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Top 10 Art Cities in the United States

Every city in the United States have their own character and vibe when it comes to art.  It is true that large cities and metros dominate in terms of sheer numbers of artists and museums but you’ll be surprised to know that even the smaller cities are moving up the list when it comes to being an artistic centers. Here are ten of the most artistic cities (random) in America.

1. New York City
The city is an art friendly city and known for its diverse contemporary art with regards to medium and styles of the artists. Aside from arts enthusiasts, other artists around the world travel to New York to experience visually stimulating work of art. The city is also the home of some of the major art institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Arts & Design and The Museum of Modern Art.

Christus, Petrus (ca.1410-1475-6). A Goldsmith in His Shop, Possibly St. Eligius (1449), oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection
Christus, Petrus (ca.1410-1475-6). A Goldsmith in His Shop, Possibly St. Eligius (1449), oil on oak panel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection

2. Chicago, Illinois
With its eminent architecture, public arts and its arts institutions, Chicago continue to draw tourists in year after year. The art of Chicago is not confined inside their great museums but you can also find them in every street corner and you can’t walk down the sidewalk without encountering art. Major museums with permanent collections and special exhibitions include The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

3. Washington, DC
Known to be the land of the free museums, DC is the home of The Smithsonian Institution which offers open admission to all of its 19 museums and galleries, including the American Art Museum, the Portrait Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens, and the Renwick Gallery, which focuses on decorative art and American craft. The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are also a must-see in this perfect art destination.


4. San Francisco, California
The city houses a variety of unique museum such as The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is the only museum in the world to host two exhibits of 200 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Asian Art Museum boast a comprehensive collection of 6,000 years of art of Southeast Asian art and history. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently acquired more than 1,100 modern artworks by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Marden, and others.

5. Santa Fe, New Mexico
This small city houses more than 240 art galleries, at least 80 clustered on Canyon Road alone. The Museum of International Folk Art has the world’s biggest collection of folk art with more than 135,000 artworks, crafts, and textiles from over 100 countries. Others include the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and the New Mexico History Museum. Annual markets also features works of Native American Artists.

new mexico
From the Alexander Girard Collection


6. Dallas, Texas
Dallas is a must in any Art lover’s bucket list to visit because of its precious art collections. The Dallas Museum of Art features a mind-blowing collection of Renoir, Pissarro, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. A big 19th- and 20th-century European and American art collection ranging from Piet Mondrian to the Hudson River School, and Asian, African, and Pacific art. One of the biggest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain is found uptown at the Meadows Museum, spanning Cubism by Picasso and Miro, Goya and Velasquez royal portraits, and Renaissance altarpieces.

7. Houston, Texas
The Museum District is a cluster of 18 museums, most notably the Museum of Fine Arts, the biggest museum in the Southwest, where an astonishing gold jewelry and artifact collection from Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America is displayed, as well as Roman, Egyptian, and Greek antiquities. The Menil collection featuring a large surrealist collection, starring Magritte, Ernst, and Picasso. Other offbeat art includes the Orange show and the Car Art Museum.

8. Boston, Massachusetts
In a Venetian palazzo-style building with a lovely fountain-filled courtyard, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays Italian Renaissance, Old Masters, and Post-Impressionists like Degas and Matisse. The encyclopedic Museum of Fine Arts features the biggest Monet collection outside of France, plus outstanding Egyptian, Nubian, and American art collections. Edgy, innovative art is found in a striking waterfront building at Institute of Contemporary Art.

Photo: Courtesy of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston


9. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Museum of Art features Latin American art collection donated by Nelson Rockefeller. Considered North America’s biggest, the museum offers Mexican folk art to pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art. The McNay Art Museum, former home of oil heiress Marion Koogler McNay, houses a captivating collection of Post-Impressionist, early 20th-century European and American, and Medieval art. The Blue Star Arts Complex are renovated warehouses that houses contemporary art galleries and artists’ lofts.

10. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles houses 841 museums and art galleries and that is more museums per capita than any other city in the world. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art which is the largest art museum in the Western United States, the Getty Center (part of the larger J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institution), and the Museum of Contemporary Art are some of the sought after museums in this city. A Downtown Art Walk is being held on Gallery Row which is attended monthly by various artists and art enthusiasts.