10 Most Popular Cities on Social Media

Tourists stop to take a selfie in London, the world's most hashtagged city.
Tourists stop to take a selfie in London, the world's most hashtagged city.

At the end of each year, “Hashtag the World” publishes a report of the world’s most popular cities on social media. The list is based on the number of hashtagged posts a particular city has on Instagram, one of the most widely-used social media platforms in the world. New York has been the traditional leader in social media popularity since the first report was published in 2015, but in 2017 the city was dethroned by London as the world’s most popular city on Instagram. In 2017, the most popular cities on social media were London, New York, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, Miami, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Moscow, and Chicago.

10 Most Popular Cities on Social Media


In 2017, London had the highest number of hashtagged posts of any city in the world, numbering more than 88.8 million posts. The prominence of London on the list of the world’s most popular cities on social media is a reflection of the popularity of the city in international tourism. Not surprising is the fact that the top hashtags trending about the city are about the top tourist attractions in London. Some of the top hashtags on London include “#londoneye” and “#londonbridge”, which are on posts about the London Eye Ferris Wheel and the London Bridge respectively, two of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. More than 19.1 million international visitors toured the city in 2017, the highest number in the United Kingdom. Cultural attractions of the city have also attracted much social media traffic towards the city. Soccer matches pitting some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs including London-based Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal Football Club, and Chelsea Football Club against each other, draw in millions of viewers globally, with London dominating soccer-based social media conversations. The 2017 IAAF World Athletic Championships which were held in London also catapulted the city’s popularity across social media platforms.

New York

The city with the second-highest number of hashtagged posts in the world in 2017 was New York, making it the second-most popular city on social media. New York was hashtagged in 88.5 million posts in 2017, translating to an average 50,549 hashtag posts each day. However, the position represented a decline of the city on social media, as it was surpassed by London as the world’s most popular city in 2017. The popularity of New York on social media mirrors the city’s popularity among international tourists. More than 12.6 million international tourists visited the city in 2017, sampling its wide array of tourist attractions. International tourists were not the only players behind the city’s social media popularity, as patriotism among Americans in New York also influenced the number of posts about the city. Many of the hashtags about the city made in 2017 had patriotism undertones. The inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017 drove social media interest to New York, as the president is a native of Queens, New York.

Unfortunate Events

Cities also attract social media attention after experiencing unfortunate events such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters. New York City experienced three separate attempted terrorist attacks in 2017, which were discussed and covered extensively on Instagram. London also had unfortunate events such as the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017 which led to the deaths of 71 people and grabbed the attention of social media users all over the world.

10 Most Popular Cities on Social Media

RankCityCountryNumber of Times Hashtagged
1LondonUnited Kingdom88,800,000
2New York CityUnited States88,500,000
4DubaiUnited Arab Emirates59,700,000
6MiamiUnited States44,300,000
7Los AngelesUnites States36,400,000
10ChigacoUnited States31,400,000

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