Kannur is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, and has an estimated population of 5,74,876 in 2010. Kannur is known as the Land of Looms and Lores, because of the loom industries functioning in the district and ritualistic folk arts held in temples. Kannur is famous for its pristine beaches; Theyyam, its native performing art; and its handloom industry.
Kannur is of great strategic military importance. It houses one of the 62 military cantonments in the country, the Kannur Cantonment, and is the current headquarters of the Defence Security Corps.
According to the data compiled by the research firm Indicus Analytics, Kannur is one of the ten best cities in India to live. The parameters set by this firm are in the field of health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment.