The 20 Best US Cities For Culture
#20 Chicago, IL
One cultural attraction for every 7,438 people
365 properties in the Windy City are dedicated to cultural and recreational activities.
The most famous are the legendary Chicago Theater, which dates back to 1920, historical Wrigley Field, built in 1914, and Millennium Park in the Loo, home to the city’s iconic reflective Bean.
#19 San Jose, CA
One cultural attraction for every 6,873 people
San Jose has 143 cultural destinations for its 980,000 residents.
Its most famous attractions are the Tech Museum of Innovation, filled with robots and virtual technology, as well as the walkable Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park.
#18 Memphis, TN
One cultural attraction for every 5,697 people
Memphis has a total of 115 properties for cultural purposes. A lot of them are related to Elvis Presley, including Sun Studio, where he recorded his first song, and Graceland, his famous mansion.
Memphis also is home to the National Civil Rights Museum, located where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
#17 Los Angeles Area, CA
One cultural attraction for every 5,210 people
Los Angeles has 774 properties dedicated to culture and recreation, but because it is the second most populous city in the U.S., the City of Angels is still only 17 on this list.
Its iconic cultural attractions include the Griffith Observatory, whose telescopes are open to the public, and the Getty Center, with its impressive collection of art.
#16 San Francisco, CA
One cultural attraction one location for every 5,130 people
San Francisco has 161 culture-centric venues. One of its most famous is Golden Gate Park, with over 1,000 acres of public ground.
For those who love animals, the local San Francisco Zoo has spectacular gardens, a playground, and over 250 species.
#15 Dallas, TX
Dallas has a population of 1.2 million, with 248 locations for cultural and recreational activities.
One of its most impressive is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, with 64.6 acres of outdoor public gardens and grassy knolls.
#14 Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is the sixth most populous city in the U.S., and it has 315 cultural and recreational attractions for residents.
Two of its best are the world’s largest Musical Instruments Museum with exhibits spanning cultures and time periods, as well as the renowned 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden.
#13 New York, NY
New York has the most properties dedicated to cultural and recreational activities out of all the cities on this list, with a total of 2,693.
It’s home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the U.S., as well as Central and Prospect Parks.
#12 Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas isn’t all about gambling and partying — Sin City also has 196 locations dedicated to cultural and recreational activities, including golf courses, green parks, and art galleries.
One of its most popular attractions in Wynn Golf Course ,which is attached to a resort and has its own waterfall.
#11 Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, and has a large number of cultural spaces.
One is the famous Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which has over 6,000 works of art ranging from 2,100 B.C. to contemporary art.
#10 Washington, DC
640,000 residents live in the U.S. capital and have access to the city’s 267 cultural and recreational locations.
Many of them are world-renowned, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Memorial, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, among many others.
#9 Charlotte, NC
Charlotte has 322 properties that are dedicated to culture and recreation. The city has a lot to do, especially outdoors.
Two of the best are 98-acre Freedom Park with plenty of wild Canadian Geese, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center with kayaking, rafting, and more.
#8 Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia has 901 properties dedicated to cultural and recreational attractions, and has the largest number of outdoor sculptures and murals in America.
The city is steeped in history. It’s home to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed.
#7 San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is the fastest-growing of the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., and has 835 recreational and cultural activities for its residents.
One of the most interesting in the San Antonio Museum of Art, which not only has an amazing collection but is inside a repurposed brewery dating back to 1904.
#6 Columbus, OH
Columbus has a total of 593 properties dedicated to cultural and recreational properties.
Among them are the Franklin Park Conservatory, which spans almost 98 acres with a botanical garden and green space, and the historic Ohio Theater.
#5 Boston, MA
Though Boston is the second smallest city on this list (by area) it has 536 properties dedicated to cultural activities.
The attractions are wide-ranging, from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to the Museum of Fine Arts, and of course, Fenway Park — the oldest Major League baseball park in the United States.
#4 Houston, TX
Houston is the largest city in all of Texas, and the fourth-largest in America. It’s home to 2.1 million people as well as 1,890 cultural and recreational properties.
A favorite attraction among residents and tourists is the Children’s Museum of Houston, which is ranked one of the best in the country, as well as the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
#3 Miami Area, FL
Miami has a lot of culture, entertainment, and art to offer — a whopping 629 attractions.
One of the leading local attractions is Zoo Miami, which is one of the first free-range zoos in the country, as well as many museums such as the Perez Art Museum and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
#2 Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis may not seem like a cultural capital of America, but it has six different cultural districts and a rich heritage.
The city has also tried to become a destination for arts and culture with 1,184 properties, including the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum.
#1 Seattle, WA
One cultural attraction one location for every 354 people
Seattle tops this list as the most cultural city in the U.S. with 1,890 cultural and recreational venues for its population of 650,000 people.
Its quirky blend of attractions also make it unique, from the Chihuly Garden and Glass with breathtaking, colorful glass sculptures to the Museum of Flight, with a glider designed by the Wright brothers.