Best Coastal Cities in the World to Live (and Visit)
There's something special about being near the water, even in cold places where you likely won't be going in for most of the year. Really, it's no coincidence that some of the absolute best cities in the world boast beautiful coastlines that provide views and recreation to residents and travelers.
If you're looking for a change, a new Compare the Market study identified the 10 best coastal cities for people to relocate. And, even if you're perfectly happy in your hometown, it's good to keep these exciting metropolises in mind for when you want a modern escape with either an oceanfront or lakefront walk.
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10. Los Angeles, California
Population: 3.91 million
Monthly cost of living: $3,628
Where to stay: Hotel Figeroa
Los Angeles may be expensive, and the traffic may be terrible, but these are minor inconveniences for all the perks the city offers. Dusted with star power, the city never suffers from a lack of things to do.
High-end dining is a way of life here, clubs open their doors to the rich and famous, and theme parks bring fun to families. The beach is never far, so those who repudiate L.A. superficiality can fit in with laid-back surfers. Whatever kind of person you are, this city has a space for you, which is why residents love it with such a passion.
* City scores come from Compare the Market's "Best Coastal Cities in the World" report. Population numbers are for metro areas as estimated by the World Population Review. And monthly costs of living are based on Numbeo estimates for both monthly expenses and rent for a single person in a one-bedroom apartment in the city center.
9. Taipei, Taiwan
Population: 2.74 million
Monthly cost of living: $1,448
Where to stay: Shangri-La Far Eastern Taipei
Taiwan's beautiful capital is a traveler's favorite, but it's even better for locals. Unlike most cities on this list, Taipei is actually affordable. That $1,448 monthly cost of living includes about $783 in typical non-rent expenses, which means a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will only set you back about $665 a month.
For a reasonable cost of living, you have access to mouthwatering dishes sold in street markets as well as fine dining restaurants, some of the best art museums in the world and great shopping. Right outside the city center, you'll also find mountains and pretty beaches that provide a break from the noise whenever you need it.
8. New York, New York
Population: 8.93 million
Monthly cost of living: $3,240
Where to stay: Arlo SoHo
Of course, New York would be listed as one of the best coastal cities in the world. Yes, it's dirty. Yes, it's loud. And, yes, you'll definitely see rats in the streets and the metro. But this is simply part of the messy charm of the city that sometimes feels like a microcosm of the world.
Besides having a million and one things to do on any given day (Broadway shows, independent film showings, underground parties, concerts, gallery openings and so on), you can always relax in the green spaces of Central Park or find a small cafe to read a book. Whatever you want or need in New York, it exists. You just have to look for it.
7. Toronto, Canada
Population: 2.76 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,718
Where to stay: The Omni King Edward Hotel
If New York is too intense for you, try Toronto. The city is like the Big Apple's smaller, cleaner and nicer sibling. People here won't yell at you, and you most likely won't have to break up a rat fight to cross the street.
What Toronto doesn't provide in terms of shows and museums (yes, there are some, but none are incredibly impressive), it provides in outdoor spaces. The city is pretty green throughout and the large, Lake Ontario waterfront provides a space for biking, walking, kayaking and picnicking. Take a ferry to Toronto Islands, and spend the day riding a bike from beach to beach.
As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto has some pretty great nightlife and a cosmopolitan dining scene, too.
6. Perth, Australia
Population: 2.09 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,265
Where to stay: Pan Pacific Perth
Perth is an extremely interesting city in that it's surrounded mostly by small towns and the wide desert. If you want to be in the middle of nowhere whilst enjoying the perks of modern life, this is the place to be.
Within the city, enjoy ballet, theaters and museums as well as a waterfront walk and great food. And you only need to cross city boundaries to go on exciting outdoor adventures in some of Australia's roughest and most interesting terrains.
5. Houston, Texas
Population: 2.35 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,551
Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Houston/Galleria
Compare the Market's report places Houston as the top coastal city in America, which might be surprising to some. But anyone who knows the country's fourth-largest metropolis knows how fun it actually is.
You'll find some incredible cuisine that extends beyond the delicious Tex-Mex and BBQ to things like Viet-Cajun, a mix brought about by immigrants. Beaches along the city's Gulf of Mexico shoreline are also pretty nice; plus, unemployment is low, and there are good museums.
4. Sydney, Australia
Population: 5.06 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,833
Where to stay: Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney
With a harbor marked by one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, it's easy to see why people love living in Sydney. The city is so exciting that it constantly suffers from a case of being confused as the Australian capital (which is actually Canberra).
Capital or not, there's no denying that it is the country's best city. Head to Bondi Beach to enjoy the beauty of the coast, catch an opera at the Opera House, or stroll along the harbor. Oh, and if you're thinking about moving here, let's just say the city is renowned for its accessible healthcare — what's not to like?
3. Tokyo, Japan
Population: 37.27 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,185
Where to stay: Pullman Tokyo Tamachi
Tokyo's metropolitan area has a staggering 37.27 million people, and the city proper has 14 million. By both standards, it's the most populous city in the entire world. If you're prone to feeling claustrophobic, don't move here. But if you love the energy of an exciting city where modernity and tradition meet, you'll have a blast.
Unlike most big cities on the planet, Tokyo enjoys a relatively low crime rate, low unemployment rate and affordable healthcare. Leave the city center to find some beautiful beaches like Southern Beach Chigasaki, where locals relax during the summer. You'll also be able to enjoy world-class museums, fantastic gastronomy and some of Japan's most beautiful temples.
2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Population: 2.96 million
Monthly cost of living: $2,819
Where to stay: Atlantis, The Palm
Dubai is a city of contradictions that can present dilemmas to travelers and foreign residents. Its glitzy opulence is contrasted by reports of stark labor rights violations, and its incredibly low crime rate highlights the country's sometimes draconian laws.
But the UAE has announced it will ease up on some of these laws, which previously made things like pre-marital intercourse illegal (leaving women vulnerable when reporting assaults). And because nothing is black-and-white, people actually love living here and enjoying the beauty of centuries-old mosques alongside ultra-modern buildings, which include the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Kalifa.
For fun along the coast, you'll likely have to go to a hotel, where you can don a western-style bathing suit and sunbathe.
Population: 5.99 million
Monthly cost of living: $3,988
Where to stay: Raffles Hotel
Singapore is the most expensive city (well, city-state) on this list, beating out even New York and L.A. And, yet, we would move there in a heartbeat.
The tiny country manages to welcome a mix of cultures, so you can walk from Chinatown to Little Afghanistan to Little India in a matter of hours. This, of course, translates to some of the best food in the world, with food stalls that have earned Michelin stars.
In terms of living, unemployment and crime are extremely rare. Plus, the streets are incredibly clean — there's even a law against chewing gum! And while Singapore can sometimes be extreme in its laws and punishments, it continues to be a fascinating place where even the airport will leave you in awe.