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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.
Cincinnati has been experiencing something of a revolution in the last few years, shaking off its gritty past and slowly developing into a hip cultural center. Most evident is the transformation of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which suffered from high crime rates for decades. In 2004 the 3CDC non-profit formed and began purchasing vacant buildings and lots; developing Over-the-Rhine (OTR) and the neighboring Central Business District (CBD) block-by-block, while keeping an eye on preservation. In fact, OTR is home to the country’s largest collection of Italianate buildings.
One of the happiest results of this transformation is that Cincinnati’s food scene is heating up and new restaurants are arriving at an astonishing rate. Here’s some of the hottest spots — classic as well as new — in this emerging foodie destination. Read more
If you were in search of one of the top-rated hotels in the United States, you probably wouldn’t think to look for it in Ohio. Nevertheless, 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati was recently named the second best hotel in the country by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. (Last year it was ranked #1.) So, what makes this hotel so special that it beat out much-hyped properties in bigger destination cities like Los Angeles and New York?
Lots of hotels have impressive art collections, but these ones go a step further and function as stand-alone museums as well as accommodations.
Benesse House, Japan
The Tadao Ando-designed Benesse House is located on the tiny Japanese island of Naoshima, a fishing community turned “art island” that hosts the Setouchi Art Triennal and is home to several permanent art installations and excellent museums. Guests of the Benesse House are granted access to the museum even after typical hours and have exclusive access to a six-seat monorail that runs up to the hotel’s Oval annex. Guest rooms in the museum are available in four styles and are decorated with drawings, paintings, and prints from the artists on exhibit. Rates start at $330.
If you still think of Cincinnati as just another Ohio city that starts with the letter C, we’ve got news. The state’s third largest metropolis is now home to a flourishing arts neighborhood, trendy new restaurants, and a sparkling new public park – not to mention venerable cultural institutions like Cincinnati Opera, which is the second oldest opera company in the country. Here’s how to get the absolute best of the city without breaking your budget…
A century ago, hotels were simply places to sleep during your travels. Maybe there was a fancy bar in the lobby, or a nice pool. These days, an increased focus on younger travelers seeking unique cultural experiences means hotel public spaces are doubling as live music venues, social media nerve centers, and, in some cases, contemporary art galleries. The following properties give you extra bang for your buck by including some free visual stimulus built into the cost of your stay: Read more
Take a last-minute trip the old-fashioned way this summer. Round-trip Amtrak fares are as little as $41, saving you 25 percent on current rates. Visit Chicago in full bloom, hit the Big Apple, explore the Big Easy, and more with this great sale. Travel is valid Mondays through Thursdays, and Saturdays, for one to two weeks after purchase. Read more
The Republican National Convention is under way in Tampa, Florida (with a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaac). Next week, Democrats will descend on Charlotte, North Carolina for their quadrennial festivities. When it’s all over, the two host cities will join a fairly short list of places that have welcomed the two major political parties. We decided to take a look at that list and see which cities have hosted the most national conventions, what presidential history has been left behind, and what kinds of attractions continue to make those destinations such fantastic vacation spots.
There are some surprises in our Top 10 National Conventional Host Cities. Denver hosted its only two conventions 100 years apart. Cincinnati had its number called to host the parties three different times (granted, all between 1856 and 1880). The Democrats didn’t hold a convention in the South after the Civil War until 1928′s affair in Houston.
Which city has hosted the most conventions? Which president was the “second-most hated man in Miami” (according to those in Little Havana)? And what can you do now in all of those cities to enjoy a great vacation? All of the answers are waiting for you here.
Spring is officially upon us, and although there’s still time to squeeze in some skiing, the running trails are starting to beckon, too. Lace up the sneaks and get back into form with these spring races in happening cities. Bring a buddy and make a weekend out of it, before temperatures soar and summer travel season kicks into high gear. Here are three winning options:
The City: Cincinnati
The Race: The Flying Pig, May 2
Pardon the pig metaphors, but you’re sure to squeal with delight over this race, which offers 5K, 10K and full marathon distances. Cincinnati goes hog wild for the event, with volunteers – called grunts – at every few feet of the course, which features panoramic views of the city. (And if that’s not enough motivation, there are 50 entertainment acts.) At the “finish swine” a mascot greets runners, all of whom get a double-sided flying pig medal.
Training Tip: Not quite brave enough to do a practice run with pig ears? Purchase other pig paraphernalia at the Flying Pig Store.
Travel Tip: The race website offers several online-only discounts until April 2.
Kentucky’s hippest hotel, just voted by Conde Nast Traveler’s readership as #1 in the country (and #6 in the world) for 2009, announced plans Wednesday to debut a new sister property just upriver in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 21c Museum Hotel, an upscale boutique which opened on downtown Louisville’s Main Street in 2006, has played a key role in revitalizing Derby City’s art scene. The renovated 19th-century tobacco & bourbon warehouse has drawn national acclaim for its high-style halls packed to the brim with whimsical paintings, abstract video art, photos and sculptures (like the lobby’s army of red penguin statues) – all from this millennium. The hotel’s 90 rooms feature custom touches, from furniture to pewter mint julep cups. Popular restaurant Proof on Main has become renowned for its modern twists on locally grown, regional cuisine (ahem, gourmet Bison burgers). Read more
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