3 Surprising Cities for Cultural Travel

When the topic of traveling for cultural attractions arises, there are always some major players mentioned: New York City, Rome, Paris, London and others that are obviously arts meccas. You don’t have to hop a plane to one of these spots to soak in some major cultural fare, though. You can find interesting cultural attractions just about anywhere you travel and there are some major hubs that people often don’t think about when planning their trips.

Take a look at some U.S. cities with surprising cultural sides.


This Midwestern Motor City boasts a melting pot of many ethnicities that shine in several cultural attractions. While in town, check out the Arab American National Museum, the Polish Art Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus. If museums aren’t your thing, spend an evening at the Detroit Opera House or catch any number of traveling ballet and dance shows that frequent the city. You should show up to eat, too. Check out delicious authentic dishes in Greektown, Mexicantown and Hamtramck (the Polish district).

Washington D.C.

Washington DC
Washington Monument and White House aerial view

The nation’s capital is certainly known for many of its attractions, but most people solely associate history offerings in the area. The truth is that the cultural pulse of Washington D.C. is one that rivals the big name spots mentioned at the beginning of this article. The Kennedy Center for the Arts offers daily free performances that include poetry readings, dance performances, and appearances by the National Symphony Orchestra. The National Gallery of Art also offers weekly free music performances. While in town, see what’s showing at the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, and Folger Theatre. Pair your cultural outings with world-class D.C. dining for a memorable, sophisticated take on the Capital that you won’t soon forget.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas
Las Vegas by night

Sin City has seen a major evolution in the past decade from simply glitz to a world-class, glamorous destination. If you want to add a cultural component to your Vegas vacation, head to acclaimed shows like Cirque du Soleil’s Love, bringing the story of the Beatles to life. You can also try the aquatic themed La Reve for a darker look at movement and music. The new T-Mobile Arena hosts a variety of arts showcases, from popular music stars to touring ballet companies. For a look at visual art, head to the City Centre Fine Art Collection that begins in the Aria hotel. If you want to learn a little more about the seedy past of Vegas, head to the The Mob Museum in old downtown. If you think that playing poker and culture don’t mix, you obviously haven’t let yourself experience all that Las Vegas has to offer.

Where have you traveled with lesser-known cultural attractions?

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Top image: Detroit at night.


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