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Think your favorite city has got it all? The Economist Intelligence Unit recently released its annual rankings of the world’s most “liveable” cities, which analyzes a variety of factors — including cost of living, average salary, recreational activities, quality of public transportation and crime rates — in 140 cities around the world to determine which ones offer their residents the best of everything. According to the report, “Every city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable.” For the first time in more than a decade, global liveability improved, but the top five cities have held their places. While no US cities made it into the top 10, Australia and Canada rose to the challenge. Clearly, our neighbors to the north — and way down under — are onto something.
1. Melbourne, Australia
For the seventh year in a row, Australia’s second biggest city has claimed the top spot on this list, with an overall score of 97.5 out of 100. Nicknamed Marvelous Melbourne for a reason, the city offers a crazy amount of cultural institutions — including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Immigration and Melbourne Museums — with an abundance of green spaces like the Royal Botanic Gardens and an ever-changing lineup of unique festivals. Plus: a coffee scene like you’ve never experienced — Cup of Truth, one of the city’s best, is located in a subway station.
2. Vienna, Austria
Missing out on the top spot by just 0.1 percentage point, Austria’s capital city scored points for being a large city that allows its residents room to breathe, especially when compared to other buzzy places like New York, Paris, London and Tokyo. Vienna also has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, and maintains the same love of culture it did back when composers like Mozart and Beethoven called it home (hence the many opera houses), with some of its best museums located within the Museumsquartier. One could easily make a day of sightseeing by just walking around and gazing up at the amazing architecture at places like Schönbrunn Palace and the gothic masterpiece that is St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
3. Vancouver, Canada
Canada’s domination of the top five begins in Vancouver, which, like its fellow most liveable cities, offers a great mix of cultural offerings and plenty of outdoor things to do — it’s bordered by four bodies of water, boasts a bunch of beaches, is surrounded by a rainforest and offers wonderful views of the North Shore Mountains at every turn. And while it’s got a cutting-edge food scene, you can also get a taste of the Victorian era with a visit to its Gastown neighborhood, where cobblestone streets will lead you to some of the city’s coolest art galleries, clothing boutiques and gastropubs. Bibliophiles won’t want to miss MacLeod’s Books, a treasure trove of rare and antique titles, all with that lovely old book smell.
4. Toronto, Canada
Though it’s not Canada’s capital city — that would be Ottawa — it’s arguably the country’s most metropolitan spot, with an iconic skyline that’s easily recognizable around the world because of the CN Tower, one of the world’s largest freestanding buildings, where adrenaline junkies can get their kicks with an Edgewalk. And while Toronto locals love their hockey — the city’s home to the Hockey Hall of Fame — one of its most unexpected benefits is the sheer diversity of its amazing food scene. With delectable spots that serve up everything from Ethiopian to South Korean fare, you could eat out for weeks and try a new type of cuisine every night. If you’ve never tried pide, make Mustafa Turkish Pizza your first stop.
5. Calgary, Canada
Often referred to as Cowtown, Calgary is where the old west and a modern-day metropolis collide. Sure, it’s got all the things you’d expect from a major city — a first-class zoo, lots of great museums and an enormous amusement park — but also pays tribute to the olden days with events like the annual Calgary Stampede.
5. Adelaide, Australia
Nope, that’s not a typo: Tying Calgary for fifth place on the survey is Adelaide, South Australia’s capital city. Founded in 1836, there’s much history to be found here — and the city works hard to preserve its landmark structures and architecture. Though it offers plenty to do, it does it in a much more compact way than bigger cities like Melbourne and Sydney, which is a plus for people who don’t like big crowds. Its most popular spot for tourists is Rundle Mall, a strip of restaurants, bars and shops that can keep you busy for days. Just make sure to reward yourself for all that walking with a stop at the legendary Haigh’s Chocolates.
Rounding out the top 10 best cities are:
(since Calgary and Adelaide both tied for #5, there is no #6)
7. Perth, Australia
8. Auckland, New Zealand
9. Helsinki, Finland
10. Hamburg, Germany
In case you were wondering, these cities landed in the bottom 10 spots:
10. Kiev, Ukraine
9. Douala, Cameroon
8. Harare, Zimbabwe
7. Karachi, Pakistan
6. Algiers, Algeria
5. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
4. Dhaka, Bangladesh
3. Tripoli, Libya
2. Lagos, Nigeria
1. Damascus, Syria
H/T: Yahoo News
Featured image courtesy of Boy_Anupong/Getty Images.
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