Travel Themes Part 11: The Arts

Today we are going to look at The Arts in its vast range of mediums. The Arts elicit strong passions among the devoted and drives many to visit far flung destinations. I have mentioned art in several previous travel themes such as Museums, and Urban Adventures. I commented on the subjectivity of art. That will be even more apparent in this post as we discuss everything from opera to animation.

Let’s Go Learn Things……


Personally, I have an eclectic and ever-changing taste in music. Therefore I was never a Deadhead, Phan or Swiftie.  Have you guessed which bands belong to those nicknames?  In researching this article I actually found a site listing the nicknames of band groupies. These fans are out there, the fans/groupies that follow their obsessions across the globe. I will not judge, but I will look for a more diversified experience.

Music Festivals

Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA

Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey Bay, CA

Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival

South by Southwest in Austin, TX .

Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN equidistant between Nashville and Chattanooga.

Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL

Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia has the added appeal of southern hemisphere summertime in January! This month long celebration of The Arts describes itself this way:

The program is kaleidoscopic in its diversity, from jaw-dropping contemporary ballet to epic art installations, international theatre hits, primal circus, immersive virtual reality, modern Indigenous art and theatre, punk protest music and more.

Music Cities

Nashville, Tennessee

New Orleans, Louisiana

Austin, Texas

Memphis, Tennessee

New York, NY

Chicago, Illinois

Havana, Cuba

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Prague, Czech Republic

Vienna, Austria

Performing Arts

This is another broad category.  It can include the classics of opera and ballet to the avant garde of foreign films. All of them offer spectacular host cities that would make great travel destinations.

Ballet and Opera

“You live as long as you dance,” – Rudolf Nureyev.

I have put opera and ballet together because they frequently share a majestic venue. Many of these venues listed  below are architectural spectacles in their own right with museums attached.

Classic Venues:

Milan, Italy in the Renaissance era Teatro alla Scala.

St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Paris, France at the Palais Garnier Opera House 

Venues known for their more contemporary styles:

New York City Ballet and The Met

London The Royal Opera House


Venice Film Festival on the Lido in Venice, Italy is the oldest film festival in the world with 75 years of celebrations.

Cannes Film Festival heading into its 72nd year is the most well known name in film festivals.

Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is Robert Redford’s creation.

Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario. This city has a vibrant performing arts culture that rivals New York and London.

Melbourne International Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia

South by Southwest Film Festival yes SXSW has several festivals to celebrate The Arts.

The Arts
South by Southwest in Austin, TX celebrates all the perfomring arts

Visual Arts

In the Museum post I listed several cities worth creating a museum-itinerary. In an effort to avoid redundancy I will share a view smaller or less known spots on this list. Many destinations have a vibrant arts community if you look for them.

  • Rome and Florence are a Renaissance art immersion experience.  Every corner is a museum, or sculpture-rich pizza. The churches are packed full of art as well.  Famous works by Da Vinci, Bernini, Michelangelo and the list goes on.
  • Berea, KY is the quaint center for the arts and crafts of the Kentucky and the Appalachians. Beautiful setting and vibrant arts community.
  • Santa Fe, NM calls itself “one of the most artistic places on the planet”. That is a big claim and I have not visited yet but plan to in 2018.  I will report back.

Glass Blowing

We are admirers of glass-blowing and have added many detours  on our travels to find a studio. The famous Dale Chihuly has revolutionized this art form. With exhibits across the country and studio tours in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, you could put together an entire itinerary just following him.

My friend Sage over at Everyday Wanderer shares some tips on visiting a Chihuly exhibit.

Murano, Italy is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, just north of Venice. This little community is world renowned for its glass making. It is definitely on my bucket list.

the arts
Brenna Baker Brown of Hollywood Hot Glass

Hollywood, Fl is better known for its beach and boardwalk but we stumbled upon a glass studio one day. In the back of the Hollywood city bandshell lives a glass-blowing studio and school.  With a casual set of bleachers facing all the glass blowing furnaces you can watch or participate.

Resources for Traveling with The Arts

Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing adults with learning adventures. They offer trips to 150 countries; and presented almost 5,500 learning programs in 2017. This group has programs in every genre (including the arts) and at every exertion level you can imagine. Since becoming Road Scholar in 2008, the organization has added many options for multi-generational travels also.

Travel For the Arts, a great resource based in Europe, for classic music, opera and ballet travel itineraries.

Be sure to check out all the posts in The 12 Days of Travel Themes;
Part 1: Culinary Tourism
Part 2: Fairs and Festivals
Part 3: Historic Destinations
Part 4: Museums
Part 5: Boozy Trips
Part 6: Get Outdoors
Part 7: Agritourism
Part 8: Urban Adventures
Part 9: Scenic Road Trips
Part 10: Literary Travels
Part 11: The Arts
Part 12 : Oddities

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