San Diegans crowd Ocean Beach on a summer morning. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego was ranked the 6th best big city in America, winning high marks for parks, safety and culture, in a respected annual study.

Toronto-based Resonance Consultancy, which advises local governments on tourism and economic development, evaluated cities based on 23 factors across the key categories of “place, product, programming, people, prosperity and promotion.”

The report released on Wednesday cited San Diego for its climate, beaches, “globally lauded attractions,” dining options, and cross-border culture. The city came in second overall in terms of “place,” first in the parks subcategory and fourth in public safety.

The Resonance ranking is weighted toward tourism, and for the first time incorporated reviews on Google, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor. So it’s not surprising that the 250th anniversary of European settlement figured prominently.

“Known for its enviable weather, beautiful beaches and laid back locals, the “birthplace of California” and the country’s eighth largest city is celebrating its 250th birthday and inviting the world,” the report concluded.

New York ranked first this year among big cities, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. Honolulu was ranked the best small city.

“For more than a decade, Resonance has created place-branding strategies, tourism and economic development plans and trend reports for city, tourism and economic development organizations,” explained Chris Fair, president and CEO. “We do this to empower place managers and marketers with new tools and perspectives on the key factors that shape a city’s competitive identity, community well-being, and future prosperity.”

The Bloomberg.com news website described the new Resonance ranking as “the most comprehensive study of its kind; it identifies cities that are most desirable for locals, visitors, and businesspeople alike, rather than simply looking at livability or tourism appeal.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.