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.

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Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Explore the fourth-largest historic home in the United States. Spanning 110 rooms, the 88,000 square-foot mansion was built in a Tudor Revival style, between 1926 and 1929, by the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge. The mansion and surrounding 1,400-acre grounds were donated to Michigan State University in 1957. 960 1280

Meadow Brook Hall  

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

This Mediterranean Revival-style mansion was designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan’s vision, shaped over the course of a 28-year collaboration with Hearst, features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens and so much more -- including the world’s largest private zoo. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Once hailed by a New York newspaper as "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world," this 55-room mansion, built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1901, later came close to demolition -- until one of Flagler’s granddaughters saved it in 1959. You’ll need a good 2 hours to tour the property -- must-see stops include the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom and the atrium garden. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post had 3 estates, including Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island. Donald Trump now owns that one, but the real star of Post’s collection is Hillwood Estate. Post loved this urban oasis in the heart of DC more than any of her other estates -- her ashes are interred in the estate’s Rose Garden. The biggest draw is the estate’s decorative arts collection, from Faberge eggs to 18th and 19th-century French art. 960 1280

Jennifer Boyer, flickr  

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

This swanky country estate ranks as the 12th largest house in the United States. The Tudor Revival-style home, which originally spanned 3,000 acres (it’s now on 70 acres), was built between 1912 and 1915 by the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Above the manor’s front door is a stone inscription: “Non nobis solum,” meaning, “Not for us alone.” In keeping with that motto, the estate is open seasonally to the public. 960 1280

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

This 87-acre estate, just northeast of Detroit, was the home of Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) and his wife, Eleanor. Before her death in 1976, Eleanor stated that the property be used for the “benefit of the public.” Today, visitors can tour the 20,000-square-foot home to see the intimate family photos that take you back to 1927, when the home was built, and beyond, to the home’s heyday in the 1940s. On the grounds, be sure to check out Josephine Ford’s child-sized playhouse, built by her grandmother in 1930. 960 1280

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House  

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Head to Long Island’s Gold Coast for a tour of this sprawling estate -- the second-largest private home in the US. The estate comprises 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet. Oheka was built between 1914 and 1919 to serve as the country home of investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (the name Oheka is an acronym for his name). Oheka also served as partial inspiration for Gatsby’s estate in Fitzgerald’s novel. 960 1280

Michael Fucci  

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Step into turn-of-the-century splendor at this sprawling 28,000-square-foot, 4-story mansion. Completed in 1895, the estate was the home of American financier William Lewis Moody Jr. – once proclaimed by TIME magazine to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in America. Now a museum, the estate offers tours of 20 rooms. Among the beautiful touches is a gold leaf ceiling in the dining room. 960 1280

JR Gordon, flickr  

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills is home to plenty of jaw-dropping homes, but only one is open to public tours. This 6-acre estate, once home to Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson’s department store), was built in 1911. The estate’s architectural highlight is its playhouse/pool pavilion, which was added in 1924. Its memorable features include a reflecting swimming pool, as well as Tuscan columns and arches with sgraffiti, an Italian style of wall décor similar to fresco. 960 1280

Virginia Robinson Estate  

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

This Flemish Renaissance Revival-style beaut was home to German-American beer baron Frederick Pabst between 1892 and 1908. The property was later purchased by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for the next 67 years, it served as home to 5 archbishops. Centrally located in downtown Milwaukee, the estate is open year-round to the public, offering visitors a chance to behold the estate’s signature feature: intricate woodwork. 960 1280

Pabst Mansion   

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

This 7.6-acre estate was built between 1905 and 1908 by lawyer and businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. The lakefront property features 38 rooms, and an exterior inspired by neoclassical French and English touches. Throughout the house are fine works of art by American and European masters of the day. But the mansion also has a dark side: In 1977, Congdon’s daughter and her nurse were murdered here. While tour guides at the mansion were once prohibited from speaking about the murders, today they’ll speak briefly about it ... upon request. 960 1280

Richard Ruan, flickr  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

This gorgeous home in the tranquil hamlet of Staatsburg, NY, is regarded by architecture scholars as one of the finest examples of an estate built during America’s Gilded Age. Tour the grounds and see a massive portico, balustrades, floral swags and pilasters that all add up to one big impression: The owners sure had it good here. 960 1280

Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons   

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

In the mountains of Asheville, NC, this luxurious Châteauesque-styled mansion awaits. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in America – it spans an astonishing 178,926 square feet and 250 rooms. You’ll be fascinated to see how the era’s wealthy lived: Tour highlights include an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, 2-story library and early 20th-century exercise equipment. 960 1280

Michael, flickr  

Obama was Born in:
Honolulu

Obama was Born in:
Honolulu

It’s August 1961. Ike is president. The Berlin Wall has just gone up. And in Hawaii’s capital of Honolulu, Barack Hussein Obama II is born at the Kapiolani Hospital for Women & Children. In January 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s first president born in Hawaii. In true presidential style, Obama has played golf at Olomana Golf Links and Royal Hawaiian Country Club, both on Oahu. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Romney was born in:
Detroit

Romney was born in:
Detroit

It’s March 1947. The Baby Boom is going strong! And in Detroit, Willard Mitt Romney is born at Harper Hospital. In June 2011, Romney announced his run for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket, becoming the first Mormon to win a major-party presidential nomination. Today, delve into Detroit’s rich auto past with a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory. 960 1280

iStock  

Obama Grew up in:
Indonesia

Obama Grew up in:
Indonesia

In 1967, 6-year-old Barack moved with his family to Indonesia. The young Barack initially lived in Jakarta, and attended Indonesian language schools until the age of 10. In the 1970s, Jakarta got a face-lift: A city-wide effort rehabilitated roads and bridges, encouraged the arts, and led to new schools and hospitals. Today, Jakarta stands as Indonesia’s economic, cultural and political center -- with some really great food. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Romney Grew up in: Bloomfield Hills

Romney Grew up in: Bloomfield Hills

Romney grew up in Bloomfield Hills, MI, 20 miles from Detroit. Romney’s dad was the president of a big auto company, and later the governor of Michigan. Today, explore Cranbrook Institute of Science (for natural history), Crankbrook Art Museum (for contemporary art), Oakland Hills Country Club (6 US Opens hosted here) and, pictured here, Cranbrook House & Gardens (the jaw-dropping home of an old newspaper mogul). 960 1280

Lian Chang, flickr  

Obama Went to:
Punahou School

Obama Went to:
Punahou School

In 1971, 10-year-old Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his mom’s parents. He got a scholarship to attend Punahou School, a private prep school, and graduated in 1979. Today, Punahou stands as the largest independent school in the US. In 2006, it was ranked the “greenest” school in America. And Sports Illustrated has ranked the school’s sports program as the best in the country. Not too shabby! 960 1280

Travis Thurston, Wikimedia Commons  

Romney Went to:
Cranbrook Schools

Romney Went to:
Cranbrook Schools

In the seventh grade, Romney was enrolled at the private Crankbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, and later graduated in June 1965. Spanning 319 acres, Cranbrook was established by newspaper magnate George Booth in 1905. A New York Times architecture critic called the campus “one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere.” Such distinction draws visitors from all over the world. 960 1280

Danielcausa, Wikimedia Commons  

Obama Went to:
Columbia University

Obama Went to:
Columbia University

In 1981, Obama enrolled at Columbia University in NYC, where he majored in political science, with a specialty in international relations, and graduated in 1983. Today, enjoy a self-guided tour of the campus, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, exploring points of interest such as Low Library (the vestibule and rotunda) and Avery Hall, known as the world’s greatest architecture library. 960 1280

Max Talbot-Minkin, flickr  

Romney Went to:
Brigham Young University

Romney Went to:
Brigham Young University

In 1971, Romney earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. Owned and operated by the LDS Church, BYU is America’s largest religious university. Head to the top of Spencer W. Kimball Tower -- at 12 stories, it’s the highest building in Provo -- for great views of BYU, Provo and the mountains surrounding Utah County. 960 1280

Jaren Wilkey, Wikimedia Commons  

Obama Went to:
Harvard Law School

Obama Went to:
Harvard Law School

In 1988, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School. At the end of his first year, he was tapped as an editor of the Harvard Law Review -- and became the first African-American to hold that distinction. Obama catapulted to national attention. Today, Harvard Law is the oldest continuously-operating law school in the US (it was established in 1817). 960 1280

Chensiyuan, Wikimedia Commons  

Romney Went to:
Harvard Business School

Romney Went to:
Harvard Business School

Romney earned an MBA and JD from Harvard University. Romney’s passion was business; he graduated in the top 5% of his biz school class, and soon joined a consulting firm. The 40-acre Harvard Business School campus is located in the Boston neighborhood of Allston, across the Charles River from the main Harvard campus in Cambridge. 960 1280

HBS1908, Wikimedia Commons  

Obama married at:
Trinity United Church

Obama married at:
Trinity United Church

After graduating Columbia, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer. Later, after graduating Harvard, he returned to work for a law firm. That’s where he met a young lawyer named Michelle, and the rest is history. They married in 1992 at Trinity United Church of Christ, and took a honeymoon road trip from San Francisco through Big Sur and Carmel. 960 1280

Zol87, flickr  

Romney married at:
Salt Lake Temple

Romney married at:
Salt Lake Temple

In 1969, Mitt married his high school sweetheart, Ann, at the Salt Lake Temple. The church took 40 years to build, and was officially dedicated in April 1893. The temple’s design is meant to evoke Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, and is oriented in the direction of the ancient city. Because of its status as a site sacred to Mormons, it is not open to public tours. Mitt and Ann honeymooned in Hawaii. 960 1280

Kwong Yee Cheng, flickr  

The Obamas lived in:
Chicago

The Obamas lived in:
Chicago

The Obamas’ 2 girls were born in Chicago and later attended a private, co-ed day school. The Windy City holds plenty of kid-friendly attractions. Kids love the skyscrapers (can’t miss Willis Tower), Lincoln Park Conservatory (great botanical garden) and Navy Pier (the Ferris wheel is reason enough). Plus, enjoy views of the Chicago River in downtown. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

The Romneys lived in:
Belmont, MA

The Romneys lived in:
Belmont, MA

Belmont is a quiet New England town. As a young professional, Romney and his wife raised their 5 sons in “The Town of Homes,” as Belmont is called. Today, enjoy a leisurely family outing to Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary -- fret not, the 93-acre urban oasis offers plenty of fun, including more than 2.5 miles of gentle trails, winding through evergreen forests and meadows. 960 1280

derot, Wikimedia Commons  

Obama Vacations on:
Martha’s Vineyard

Obama Vacations on:
Martha’s Vineyard

President Obama skipped a summer vacation this election year. But in years past, the First Family has enjoyed some downtime on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The posh summer colony is home to a year-round population of 15,000 people. President Obama has enjoyed golf at Farm Neck Golf Club, and a bike ride with his daughter Malia through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, both on the island. 960 1280

iStock  

Romney Vacations in:
La Jolla, CA

Romney Vacations in:
La Jolla, CA

In recent years, the Romneys had an oceanfront home in San Diego’s La Jolla district. This idyllic, seaside resort town showcases a dramatic view: rugged and sandy coastline where wild seals congregate. La Jolla is also home to great golf (at Torrey Pines Golf Course), the Museum of Contemporary Art and great beaches like La Jolla Cove, popular for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Obama Chows Down at:
Ben’s Chili Bowl

Obama Chows Down at:
Ben’s Chili Bowl

What does a president-elect eat on his first Saturday afternoon in DC? In January 2009, Obama headed on over to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a veritable DC landmark since it opened in 1958, to order a … half-smoke chili dog and cheese fries, yum! Obama is no slouch in the kitchen, either. He’s told 60 Minutes he’s made chili, cheese toast, tuna fish and omelets for his family. 960 1280

Reuters  

Romney Chows Down at:
Hudson’s Smokehouse

Romney Chows Down at:
Hudson’s Smokehouse

OK, Romney has chowed down at a lot of places since hitting the campaign trail. Here, he stops by Hudson’s Smokehouse, a mom-and-pop style BBQ joint in South Carolina. Romney reportedly likes peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches, plus healthy choices for the road like hummus and pita. And can he cook? Well, Fox News Sunday filmed Romney cooking pancakes one time -- does that count? 960 1280

Getty Images  

Obama campaigned at:
Grove Park Inn Resort

Obama campaigned at:
Grove Park Inn Resort

Sometimes a change of scenery does a candidate good. In 2008, while campaigning in North Carolina, Obama stopped by a fundraising dinner at the Grove Park Inn Resort. Obama liked the resort, in the Blue Ridge Mountains area, so much that, after election, he returned with First Lady Michelle for a romantic spring getaway. 960 1280

C Jill Reed, flickr  

Romney campaign started in:
Boston

Romney campaign started in:
Boston

From CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics to that of 2 companies, Romney transitioned to public office in 2003, and became Massachusetts’ 70th governor. Now comes his biggest bid: Romney’s presidential campaign headquarters got their start on Commercial Street in Boston. The area’s just a few blocks from historic landmarks such as the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House. 960 1280

Curious Expeditions, flickr  

Tour de France’s 100th

Tour de France’s 100th

Cycling’s premier annual event marks its 100th anniversary in 2013. The very first Tour de France comprised a 5-stage race, beginning in Paris and stopping in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to Paris. Today, the race typically spans 21 days and a total of 2,000 miles; 2013’s Tour de France will start in Corsica, in the city of Porto-Vecchio, and finish at dusk in Paris. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Grand Central’s 100th

Grand Central’s 100th

This megadaddy of rail travel turns 100 in 2013. Spanning 48 acres, the grand Beaux-Arts-designed terminal has risen and fallen (it went into bankruptcy in 1970 and even faced potential demolition), and risen again. Today, the hub is the world’s sixth most visited tourist attraction, according to a Travel + Leisure survey. 960 1280

Katie Hards   

Groundhog Day at 20

Groundhog Day at 20

Thank the 1993 Bill Murray flick for catapulting this furry little guy onto the national scene. 2013 marks the American comedy-turned-classic’s 20th anniversary. Celebrate with a trip to the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, where thousands have gathered each year since 1886 to await Punxsutawney Phil’s end-of-winter predictions. According to records dating back to 1887, Phil’s been accurate 39% of the time. 960 1280

Getty Images  

125 Years of Nat Geo

125 Years of Nat Geo

Many leaders have had the National Geographic Society to thank for kindling their imagination in exploring the world around them. Among them was America’s 36th president LBJ -- he once said, “My mother brought me up by putting the Bible in my right hand and the National Geographic magazine in my left.” 960 1280

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Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam sees an epic year of milestones ahead: In 2013, Amsterdam marks the 175th birthday of the Artis Royal Zoo, the nation's most famous zoo, which houses 900 species of animals. The Dutch capital is also celebrating the 400th anniversary of its famed Canal Ring, which has given Amsterdam the moniker, "Venice of the North." 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

One day, without warning, this idyllic coastal town in Sonoma County, CA, was attacked by … the birds! Who can ever look at birds the same way after watching Hitchcock’s suspense-horror classic, which turns 50 in 2013. Mark the occasion with a visit to Bodega Bay, and keep a watchful eye on the sky -- you just never know. 960 1280

iStock  

Harley-Davidson at 110

Harley-Davidson at 110

The freedom of the open road, the need for speed -- this journey began 110 years ago in Milwaukee. In 1903, the granddaddy of American motorcycle manufacturers got its start in a small machine shop, where a 23-year-old engineering genius William Sylvester Harley toiled away. Harley worked on a “motor-cycle” with childhood friend Arthur Davidson; the rest is bad-ass history. 960 1280

iStock  

The Drive-In Turns 70

The Drive-In Turns 70

This icon of American pop culture became official 70 years ago, when a chemical company magnate was granted a patent for his invention: an outdoor theater. From humble beginnings (the first drive-in opened in Pennsauken Township, NJ), the drive-in movie theater peaked in popularity from the late 1950s to early 1960s. You can relive the glory days at retro drive-ins like Sandell Theater in Clarendon, TX. 960 1280

Orange County Archives, flickr  

Lamborghini at 50

Lamborghini at 50

You are what you drive. Who’d want to admit that -- unless, of course, you’re driving this motor-sportin’ beaut. Fifty years ago, the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer got its start in the northern Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese. In May 2013, the automaker celebrates by hosting a 700-mile road trip through northern and central Italy. Andiamo! 960 1280

Ben_in_london, flickr  

David Livingstone's 200th

David Livingstone's 200th

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Why, indeed it is: 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the famed Scottish explorer’s birth. At the age of 27, the young missionary headed for Africa. Fascinated by the continent’s beauty, he went on to spend 30 years in places such as modern-day Botswana and Zambia. In the end, his one regret was that he hadn’t spent enough time with his children. Honor the great doctor’s legacy; take the kids on safari. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out … and why would you want to? Not when the setting is the beautiful Aloha State. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the King’s live concert from the capital city of Honolulu. Celebrate Elvis’ love of all things Hawaiian with your own journey to his favorite spots, like Hanauma Bay, featured in his films Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

With a stroke of the pen, Abraham Lincoln opened the door to the eradication of America’s greatest evil. The end of slavery would not come with the simple signing of this executive order on Jan. 1, 1863, but it did make abolition an official goal of the Civil War. Revisit that chapter in the exhibit “Changing America,” at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History through Sept. 15, 2013. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Gettysburg at 150

Gettysburg at 150

“Four score and 7 years ago …” The passion of Abraham Lincoln’s words, all 272 of them, gave meaning to what history would record as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Relive this pivotal moment in US history with a trip to this stretch of southern Pennsylvania, during the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

I Have a Dream Turns 50

I Have a Dream Turns 50

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; stand in the exact spot where MLK delivered his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. 2013 sees other big civil rights anniversaries, including the 100th birthday of the “first lady of civil rights” Rosa Parks and the 50th anniversary of protests in Birmingham, AL, that triggered a national dialogue about the need for civil rights for African-American citizens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

West Virginia's 150th

West Virginia's 150th

The Mountain State marks its 150th anniversary in 2013. In June 1863, at the height of the Civil War, an expanse of land in the Appalachian Mountain range broke away from the state of Virginia, becoming the only state to form by seceding from the Confederacy. Among West Virginia’s must-see sites is the New River Gorge, a 3,030-foot-long steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, WV. 960 1280

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