You refuse to be part of the unsophisticated riff raff; you prefer waistcoats to hoodies, derbies to trucker hats, and sherry to beer. It’s not easy being a civilized, cultured human being when you live in a city where the only museum is the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center – I’m looking at you, Baraboo, Wisconsin. So if the 12,000 people-strong burg you currently live in doesn’t inspire, you might want to consider relocating to some of the most cultured places in the world.
These cities offer a cornucopia of art, dance, theatre, music, and museums, where you can click your antique cane and wear your monocle without having rotten produce and Big Gulps thrown at you. Here are some cities where you can get your culture on… and be the weirdo that God intended you to be. Simply put, they are the best places to live and work for a freak – I mean, civilized human – like you.
So I guess the best index or gauge of a city’s culture and appreciation of the arts is the amount of museums they have, right? We are also talking about work though too, so not only do we need a place that is cultured but that also has a healthy and stable job market. Well, add to that one of the perennial dream locations to work and you have the bustling city that never sleeps: New York City with an astounding 126 museums. You’ll able to visit the Met, Broadway, and The Guggenheim, and eat at world famous restaurants all in one night… actually, you might want to spread it out – it could cost you a pretty penny to indulge in all that culture at once.
If you like your culture with a side of monarchy, then London might be your ideal destination. It has a queen that comes with her own exciting royal family and a palace you can visit; it also has 162 museums (the most in the world, actually) which include the quintessential contemporary art museum, the Tate Modern.
Added benefit to both cities is their expansive green enclaves tucked amidst the urban sprawl that offer islands of calm in the metropolitan hustle. London actually has yet another distinction of being the third city in the world with the most public green areas at 38.4%.
Honorable Mentions: Shanghai has the most national museums in the world at 27, which are visited by almost half of the resident population (47.5%, if you’re a numbers stickler). If you’re looking for public green areas and parks (plus awesome tropical weather), then look no further than Singapore (which, honestly, is pretty far, anyway).
No, this has nothing to do with certain… um… far left political ideologies, but the homonym for read, as in studied. A great indication of a city’s culture is their availability of libraries and the amount of books that are lent out to local residents. The city that lends the most books to its residents is Tokyo with a staggering 112.2 million books lent. Tokyo also comes on top for the city with the most bookstores in the world, with the neon city being home to 1,675 bookselling establishments, while it’s also the second city in the world with the most shops that specialize in rare and secondhand books. Also, I hear that Japanese society is completely okay with sleeping on the job as long as you’re at your desk… Do you really need any more convincing?
You probably already know where I’m going with this, but I have to include these places so as to avoid any trolls in the comments section along the lines of “Oh, you forgot [insert city of choice here]!” and “Why isn’t [insert city of choice here] not included?”
The thing is, Mr. Troll, at the end of my article, I almost always include the following blurb: “Would you like to add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments section below.” or something equivalent. So, if something is missing from the article, it’s a little on you, too, Mr. Troll. Excuse me while I shut my internal troll voice up. Okay, yeah, that scotch is good.
So, one of the best places you should work in if you love to get your art history on is *drum roll* Italy! [In game show host voice:] Yes, home of the Renaissance, most of the Ninja Turtles namesakes, beautiful art, carb-loaded food, and one of the horniest (ex) politicians of the world.
I know horniness really doesn’t have much to do with culture, but I wanted to finish with a bang there.
There is a myriad of Italian cities which offer culture from Venice and its world-famous Art Biennale to Florence with its Renaissance art and old city (complete with cathedrals and palaces full of art by the world’s most famous artists). Then there’s Siena and its 400-year-old city center that still enacts an ancient horse race once a year. Beyond that, Milano is one of the most widely known fashion Meccas of the world, and Tuscany is widely considered as the quintessential producer of the highest of highbrow wines and cheeses.
Don’t even get me started on the food.
Fine dining, one of the most famous museums in the world, a slew of theaters, and the place that romanticized gentlemen’s clubs, it’s undeniable that Paris can be considered as one of the top contenders for the most cultural places in the world. Home to the Louvre (which itself is home to masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People), the often photographed Eiffel Tower, and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
It was the birthplace of some of recent history’s biggest minds and creators including Claude Monet, Émile Zola, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Georges Seurat, Emma Watson (surprisingly), Édouard Manet, Napoléon Bonaparte, and many others which I’m sure would kill you of boredom if I listed them all.
It not only contributed to the arts and culture via its children, but it has also inspired numerous works, just by its beauty. The most famous would probably be The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables, both written by Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night. Recently, the 2011 Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris displayed the city’s famous inhabitants, which included artists, writers, philosophers, and performers.
French cuisine has become the cornerstone and point of reference for contemporary high dining, and French wine is a staple of an elevated wine/eating experience. Oh, eccentric Louis XIV (that’s 14th, for the non-Roman-numerals readers amongst us) actually created classical ballet, while the Paris Opera was home to the first ballet company in history. Okay, stop drooling; you still have to pack.
See, this is the part where I ask you if you would like to add a cultural location to live and work in… So, don’t troll me, just politely write your suggestions below.