The World’s 30 Most Cultural Cities Offer More Than Sand And Sun For Your Next Vacation

"Much of a city’s culture is in its atmosphere and its history."

If you're looking to up your vacation game from the run-of-the-mill, beach bum getaway, here's a way to get inspired.

The World's Most Cultural Cities list offers insight on the top 30 destinations around the world with more theaters, museums, art galleries, Michelin-starred restaurants, concert halls, and other attractions than all the rest.

Among the cities that ranked the highest, there's one American city that made the cut. And the good news for beachgoers is that you can still get your tan on while diving deep into cultural experiences.

Miami came in fourth on the list behind top-ranking Amsterdam, runner-up Dublin, and in third-place Prague. With a smaller population of 441,003 compared to bigger cities that made the list such as Tokyo with a population of more than 13 million, the sexy, sunny city has 72 theaters, 18 museums, and 27 art galleries for residents and travelers to choose from. Tokyo has 95 theaters, 280 museums, and 72 art galleries.

"Much of a city's culture is in its atmosphere and its history," said Joe Gardiner, head of Brand and Communications for, the company that carried out the research to compile the list. "Different locations will appeal to different visitors."

The comprehensive list gives a diverse roster of vacation destinations for the sporadic to the frequent traveler. From Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles, the World's Most Cultural Cities are sure to stimulate your mind and expand your understanding of history, art, and culture around the globe.

Gardiner added, "We wanted to make sure that travelers know what cultural experiences the world's biggest tourist destinations have to offer before they go."


Get your travel checklist ready. Here are the top 30 Most Cultural Cities around the world:

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

S-F | Shutterstock

Many of the art galleries and dining opportunities the city has to offer can be found in the Jordaan, whose narrow alleyways which were once a working class area.

2. Dublin, Ireland

The city draws its name from the "Dubh Linn," meaning "dark pool," which used to occupy the spot now filled by the attractive Dubh Linn Gardens.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

From the statue of the Infant Jesus in Its shine, to the Old Town Square, and the fully functional 15th Century Astronomical Clock, there's plenty of sights to see from throughout Prague's past.

4. Miami, Florida, USA

Miami2you | Shutterstock

Art fans might seek out the Art Deco District of the Design District, with works by Warhol and Picasso, among others, while an international experience can be had in Little Havana, the Cuban cultural location that arose at the start of Fidel Castro's rise to power.

5. Paris, France

Visitors should be sure to visit the Arc de Triomphe at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, which inspired the Victor Hugo story and the Disney film.

6. Barcelona, Spain

Known as Picasso's city, Barcelona has 46 art galleries, one of which is dedicated to the visionary painter's work.

7. Milan, Italy

TL_Studio | Shutterstock

While Milan's most iconic image is Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, travelers can't miss out on the awe-inspiring sight at the Castello Sforzesco, a beautiful Renaissance castle, which contains Michelangelo's incomplete sculpture, The Pietà Rondanini.

8. Rome, Italy

This ancient city is the cultural heart of Western Europe and includes sights such as The Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Spanish Steps, not to mention the Colosseum, the ancient gladiatorial battleground that occupies the heart of Rome.

9. Vienna, Austria

The Austrian capital is home to several museums in the MuseumsQuartier. But if you want to get outside, the seven kilometers of scenic vineyards will take your breath away.

10. London, England

Theatergoers will be delighted with the treasures they find in London's West End, and for those intrigued by royalty, there's the Buckingham Palace and its extensive grounds.

11. Berlin, Germany

canadastock | Shutterstock

The "Museum Island" is a must-see when traveling to Berlin, a city with 154 museums. The World Heritage Site plays host to five museums containing a wealth of historical artifacts from across the world's past.

12. New York, New York, USA

The Big Apple is home to one of the most physically imposing cultural sites, the Empire State Building. Those heading to Broadway will have plenty of shows to choose from as NYC is home to 533 theaters, as well as 123 museums, and 142 art galleries. All that without even mentioning the global food options!

13. Madrid, Spain

The Circulo de Bellas Artes venue doesn't only have a terrace that overlooks some of the best views in the city, but it's one of many beautiful art galleries in the city's Gran Via. A day in the park never looked so nice after strolling through the Casa de Campo, which is five times larger than New York's Central Park.

14. Toronto, Canada

Whether it's ice skating in Nathan Philips Square or taking in the aerial views of the city from up high in the CN Tower, Toronto has plenty of cultural locations and beautiful attractions.

15. Los Angeles, California, USA

Start a sunny California vacation by taking in the sights of skateboarders and outdoor bodybuilders as well as vendors and a variety of food in the city's famous Venice Beach. Then head to the Los Angeles Museum Row, which includes just some of the city's 86 museums.

16. Munich, Germany

Munich's central square, Marienplatz, offers much in the way of an architectural landscape, as well as easy access to the city's transportation network. Once you've got the transportation down, you can take in the vast colorful street art scene of the trendy city.

17. Tokyo, Japan

Luciano Mortula - LGM | Shutterstock

There's never a dull moment in Tokyo, home to13.5 million with 11.7 million overnight visitors. Sights include the Imperial Palace with its Nijubashi (double) Bridge, so-named because of its reflection in the clear water below. The Ginza shopping district is as busy as Times Square in New York.

18. Singapore

The "Lion City" is dominated by its bright and colorful Marina Bay that's surrounded by a casino, the science museum, food, and nightlife. Or take in a scenic view at the award-winning Gardens by the Bay.

19. Seoul, South Korea

The Common Ground is a shopping area built out of shipping containers, but more unusual than that is the Bukchon Hanok Village, which is attractive and surprisingly residential.

20. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Bask in the view of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,722 feet, has its own train station, and gives visitors panoramic views of Dubai.

21. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As you descend on the city of Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Twin Towers may be the first thing you'll see. The two, eighty-eight story skyscrapers are joined by a two-floor Sky Bridge that will give visitors a scenic view of the city.

22. Bangkok, Thailand

Imaake | Shutterstock

This lively city is filled with unusual and exciting cultural opportunities, including the Emerald Buddha — an image of the meditating Buddha carved from a single, enormous block of jade.

23. Taipei, Taiwan

Before Dubai's Burj Khalifa became the tallest building in the world there was Taipei 101, which stands high above the city that's filled with traditional teashops, restaurants, spectacular views, and fascinating architecture.

24. Osaka, Japan

Osaka is the second-largest city in Japan, and home to 26 theaters, 46 museums, and other cultural features, including Hozenji Yokocho, an alleyway preserved in the style of 17th to 19th century Imperial Japan.

25. Hong Kong, China

Rivaling any of the world's highest man-made skyscrapers is Hong Kong's natural Victoria Peak, which is 1,805 feet above sea level with views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon's eight mountains.

26. Istanbul, Turkey

Seqoya | Shutterstock

The Hagia Sophia offers a rich Byzantine heritage spanning many centuries and several cultures, while the Topkapi Palace displays the wealth and power of Istanbul's past sultans.

27. Shanghai, China

Spend some time at the World Financial Center, which features the world's highest observatory, the Sky Walk, and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a revolving restaurant. Looking for a good museum? The Shanghai Museum is one of 236 the city offers.

28. Mumbai, India

Sapsiwai | Shutterstock

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum is one of 16 museums in Mumbai and is dedicated to the history of the city itself. The core part of Mumbai's architectural culture is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which has imposing domes and towers resulting from a medley of different styles.

29. Chennai, India

The largest number of Roman antiquities outside of Europe is housed at the Government Museum of Human History in Chennai. The museum also has the city's National Art Gallery on the premises.

30. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Al Masmak Fort in downtown Riyadh is a museum and an architectural landmark of the city. Last on the list of the World's Most Cultural Cities, Riyadh has a population of nearly 6 million but only has one theater, three museums, and one art gallery. But take a look at the scenic vantage point on Sky Bridge in Kingdom Tower and you'll quickly see why this historical city made the list.

Cover image: Luciano Mortula - LGM | Shutterstock

Check out the video below for related content:


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.