 3) Buenos Aires, Argentina.  (I would have slotted Rio de Janeiro into B.A.'s slot, but it has way more crime and relatively speaking, less cultural appeal, at least to me).

Jun 9, 13 4:00 pm
  1. Prague
  2. Paris
  3. Portland
Jun 9, 13 4:09 pm
chatter of clouds

Portland? *gulp*

Jun 9, 13 4:23 pm

1.  Beijing

2. Munich

3. Edinburgh 

Jun 9, 13 5:48 pm

1. Kyoto

2. Melbourne

3. Hong Kong

Jun 9, 13 9:12 pm

1. London

2. Paris

3. Windsor, Ontario*

*While I've traveled extensively within the US, my travels outside the US have unfortunately been fairly limited so far. I don't have any particular fondness for Windsor; it's just the default option since my only other overseas trips so far have been to cities 1 and 2 on my list.

Jun 9, 13 9:42 pm
Matildenhohe (near Darmstadt)
Jun 9, 13 10:03 pm
1. Paris

2. New York

3. Zurich
Jun 9, 13 10:59 pm

1. Amsterdam

2. Toronto

3. Chicago

Jun 9, 13 11:36 pm

1. Salzburg

2.  Bergen

3. Halifax, Canada (for its potential)

Jun 10, 13 4:32 pm


Very badly want to see Halifax, NS, Canada.  Thank you.

Jun 10, 13 5:17 pm

1) Berlin - where I live, and really the only place I feel at home. So probably doesn't really count, but it is "outside my home country", so it gets in on technicality. The weather absolutely sucks for half of the year, but the summers alone make it worth it. Offers all the things one would expect of a major european capital (fantastic transit infrastructure, good travel connections, incredible museums, cultural institutions, universities, mix of people and culture), without feeling or costing like one (huge open green-spaces, nice housing stock with pretty reasonable rents, lots of things to do for free/on the cheap, laissez-faire attitude, accessible arts/music scene, community engagement)

2) Montreal - I've always enjoyed the city and its atmosphere. Mind you, I've never been there in winter, but I doubt that'd bother me much, considering some of the other cities I've called home. Offers many of the same things as Berlin, i.e.. big city benefits, minus the big city prices + stress.

3) Budapest, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg - The only other european cities (which I've been to of course) which I could actually see myself living in. I guess you can probably see a bit of a trend developing... I actually don't like BIG cities. London and Paris are fantastic to visit...but to live? Not for me, thanks.

That being said, many cities are still on my "to see" list, namely Istambul, Moscow, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo....and of course NYC!!

Jun 10, 13 8:25 pm

1. London   Did a couple of real nice trips there first trip was for a wedding so was hang with a bunch of Blokes!

2. Quebec City, Canada...went in the Fall  and it was with Canadian Friends so they knew   all the hot spots.

3. Rio de Janerio,  always a special place in my heart. Mrs. Snooker Doodle Dandy family and friends always make my trips there  more exciting than the previous time.  Looking forward to another trip. 

There is nothing like visiting places where your friends live, cause you always get to go to that special place with special people.  So make friends with the World and enjoy your travels.

Jun 10, 13 9:55 pm

in no real order

Hong Kong - This would have been a closer race between Beijing and HK before I actually lived in Beijing long term, and now I think I have to go with the cleaner, less dysfunctional chinese megacity. One of the few megacities in the world where you can jump in a bus or a boat and be in a totally different environment in 2 hours. The city is perfect in scale. 7 million people and yet you can still be intimately familiar with so many parts of it so quickly. The advantages of super-density I suppose...

Berlin - I always have a good time here. One of the best cities of the world to be young in no doubt, and the post wall developments make it one of the most exciting cities in western Europe from an urban point of view. Id move here in a second if I thought I could get a job here.

Vienna - If you are talking old wealthy European cities, this one came the closest to making me drop architecture, take a job in the financial sector and try and cash out and retire here at age 35. To quote one of my old professors "everything just works here".

An honorable mention to Lyon perhaps for being the most beautiful city I have ever been to. Ive never been to Tokyo or Barcelona though, and I'm almost sure they would have been contenders for the list if I had.

Jun 11, 13 5:20 am




Honorable mentions: Minneapolis (lived there)/Canberra (lived there)/Kyoto (birth country)]

-what's 'home country'? birth place or places lived?

@Given:  Tokyo isn't all that great (esp to live in, open sewers, etc...).

Jun 11, 13 11:02 am

-what's 'home country'? birth place or places lived?

I guess it doesn't matter.  Since I was born in the U.S. and spent most of my life here, I realize lives aren't always linear.  It would be outside of where you've spent most of your life, but that can be ignored if someone is madly in love with New York or San Francisco.

Jun 11, 13 11:32 am



Yangon (

Jun 11, 13 11:44 am

In no particular order...




Jun 11, 13 11:57 am

1. Berlin (my current residence)

2. Melbourne - although I'm Australian I've only visited Melbourne and it has a similar feel to Berlin

3. Manchester

Jun 11, 13 12:12 pm

Bodie, California

Craco, Basilicata, Italy

Kolmanskop, Namibia

Jun 11, 13 12:48 pm

Vancouver, BC

Sydney, Australia

Vienna, Austria

(Honorable Mentions: Seattle, WA (my hometown), and Shanghai, PRC)

Jun 11, 13 12:52 pm

No particular order.


Los Angeles 

Ann Arbor

Honorable mentions- Toronto because I've only been once and did not know anyone then.

Jun 11, 13 1:09 pm

Venice - because of its uniqueness

London - because of its history

Vancouver, BC - because of its special site

Honorable mention - Rome, because of its history and its food

Jun 11, 13 3:24 pm

@miles fo all of those locations have personal meaning/connection to you? i ask because they are definitely not typical/expected for this sort of thread and only one is even familiar to me by name...

Jun 18, 13 10:05 pm

I'm not going to be wishy-washy and rearrange my choices.  However, Vancouver BC, which has been mentioned a few times, is truly unique and trips to Van with tourists from overseas have caused them to be wowed.

I have not seen San Francisco or New York mentioned.  As for Rome, the historical core is compact and a lot of the neighborhoods where people live are banal mid-rise concrete boxes.  For its architectural contributions, a lot of its housing stock is pretty bad.

Jun 18, 13 10:55 pm

It's important to think about things in terms of time.

Jun 18, 13 11:26 pm




Jun 19, 13 11:35 am

Windsor Ontario!?!?!

Jun 19, 13 8:24 pm

1. Montreal 

2. Florence

3. San Diego 

Jun 19, 13 8:25 pm

I have not seen San Francisco or New York mentioned...

Given that most people here consider the US their home country, and you specifically said cities outside your home country, maybe that's to be expected.

If the list is now open to cities inside our home country, here are mine:

1) London, still in the top spot. My ancestral homeland and by far my favorite city to visit. I'll probably never actually get to live there, but maybe that's just as well. If I did, the magic would probably wear off at some point, and that would be tragic.

2) New York. Now on my third time living here, and no other city inspires me and infuriates me like NYC. The city kicks my ass, I go away for a while, and then I come back for more. I see myself making NYC my permanent home once I'm done with grad school.

3) Portland, or maybe Seattle once I've had the chance to spend more time there. The cities themselves are secondary to the whole Pacific Northwest region, though. I wish I  could put the mountains of Oregon on the west bank of the Hudson River (would anybody really miss New Jersey?).

Honorable mention: Cincinnati. My hometown, and probably one of America's most underrated cities. But it's like a beloved relative who consistently engages in self-destructive behavior, sometimes you need to keep it at arm's length or else you'll get sucked in.

Bottom of the list: Phoenix, AZ. If you took Los Angeles and stripped away everything that makes LA unique and interesting, Phoenix is what you'd have left over.

Jun 19, 13 9:06 pm


That's cool.  Since some (probable) Americans began naming U.S. cities, I guess it wouldn't matter.  A great American city is just a good as a great city elsewhere in the world if you like it.

Favorite American city, or cities, for me?  Both the pros and cons are way too strong for most of the ones I know that I don't think I'd have one.  That said, I think the N.E. population corridor is more my bag, but NOT working and/or living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Hoboken NJ.  Not for me.

Jun 19, 13 9:32 pm

San Francisco

New York

Hong Kong

Jun 20, 13 1:57 am
chatter of clouds

I visited four US cities.

 Of those four, my favourite was definitely LA. The climate, the string of neighbourhoods all felt very familiar.  of course, my guide was selective so i'm sure there there are parts of the city that I might not have enjoyed quite as much - and to be honest, it wasn't so much particular things about LA that i liked but rather the overall feel. Overall, it didn't feel like a city as much as network of neighbourhoods with varying densities and that way, it reminds me of athens and even the beirut-mount lebanon interface. as such, there is no such dichotomy in the form of city vs suburb.

New York was ok. It felt quite cartoonish trotting all over a grid all the time - you know those cartoons with, for example, a brother and a sister holding hands and walking all over a small globe of the earth (i think the illustration idea of cartoonish scale stems originally from The Little Prince book) with tall pop-up models of landmark buildings. thats how i felt like in New York. cute. but after a while, the grid becomes claustrophobic.

Washington DC. well taken care of, pedestrian friendly...etc. but everyone looks like a corporate type. And after 10, the centre is virtually dead. how boring. not my kind of place.

Portland, Oregon. homeless people, drug addiction, people wearing too much fleece i expected to hear bleating, least multicultural city amongst the lot, witnessed white people looking at non whites very obviously with disdain (a couple of of my relatives actually), except the city centre everything is suburby and buses are few and far between..etc. on the plus side,  I must say that the city centre area is charming, the focus on small food business likewise (although I must cofess that i not enjoy food anywhere in the US), many people were friendly and down to earth.

Now, had California been its own socialist country, i would have looooved it but ithe underlying US structure of life, I do not hold in high regard. I preferred neighbouring Canada's. People seemed more content there - although i have never seen a nation so obsessed with coffee. So, maybe see you in Canada? Montreal? ekh, but even there that effing GRID ! A grid of christian martyrs and catholic saints. Its like being in the Shia districts of southern beirut. Catholics and Shia, blood blood blood. ah well, at least i won't be eating poutine.

 Funny anecdote because there's not much to do at work at the moment: I saw a US immigration lawyer because i thought maybe i'll stay in the country for a while longer...why not, i have no attachments and i'm a pretty liberal person; i can accept americans for a considerable time and it would be nice to see my niece and newphew every now and then. very well, we shook hands, he sat me down and then he suggested that  -apart from getting married (me?)- i get mugged as that would be the only way to stay in the country after which i would be able to apply for immigration on the basis of being an assaultee on US soil. i can understand perverse behaviour, sarcasm...i grew up in that milieu. but the man was not smirking, was not joking - he was serious, he was being paid for his services. no no ..he was like: "well, i'm not suggesting that you get yourself in trouble...but this IS a way that could you UNDERSTAAAAND?" oh thank you SIR, i hope i get beaten to a pulp with a small statuette of liberty. No but it was hilarious. Almost as hilarious as the food i was eating in the country.



Jun 20, 13 2:25 am

For short trips, amazing cities I could revisit time and again, but where I'd never want to live:

1. Venice
2. Hong Kong
3. Istanbul

(Honorable mention: Hangzou, Budapest, Ljubljana)


To live (potentially):

1. (O)Porto 
2. Basel
3. Kyoto

(Honorable mention: Copenhagen, Berlin, Shanghai)

Jun 20, 13 5:37 am

To live (potentially):

1. (O)Porto


Discovered it in 2005!  Have now been a total of 4 times.  Their Metro is a light-rail system, though effective.  Lisbon's Metro is a subway.  Porto is more livable.  The people in the Douro area are also nicer.  Maybe they're not as tourist weary.

Jun 20, 13 11:39 am

In no particular order:

1. Tijuana
2. Naples (Italy, not Florida)
3. Paris

Jun 22, 13 12:12 am

Three favorite Small Towns in America:

Mud Butte, South Dakota

Bumble Bee, Arizona

Recluse, Wyoming

Jun 23, 13 10:52 am

1. barcelona/valencia (tie)

3. san francisco

Jun 23, 13 2:01 pm

San Francisco

Berkeley CA

Hackensack NJ in spring and fall only

Madrid Spain


Jun 23, 13 2:04 pm

Bisbee, AZ 

Jun 23, 13 7:17 pm
The Great Northern

In a particular order...


New York


Jun 24, 13 11:56 pm



Port Moresby



Jun 25, 13 12:07 am

bisbee is a wonderful little city Did any of you ever visit Jerome AZ? It is pretty amazing even cooler now that I learned that James Maynard from TOOL lives there.

Jun 25, 13 2:40 am

bisbee is a wonderful little city. Did any of you ever visit Jerome AZ? It is pretty amazing even cooler now that I learned that James Maynard from TOOL lives there.

Jun 25, 13 2:40 am

Alicante, Spain is my all time favorite! 

Jun 25, 13 2:43 am




Jun 25, 13 7:08 am

I live in the USA so no home cities

Venice (so quiet)

Rome (so much to see and eat)

Berlin (so much is new and inspiring)

Jun 25, 13 10:33 pm

Venice is a magical place, without a doubt!  It's too ornate and cluttered though, and I don't think the QOL would be very good, unless you have major coin to drop.  If I had a different list, for places one must see once in their lives, it would be Venice, Paris, Rio, NYC, and San Francisco.

Jun 25, 13 11:38 pm




Aug 26, 13 11:55 pm

alas i have not been to them all yet... so how could i know :'(

Aug 27, 13 12:22 am
Bilal Ozdemir

1. Istanbul

2. New York

3. Dubai (after being retired) :)

Aug 27, 13 12:32 am

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