Best Cities for Men: Chicago, Barcelona, San Francisco

April 13, 2009

Because it strikes the ideal balance between “cosmopolitan” and “comfortable,” Chicago has landed the #1 spot on the list of the world’s 29 best cities for men, according to website, which recently conducted the analysis.

Barcelona and San Francisco came in at #2 and #3. Cities that round out the top 10 are London, Sydney, New York City, Berlin, Hong Kong, Copenhagen and Paris.

The entire list of top 29:


The rankings, which were compiled using both quantitative and qualitative measures, examined worldwide cities on several dimensions the site says are most likely to be desirable and important to men. These include livability, sports and entertainment, culture, fashion, health, power and money, dating and sex and “the good life,” (a combination of weather, urban development and travel statistics).

In addition to assigning each city an “AM Meter” index score based on an aggregate of scores in each dimension, reported on the average cost of a pint of beer in a bar in all of its top 29 cities. The overall average for all of the cities was $4.48.

Chicago: Sophisticated Yet Affordable

Though it has a “down-to-earth, workhard/play hard” character with an affordable lifestyle, the US Midwest’s largest city also has a lot of offer in the areas of culture, entertainment and sophistication, where it rivals many international destinations. It is this combination that lends it the most appeal, said.

Some of Chicagos finer points:

  • In addition to being home to the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago International Film Festival and a vibrant theater scene, Chicago hosts popular music and film festivals and? is the source of 39% of the US’s greatest comedians, as calculated by
  • Chicago possesses a diverse restaurant scene, which runs the gamut from famous chefs’ bistros to hole-in-the-wall neighborhood joints that serve local specialties: Deep dish pizza, Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs.
  • Chicago is a hardcore sports town, with well-known teams in all the major professional leagues and ample opportunities for do-it-yourself sports on numerous beaches, courts, paths, and parks.

The cost of a pint of beer in a bar in Chicago is $4.48, slightly higher than the average for all cities in the rankings.

Barcelona: Beach and Culture Haven

Spain’s Barcelona, which is capital of the autonomous region of Catalu?a, has a robust international flair that sets it apart from other Spanish cities. Despite what terms its “upturned-nose of cultural uniqueness,” Barcelona welcomes visitors heartily and affords a mild climate, a strong beach culture and the opportunity to watch the wildly popular FC Barcelona soccer club compete.

Other benefits of Barcelona:

  • Barcelona has undergone renovation since it hosted the 1992 Olympic games and the tourism sector has grown steadily since.
  • The economy, which is supported by airplane and automobile manufacturing as well as international banking and finance, has managed to remain relatively strong during the recession which has hit Spain especially hard.
  • Barcelona’s unemployment remains lower than any other major Spanish city.

The cost of a pint of beer in Barcelona is $6.30, significantly above the average for all cities in the rankings.

San Francisco: Parks, Wine & Tech

San Francisco’s cityscape features steep hills and skyscrapers that overlook the Bay. Despite its propensity to experience earthquakes, the city is known for its power politics, unparalleled recreational opportunities and diverse nightlife (including 2,870 bars), it also claims many of the best North American restaurants.

Other desirable features:

  • San Francisco was the healthiest city in the US in 2008, according to USA Today.
  • The culture of innovation makes the Bay Area likely to lead the economic recovery, according to the Association of Bay Area Governments.
  • Wine country (Sonoma and Napa Valley vineyards) is close by.
  • The city is home to classic men’s stores, including local favorites Cable Car Clothiers and The Hound.
  • Though the population is? 51% male and 49% female, the high number of gay residents makes the dating and sex dimension in the city appealing to both gays and non-gays alike.
  • San Francisco was named one of the top 10 smartest cities by Forbes in 2008.

San Francisco’s price of a pint of beer was only $4.00, lower than the average for all cities in the rankings.

About the research: The editorial team chose this year’s best cities by applying a statistical formula to eight lifestyle categories in conjunction with evaluating additional qualitative city characteristics.


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