Friday, May 29, 2015

My 100 Favorite Cities on Earth, from a Tourist Perspective (of those seen so far)

Perhaps seeking some transcontinental inspiration, my sister Allison recently asked if I had written any blog posts ranking the favorite cities I've visited worldwide.

I cited such a post during a "Best of the Decade" blitz that jump started this blog--after years of dormancy--at the end of 2009.

My Favorite Cities Visited in the '00s listed my top U.S. and global cities separately, and related posts covered favorite museums and simply my favorite sights seen.

Over the past 5-1/2 years, I've been to some incredible places that would augment such lists.

But as challenging--and clearly imperfect--as it may be to compare regional U.S. cities with European capitals, to recall places I went to in the 1990s with acuity to match those I may have visited multiple times in recent years and to figure out where my hometown of Chicago should rank as a tourist destination, I've decided just to do a Top 50 ranking of cities I've most enjoyed as a tourist.

Splitting hairs as it may be, this is a "My Favorite" list, which may not be the same as a "The Best" list, even if drafted by me. Only covering cities I've visited and not those I may want to, my rankings factor in such aspects as tourist attractions, visual appeal, architecture, dining, etc., but also things I'm particularly partial to, such as theater, art museums and baseball stadiums.

Unlike many, including Allison, my travel proclivity is for visiting big cities, rather than beach resorts, quaint small towns or places of natural beauty, and thus this is a list of tourism-rich cities that doesn't include such scenic marvels I've enjoyed such as the Grand Canyon, Petra, Bryce Canyon, the Cliffs of Moher, etc., unless the scenery is in or rather near the city itself (such as the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo).

So take it with a grain of salt, and factor in your own preferences in using this as any sort of guide, but based both on my experiences and trying to consider each destination from the standpoint of a first-time visitor, here are:

My 100 Favorite Tourist Cities (of those I've visited)
Hyperlinks to travel guides, recaps or travelogues I've written

1. London (guide)
2. New York
3. Florence
4. Paris (recap) 
5. Venice
6. Chicago (guide) 
7. Krakow (recap) 
8. Barcelona
9. Rome 
10. Bilbao (Spain)

11. Vienna (recap) 
12. Washington, D.C. (guide) 
13. Buenos Aires (travelogue) 
14. Philadelphia
15. New Orleans
16. San Francisco (guide) 
17. Mexico City (travelogue) 
18. Budapest (travelogue) 
19. Rio de Janeiro (travelogue) 
20. Prague (part of this photoverview) 

21. Amsterdam
22. Boston
23. Cairo (travelogue) 
24. Dublin
25. Pisa
26. Liverpool
27. St. Petersburg (Russia) (travelogue) 
28. Melbourne (Australia)
29. Montreal
30. Siena (Italy)

31. Toronto
32. Seattle
33. Sydney
34. Toledo (Spain)
35. Denver
36. Pittsburgh
37. Stockholm 
38. Nashville
39. San Antonio
40. Helsinki

41. Memphis, TN
42. Madrid
43. Jerusalem
44. Copenhagen
45. Kansas City 
46. Austin 
47. Brussels 
48. Tel Aviv
49. Los Angeles
50. Detroit (guide)

51. Milwaukee
52. Las Vegas
53. Grand Rapids (guide)
54. Santa Fe
55. Vancouver

56. Cleveland
57. Louisville

58. Safed (Israel)

59. San Diego
60. Mason City/Clear Lake, IA

61. Indianapolis

Minneapolis/St. Paul
63. Phoenix/Scottsdale
64. Kilkenney (Ireland)
65. Victoria, BC

66. Niagara Falls

67. Dayton
68. Eilat (Israel)
69. St. Louis
Miami/Miami Beach

71. Springfield, IL
72. Atlanta
73. Oklahoma City 
74. Toledo, OH
75. Hannibal, MO
76. Cincinnati
77. Tulsa
78. Taos, NM
79. Dallas
80. Lake Havasu City, AZ

81. Cooperstown, NY
82. Cairns (Australia)
83. Albuquerque
84. Madison, WI
85. Rapid City, SD
86. Baltimore

87. Buffalo
88. Columbus, IN
89. Columbus, OH

90. Houston

91. Des Moines
92. Champaign/Urbana 
93. Ojai, CA
94. Tijuana
95. Atlantic City
96. Lake Geneva, WI
97. Daytona Beach, FL
98. Canton, OH
99. Green Bay
100. Branson, MO

(Note: List adjusted slightly on August 7, 2015 after trip to Miami; Santa Fe had mistakenly been listed twice so Miami was easily added with little re-slotting. Key West would also merit inclusion from #61-100, but I didn't wish to rearrange the prior rankings.)  

1 comment:

Ken said...


Thanks for this. I'll keep it as a handy reference. It's a true tour de force!