Thursday, 28 May 2009

Top 10 cities for art lovers

Vacations aren’t always about getting some R&R. In fact, visiting a city with a vibrant arts scene can be just as rejuvenating. Our top cities for art lovers are bound to stimulate even the most blasé of world travellers, as they're home to dozens of world-class institutions with influential collections of old and new masters. That said, our list also pays homage to a charming colonial town known for teaching people how to create their own works of art – we figure that, after seeing everything else on our list, you'll be ready to make your own artistic statement.


In the 15 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German capital has reinvented itself as a leading European arts venue, with superlative new architecture and cutting-edge exhibits.


They might call it the Second City, but Chicago is second to none when it comes to its lively arts scene. The Art Institute of Chicago alone is reason enough for art enthusiasts to let the wind blow them towards this Midwest centre.


It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the art in Florence – frescoes, paintings, sculpture, altar pieces, you name it, abound in Michelangelo’s hometown – and no self-respecting art lover would miss a visit to the birthplace of the Renaissance art movement.


The London art scene is a lot like the city itself: a hodgepodge of traditional and modern, majesty and tawdry. This fascinating mix is bound to tantalize with over 200 art venues offering something for every taste.

New York

In a city where everything is larger than life, one shouldn’t expect anything less from its art collections. Numerous museums bring their own distinct flavour to the cosmopolitan New York art scene, several of which are grouped together in the Museum Mile area bordering Central Park, along Fifth Avenue.


Where to begin in a city that is a work of art in itself? An art-lover’s dream come true, Paris’ many museums house some of the world’s most coveted works of art, ranging from fine antiquities to cutting-edge contemporary creations, with a magnificent mix of masterpieces from every century in between.


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were its stellar art collections, which showcase works spanning more than two millennia, from ancient B.C. sculptures to abstract modern installations.

San Miguel de Allende

Unlike the other cities on this list, San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful colonial town set in the mountains outside of Mexico City, isn’t renowned for its art collections per se, but rather, as a stellar place to create art itself.


Vienna is one of the great art capitals of Europe, thanks, in large part, to the mighty House of Habsburg, Austria’s ruling family from 1282 to 1918, whose members invariably controlled extensive lands – and amassed their artistic bounties.

Washington, D.C.

It’s not all about politics in the US capital. Venerable art institutions like the National Gallery, Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, the Corcoran, and the Phillips go toe to toe with national sights like the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, and White House.
Ready to discover the vibrant art scenes of one of these cities? Go to and book your hotel.

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