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General Travel

Help me find my perfect city to live in.

Hey Trippy community!

After traveling to 8 different countries and many different cities within them, my favorite city in the world is still San Francisco. But I think maybe I can do better. Can you help me find some cities that have these attributes?

  1. Walkable. Everyone walks (or bikes) everywhere and people can often be seen jogging in the streets.
  2. Good public transit. This ties into #1, but basically I'd love to not have to have a car in this city.
  3. Diverse. Lots of people of different ethnicities and backgrounds.
  4. Artsy. This city features lots of museums, art shows, and concerts, and is home to many musicians, writers, and other artists.
  5. Clean. The locals are into sustainable energy and recycling.
  6. GOOD FOOD. Obviously, this is the most important. ;)

These cities can be anywhere in the world. I look forward to your suggestions!

20 Answers

top answer by
Jahn from Barcelona

Hi Amy!

You need to come to Spain to really live your life out loud!!! I recommend you to visit Barcelona and discover that you never want to go anywhere else.

1. Walkable, check! Make sure you live downtown so; close to the beaches if you want to go for a run in the morning is perfect.

2. Public Transport. Okay, this is Spain, but for that it really works well. 

3. Diverse. It is.

4. Artsy. YEESS!

5. Clean. We could improve, but it's getting better.

6. Good food. Make sure you read my guidebook before trying ;-) (#BCN - by locals) or start with Restaurant 7 Portes and Restaurante La Venta to get a good picture of the local cuisine.

Will meet you for a coffee once you touchdown in the perfect place to live your life!

Saludos, Jahn

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Restaurant 7 Portes (restaurant)
  3. Restaurante La Venta (restaurant)
6 thanks

answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

Barcelona has all what you're looking for, maybe also LondonBerlin and Buenos Aires minus the clean part ;)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. London (city)
  3. Berlin (city)
  4. Buenos Aires (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

Escape North America!  :)  You can find everything you want abroad.

Valencia scores high on all points except probably isn't as diverse as other cities like Barcelona which would score high on all points. Between the local trains, high-speed AVE, local buses, and beautiful wide walkable streets and pedestrain-only city centers, these Spanish cities are both great. Add truly phenomenal, diverse food and you've got a win-win. Valencia is smaller and more personal to me. It also has some great street art like that by artist Escif. Barcelona has art down to a science - just check out the Basílica de la Sagrada Família and other works by Gaudi. The city is born for art.

Berlin is modern, pristine, full or art both in museums and "artsy" areas, and extremely walkable. Use the U-bahn for longer trips and the reliable trains across the country to other city centers.

The very first city I thought of when you said "walkable" is Amsterdam, but this is true for other Dutch cities like Maastricht which is also incredible and perhaps one that I prefer.  Both cities will score high on your requirement scale. You see more bicycles than cars. Walking and biking are cultural realities. Both are artsy and diverse. Amsterdam may be more diverse culturally, but Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands and sits on the border of Germany and Belgium, so a quick hop on the train and you can be all over Europe very quickly. The benefit to these also is that the Dutch all speak near perfect English, so language is never a problem.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Valencia (city)
  2. Barcelona (city)
  3. Basílica de la Sagrada Família (attraction)
  4. Berlin (city)
  5. Amsterdam (city)
  6. Maastricht (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Rosemarie from Penticton

I think one of the best cities to live is Vancouver BC Canada.  The city has lots to offer all on your list and more.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vancouver (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Rella from Johannesburg

Cape Town, South Africa! Having lived there most of my life and having traveled the world quite extensively, I would still choose it as number one for a great lifestyle, relaxed living and natural beauty.

From your list it scores high for diversity, arts and GREAT food. It is a new city with a lot of young energy going into sustainable energy and alternative culture.

Certain areas are very walkable and public transport has improved tenfold since the soccer world cup.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cape Town (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Gerry from Boston


It scores high in all 6 of your attributes.

you could walk from one end of Boston to the other in a matter of hours, not days.

T is pretty good, mostly reliable and is clean.

Lots of students from all over the world have come to our great universities, fell in love with our city , and stayed after graduation.

Very artsy, lots of museums,writers, and artists.

Very clean city, on a clean Boston Harbor.

Great food, especially seafood, great ethnic foods too.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Boston (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Marina from Canada

This is a tough question!  I've been mulling it over myself so it struck a chord with me.

San Fran is one of my favorite cities in North America.  However, I just spent 4 days in Chicago and have a renewed appreciation for the buzz and beauty of the Windy City.  It has all of the things you're looking for.  Unless however, you want warm weather.  It was very cold during our stay (made worse by wind off of the lake) and it's only November. 

What about Boston?  History, culture, brains and delicious eats. Another one of my favs, but the weather can also be a drag if you're coming from CA temperatures.

What about outside of North America?  Zurich? Berlin?  The list is endless!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chicago (city)
  2. Boston (city)
  3. Zurich (city)
  4. Berlin (city)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Roxanne from Montreal

Not to boast much, but Montreal has all that. Multicultural, great restaurants, good public transport, etc. There is just the problem of the winter cold but still the best place to live for me.

If ever i was forced to leave my city, my choice would be Seattle. Yes, SF is a great city but Seattle is even better. Not too big, very wakable, goog  bus and troley systems, great restaurants and, the most important, the locals are so friendly. Try it, you'll like it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Montreal (city)
  2. Seattle (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Alexandra from Berlin

If you haven't been there yet, go to Melbourne! I've stayed in the city for just for 2 weeks but could have stayed forever. It's very artsy and offers a lot of culture, street art, museums and concerts. Great food and the best coffee in the world (except for Italy) can be found on every corner. Melbourne is ethnically diverse with a lot of beautiful people from Australia, Asia, New Zealand and Europe. You really don't need a car there, the CBD is extremely walkable and public transport is good. Melbourne is clean, super relaxed and even has a beach - St Kilda Beach! It comes very close to the perfect city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. (attraction)
  2. St Kilda Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Sarasota, can take the busline along the coastline easily. Biking and walking over the bridges is fun. Great restaurants.....arts...festivals....easy to love...

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sarasota (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Doon from North Sydney

Copenhagen is the answer to just about everything you are looking for - they even have rentable bikes to get from the airport into the city, it has one of the largest communities of bike riders in the world.

The food is incredible with one of the top restaurants in the world Noma in Copenhagen and they have incredible organic farms and foraging restaurants all over Denmark.

There is a huge diversity of people due to their incredibly liberal immigration policies and they are world leaders in recycling, sustainable living.  I recently saw a documentary where an architect created a building that was considered a new benchmark for community living.  If you can try and get hold of  a documentary by the guy who does River Cottage in England, the chef, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall called Scandimania.  Its quite fun and gives a real insight into the liberal and freethinking attitudes of the Danish.  Copenhagen is home to a lot of new fresh artists and filmmakers.

That's my thought anyway. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Copenhagen (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Kim from Canada

I love living in Toronto for all the criteria you mentioned. If you're looking to live downtown everything is walkable and transit is ok, but bicycle culture is big here and since the city is so spread out most downtowners chose bike as the best mode of transit. Not all of the criteria work the further out from downtown that you go and rents downtown can be steep so that might be a consideration as well as winter can be a bit of a caveat for some. But in terms of diversity, arts, food and greenspace, I have yet to find better in the world!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Toronto (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Anne from Hengelo

How about Amsterdam? Not all locals are into sustainable energy and recycling I guess, but other than that..

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Amsterdam (city)
2 thanks

answered by

Try and look in to Penang. Very multi cultural place with a fantastic food scene.

I travel mostly by food and bike myself and I find this is fine there just like they have decent public transport.

The art scene is slowly starting to pop up there, mainly with some good street art.

You could also look in to Lisbon for a good multi cultural city with a very good art vibe and a young population who is increasingly active in enviromental issues.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Penang (city)
  2. Lisbon (city)
2 thanks

answered by
mumtaz from Toronto

Paris IS THE CITY. but I live in Toronto, its good but COLD!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Jason from Cape Town

Amsterdam basically fits your requirements perfectly.

Cape Town is better for climate and culture. There is so much to do especially outdoors. A car would probably be needed, but the city is very cheap so that makes up for it. I have been to over 100 cities and the best food I have ever had is in Cape Town. To top it off eating out is cheap enough to do it all the time. I'm not much of a cook so I eat out most days. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Amsterdam (city)
  2. Cape Town (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Chieko from Tokyo

Tokyo, except #3 Diversity. I think diverse is important point on your list but still, I can promise the other attributes with Tokyo :) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tokyo (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Diana from Lisbon

Hey Amy!

Without any doubt I'd say Lisbon.

It's a city where you feel you're going back in time. The trams, the old neighbourhoods, the typical "tascas", the big diversity of tiles beautifully preserved, they all give Lisbon an air of long-time-ago-and-far-away-from-Europe place.

But then you also have the more modern parts of the city like Vasco da Gama Bridge, or Avenida da Liberdade (they say it's the Portuguese Champs-Elysees: fancy shops, boutiques and cafés ). 

In terms of diversity, it's a multicultural city with minorities from Cape Verde, Brasil, Angola  (due to former colonization) which is quite exotic :).

As for public transportation, Lisbon has all means of transport: metro, bus, trams, train and... your almighty feet - because it's always a good option to stroll around Alfama meet the nice old locals, take photos, drink a "bica". The best part is that you'll always leave behind one unbeaten narrow street...the magic of Alfama :).

Never-have-enough-of: on Sundays go to one of the different viewpoints (Lisbon is also the city of the 7 hills) to have a coffee, a conversation / a good read and to lay your eyes over the sleepy city...

There are so many restaurants and cafés to have some delicious pastry or some fish/meat/seafood based meals...Food is something nobody can complain about in Portugal...wherever you go, there's a traditional dish and dessert. It's heaven for all the incurable foodies! :)

Then in the evening, you walk by the Tagus River, sit on the terrace of the old kiosk and watch the sun setting over the Ponte 25 de Abril (by the way, this bridge will remember your San Francisco...and so you'll somehow always feel at home:) ). 

As for the clean part, you'll find artsy garbage cans spread all over the city. Also there are Portuguese street artists that do amazing pieces out of recycled trash, like this guy right here: . Curious fact:  Lisbon has been nominated a lot of times as running the world stage of street art - if you're into it :)

Talking about art, Portugal is so culturally rich that I don't even know where to start from. Museums for everything (modern art, contemporary, puppets, tiles, carriages etc.), art shows by the amazing Atelier Joana Vasconcelos, concerts inside, concerts outside on the streets...Lisbon is spread with music. Speaking of music, Portugal is famous for hosting many international festivals (Rock in Rio is probably more world wide known). 

Most people would probably recommend you big capitals, but in Lisbon, you won't feel the tiring buzz of a capital - here I refer mainly to the traffic and that already makes a whole lot of a difference. But then again, it's been quite in vogue...there are more and more tourists all year long. 

Instead of being a tourist I recommend you to become a local - this place is a source of inspiration, perfect for the creative souls. ;)

PS : I hope this long description speaks the passion I have for the city :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lisbon (city)
  2. Vasco da Gama Bridge (attraction)
  3. Avenida da Liberdade (attraction)
  4. Alfama (attraction)
  5. Tagus River (attraction)
  6. Ponte 25 de Abril (attraction)
  7. Atelier Joana Vasconcelos (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Gizem from Izmir

Izmir - Walkable YES, Good Public Transit - buses, metro, ferry and boats, dolmus (public taxis) YES, diverse YES, Artsy - Not as rich as Istanbul but that is an hour fly away from Izmir. Clean YES, Good Food - DELICIOUS. In addition not very crowded, nice affordable cafes and restaurants, hardly traffic jam, very good weather (perfect between April and November) very close to great holiday resorts like Cesme Kusadasi Bodrum Foça Ayvalık and friendly people.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Izmir (city)
  2. Cesme (attraction)
  3. Kusadasi (city)
  4. Bodrum (city)
  5. Foça (metro area)
  6. Ayvalık (metro area)

answered by
Ed from Salt Lake City

I would add climate, affordability, friendliness, and opportunities for recreation to the top of that list.  Otherwise, the cities are just good places to visit.  So far the list includes some of the pickpocket capitals of the world, some ungodly humid places,and other places I've crossed off my list, even when they meet those six particular criteria.  Good luck with your search, I am looking, too.

comments (2)

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