This City Was Just Named No. 1 in the U.S. to Live, Work, and Visit

What is the best city in America? This question sparks much debate, but each year, Resonance, a global consulting company, offers one of the most respected and comprehensive lists of the most desirable urban areas to live, work, and visit.

This list is based on a methodology that includes various crucial statistics on livability, desirability, and prosperity. Rankings are based on cities with over half a million residents.

New York City: The Unrivaled Champion

For the ninth consecutive year, New York City takes the top spot. The Big Apple ranked first in shopping, landmarks, and sights categories. The report notes, “In 2024, it is U.S. urban recovery writ large, with a dizzying roster of new shows, hotels, and parks — and record real estate prices.

But the Big Apple is always worth the price of admission, especially in these glory days.” Estimates show that the city would recover 97 percent of its pre-pandemic visitation levels by the end of this year.

Despite booming tourism, it’s not all good news for New York City. The report highlights that office occupancy is at 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and subway ridership is down as well.

Chicago: A Close Second

Chicago secured the second spot on Resonance’s list, praised for its “infrastructure and affordability that eludes many other iconic global cities.” Chicago ranked second in nightlife and first in the convention center subcategory, which measures the size of the largest convention center in the city.

Additionally, Chicago is home to the second-most Fortune 500 headquarters in the country, behind New York, and ranks in the top five in several prosperity categories like job postings and professional services.

Los Angeles: The Bronze Winner

Los Angeles took third place. The report highlights the City of Angels for its top-notch restaurants and second place for museums. The city’s significant investments in infrastructure, such as the LAX investment project and America’s first high-speed, all-electric rail connecting Los Angeles with Las Vegas, promise to boost tourism, create jobs, and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Miami and Las Vegas: Rounding Out the Top Five

Miami and Las Vegas complete the top five best cities in America. Las Vegas ranked first in the attractions subcategory, while Miami excelled in the foreign-born residents’ subcategory. San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C., followed, ranking sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively. The final two spots were claimed by Seattle (ninth) and Houston (10th).

New York City and San Francisco: Global Recognition

Among American cities, only New York City and San Francisco made it to the top 10 of the best world cities in 2024.

Notable Mentions: The South and Colorado

The report also highlights other prominent cities in the U.S. Boise, Idaho, secured the second spot, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado, in third.

Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, rounded out the top five. Raleigh, North Carolina, Huntsville, Alabama, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Austin, Texas, and Boulder, Colorado, all made it into the top ten. Although the South dominated the rankings, Colorado had a strong presence with Boulder making the list.

Shift in Analytical Approach

Resonance announced a shift in its analytical approach, opting to focus on “city-based data” rather than “metropolitan area-based data.” This adjustment emphasizes two key categories: value and job market measures, which are among the four main criteria used in their assessments.

Climate Change and Its Impact

Meanwhile, in a seemingly unrelated yet equally significant event, record-low levels of sea ice around Antarctica in 2023 were made at least four times more likely by climate change. In July 2023, the extent of Antarctic sea ice during winter fell to its lowest since satellite records began in late 1978, with about 2.5 million square kilometers less than usual.

Researchers, led by those at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), investigated the probability of such a significant reduction in sea ice and the role of climate change in making this event more likely to happen.

Conclusion

In conclusion, New York City continues to reign supreme as the best city in the U.S. to live, work, and visit, according to Resonance’s comprehensive list.

With its unmatched offerings in shopping, landmarks, and cultural sights, it’s no surprise that the Big Apple maintains its top position. Cities like Chicago and Los Angeles also showcase their strengths in infrastructure, affordability, and cultural attractions.

As we navigate urban recovery and the impacts of climate change, these rankings provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of America’s urban centers.

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