Tuesday, December 4, 2012


You'll Need a Winter Coat in Paradise

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern and Sydney tied for tenth place.

In the United States, Honolulu (28) and San Francisco (29) are the highest-ranking cities, followed by Boston (35).

And Canada managed to squeeze four cities into the top 25. That's all of your cities, right Canada? Ha! I'm having fun with you. Thank gosh you have such a good sense of humour.

49 Comments / Post A Comment

Inspector Tiger

Oooh, I live in Vienna, how nice for us ;)

I incidentally have a great downcoat-winterboots-scarf-hat-combination that only leaves the upper half of my face unexposed. I'm still working on a solution for that part to complete my quality of living..


@Inspector Tiger Ski goggles?

Inspector Tiger

@Ophelia ha! Those would be great! It would also have the benefit of always getting me a seat on the bus, and wonderfully horrified looks to boot. I'm so tempted!


@Inspector Tiger
It's true, Vienna is sooo clean it's kind of creepy! I need to see at least one smashed glass bottle a day.

Inspector Tiger

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Yeah, even the colours of public flowerbeds are coordinated according to cardinal direction, which is just... I don't have words.

The curious thing is: with all that quality of life, everybody's still grumpy. That's like the signature emotion around these parts...


The key to happiness is a good winter coat.
But Calgary? Really? #32? Huh.


We are, in the words of the inestimable Eddie Izzard, relaxed and groovy.


My mom and I want to visit Vienna in a year or two! (Considering I live in what was once #1 on Forbes' list of Most Miserable Cities in the US, I'll take what I can get.)


"That's all of your cities, right Canada?" Well, pretty much.


@ponymalta Yes. Crazy how they're all SO GREAT, eh?


I lived near Zurich and spent most of my free time there when I was a teenager. It's the dullest city in the world.


@glitterary And, along with Geneva, wicked expensive. Obviously "best quality of living" does not translate to "relatively affordable."


@Bittersweet Yeah, I hated Geneva (although I was only there for a week). You'd need to be like a multijizzillionaire to live there comfortably.

As a Washingtonian, I predict lots of local-blog crowing over finally beating New York at something, though.


Hold up, did someone rate Toronto highly for city infrastructure? WHOEVER DID THAT DOES NOT LIVE HERE.

Signed, it just took me an hour and a half to get home on fucking transit.


@Megano! You should take regular transit. Way more hygeinic than fucking transit.

oh! valencia

@Megano! That is amazing that you had the perfect link at the ready.


Auckland! YUS. And yes, a good coat is often needed in "summer".


@PancakeBatter It could be worse. It could be Wellington.


As a resident of Boston. What?


@itiresias Right? What with our public transit that stops running around 1 a.m., our lack of happy hours, our rent (and transportation) costs climbing higher and higher...and the lovely New England "weather"? Get OUT of here.


well, but we HAVE public transport. unlike lots of other US places (but like Honolulu, I guess???)

Faintly Macabre

@itiresias Yeah, I guess whoever wrote the list thinks that the sun setting at 2PM is romantic or something?


@itiresias Oh noooo you guys, I'm getting ready to move to Boston and now I'm wary! I'm sure it must be GREAT in many ways, right??

Mlle Mlle

@Faintly Macabre don't forget the joys of sleeping in AND watching the sunrise.


@KatieBarTheDoor No, it's really not that bad. We just love to complain - it's part of our charm! There's lots of great restaurants/bars/music/artsyfarts and what have you. Which part of the city are you moving to?


@shart_attack Haha, good to know. I won't actually be IN Boston-- about 25 minutes north in Burlington. But it's close enough that I figure I can still say I'm moving to Boston... and can hopefully attend some Boston 'Pinner meetups and make some friends?


@KatieBarTheDoor It's true, we do complain a lot. I do love a lot of things about it - restaurants/bars/music/artsyfarts etc. especially, plus there are pretty things and neighborhoods that are just great. And, as many of my friends live in NYC, although the rent can be high and is still climbing, it is NOTHING compared to that.

You will become familiar with "massholes", they are a special breed of awful. But honestly, people that suck are everywhere, and good people are as well.


Munich is my dream city. GORGEOUS! I've been there twice now and dream about going back all the time. I have this plan to live there for at least a year or two somehow. First, I have to learn German. Then, I have to figure out some sort of job situation to afford living there...it's going to happen...


@lorenzo just thinking the word Munich gives me pangs of Heimweh. I need to go baaaaaaacckk.


@lorenzo I loved Munich so much. I spent 90 percent of the time exclaiming, "People actually live here?! People get to live here!!!"


@lorenzo I'm going to Passau via Munich in a WEEK! Tell me all of the things I must do.


@shart_attack I spent two days there once - started our nights in biergartens and met so many wonderfully nice people, went to see the glockenspiel and found a huge gay pride festival with live music and dancing and tons of food that was so much fun, and went on a tour of Dachau that was really incredible to see in person. in my experience, strangers in munich treat you like family and it's lovely.


@shart_attack Go watch the river surfers!!


@shart_attack ummm.

- watch people surfing (no, really!) in the English Garden (if you're an early riser, and it's not too cold out: watch the sheep (sheeeeep!!) being used as eco-friendly lawn-mowers there, too)
- Take a peek in the library/uni because they are gorgeous (the main building of LMU also has a memorial for the White Rose Movement in the basement)
- There's a stand dedicated to all things HONEY in Viktualienmarkt (right off of Marienplatz), and all sorts of other goodies, too
- Get a book from Hugendubel, because it's called Hugendubel, and there are couches inside for your reading pleasure.

and, if you're a sports nut (hey, there): watch an open training session of fc bayern at Säbner Straße

Then, think very seriously about whether or not you really want to come home...


@shart_attack Also, the Brandenhorst museum has a Cy Twombly floor. A whole floor of Twomblys!! (nb: your enthusiasm may depend on how you feel about Twombly).


@shart_attack Ditto on what's been said above. I'm a big beer nut, so I did a brewery tour. We went to Paulaner, Augustiner, and several others and ended up at the Hofbrauhaus. GO TO THE HOFBRAUHAUS. It's super touristy, but so much fun. Drink a Mass (one liter mug) or two...chat with people from all over the world. Grab food in the Viktualienmarkt and bring to the English Garden to have a picnic (and definitely watch the river surfers). Go to The Residenz (The Wittelsbachs' family palace) and admire the family jewels and ridiculously gorgeous palace interiors. Go to the top of one of the churches for stunning panorama views. This may sound nerdy, but I love my trusty Rick Steves book. Good jumping off point for good restaurants and bars and self-guided walking tours. (Also, if you have time, Andechs Monastery is in the nearby countryside and has incredible beer and food. It's also not touristy at all. Everything was in German.)


Ottawa? But why?? Yes, there's a nice canal, but other than that... just, no.

squid v. whale

I have lived in Honolulu for the past couple of months and will be here through January. It is not nice. The city is polluted, congested, and generally ick. The kicker: Waikiki was essentially built on a wetland, which is why the beach has to have sand brought from other parts of Hawaii. You're welcome, vacationers!

To be fair, everything outside of Honolulu is beautiful, and you really don't want to miss out on Oahu if you visit Hawaii.


@squid v. whale I'm also a little confused as to why it's got such a high standard of living, other than the weather. Isn't food insanely expensive because it all has to be imported?


This list has always struck me as super boring. I mean, I know how the metrics work, standard of living etc, but jeez. Shout out to the Southern hemisphere and places where people are doing all kinds of stuff in improvised ways all over the place and not just like, obsessing over how long it takes them to commute to work.

George Templeton Strong

@KJZ But how do the metrics work? Vienna doesn't normally crack the top ten on any kind of list of quality of life. Life expectancy? Climate? Crime? Economic opportunity? Education? Maybe social equality (although no, the Scandinavians must have them beat.) I think Mercer is trolling their clients.


How about we have regular international Pinups, with cities chosen a few months in advance, so solo travelers can meet up with other traveling 'Pinners and local 'Pinners to say hi, hang out, and recommend cool things to do and places to see? I would also *strongly* consider signing up for a Hairpin-curated/sponsored multi-city tour. Just saying.


Man do I love Düsseldorf. It might just be the beer and the surprisingly good Asian food, though. (It's certainly not the weather)

the angry little raincloud

I used to live in Vienna. I have never been more miserable anywhere. And I have lived in some less than desirable flyover locations. And New Jersey.

On the plus side: my apartment in Vienna was really very cheap. Wine and beer were extremely cheap. And there was a fantastic bakery on, truly, every corner. And those cheap foie gras sandwiches at that place that is "unspeakably good" and that I can't spell (Trznie....?????).


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