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Amy
Florida

Amy from Florida asked

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
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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



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answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

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


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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.


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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.


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Amy
I met a couple from Vancouver while living in Peru, and they RAVED about it! They spoke of the diversity and the amazing food often. Definitely want to visit. Thank you!
 
 
 

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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.


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Debbie
Cape Town sounds like a really amazing place :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Gerry from Boston

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.


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Claire
Agree !!! I lived there for a couple of years and it was a great place to live. Colder in the winter than San Francisco but it is walkable, diverse, lots and lots of culture, car not necessary as there is excellent public transportation all over th Bay Area. Great food, lots to do.
 
 
 

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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!


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Johnny
Portland is the easy answer. Now a lot of people will try and argue Portland is not diverse. Sure in certain areas it definitely lopsided, but in NW Portland there are all kinds of people living there. Walkable? Check. Public Transit? Check (MAX and Bus are pretty solid). Artsy? Check. It's Portland, need I say more? Clean and Good Food? Double Check. Portland (minus some areas near Burnisde) is an incredibly clean city and has some of the best food in the PNW. You have a certain specialty favorite food, you'll find it somewhere here in Portland. To top it off, Portland is one of the best cities for weather. You'll hear a lot of people complain how gloomy it is during the winter but the sun peaks out every now and then - especially this year. It's been a pretty mild winter in terms of rain and gloom. Portland does have a competitive housing market but it's definitely nowhere near the level of SF. In fact, it's quite easy to shack up with some roommates for a reasonable rent anywhere near the river (Eastside). The other thing I like about Portland is how the city changes drastically when you cross the river. On the eastside you have your typical hipster hangouts, super dive bars, great (reasonably priced eateries) and residential areas. When you cross the river, boom you're downtown. High class restaurants, clubs, luxury lofts, PSU, more of the yuppie side of Portland. Although I don't favor one side or the other - it's refreshing to get out and experience a different type of people if you will.
 

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Marina
I didn't even think of Portland but everything you say about the city is very accurate! Just big enough to offer a host of amenities.
 
 
 

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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!



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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.


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answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

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


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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. 


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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!


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answered by
Anne from Hengelo

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


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answered by
claus

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.


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answered by
mumtaz from Toronto

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


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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. 


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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 :) 


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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: http://www.boredpanda.com/recycled-owl-sculpture-street-art-owl-eyes-artur-bordalo/ . 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 :)


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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.


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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.


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Scott
I think many of the people who have posted are either proud of the city they live in, and think it has a lot to offer, or have been taken in by a place they could see themselves living. I'm sure they were just trying to help Amy out. I don't see the need to condescend other replies.
 

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Ed
I was just pointing out that on the important decision of where to live, don't forget to go a little deeper than what makes places attractive to visit. Based on Amy's list, I agree with the cities being named. I've been to many of them. But I have been looking for a better place to live for quite awhile and, as much as much as I enjoyed some of these cities and even long to return, they aren't on my list as places to move to because they are lacking some or all of the qualities I've added to the list. Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and, for the same reasons, San Fransisco all land in that category. Some of the places I would consider moving to wouldn't make Amy's list. Merida, Mexico and Zagreb, Croatia might go in that set. I'm not trying to be critical of Amy or anybody else (where does THAT come from?), I'm just pointing out there are more criteria that need to be considered before packing up the household goods and getting a resident visa. I've been working on this very question for some years, so it was obvious to me that, although some of the mentions could stand out as winners based on these criteria, they really didn't stand out as places to move to. The real question is what makes the best place to relocate to. San Fransisco would fit Amy's six criteria, and she wants something beyond!
 
 
 
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