It’s no secret that travel is a great way to open your mind and get those creative juices flowing, but nothing is more inspiring than experiencing a new city through art. There are thousands of cities across the world with charming art scenes, but if you are looking to view breathtaking masterpieces, get to planning your next trip with one of our top 5 picks.
1. Florence, Italy
The birthplace of the Renaissance art movement, Florence is a must visit for any self-respecting art aficionado. You can literally submerge yourself in art in this beautiful city. With frescoes, paintings and sculpture, Florence is a place where the art not only resides in its many museums, but also in its architecture.
The top must-see places for art in Florence include the iconic Uffizi and The Galleria dell’Accademia museums. The Uffizi holds some of the most notable works of the Italian Renaissance period, while the Galleria dell’Accademia, famous for sculpture, is home to Michelangelo’s David (arguably, the most famous statue in the world). Lesser-known but equally remarkable spots include the Bargello sculpture museum, Palazzo Pitti and Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, which has a luxe footwear collection from the Florentine designer.
For lodging, Four Seasons Hotel Florence is an art lover’s dream. The home of a former Renaissance palace, the hotel is covered with stunning restored frescoes, bas-reliefs, stuccoes and silk wallpaper that dates back five centuries. The lobby courtyard extraordinarily manifests classical and mythological tales.
With the city literally overflowing in art, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. You may consider an art tour of the city to become familiar and go from there.
2. Berlin, Germany
Similar to Florence, Berlin is overflowing with art, but its iconic art history doesn’t go as far back as its Italian counterpart. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought about political, social, economic and cultural change to the city. With that, a new generation of artists from all over the world, and today hundreds of galleries ready to be explored.
To get acquainted with the art scene, we suggest starting with a few of the larger galleries, and sprinkling in some of the more intimate spots.
For contemporary, you can visit Eigen + Art and the KW Institute. Eigen + Art displays contemporary works in the fields of media, film, photography, installation, painting and sculpture. Originally founded in the 1990s by Klaus Biesenbach and a group of art enthusiasts, KW has attracted more visitors than any other attraction as a symbol of Berlin’s evolvement into an international center of contemporary art since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The institute frequently hosts workshops and art talks.
Berlin is also home to some amazingly impressive street art. A must-see, is the East Side Gallery, the longest outdoor mural in the world! Painted on an old stretch of the Berlin Wall, its cultural significance makes it even more compelling.
If you are an artist yourself, you may be interested one of the city’s Artists-in-Residence programs.
Filled with high-end art galleries, museums, architecture and a fascinating showing of street art, Berlin is a must visit for art lovers.
3. New York City, New York
A larger than life art scene, New York boasts numerous museums all bringing their own unique flare to its sophisticated art scene. Among the masses you can find one of the world’s largest museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. With these two alone you can find many treasures including everything from Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (at MoMa) to Egyptian artifacts and Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais (at the Met).
AND that’s only the tip of the iceberg! There’s also, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Art Museum and a wealth of smaller creative spaces. Chelsea is a great place to visit, as it cost nothing to view some of its 500-plus galleries.
If you are looking for somewhere art-centric to stay, minutes from some of the biggest art attractions is the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village. Providing an Art Deco-inspired experience, the hotel rooms come with beds and desks made of shiny Macassar ebony wood, jewel-toned wallpaper and retro amenities like rotary telephones and Tivoli radios.
4. Paris, France
Approximately six million people travel to the city of romance to visit Musee du Louvre for a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Originally a royal palace, the Louvre is now home to 70,000 works of art.
For some that might be just enough, but for others you’ll quickly discover there are many other layers to Paris’ art scene. The Musée d’Orsay holds the world’s most sizable collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist works.
The charming art scene in Paris goes beyond museums and galleries as you will be awed by the city’s architecture. The Notre Dame cathedral, Oscar Niemeyer’s Communist Party Headquarters and the Cité de la Mode et du Design are all breathtaking, must-see works of art.
Paris hosts numerous art events throughout the year, and you may even be interested in taking a street art tour for a look into how street art fits in with Parisian culture.
The windy city will blow you away with their cultivated art scene.
Chicago offers visitors a substantial amount of choices when it comes to its art collections. You’ll want to experience the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum that greets you with two iconic lion statues, and showcases some of the world’s most impressive pieces, including the collection of Impressionist paintings. You will also find works created by Picasso, Dali, Pollock, and Warhol. Then there’s the Museum of Contemporary Art – you can expect to see a mix of paintings, sculptures, and photography here.
Chicago is also home to numerous niche museums, including the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Oriental Institute Museum. You’ll also want to check out The Loop to see an untitled Picasso piece, Miro’s Chicago, Chagall’s Four Seasons, and Calder’s Flamingo.
The Langham is great place to stay for art lovers. During your stay observe works from established artists like Claes Oldenburg, Judy Ledgerwood and Anish Kapoor as well as up-and-coming Chicago natives, such as Michelle Grabner, Jan Tichy and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung.
The city also hosts frequent art shows, gallery openings and street art celebrations. It may be a good idea to research what events are happening when you plan your visit.