Top 25 Arts Destinations 2008

Start spreading the news: New York City takes top honors for the fifth straight year in our Arts Destinations readers’ poll. Photography this page by Sharri &Ted Wolfgang

Reliable mainstays like New York City and Santa Fe, N.M., rising giants like Buffalo, N.Y., and quiet contenders like Asheville, N.C., have all earned top spots in the 2008 competition for AmericanStyle’s Top 25 Arts Destinations.

Our annual readers’ poll never concludes without at least a little upheaval, and this year was no exception. Rising populations in cities like Albuquerque, N.M., and Las Vegas, Nev., which ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in last year’s Mid-Sized Cities category, moved them into our Big Cities list, but voters ranked them into lower positions. Charleston, S.C., on the other hand, benefited from its population increase, rising from No. 7 on last year’s Small Cities & Towns list to No. 6 on the 2008 Mid-Sized Cities list.

In the Big Cities category, old favorites rounded out the top 3, with New York coming in first for the fifth consecutive year. Chicago, Ill., held the No. 2 spot once again, with Washington, D.C., (last year’s No. 4) taking third.

The Mid-Sized Cities category saw more upsets, with 2007′s giant, Pittsburgh, Pa., fueled last year by the citywide glass celebration, falling to No. 3. Buffalo rocketed to No. 1, climbing from last year’s No. 14. Scottsdale, Ariz., came in second, up two spots from its No. 4 ranking a year ago.

Among Small Cities & Towns, Santa Fe once again earned its place at No. 1. Asheville rose from last year’s No. 5 to take this year’s silver ribbon, and Sedona, Ariz., dropped one place to No. 3.

For lists of all 25 winners in each category, see below. Click on the links for the top three cities in each category to read why they deserve their places in the sun.

Top 25 Big Cities

(Populations of 500,000 or greater)

  1. New York
  2. Chicago, Ill.
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. San Francisco, Calif.
  5. Boston, Mass.
  6. Seattle, Wash.
  7. Albuquerque, N.M.
  8. Philadelphia, Pa.
  9. Baltimore, Md.10 Columbus, Ohio
  10. Columbus, Ohio
  11. Portland, Ore.
  12. Los Angeles, Calif.
  13. Austin, Texas
  14. Phoenix, Ariz.
  15. Denver, Colo.
  16. Tucson, Ariz.
  17. Charlotte, N.C.
  18. San Diego, Calif.
  19. Las Vegas, Nev.
  20. Milwaukee, Wis.
  21. San Antonio, Texas
  22. Nashville, Tenn.
  23. Dallas, Texas
  24. Houston, Texas
  25. Jacksonville, Fla.

Top 25 Mid-Sized Cities

(Populations of 100,000 to 499,999)

  1. Buffalo, N.Y.
  2. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  3. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  4. Savannah, Ga.
  5. New Orleans, La.
  6. Charleston, S.C
  7. Cleveland, Ohio
  8. Atlanta, Ga.
  9. Athens, Ga.
  10. Minneapolis, Minn.
  11. St. Petersburg, Fla.
  12. Alexandria, Va.
  13. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  14. Rochester, N.Y.
  15. Providence, R.I.
  16. Miami, Fla.
  17. Tacoma, Wash.
  18. Cincinnati, Ohio
  19. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  20. Honolulu, Hawaii
  21. Kansas City, Mo.
  22. Salt Lake City, Utah
  23. Tampa, Fla.
  24. Raleigh, N.C.
  25. St. Louis, Mo.

Top 25 Small Cities & Towns

(Populations of fewer than 100,000)

  1. Santa Fe, N.M.
  2. Asheville, N.C.
  3. Sedona, Ariz.
  4. Corning, N.Y.
  5. Taos, N.M.
  6. Key West, Fla.
  7. Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
  8. Boulder, Colo.
  9. Chapel Hill, N.C.
  10. Carmel, Calif.
  11. Sarasota, Fla.
  12. Burlington, Vt.
  13. Annapolis, Md.
  14. Beaufort, S.C.
  15. Eureka Springs, Ark.
  16. New Hope, Pa.
  17. Cumberland, Md.
  18. Aspen, Colo.
  19. Laguna Beach, Calif.
  20. Brattleboro, Vt.
  21. Naples, Fla.
  22. Northampton, Mass.
  23. Tubac, Ariz.
  24. Saugatuck, Mich.
  25. Portsmouth, N.H.

Our Affiliates

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Boca Raton Museum of Art

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The Art School at Old Church Sedona Arts Festival
Leaflines Lela Art Crystal

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