The top 10 global cities ranked by quality of life.
The top 10 global cities ranked by quality of life.
The Austrian capital is a center of culture, as well as government. Part of a green belt that includes vineyards and old vintner’s villages, Vienna is protected by environmental laws. Easily reachable by public transportation is the nearby Vienna Woods, a network of marked walking and hiking paths. Gucci, Armani and Bulgari are on Kohlmarkt, a thoroughfare dating to the 14th century. It means “coal street” in English, since coal was the main product sold there. Many of the street’s stores carry the emblem “kaiserlich und königlich,” which means “imperial and royal.” Until November, Vienna’s Wien Museum is highlighting the collection of the Gründerzeit period, 1860 to 1910, when the city’s gentry underwent something of a fashion makeover.
Pedestrian-only zones and tourist-friendly trams and trains make commuting in Zurich easy, while the River Limmat and views of the Swiss Alps add to the overall beauty of the city. Bahnhofstrasse, a 140-year-old shopping corridor, houses brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo. A personal shopping tool at zuerich.com allows for crafting individual shopping experiences, with stops including Looq Münsterhof, a boutique carrying designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Isaac Sellam, and the Türler watch and jewelry chain, a fixture since 1907. The Zurich Film Festival is held here each fall. Medical care is easy to come by with Hirslanden, Switzerland’s number-one provider of private health care, operating 13 clinics.
Geneva sits along the River Rhône and Lake Geneva, and is set against a backdrop of mountains. In the summer, the city boasts sailing, windsurfing and golf, along with 40,000 trees in public areas and 428,000 flowering plants. Home to more than 200 international organizations, Geneva is the locale of the largest United Nations station outside the organization’s headquarters in New York, as well as the International Red Cross. The city attracts thousands of people to its 127 hotels for meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Swimsuit maker Vilebrequin makes Geneva its home, and Fabergé plans to open its first “salon” boutique in Geneva this month.
Vancouver will be in the spotlight when it hosts the 2010 Winter Olympics in February. Whistler is the host mountain resort, and Grouse Mountain, just 15 minutes from the city, allows for convenient paragliding, hiking treks and other recreation. For more urban jaunts, the cobblestone walkways of hipster-haven Gastown house independent boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs. As the home of Lululemon Athletica Inc. — a firm devoted to yoga-inspired apparel — Vancouver is also the site for Camp Moomba Yogathon and Blissfest, where more than 2,000 enthusiasts practice yoga and raise funds for children affected by HIV/AIDS.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand’s largest city features a mild climate, easy access to the coast and a variety of leisure activities. The area is influenced by Polynesian culture, and residents have a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping. Queen Street Auckland, the main outdoor shopping area in the heart of the city, features boutiques such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The thoroughfare is also heavy on outdoor gear, duty free goods, jewelry and souvenirs. New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a first-class health care system.
The wealthiest city in Germany is big, commercial and trendy. The largest concentrations of designer shops are on the “Kö,” or Königsallee, a street of elegant shopping arcades, speckled with designer shops such as Armani, Kenzo and Jil Sander. The Rhine River splits the city into an older side and a modern side. Five bridges connect the two sections, with parks and esplanades lining the riverbanks. The place to go for nightlife is the Altstadt, a one-third square mile area of narrow streets and alleyways filled with restaurants, dance clubs, art galleries, boutiques and more than 200 beer taverns. Ninety-nine percent of all companies in Düsseldorf have fewer than 500 employees, making the city a capital for small business and entrepreneurs.
This city of laptops and lederhosen is known for its Silicon Valley qualities, employing 50,000 people in high-tech research, as well as its Oktoberfest celebration. Cavernous beer halls are mixed in with places such as Kneipe, a cosmopolitan bar that also serves meals. Neuhauserstrasse is Munich’s main shopping street and houses Mango, Miss Sixty and H&M. Nearby Viktualienmarkt, an open-air food market, features a broad selection of high-quality produce, cheeses and other foods from around Europe. Munich offers free education at state schools and universities.
Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city in Germany, is the financial and transportation center of the country and the largest financial center in continental Europe. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world’s busiest international venues, and the city has two underground railway systems: the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn, as well as an above-ground tram system. The Zeil is Frankfurt’s main shopping street and is known as “The Fifth Avenue of Germany.” The street is a pedestrian-only area and features department stores, clothing shops, shoe stores and furniture outlets. The city, which sits on the Main River, is the home to museums, such as the Senckenberg Natural History Museum and Liebieghaus, an art museum in a castlelike structure with an impressive collection of classical, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures.
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is located just north of the Bernese Alps. Public transport is popular, with the tram, S-Bahn train and bus lines that connect the different parts of the city. The Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) houses the national parliament and part of the federal administration. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse, Kramgasse, Postgasse, Marktgasse, and Gerechtigkeitsgasse. Globus (located on Spitalgasse) is a major department store comparable to Bloomingdale’s in its offerings. Also in the center of town is Loeb ag Bern, a shopping district also found on Spitalgasse, and known primarily for its high-quality fashions.
The gateway to Australia, Sydney is Australia’s oldest and largest city and is set on one of the world’s most stunning harbors. It is surrounded by easy-to-reach beaches. The moderate climate contributes to a relaxed lifestyle and love of the outdoors. There are five major national parks nearby. At Chifley Plaza, a popular shopping and dining destination, there are specialty shops, such as Max Mara, Oxford and Crabtree & Evelyn, while the Queen Victoria Building, an historic structure on the site of Sydney’s 19th-century market place, houses Coach, L’Occitane, Aveda and Guess. Sydney is also home to some of Australia’s leading arts organizations, such as Opera Australia, Sydney Symphony, Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Theatre Company.