5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For its favela funk parties, un-paralleled beach life, ever-tempting churrasco, grit and glorious style, our readers were insistent about Rio’s inclusion in the coolest cities list. Rio’s landmarks and landscapes never grow dull, and its vibrant atmosphere energizes and inspires residents and visitors alike.
Playing altinho futebol beach football at Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro © lazyllama/Shutterstock
4. Tokyo, Japan
Though life in its multiple city centres is a true sensory overload – satisfying barrages of crowds, flashing lights, anime, J-pop and futuristic tech – deep in the suburbs and backstreets our readers found a host of fashionable pop-ups, hip bars, slick art galleries and little ramen restaurants with flavours to blow your mind. From hangouts in Yoyogi Park to great hospitality and general politeness towards travellers, Tokyo definitely deserves its spot in the top four.
In the Tokyo metro train © oneinchpunch/Shutterstock
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Balancing on the brink of Europe and Asia, one could easily spend a week beaching and sightseeing in historic Istanbul and never get bored. But to get a taste of contemporary cool you’ll have to leave the oldest neighbourhoods behind. It won’t be long before you stumble upon one of the many edgier districts bursting with hip cafés, independent boutiques, experimental galleries, wild nightclubs and a creative buzz that has the whole world talking Turkey.
At the Grand Bazaar Istanbul © Breslavtsev Oleg/Shutterstock
2. New York City, USA
Our readers knew this top ten list wouldn’t be complete without NYC. But it’s no longer just Manhattan that keeps New York at the top. Brooklyn is ultimately responsible for clenching a strong second place. Its distinct cultural neighbourhoods have birthed much of the world’s most exciting music, art and design. Though gentrification threatens areas like Williamsburg, residents would argue that New York City is still the cultural capital of the world.
Orthodox Jews Wearing Special Clothes on Shabbat, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York © Alfredo Garcia Saz/Shutterstock
1. London, England
London is truly a world unto itself. From fantastic museums to back-alley speakeasies, hip gourmet restaurants to nameless holes-in-the-wall serving the best in far-off cuisines – London’s appeal is impossible to resist. For its dynamism, diversity, creative abundance and cultural wealth our readers were passionate about naming it the world’s coolest. While rampant rises in price endanger everything that has made this city the incredible place it is, Londoners remain hopeful. For now, London still has it all.
Mannequin at a fashion stall in Camden Market, London © Patrick Shutterstock/Shutterstock
Top image: In the Tokyo metro train © oneinchpunch/Shutterstock