When people talk about the cities with the best arts scenes, they often think about the largest cities with great arts scenes; New York, Chicago, Austin, just to name a few.
What most people don’t know is that many of the cities with the best arts scenes actually exist within more intimate communities with not-disgustingly-huge populations.
When compiling this list, we looked at each city’s offerings of music, film, public art, museums, galleries, festivals, and more.
Most importantly, we look at how critical the community’s art is in the life of the average resident of these towns; are the festivals well-attended, do residents get excited about various exhibits, etc.
We also noted cities with populations of less than 200,000 residents.
Here are the 10 cities with the best arts scenes in the US…
10. Chattanooga, TN
Home of the Chattanooga Choo-choo, made famous in the song by Glenn Miller, Chattanooga boasts a thriving arts culture that is ready to take on the world with a bevy of museums, musical experiences, and arts events to thrill the arts lover.
The new non-profit organization ArtsBuild is having tremendous success in achieving its goals of creating a world class arts scene that is generating resources to support artists and art projects, celebrate excellence in the arts and transform Chattanooga into a thriving arts community.
Chattanooga is also home to eight outstanding museums and several theaters hosting performances all year long.
9. Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth is a community rich in history with cobblestone sidewalks and nineteenth century brick facades that blend comfortably with thriving urban street-scapes.
In short, Portsmouth is a gallery lover’s dream.
The various galleries feature national, international and local artwork. The broad scope of these gallery exhibitions offer the familiar and recognizable juxtaposed with the abstract and avant-garde.
Portsmouth is also home to 3S ARTSPACE, a nonprofit organization that has as its mandate to transform the way we experience art, music, and food. And who doesn’t love art in the park? Prescott Park is a verdant and vital setting to experience some of the best arts, music, and theater experiences in Portsmouth.
8. New Bedford, MA
Named one of the best cities for young artists to live and work by Bustle magazine, and ranked 7th most artistic city by Atlantic Magazine, New Bedford is a stunningly beautiful city that calls itself “the city of art.”
New Bedford lives up to its name, offering an idyllic setting for artists with its abundance of galleries and theaters. Indulge your eyes and immerse your spirit in artwork in all media including painting, ceramics, sculpture, fiber arts, metals, puppetry, installation, mixed media, and much more.