World's Best Art Destinations
Hungry for inspiration? These art destinations worldwide will satisfy your craving with extraordinary works of creativity and genius located in world-class museums and even the great outdoors.
The Louvre, ParisThe world’s best-known work of art, the "Mona Lisa," finds its home in the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre. For more than 200 years, da Vinci’s famous painting has resided within the Louvre, a treasure trove showcasing nearly 35,000 pieces of artwork from prehistory to the 19th century. Outside is also a visual feast. Here’s a view of the Louvre’s Pyramid, completed in 1989. 960 1280
Crown Fountain at Millennium Park, ChicagoExperience this interactive work of public art at Chicago’s Millennium Park. The 50-foot-tall structure -- the brainchild of Spanish Catalan artist and sculptor Jaume Plensa -- is one of 2 towers on which digital video images appear. LED screens showcase actual Chicago residents. The water that spouts through a nozzle on each tower’s front face operates from May to October. 960 1280
Goreme Open Air Museum, TurkeyCenturies ago, monastic communities carved more than 30 cave churches and chapels into these towering rock formations in central Turkey. That was just the beginning: Inside, they painted Byzantine-era frescoes. Today, those works of Eastern Roman Empire art -- painted between the 9th and 11th centuries -- remain a unique artistic achievement. 960 1280
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYCThe world of ancient Egypt shines in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian art collection. The star attraction is the Temple of Dendur (pictured here), a temple built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BC. The Met’s other collections showcase the European masters, as well as works from the ancient Near East, Greek and Roman periods, and the Islamic world. 960 1280
Vatican Museums, Vatican CityMichelangelo preferred sculpting to painting. And yet, the “artist who did not want to paint” created one of the most influential works in fresco art in the history of Western art: the painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It’s part of the Vatican Museums, a total of 13 museums in more than a dozen Vatican palaces inside Vatican City. 960 1280
Rijksmuseum, AmsterdamIn the 17th century, the Dutch were among the world’s leaders in trade, science, military might and art. This era -- known as the Dutch Golden Age -- is preserved at the Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam. The museum showcases a large collection of paintings from this period -- such as Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” -- that explain why the Dutch were among the world's artistic leaders in developing landscapes, still lifes and genre painting. 960 1280
Museo Reina Sofia, MadridIn 1937 the Basque town of Guernica, Spain, suffered an aerial attack in which hundreds of civilians died. Soon after, at the behest of the Spanish Republican government, the artist Pablo Picasso began a mural-size work, “Guernica,” in response to the bombing – and as an expression of the tragedies of war. See the haunting work at the Museo Reina Sofia museum, Spain’s national museum dedicated to 20th-century art. 960 1280
Santa Maria delle Grazie, MilanThis Dominican convent in Milan holds a priceless artistic treasure -- that was nearly lost to the world. During World War II, aerial bombs hit the 15th-century church, destroying many of its walls. Luckily, one of the walls of the refectory (dining hall) was spared -- and so was the mural painting that covered it: Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” 960 1280
Storm King Art Center, New York StateNature and art combine in tranquil harmony at Storm King Art Center. The 500-acre site, located 1 hour north of NYC, is home to more than 100 carefully placed sculptures. The landscape’s design was the vision of a retired businessman, Ralph Ogden, who founded Storm King in 1960. As you stroll the fields in the lower Hudson Valley, you’ll see massive works of sculpture such as this piece, “Mozart’s Birthday,” by sculptor Mark di Suvero. 960 1280
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, ItalyVisitors walk through one of the oldest art museums in the Western world: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Construction of the building began in 1560; later, in 1765, it was opened to the public as a museum. Among the treasures you’ll find inside are Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” ceiling frescoes and ancient Roman sculptures such as “The Wrestlers.” 960 1280
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DCWashington, DC’s National Gallery of Art holds a major distinction: It’s home to the only portrait by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas. The Renaissance master’s double-sided portrait of a 15th-century Italian aristocrat, Ginerva de’ Benci, can be found in the West Building’s Main Floor gallery 6. 960 1280
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYCKnown simply as MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan houses one of the finest collections of modern art in the Western world. One of the standouts among the museum’s 150,000 treasures is “The Starry Night” -- the famous 1889 work by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh that captures a view of southern France from his sanatorium room window. 960 1280
Lakshmana Temple, IndiaVisitors enter Lakshmana Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, in central India. Carvings depicting various erotic scenes adorn the southern facade of this Hindu temple, built more than 1,000 years ago. Still, they’re just a small portion of the astonishingly intricate images you’ll see among the more than 600 Hindu deities that adorn both the inside and outside of this sandstone temple. 960 1280
Museo Nacional de Antropologia, MexicoBefore Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, a rich civilization thrived in what is now modern-day Mexico. The pre-Columbian era is preserved at Mexico’s Museo Nacional de Antropologia. Inside you’ll find the largest collection of pre-Columbian artifacts in Mexico, such as the Aztec Stone of the Sun, a large monolithic sculpture that was discovered in 1790. 960 1280
Spiral Jetty, UtahThis earthwork sculpture, constructed over a 6-day period in 1970, was built entirely of mud, basalt rocks, salt crystals, earth and water. It was the creation of American artist Robert Smithson, who coined the term “earthworks” art. "Spiral Jetty" is Smithson’s most famous example of this art form. While exposure to the elements has changed the jetty’s original colors, it remains a fixture of the northeastern shore of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. 960 1280
Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeHead to the Big Apple for Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The three-hour event starts at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, but better come early (and wear warm clothes); crowds start arriving hours earlier to stake out a spot. If a 5 a.m. wakeup call’s not your thing, these NYC Hotels offer great views of the parade’s lineup of floats, clowns and more. 960 1280
Breeders' CupWondering where to travel in November? Start by taking in two days of action-packed thoroughbred horse races. The annual Breeders’ Cup World Championship kicks off this month at California’s oldest racetrack, Santa Anita Park. Better grab your tickets fast, though; attendance is usually much higher than other stake races in North America. 960 1280
MovemberBros! Ditch the razor for a month-long celebration of some fierce facial hair. Movember (the month formerly known as November) unfolds with dozens of runs and gala parties nationwide to raise awareness of men’s health issues. That spells one perfect excuse to finally try out that wicked handlebar ’stache.
The Day of the DeadFamilies decorate the graves of loved ones throughout Mexico as part of this annual national holiday. A blend of pre-Columbian and Catholic traditions, Day of the Dead may sound notoriously spooky to outsiders. But to those who celebrate it, the day offers a way to reflect and share in treasured memories of loved ones through acts of commemoration, including making altars like this.
Black FridayAmerica at its finest, folks. Yes, you too can trample over terrified cashiers in pursuit of a bargain HD TV. If you prefer something a little more orderly this Black Friday, head to some of America’s best shopping malls. Our top pick: Mall of America, home to more than 180 retailers. Bring your ID and some good walking shoes. Plus better remember where you parked! 960 1280
Busiest Travel Days, Start Planning!Notoriously long lines and long waits: The day before Thanksgiving ranks as the busiest travel day of the year. Drive, fly or take the train -- we don’t care how you get here, just as long as you arrive in notorious aplomb and style (no fugly Thanksgiving sweaters, please). 960 1280
NYC MarathonLace up your sneakers for the New York City Marathon. More than 50,000 people compete in the world’s largest marathon. Cheer on the participants as they race through the city’s five boroughs and head to the finish line if you’re not competing in the 26-mile run. 960 1280
NASCAR Sprint for the CupFeeling the need for speed? NASCAR enthusiasts will feel it in droves at one of the country's best NASCAR racetracks, the Homestead-Miami Speedway. This month, the motor racing track hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint for the Cup, in which racing’s top drivers will compete for the championship trophy – it all unfolds in the Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale. 960 1280
Native American Heritage MonthHeroic resolve in the midst of often notorious treatment defines Native American Heritage Month. Kick off this special month of commemoration -- and appreciation -- with a visit to this dazzling waterfall, tucked in a land in the heart of the Grand Canyon that’s been home to the Havasupai American Indian tribe for nearly 1,000 years.
San Diego Bay Wine + Food FestivalNotoriously passionate wine and food lovers descend on Southern California each November for the region’s largest festival of its kind. How notorious are we talking? Well, let’s just say any festival that lures some of the best national chefs, local culinary stars, and celebrated winemakers and brewmasters means serious gastronomic pleasure is in order. 960 1280
Fun Fun Fun FestThe darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music-makers alike, Fun Fun Fun Fest has some notoriously serious creds. Ever since its launch in 2006, this annual festival has skyrocketed beyond its downtown Austin roots to world-renowned status, attracting artists and their fans from around the globe.
Deer Hunting SeasonNotorious to some, delectably yummy to others, deer-hunting season begins with a bang -- sorry, Bambi -- come November. That’s because the month is prime deer-mating season: Male bucks are often so distracted by the urge to mate they may not detect the sound of Grandpa Earl’s carbine locking and loading off in the distance. Head to states like Kentucky, New Hampshire and Minnesota for the hunt.
Arlington National CemeteryOn a sunny autumn day in November 1963, America’s love affair with Camelot came to a shattering end. Just weeks before his assassination, JFK visited Arlington National Cemetery and, standing atop a hill, said he could spend eternity there. Today, he is one of two presidents buried on the 600-acre grounds, an eternal flame placed by his widow Jackie to outshine one of the most notorious moments in U.S. history. 960 1280
Chicago’s The Food Film FestivalFood in the theater?! The sight may be a notorious no-no to crabby old docents, but at this annual festival, the paired enjoyment of food and film -- from the comfort of a theater seat -- is a must. The annual event, now in its third year, invites audience members to actually taste some of the dishes they see before them on the big screen.
ThanksgivingMmm, mmm, good! Perfectly succulent (when baked right), the turkey takes center stage at many holiday tables. America cooks up more than 45 million turkeys for Thanksgiving, plus another 22 million come Christmastime, which adds up to a whole lotta post-meal sleepiness.
The RockettesLet’s go girls! Those sky-high kicks, those naughty smiles -- oh, it certainly wouldn’t be a notoriously fun November without the Rockettes. During the holiday season, the legendary dance company kicks it into high gear with five shows a day, seven days a week. See the grand show unfold in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, presented at Radio City Music Hall. 960 1280
16 Things to Do in November 16 Photos
Carolina Renaissance FestivalWatch knights battle for the Queen’s favor in a modern representation of a Renaissance-era jousting tournament at the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC. This major festival runs from October through November, with several activities and attractions, including an artisan marketplace, games and rides. 960 1280
Texas Renaissance FestivalGo to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, TX, to experience its 8 themed weekends of fun, including Oktoberfest, All Hallows Eve, Pirate Adventure, Barbarian Invasion, Highland Fling and Celtic Christmas. We recommend checking out the exciting Fire Whip Show. 960 1280
Maryland Renaissance FestivalStroll through Valley Meade, Kenwood Lane, White Stag Grove, King’s Field, Kenwood Lane, Meadow Lane and Mary’s Dale Way, at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD. Sample tasty food like smoked turkey legs, friar’s fritters, meat pie on a stick, peasant bread, king’s dogs and many more delicious delights. 960 1280
New York Renaissance FaireVisit Tuxedo Park, NY, to enjoy the fun at the New York Renaissance Faire. Nestled in the groves of Sterling Forest, this faire is a full-on experience of Elizabethan England, complete with 16th-century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance. From August through September, take the kids to see aerial acrobatics, knife throwers, royal pipers, jousting and storytelling. 960 1280
Scarborough Renaissance FestivalWatch performers Don Juan and Miguel sword fight at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX. Located south of Dallas, this festival runs from the beginning of April through the end of May. It’s a unique place for a spring wedding, too. Royalty, Nobility and Gentry wedding packages are offered to couples who want to get married in the Wedding Garden. 960 1280
Bristol Renaissance FaireIn Kenosha, WI, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is held on a 30-acre site where visitors can meet Robin Hood or Queen Elizabeth in person, or watch swordfighters and jesters perform on open-air stages. At the Bristol Fair Marketplace, more than 200 artisans sell their wares, including jewelry, pottery, tapestries, pewter and crafted leather. 960 1280
Northern California Renaissance FaireFor about a month, starting the second week in September, the Northern California Renaissance Faire in Hollister, CA, is the place to be for travelers looking for fun. The Queen’s Band and other musicians fill the streets of Willingtown with magical sounds of the Elizabethan era. The faire also has themed weekends, including Fantasy Weekend, where visitors may catch a glimpse of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies. 960 1280
Ohio Renaissance FestivalWelcome to Harveysburg, OH, home of the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Visit a 30-acre recreated 16th-century English village where guests can rub elbows with Queen Elizabeth and over 150 costumed characters. In addition to fire eaters, this festival features nearly 100 shows each day on 11 stages, 135 arts and crafts shops, food and drink fit for a king, games of skill and human-powered rides to amuse all ages. Check out this fun festival on the weekend during August, September or October. 960 1280
Arizona Renaissance FestivalEnjoy feasting on a variety of food and a bevy of beverages, including Medieval Margaritas, Da Vinci Coladas, Dukes of Daiquiri, wine, honey mead, beers, ales and more. Located near Apache Junction, AZ, this daylong family adventure features a 13-stage theater, 30-acre circus, and arts and crafts fair and jousting tournament. The Arizona Renaissance Festival runs from the beginning of February through the end of March. 960 1280
Minnesota Renaissance FestivalWitness intense live armored jousting at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN. This festival -- held from the beginning of August through Labor Day weekend -- has become the largest Renaissance Festival in the US, with an annual attendance of 300, 000 people. 960 1280
King Richard's FaireCleavage Contest, Vow Renewal, Biker’s Weekend, Children’s Fairies Contest, Prince and Princess Costume Contest and the Beard and Moustache Contest are just a couple-themed weekends held at the King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA. From August to October, hundreds of people converge on the 80-acre site to see knights battle on horseback, beggars compete in mud, and performers put on an acrobatic show. We recommend a visit to the royal zoo to see birds of prey, snow leopards, Bengal tigers and jaguars. 960 1280
Georgia Renaissance FestivalWatch the Celtic rock group The Rogues perform at the Georgia Renaissance Festival in Fairburn, GA. In addition to live music, this festival also features comedic storytelling, 4 pubs, a royal petting zoo, King Henry VIII and his Court, and the Jousting Tournament of Kings. Looking for more to do? Check out the games and rides like the Corkscrew Slide, Junior Joust, Sea Dragon, Drench-a-Wench, Catapulting Frogs, Ax Throw and King of the Log. 960 1280
Best Renaissance Festivals in the US 12 Photos