"They" recently released a list of top ten cities in the world to live. The first thing wrong with this list is its based of 'statistics' which means nothing. Secondly, we know this list is rubbish as Calgary made the top five(I've been its rubbish). Also four Australian cities made the list( now i've never been so I might be wrong, but I doubt its that great). So rather frustrated I decided to write my own list of top ten cities to live in, which I have been to and quanitfy them with reasons.
1. Vancouver, Canada
One of the coolest and most laid back cities I have visited. It has a wide variety of things to do. From running/walking stanley park, to ice hockey(ignoring the riot, just look at the community clean up effort afterwards to negate that) to a good scene of music and bars. What really pushes Vancouver above the rest in my opinion is its proximity to other sites. In the winter Whistler is an hour away for skiing, and in the summer Mountain Biking. Victoria and its sights are also only a ferry trip away making it an excellent location for weekend getaways if city life gets you down. Plus situated on the west Coast its weather is rather mild.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Historic buildings, a rich history and beer cheaper than water make Prague an excellent city to live. From dawn walks along Charles Bridge to summer days swimming in open air pools it is never boring. The food is also very reasonably priced and excellent (we had wild boar and deer to name a couple).
Osaka ranks in my top favourite cities, it is exciting and glitzy, a lot like Tokyo but not quite as big. Making this a more accessible and thus better city to live in. Plus with Japans excellent train service Tokyo is no more than two hours away, nor are the cultural hubs of Kyoto and Nara more than an hour away, both worth the visit but not so much for living. Downtown is full of Neon and shops galore, while the outer city is quieter but too housing all the amenities and food you could ever want.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Ranked after Osaka purely to being a megapolis, this is also its best aspect. From the kitcsh surroundings of Harijuku to the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku, through to Roppongi bars and the techno heaven of Akhihabara there is so much to do you could never be bored in Tokyo. Rated down the list for the commute and fast pacedness which would drag after awhile, despite this it would still be an awesome city to live in.
5. Bristol, England
Yes, I am biased but I love my city. From the posh victorian cliftonites and the sprawling open spaces of the downs. Its Gloucester road is an independent shopping street that still receives national accreditation to this day, and after shopping can relax in St Andrews park before hitting the pubs. If you fancy heading into town, the centre has interesting spots aplenty, from the Cider Boat to 'artsy' films at the Watershed or Arnolfini. The nightlife is varied and new cool places pop up all the time. If you want to head further afield, Ashton Court just over 'that bridge' is pleasant for walks or picnics.
(reading this, i've clearly read too many lonely planets)
6. Kunming/Chengdu, China
I've joined these two together as I felt I could not choose, and are rather similar. Kunming has undergone a development surge rising it in the rankings. The centre is now modern and closed to vehicles. It is also perfectly situated for exploring the rest of Yunnan ( a must) and is the first arrival point for most who do this. Chengdu, is centred in the heart of Szechuan and like Kunming is therefore easily located for exploring the rest of Szechuan. Chengdu itself is another laid back city (the Chengdu people are frowned upon by the rest of China) with tea gardens aplenty. The old parts are well worth the explore and its young modern side is increasing, making it a good place to be. Did I mention the Panda sanctuary is just outside the city?
7. Austin, Texas
Indeterminably cool Austin is without a doubt a great city to live in. The bars are cool and the people interesting. It also retains its Texas vibes while remaining liberal and alternative. On the hot days one can relax in the nearby Creek and on alternate wednesdays in the summer they put on free gigs. Nearby sights include BBQ and Floating the River. These make Austin a definite favourite, in its faults, it is rather large and so owning a car is a must to get around. BUT the girls are beautiful which easily makes up for that :D
8. San Francisco, USA
Land of the hills, despite this San Francisco has plenty going for it. From neighbourhoods of victorian houses to the hippy hangouts of Haight/Ashbury (worlds best record store also here) to the fantastic views of the golden gate bridge. For liveability, it has a wide range of everything, including great food and bars. Only an hour away up highway 1 you have the splended coastal road and a bit further inland, you have wine country.
9. Lhasa, Tibet
One of the worlds highest cities, Lhasa has a lot going for it. Its cultural sights alone are breathtaking. Potala Palace for instance, I've never seen such an impressive palace and a sky so blue. The people are incredibly friendly, if you ignore all the oppressive Chinese police who by the locals ambivalence only adds to the character. Plenty of tasty tibetan food dishes, including sizzling Yak will keep you entertained and not too mention the proximity to Everest and other buddhist sites, if that is your thing. In time to come the Dalai Lama may return to his home, and you too could think of it as home.
10. Hong Kong
Once Britains far east vestige it now has been returned to the Chinese. For sheer excitement, glitz and glamour Hong Kong is second only to Tokyo. Definitely a city to be rich in, it still holds a fantastic amount of wonder and excitement for any budget. From the cultural sights to the buzz of Lan Kwai Fong. Hong Kong never really disappoints. Even Kowloon is a gem in itself, spiralling towards the north, with the best views of Hong Kong cityscape, to live here would be an adventure in itself.
Well there is my top ten. I hope everyone enjoys, and if you disagree, do tell me. This list will probably change once I finish the whole trip, but until then...