A happy city can be many things – a place where you start your morning singing with the birds Show White style, or maybe just somewhere you feel safe and can see that things are changing for the better. We've scoured the web for happiness scores, and found that there are happiness lists for practically everything - visitors, residents, workforce, even the environment. Our scoring is based on the cities that consistently score highly across the board, so you know it's legit...
Known as ‘Australia’s hub of sport, style and culture’, Melbourne has all of our favourite aspects of coastal Australia, combined with the coolness of an international modern metropolis. Despite it’s well documented ‘4 seasons in a day’ weather pattern, average temp highs actually range from the mid-teens to high twenties all year long, so you’ve got those sweet sunny rays to add to the happiness levels. The bars are killer, the surrounding landscape is green and lush, the health care and school systems are top notch and the job opportunities are a-plenty – what’s not to love?
Zurich is a hot bed of job opportunities, especially for those working in the finance and banking industries (so no surprise it’s one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, with the potential to earn the mega bucks). It’s consistently rated one of the most livable cities in the world, and with epic nightlife, amazing culture and all of that amazing Swiss food – what more could you want?
As one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America, and arguably the most developed city in Mexico, Monterrey has become a major business hub for multinational companies. It boasts some of the best hospitals worldwide, and with good medical prices it’s a hugely popular medical tourism destination. For the less medically interested, Monterrey ticks all the right boxes – sunny climes, sweet nightlife and a rapidly expanding culinary scene.
Maybe it’s the lack of car horns that comes with fully pedestrianised streets and allocated bike lanes. Maybe it’s the mix of high class restaurants that’ll wow even the most sophisticated palette. Maybe it’s the beautiful beaches that are only a bike ride away from the city centre, or the city’s past life as a quaint fishing village shining through. Regardless, Copenhagen is known as an environmentally friendly and picturesque capital with a high quality of life and tons of appeal. Thrown in free healthcare, free education, and a magical European lifestyle, and that’s a happiness trifecta.
With a hip and multicultural vibe, expanding infrastructure and an ever-growing reputation as one of the coolest cities in the world, Toronto is slowly growing from the biggest city in Canada to a worldwide megastar. City pride has always been high, but with homegrown successes like Drake and the Weeknd dominating music charts, newly successful pro-sports teams, a great food scene and a housing market with no signs of slowing down, Toronto and Torontonians are taking their new found fame from the recent NBA All-Star Weekend, Pan Am games and musical successes and runnin’ with it.
Like Copenhagen, there’s a certain level of peace that comes with car-free zones, riding around on two wheels and strolling the streets with nothing but bike bells to compete with the natural sounds of the city. Tourists are drawn on mass to Amsterdam’s ‘liberal’ lifestyle, endless canals, unique architecture and expanses of green, whilst career climbers flock to the city lured by job opportunities in the financial and creative industries. Everything is just a little bit more beautiful, a little bit more relaxed, and a little bit more fun in Amsterdam, and we totally get the appeal.
Auckland may be the biggest city in New Zealand, but it still retains that unique NZ charm with beaches, rainforest, and that authentic NZ culture to boot. So much of its charm and the reason why residents love it so much is because of that duality – you can enjoy the bustling city life and then go on a rugged outdoors adventure in no time at all. We all need balance in our lives, and the way that Auckland combines the city and country makes it an ideal place to find your balance at home or on vacay.
It’s the second largest city in Denmark but it’s number one as far as happiness goes. Being a big university town, it makes sense that Åarhus is all about being young, vibrant and fun. All of those students also mean that it’s a leading city for research and innovation, and the population has been booming for the last several years. Throw in the Åarhusians love of music and music festivals, and you’ve found that city sweet spot.
How could you be unhappy in the home of Oktoberfest and beer halls? But it’s not all beer drinking and dirndl wearing, as this city has so much to offer. Munich is ridiculously clean, has a high quality of living, a low crime rate, a strong economy, great football teams and a level of German elegance that’s pretty much unrivalled. Yes, yes and yes.
In Canada terms Vancouver is unusually warm, picture perfectly coastal and just a stone’s throw away from great skiing and hiking. Like Auckland, it’s this duality that goes a long way in making visitors and residents happy, as they can combine their love for the city life with fun adventure activities on the daily. The quality of life for Vancouverites is super high, and they’re making big strides on the sustainability front as well. Regardless of city size, they’ve really internalized that west coast lifestyle, and we dig it.
Helsinki is an architecture-lover’s dream, and it’s consistently ranked high on the most livable cities list. Despite its northern location, Helsinki is actually a lot warmer than you would think, and their tap water is among some of the best in the world. Maybe the water’s secretly full of endorphins, but whatever it is, Helsinki’s all smiles.
If we were always within walking distance to an authentic sacher-torte, we’d be pretty content too. But it’s not all great food and classical music, Vienna’s architectural reputation is held in impossibly high regard, with the city frequently hailed as an example of urban planning done right. Throw in those fairy tale castles on every corner and Christmas markets that emulate movie magic, and you’ve got a city that exudes elegance, joy, and total happiness.
KL’s population is booming, and as a legit business, economic and cultural hub in Asia, its tourism appeal is really starting to get the world’s attention. Residents are thriving with the help of high wages, and there are a ton of health care options and specialists that attract both locals and tourists for treatment. Kuala Lumpur is also a big retail and fashion hub, and we all know how a little retail therapy can lighten even the darkest of moods…