30 Of The Friendliest Cities In The World
Part of the joy of travel is meeting new people and getting to know a new culture through experience. Sometimes this can be harder though when people are less approachable or don't socialize as much as you are used to.
Fortunately, studies such as The Sociable Cities study do a lot of the work for us and let us know which cities are more open to tourists and strangers than others by analyzing the social behavior and attitudes of over 12,000 residents from 39 major cities in 28 countries. We've also done a bit of research ourselves and added a few more cities that weren't included in the actual survey but that are acknowledged among travellers to be full of welcoming, helpful locals.
Here are some of the friendliest cities around.
30. New Orleans
Louisiana's febrile city has returned to its former glory following the devastation left behind from Hurrican Katrina. Now once more synonymous with its carnivalesque atmosphere, French colonial architecture and historic jazz clubs, New Orleans is all-welcoming and a truly unique place on Earth.
Argubally America's party capital, you'll be hard pressed to walk down the famous French Quarter and not find at least one person smiling back at you with complete warmth and sincerity.
Britain's noisy neighbor is known for being one of the friendliest places on Earth, with affable locals across the country known for talking for hours on end. But the luck of the Irish extends far beyond their stunning coastal clifftops, bucolic countryside and charming locals.
In terms of access to higher education, Ireland always performs well. While its young people deal with unprecedented economic woes, they are still able to attend strong colleges and universities, which can often be unavailable to those from other parts of Europe owing to the sky-high costs of further education.
28. San Fransisco
Regularly viewed as America's most liberal city, San Fransisco's energetic buzz- whether it be from the various downtown gay clubs or the creative going-ons in Silicon Valley- is certainly unique. And it's not only the iconic Golden Gate Bridge that makes San Fransisco dazzle.
As well its open-mindedness and tolerance to people of all origins and faiths, the forward-thinking city boasts a spectacular coastline, not to mention being a short drive away from Napa Valley, where you can spend your days tasting wine in the sun or soaking up the California rays in the various hot springs. Admittedly, that plays a large part in San Fransisco's cost of living being almost 36% more expensive than the nearby city of Los Angeles, but with lower crime rates and fewer people to shout at, it seems a price worth paying.
Jamaica is very much synonymous with good vibes, sunshine and plenty of smiles, so it's little wonder people seek all these things and more by booking a stay in one of the Carribean island's many seafront hotels.
There are also many hidden delights, one of which is Pelican Bar on St Elizabeth Island. Just a short boat journey from mainland Jamaica brings you to St Elizabeth Island, where you'll find the floating Pelican Bar. Once a resting place for local fisherman, the bar has since been transformed into one of Jamaica's foremost attractions. A refreshing beer and their signature lobster curry is a must.
The Mediterranean climate of Lisbon makes it sunnier and milder than many other places at this time of year so you can amble amongst the city's charming and historic streets and parklands quite comfortably but now with the added bonus of it being chestnut season where the street vendors sell them roasted by the bag as a great walking snack.
A hilly, coastal capital, there is plenty to see and do outdoors for those looking at getting some leg work in.
The backpacker's destination of choice, Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is known for catering to party people looking to not spend too much money whilst still trying to dive headfirst into a different culture. Being close to Australia and other Asian countries, its price and focus on tourism bring in big crowds from across the globe who seek.
Ancient temples and stunning natural scenery are juxtaposed with welcoming locals and a wild nightlife scene with cheap and cheerful street vendors, making Bangkok one of the most visited destinations in the world.
The ancient Peruvian city of Cusco has an array of ancient ruins from the Inca years and is just a 3-hour train journey from the South American country's most popular attraction: Machu Picchu.
Once considered the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco may now play second fiddle to Lima in the capital stakes, but it proves far more popular with tourists thanks to its friendly locals, impressive archaeological remains and cultural attractions that melt together in a delightful hotpot within the central square of Plaza de Armas.
Famed for its quaint walkways, colorful townhouses, and sun-dappled canals, Amsterdam is a city that manages to remain cultural and picturesque while also maintaining a welcoming vibe.
As well as its marijuana cafes and famous Red Light District, Holland's capital is also home to some of Europe's most prestigious universities which attract thousands of international students which as you can probably imagine, leads to one amazing party scene. As a city with a love for deep house, music venues are plentiful, with many open most days of the week. However, those of a more chilled disposition can take comfort in the vast array of bars and restaurants that are often in unusual locations such as De Kas, which is located in an old greenhouse.
22. Savannah, Georgia, USA
The American South is awash with unique selling points and the beautiful town of Savannah in the state of Georgia is no exception. Used as a filming location for romantic films like the Nicholas Sparks' tearjerker The Last Song and the much famed Tom Hank's movie, Forest Gump, Savannah's sun-drenched walkways and abundant supply of Spanis Moss trees ornately decorate much of this coastal city.
Not only this but Savannah's beaches are some of America's best. Merge this with its antebellum architecture, world-class BBQ joints and all-round goodness of its locals, and you have a city that is one of America's best-kept secrets.
21. Rotterdam - Netherlands
With increased tolerance of the LGBT community and immigration, Rotterdam is one of the friendliest places in Europe to visit.
With an okay nightlife and dining scenes, it's not exactly everything you could wish for, but it has enough to keep most happy.
20. Barcelona - Spain
Employment is really not good in Barcelona (or Spain in general at the moment) but health care and LGBT tolerance are really soaring, and public transport and cost of housing aren't bad either.
Access to contraception is poor, and tolerance and equality are beyond middling but not much more so.
19. Berlin, Germany
The German capital sees residents put a level of trust in their friends that is only topped by one other place and is enough to see the city sneak into this list.
A modern hub of tech, finance, arts, and culture; Berlin has a lot of residents from all over Europe and is welcoming to the fact.
18. Milan, Italy
The stylish Italian city has the highest level of openness towards others which is perfect for those visiting as the locals are more likely to be warm and friendly toward you than any other city on the list.
Residents are also the most willing to mingle while traveling themselves and it is this open-mindedness that makes the city so pleasant to visit.
17. Vancouver, Canada
Canadians are globally renowned for being friendly and polite, so it is little wonder that a couple of their major cities have made this list and Vancouver is one of them.
A coastal seaport in Canada, it has, historically, always seen many people of many nationalities disembark there and is perhaps partly why it is so friendly towards tourists.
16. Helsinki, Finland
With the second highest score in the world for socializing, Finns love to stay social, and this is partly down to the long, dark winters that engender a culture of needing to be around others.
This then lends itself to a desire to go out and so Helsinki is a great place to go out because they love to socialize there.
15. Warsaw, Poland
The Polish way of life places a lot of emphasis on friends and family, and, as such, residents of Warsaw placed their third highest value on entertaining at home, meaning this is a great place to get an authentic home-cooked meal.
It may not be as 'wild' as other places, but the Paris of the East is very welcoming to tourists.
14. Baltimore, USA
It is perhaps unsurprising that many of these cities on this list are seaports and Baltimore is another one where the influx from cultures of the globe have helped to create an open and friendly attitude.
With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed "a city of neighborhoods" and it is this feeling that everyone has a home within the city that makes it a welcoming experience for many.
13. Paris, France
Parisians have made a name for themselves on the back of their unique culture, and often they are painted as rude and unfriendly which clearly doesn't seem to be the case.
Partly this is down to their food and drink scene which sees them dining al fresco and places an emphasis on socializing, for which they are third in the world for.
12. Sydney, Australia
The gorgeous city of Sydney is surrounded by sandy beaches and often has the sunshine that gets the residents out and about and keeps them relaxed. A barbecue and a few beers are the height of socializing, and there are so many great places to eat, it is little wonder they love going out.
Very popular with tourists, the residents see all walks of life within their city limits and are quite used to it.
11. Toronto, Canada
The second Canadian city to make it onto the list, Toronto is well known for its many festivals it holds including its Pride, Music and Comedy festivals which are designed to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere around the city throughout the year.
The most populous city in Canada, it is a hub for culture and finance in North America.
10. Cape Town
Cape Town has done a lot in recent years to rid itself of its violent past and this has been helped by the legacy of the country's late social and political icon, Nelson Mandella. Go there today and you'll be met by affable locals and free-spirited surfers who'd be more than happy to share a beer with you.
While certain parts of Cape Town are still a no-go, stick to the tourist areas and South Africa's premier draw will leave you feeling loved as well as sun-kissed.
9. Hamburg, Germany
A liberal and accepting city, Hamburg is open and tolerant to many different peoples and lifestyles, and this shows as they have the third highest openness to others in the world.
They are also the third most willing to mingle with new people when they travel themselves with the same open-mindedness they have at home.
8. Rome, Italy
The Italian capital has people with the second highest level of openness to others and the second highest number of residents most open to meet new people when they travel.
This combined with its many historical wonders are probably why it is one of the most visited cities on Earth.
7. Madrid, Spain
Social life in Spain is big, and if you've ever visited the country's capital, you will have noticed that residents don't tend to start their evenings until later on and will then keep going right through until dawn.
This has made them the most likely to be up for "any excuse to party" as well as having the second highest frequency of meeting friends.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen ranked highly in many areas with the Danish culture of 'hygge' lending itself to meeting up with friends and socializing whilst its residents have the second most liberal thinking of other people's lifestyles in the world.
They are also the second most likely to value social priorities over their own individual priorities, are the most likely to value entertaining at home, and are the third most frequent users of social media.
5. New Yorck City, USA
An icon of Americana, New York has long been one of the cities that is projected to the rest of the world as the idyll of American life and thus is a major attraction to global visitors for its theater, arts, entertainment, and food.
Where NYC really makes waves though is the array of cuisine. In fact, New Yorkers eat out more than anywhere else in the world, approximately once every four days, and so they love to meet up with friends to chow down.
4. Boston, USA
Boston's residents have the third highest frequency both of seeing friends and of eating out doing both several times a week and often combining the two.
Although they don't eat out as much as New Yorkers, it is a combination of their frequency to do so and their open approach to others that sees them top other American cities.
3. Chicago, USA
The highest ranked of all the US cities, it is a real foodie spot, and it seems this is where Americans draw most of their social interactions from (if this list is anything to go on).
Chicago has the second highest frequency of dining out, and average 88 out-of-home social occasions per year, putting the city in third place.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm has the most liberal residents in the world, and so they are welcoming and accepting of all lifestyles whilst they are also the second most frequent users of social media and are incredibly community-minded.
A stunning city and the capital of Sweden, the culture here is endemic to most of the country.
1. Gothenburg, Sweden
With its residents placing their highest value on the planet socializing, they are most likely to value social priorities over their own individual priorities and are the third most liberal city regarding their attitudes towards other people's lifestyles in the world so it is no wonder that Gothenburg has topped various lists and surveys regarding friendly cities.
As the most frequent users of social media, many locals have been known to seek out groups simply to look for "any excuse to party." This really is the place to go to enjoy meeting others.