Shermanstravel Blog

Arts & Culture

5 ©2014 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL

©2014 – Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL

Before the rest of the world catches on, discover these five American cities that are gaining traction in the areas of fine arts, fine food, and fine beverages.

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Raffles Istanbul

Yes, lodging in Istanbul is incredibly inexpensive in the winter, with plenty of hotels offering rates under $100. But if you’re willing to make a small splurge in low season, you’ll enjoy luxury that’s leaps ahead of what your dollars will get you elsewhere.

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620 - British Museum - Kaitlin Larese

Kaitlin Larese

Even with the dollar gaining strength, visiting London can still be expensive for Americans. But this capital city is no less an easy and memorable trip. While we certainly recommend popular paid attractions like the London Eye and London Aquarium for first-timers, there are also plenty of free things to do for hours so that a trip here won’t cost a fortune. With multi-generational travel on the rise and London being a popular extended vacation — perfect for those school breaks — here’s an affordable guide to the city for all ages.

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Katie1

Matt Harrington

TV host and cookbook author Katie Lee loves to travel: St. Bart’s for surfing, shopping markets in India, and browsing bazaars in Morroco. One place she hasn’t been? Machu Picchu. Before she makes it to Peru, though, she’ll host a lot of out of town guests in her home (something she loves to do). In our one-on-one interview, Katie talks to us about her carry-on items, traveling routines, and her favorite place to visit abroad (hint: it’s in Africa)!

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The Evelyn, A Triumph Hotel_ Executive Suite

The Evelyn, A Triumph Hotel

From refined Midtown luxury to chic downtown style, Triumph Hotels — which debuted just in February 2014 — is a collection of six boutique Manhattan hotels, with one more joining by the end of the year. Currently,  The Iroquois New York, Hotel Chandler, Hotel Belleclaire, The Cosmopolitan, The Evelyn, and The Washington Jefferson each offer a distinct take on the city experience, with its own history, architecture and design, services, and notable locations. Here, six more reasons to stay at one of these affordable luxurious hotels in New York City.

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Go Turkey

Istanbul might be snowy during the winter, but visiting in low season means more discounts, fewer crowds, and time for (warm) pleasures like historic museums and contemporary art galleries. While it’s not too cold to shop your way through Istanbul’s famous street markets during the day, it’s easy to relax in cafés like the renown Mado Café when the sun sets, snuggling up to traditional drinks like Turkish tea, Turkish coffee, and sahlep — a sweet, milky, and cinnamon-y beverage. Here’s a guide:

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Flickr/Dan Dickinson

Just last month, Germany was crowned the best country in the world, according to an annual index ranking Western countries by a variety of ideas (like culture, creativity, investment, national perception, and social equality). The best way to celebrate, of course, is to raise a pint — but however do you choose from the endless options? Here’s what beer to order in each of Germany’s biggest beer cities. Bottoms up!

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what to buy - germany christmas markets - regensburg

If you’re pining for an old-fashioned Christmas, get yourself to Germany’s Christmas markets. In the country that gave us so many of our Christmas traditions, the festive markets range in size from dozen to hundreds of booths. They’re sprinkled through tiny towns and metropolitan cities alike, all serving up gluhwein — the popular mulled wine — and roasted chestnuts for crowds seeking traditional, locally made decorations and gifts. Here, four destinations that are especially worth a spot on your itinerary, plus what to buy there.

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McAdenville - north carolina - Flickr-Annie Hall

Postcard holiday scenes often involve beautiful blankets of white snow, evoking images of cozy northern towns and ski resort havens. But who would have thought that regions like California’s Newport Beach, or the southern town of Woodstock in Virginia, are teeming with holiday cheer this time of the year, too? Here, a few surprising destinations for getting into the holiday spirit.

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The Edgewater Bill Fritsch Wisconsin

The Midwest’s newest luxury hotel is now open: The Edgewater, in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, along Lake Mendota and a few blocks to hip State Street (lined with shops selling eclectic holiday gifts), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Fresh off a $100 million renovation, practically everything at the hotel is brand-new, including a destination spa, four restaurants, and an ice rink.

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There’s a reason why Vienna is so often associated with greatness. It’s long been a playground for leaders of all kinds — at one point, Freud, Trotsky, Hitler, and Stalin would have all passed one another on the streets as young men — while a host of 150-plus-year-old institutions line the grand Ringstrasse built in the second half of the 19th century.

In the past few years, though, the city’s been modernizing with just as much glitz, and in the process has made space for a new breed of creativity to flourish. This is most notably characterized in the just-renovated Golden Quarter, an ambitious urban regeneration project that finished transforming the UNESCO-listed Innere Statdt into a vibrant hub just this year. In the backstreets here, you’ll find a network of independent boutiques, laidback hangouts, and artist studios that are bringing a new sense of hipness to Vienna. Read on for a taste of the old and new, the ostentaious and the understated, in this city of contrasts.

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Louvre

We all love a good art heist, don’t we? They’ve been romanticized in films like Monuments Men, The Thomas Crown Affair, and, of course, the unforgettable, but not-so-great 2004 flick Art Theft. People have been stealing art for centuries. Some pieces have been recovered, others damaged, and many are still are hiding in an attic. Because art theft seems to always be in the news — see: Picasso thieves finally on trial; art recently stolen from Cairo Museum of Islamic Art; and a stolen painting of Elton John from an English pub — here’s where you can see world-famous art that’s been stolen (and recovered) over time.

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Isla Saona

Tourists flock to Punta Cana for snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and never-ending rum drinks, but outside the resorts, you can immerse yourself in Dominican culture or experience the country’s tropical wonders. Here are five day trips from Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss — and that will get you back in time for some Latin dancing back at the resort.

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FortWorthStockyardsCattleDrive

With its irresistible cowboy culture, Fort Worth certainly lives up to its “Cowtown” moniker. But there’s a more sophisticated side to the city, too. This is most notably evident in the urban revitalization in the downtown area, which includes the recent addition of the Sundance Square entertainment district, and the opening up of chef-driven restaurants and chic wine bars and cafés all over town.

If you’ve only got a couple of days to explore Fort Worth, that’s just enough to get a sense of the city’s twin personalities, and without spending too much money either. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.

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Christine Dayao Daytona Beach MOAS

New York. Paris. London. Those are some of the big cities that travelers hoping for some cultural enrichment flock to. But what if you’ve had your fill of The Metropolitan Museum of Art or have grown tired of The Louvre? Here, four cities that might surprise you with its delightfully unexpected art and culture scene.

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