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4 off the beaten path art scenes

4 Off-the-Beaten Path Art Scenes

By Megan Mostyn-Brown for Chase Sapphire Preferred®

New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago may be this country's cultural meccas, but that doesn't mean they're the only cities where you can check out the next big thing (or the already famous). Here are a few smaller cities that offer a big dose of culture.

1. Minneapolis

Maybe it's all that "Minnesota nice" that prevents this city from tooting its horn as loudly as its bigger cultural brethren, but this Midwest gem definitely has plenty to brag about.

Visitors can get their theater on at regional giants like The Guthrie and The Minneapolis Children's Theater Company. Or hit up smaller venues like The Jungle Theater, Mixed Blood or Workhaus Collective.

Minneapolis also has a historic music scene that birthed greats like Prince and The Replacements. Catch old favorites and up-and-comers at the iconic First Avenue, the Fine Line Music Cafe and the Varsity Theater.

Don't forget to stop by the Walker Art Center. Considered one of "the big five" contemporary art museums in America, its indoor collection and outdoor sculpture garden are a must see.

2. Kansas City, Missouri

"KCMO" is home to one of the most concentrated art districts in the nation. Officially dubbed The Crossroads, this neighborhood is home to more than 400 artists and 100 independent studios as well as numerous retail shops and restaurants. Make sure to check out the First Fridays art walk when area galleries open their doors to curious patrons.

Their music scene is also of note, thanks to venues like The Riot Room and events such as Middle of the Map Fest and Dancefestopia. There you can catch local, lesser known bands alongside national headliners.

3. Marfa, Texas

"The Marfa Film Festival boasts open-air screenings and impromptu music performances — something you rarely see on the circuit."

This tiny town in West Texas is a hot spot for art tourism thanks to artist Donald Judd, who founded the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum with several large-scale installations of note. Marfa is also home to Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary venue that supports local and international artists in art, music and film.

Speaking of film, the Marfa Film Festival boasts open-air screenings and impromptu music performances — something you rarely see on the circuit. You may even catch a glimpse of Marfa's famed mystery lights — blue, red and white lights that appear at random along the nighttime horizon.

4. Milwaukee

ArtPlace America recently named this Wisconsin city one of "America's Top 12 Art Places," citing the city's historic Third Ward neighborhood. This area is home to numerous galleries, theaters and music venues. Don't miss special events like Gallery Night and Day (a local art walk) and the Summer Sizzle (a music festival).

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