As long as chilly weather, walking uphill, and really expensive real estate don’t turn you off, San Francisco has no shortage of positive qualities. Though numbering fewer than a million people, this coastal city packs in so much—from world-class restaurants and museums to community fairs and music festivals, a large educated class, and an improving economy—that many proud San Franciscans will tell you that its finish at the top of Businessweek.com’s 2012 best cities ranking is well-earned.

“So glad, but also not surprised, that San Francisco did well on the best cities to live list,” says Betsy Crabtree, publisher of San Francisco Arts Monthly, in an e-mail.