The Top 10 U.S. Cities for Culture

The Atlantic used U.S. census data to determine which cities have the most extensive artistic communities. Here's their list, along with some planning ideas for each of these artsy cities.

1. Santa Fe, NM
New Mexico is called the "Land of Enchantment" for a reason. Its dry climate and desert and mountain landscapes have been a draw for artists since the 19th century.

2. San Francisco, CA
The city offers a fine balance of "boho chic" galleries and established cultural treasures. This year, see Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at the de Young Museum then head to North Beach for some bar-hopping.

3. New York, NY
Fifth Avenue may be known as "Museum Mile," but New York City's other four boroughs have cultural treasures of their own. Check out the Brooklyn Museum in downtown Brooklyn or the Noguchi Museum in Queens.

4. Los Angeles, CA
The free, self-guided Downtown Art Walk tour gives visitors an effortless "in" to some of the city's galleries, predominantly those on Spring and Main streets between Second and Ninth streets.

5. Santa Cruz, CA
Its location on gorgeous Monterey Bay draws artists of all stripes to Santa Cruz. The city has its own Shakespeare company, as well as a symphony orchestra.

6. Danbury, CT
There's an active community of artists in this Connecticut hamlet -- the Arts Network of Danbury opened a pop-up gallery last winter and sponsors many contests for local artists.

7. New Bedford, MA
This summer the city will host an exhibition of more than 30 contemporary artists showcasing issues related to the New Bedford Harbor and the fishing industry. 

8. Boulder, CO
Boulder is home to Naropa University, noted for its affiliation with a number of Beat poets under the auspices of its Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

9. Yarmouth, MA
After Yarmouth native Edward Gorey died in 2000 the city opened a museum in his former residence, a 200 year-old sea captain’s home on the Yarmouth Port Common.

10. Jersey City, NJ
Jersey City's Museum of Russian Arts is an often-overlooked gem. The permanent collection includes quite a bit of "unofficial" Soviet art from activist Alexander Glezer’s private holdings.

Source: Atlantic Cities