By: Erin Konrad
If you’re interested in checking out places with amazing art scenes, you don’t have to worry about making it to Europe. In fact, there are tons of cities in the US that offer fantastic art exhibits and galleries. Read on for the five best cities for all you art aficionados.
- Los Angeles
In LA, there’s a truly eclectic spread of art museums to check out. One of the best art museums in the world is the Getty Center on the west side of LA. It offers European and American art, both classical and modern. Aside from the outstanding collections, the Getty also offers truly unique architecture and gardens to explore. A less well-known option is the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades – although it’s not as elaborate as the Getty Center, it’s a perfect selection if you’re interested in ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture.
If modern stuff is more your bag, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is world-renowned for their exhibits that attract both locals and visitors from around the world. Near LACMA on Miracle Mile is a quirky gallery called The Loft at Liz’s, located above an antique store. Exhibits change bi-monthly, and the gallery features both up-and-coming artists, as well as established pros, with everything from visual art to live performances of music and dance.
There’s also The Broad on Grand Avenue downtown, a newer museum which offers more than 2,000 contemporary pieces. While you’re exploring downtown, don’t miss the Hauser & Wirth 24,000-square-foot gallery, which has several rotating exhibits.
Art is everywhere you look when you go to Chicago. Whether you’re taking in the impressive architecture or viewing Cloud Gate (a giant sculpture in Millennium Park), you’ll easily be able to indulge your love of art. No visit to Chicago would be complete without exploring the Art Institute of Chicago. The famous museum offers true masterpieces like Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884, Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. There are also sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall’s America Windows, a 30-foot-wide and eight-foot-high hand-painted glass panel piece.
Chicago even has art to view in its hotels. Tap into your artistic side by staying at The Langham, a stylish hotel designed by Mid-Century Modern architect, Mies van der Rohe, with additional works from artists like Judy Ledgerwood and Anish Kapoor throughout the hotel. One not-to-miss option is Gallery 400, which is actually part of the University of Illinois College of Architecture and the Arts. Because it’s part of an educational site, the gallery pushes the limits with performance art and developmental practices from artists from all different backgrounds. For something a little more traditional, the Schneider Gallery has been around for over two decades with a focus on photography and sculptural arrangements. No matter which art-themed sites you decide to go to, you’ll be able to find something to catch your interest in Chicago.
- New York City
It makes sense that NYC would have a great art scene – it’s basically the mecca of the art world! The city offers some of the most impressive museums in the world, not to mention hundreds of art galleries to peruse. If you want to stick to the classics, head to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for world-famous pieces like Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and Jackson Pollock’s Shimmering Substance. Or you can wade through the massive collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with works from artists like Degas, Gauguin, and O’Keefe.
If you’re interested in checking out some of the city’s galleries, you can’t go wrong with an art tour. You can take a private, scheduled group tour that will present you with seven or eight exhibits during a two-hour tour in locations like the Lower East Side or Chelsea. There are also museum and architecture tours that can help you explore NYC with an experienced guide. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you always have the option of popping into whatever galleries you come across while you’re venturing out in the city.
Philadelphia can often be an overlooked city when it comes to their art scene. However, if you find yourself in Pennsylvania, there are some fantastic options for artsy folks. You can’t go wrong by heading to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where you can visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which offers works from artists like Salvador Dali, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Paul Cezanne. There’s also a Rodin Museum next door so you can view both impressive collections on the same day. A lesser-known option is the Barnes Foundation (also located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway), which has a stunning collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings available for viewing.
As impressive as Philadelphia’s classics are, their art galleries offer amazing selections of contemporary art as well. The Pentimenti Gallery, established back in 1992, has two exhibition spaces and public art projects to entice art lovers. And, there’s also the Wexler Gallery with works from design, fine art, and decorative art representing some of the country’s best craftsmanship.
Miami is another less-expected choice for a hot art scene, but because they host the widely-popular Art Basel Festival, the city has definitely become a hotspot for art lovers. This annual international art fair attracts more than 77,000 people every year with works from over 32 countries. If you can’t make it to Florida specifically for Art Basel in December, there are plenty of other exhibits you can check out year-round, like the ones at the Perez Art Museum.
For a truly edgy art scene, don’t miss the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor exhibit space that features works of graffiti and street art from some of the area’s most accomplished artists and muralists. The best way to get yourself educated about the art you’re viewing is to sign up for an official walking tour of the Walls. That way, you’ll be able to truly appreciate all of the artwork you’re seeing.
You can fully indulge your inner art critic by checking out these five cities in the US. Then you can check these destinations off your BUCKiTDREAM bucket list – just don’t forget to share all your awesome art pics on your Twitter, Insta, or Facebook pages!