1. London, England
Highlighted rankings: Programming (1), Promotion (1)
Why we love it: London’s main sights might date back millennia, but the capital’s shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants emerge and evolve on an almost weekly basis. Whether you’re outdoorsy, hungry, or bringing a family in tow, there’s a distinct London neighborhood to investigate—and it will likely look different from your last visit. For hotel options, there’s everything from sleek new offerings like Vintry & Mercer to revitalized historic classics such as the Belmond Cadogan. Just don’t bring up Brexit.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to LondonPhoto by Colton Duke/Unsplash
2. New York City, United States
Highlighted rankings: Culture (1), Promotion (2)
Why we love it: New York’s performing arts scene—both on Broadway and off—is beloved by visitors and locals alike, so it’s no surprise that the Big Apple took the number one spot for culture in this ranking. But it’s not just about musicals. New York also came in fifth for museums, which are continually improving as evidenced by the 2019 renovation of the Museum of Modern Art and the brand-new Fotografiska photography museum that opened in Manhattan’s Flatiron District at the end of the year.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to New York CityPhoto by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock
3. Paris, France
Highlighted rankings: Shopping (1), Neighborhoods and Landmarks (2)
Why we love it: The Notre Dame fire was a devastating reminder of how well-loved Paris is by travelers worldwide, and as the capital gears up for the 2024 Olympics, it’s only getting better. Improved infrastructure and 24 new hotels in the past year alone add to a city we love for its world-class art (there’s still time to catch the Da Vinci show), shopping (it beat New York and London in this year’s Resonance list), and global cuisine.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to ParisPhoto by Shutterstock
4. Tokyo, Japan
Highlighted rankings: Restaurants (2), Global 500 Companies (2)
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Why we love it: With the 2020 Summer Olympics fast approaching, all eyes will be on Tokyo this year. But even if you couldn’t land tickets to the opening ceremonies at the newly finished national stadium, it’s still worth going this year. Whether you choose to visit the new location of the Tsukiji fish market or wait in line for life-changing ramen, this is a destination worth planning an entire trip around food (it ranked number two for its restaurants). And if most of your travel budget goes to eating, don’t worry. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Tokyo to book.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to TokyoPhoto by Shutterstock
5. Moscow, Russia
Highlighted rankings: Airport Connectivity (1), Museums (1)
Why we love it: The Russian capital is well known for its iconic attractions like Red Square’s colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral. But did you know that it’s also one of the best cities to fly in and out of in the world? In addition to taking the top spot for airport connectivity in Resonance’s ranking, Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International was recently named the most on-time airport in the world in Cirium’s annual On-Time Performance Review.Photo by Shutterstock
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Highlighted rankings: Outdoors (5), Safety (6)
Why we love it: You may associate Dubai with its record-setting skyscrapers and that reputation is well earned. In 2020, Santiago Calatrava’s the Tower at Dubai Creek will surpass the Burj Khalifa as the tallest building in the world when it is completed. Yet, you won’t have to spend your entire trip here indoors. Ranking fifth in the outdoors category on Resonance’s list, the emirate has plenty of man-made islands and even a new nature-inspired shopping mall that has a rooftop park and 200,000 total square feet of open-air gardens to explore.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to DubaiPhoto by Shutterstock
Highlighted rankings: GDP per Capita (4), Safety (4)
Why we love it: The Little Red Dot, as the city-state is affectionately called, earned its top spot in these rankings for its high GDP and safety. Singapore earns top spots in our eyes (and stomachs) for its famous hawker stall street food, its garden-like airport terminal, and the newly renovated Raffles Singapore hotel, which has been welcoming travelers since 1887.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to SingaporePhoto by Luis Pina/Shutterstock
8. Barcelona, Spain
Highlighted rankings: Nightlife (3), Promotion (8)
Why we love it: Often seen as the poster child for overtourism, Barcelona’s popularity is yet to dissipate. Bested only by New York and London in this ranking for nightlife options, Barcelona is a city that is equally lovely during the day to explore its beaches and Gaudí’s iconic architectural landmarks. Just be sure to make reservations in advance, especially for Barcelona’s biggest attractions.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to BarcelonaPhoto by Jack Finnigan/Unsplash
9. Los Angeles, United States
Highlighted rankings: University Ranking (4), Promotion (7)
Why we love it: L.A. welcomed over 50 million visitors in 2019, arriving from across the globe for the city’s beaches, movie studios, museums, and star-spotting potential. But Los Angeles has also undergone a culinary renaissance, so much so that it hosts two separate restaurant weeks to showcase the options, offers an abundance of rooftop bars from downtown to West Hollywood, and has seen both coastal communities like Venice Beach and east side spots including Echo Park raise their game in recent years.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Los AngelesPhoto by Christopher Czermak/Unsplash
10. Rome, Italy
Highlighted rankings: Neighborhoods and Landmarks (4), Shopping (6)
Why we love it: The Eternal City’s ancient charms are evident in every cobbled street, but Rome never rests on its laurel wreaths. New reasons to visit the city include a new hotel in a 17th-century palace and Europe’s first amaro bar—but be careful where you eat and drink.
Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to RomePhoto by Trent Erwin/Unsplash