I know the topic is American cities, but I'd like to throw in Toronto as a great place to live. Whenever I get aggravated and think about moving elsewhere (usually as I head into the heart of Bay Street for my dreaded 8.5 hours of cubicle imprisonment), I really think about it and determine that, no, Toronto is where I want to be. It does have it's drawbacks, primarily the city planners' habit of tearing down old buildings and putting up giant boxes, but they seem to have halted that silly practice. But I love, love, love the many thriving neighbourhoods of other cultures. I am personally in walking distance of an Indian, a Greek, a Chinese, a middle-eastern and a WASP neighbourhood, and a short streetcar ride away from an African, an Italian and a Portuguese neighbourhood. So we have great restaurants aplenty . Plus there is all the fancy cultural stuff that I don't indulge in, but am happy to know is there, including the shoe museum they showed on The Amazing Race.
Plus, we are only a five hour drive from Montreal, a fabulous city if ever there was one.