- One of Antony Gormley’s sculptures looks out onto New York City. Credit: © Antony Gormley. A Hayward Gallery Commission. Courtesy of Sean Kelly Gallery, New York and White Cube, London. Presented by Madison Square Park Conservancy.
A new decade brought new surprises to our 13th annual Top 25 Arts Destinations readers’ poll. Old favorites were ousted, frontrunners became runners-up, and cities that hadn’t ranked in the past finally made their marks. Each year, it’s impossible to predict how the cities will stack up in each of our three categories, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.
New York City. Chicago. Washington, D.C. For the third year in a row, these cities have remained the three best arts destinations in our Big Cities category. With 43 percent of the votes, the Big Apple took a huge bite out of the competition, dwarfing second-place Chicago, which came in with 27 percent, and Washington, D.C., which had 23 percent. Boston kicked Albuquerque, N.M., out of the top five and into the seventh spot this year.
The real upsets came in our Mid-Size Cities category, with three new towns in the top spots. Readers voted St. Petersburg, Fla., from No. 22 last year into the number one position, moving former favorite, Buffalo, N.Y., into fifth place—which was where New Orleans, now in second place, was last year. Even more surprising was Alexandria, Va., formerly in 11th place, which took home bronze after beating Chattanooga, Tenn., by a hair.
Asheville, N.C., finally did it. After years of coming in second in our Small Cities category, it earned 23 percent of readers’ votes, enough to move to the top spot for the first time. Perennial favorite Santa Fe, N.M., fell into the silver position. The small town of Saugatuck, Mich., fifth in 2009, made its way into the third spot, formerly filled by Sedona, Ariz., which did not make the top five this year.
Click the links below for a complete list of the Top 25 Arts Destinations in each category.