From southern hospitality to Cajun flair, Broadway lights to Nashville’s country music scene, America’s cities thrive on culture. Whether it’s historically derived or a direct influence from countless generations of residents, culture is a part of every American city. Take a walk along the famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter or visit New York’s Radio City Music Hall and see rich history and culture alive and well. Wrapping up Homes.com’s “Top 10’s” series for 2012 is this list of America’s most cultured cities, highlighting places noted for their influence on U.S. history, arts and literature.
A leading resource for everything home and lifestyle related, Homes.com continues to be an inspiring and exciting partner throughout every phase of life. With this list of “Top 10 Culture Cities,” Homes.com is guiding consumers to America’s favorite cultural spots to live, work or visit.
Homes.com Top 10 Culturally Cultivated Cities
- New Orleans, La.
It’s not just about Mardi Gras. New Orleans’ French Quarter is a treasure trove of French, Spanish and native culture. From music and festivals to Cajun food and diverse people, New Orleans has a distinct flavor that begs to be experienced. Saint Louis Cathedral is the oldest continually used cathedral in the U.S., and the National World War II Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, brings to life the American experience of WWII.
- Chicago, Ill.
Known as the “Second City” after its rebirth from a disastrous fire in 1871, Chicago is the cultural center of the Midwest. Home to numerous museums like the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a booming manufacturing industry, Chicago has something for everyone. The city holds one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S., attracting as many as 350,000 spectators. Each year, the Chicago River is dyed emerald green, a St. Patrick’s Day tradition since the 1960s. The city has seen a boost in rental interest and was number five on the Homes.com Q2 “State of the Rental Market Report.”
- Orlando, Fla.
Home to Walt Disney World — where dreams come true — this central Florida city is also the headquarters of Darden Restaurants and various fine art museums and theaters, from the Orlando Museum of Art to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The city also boasts Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” one of only three resident shows in the country. Orlando’s education system also landed it number one on the Schools of Thought on the Real Estate Market list. Whether seeking family fun or a more mature cultural experience, Orlando delivers year-round.
- San Antonio, Texas
The San Antonio River and its varied attractions offer a respite from the surrounding arid expanse of Texas. The River Walk, or “Paseo del Rio,” is the center of the city’s culture. The famed attraction’s history dates back to 1536 and has been the site of Spanish missions and military forts. Today it is home to several hundred restaurants, shops and hotels. San Antonio is also “Home of the Alamo,” the site of the Battle of Alamo which was a critical factor in the Texas Revolution against Mexico.
- San Francisco, Calif.
Home of the Golden Gate Bridge and a rich history steeped in America’s quest for riches and westward expansion, San Francisco has become a meeting place where many cultures collide. From two-hour improvisational theater performances, to multiple street fairs, to a free opera show once a year, arts and culture can be found in every one of San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods. With its distinctly Italian atmosphere, North Beach is where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay for “The Godfather,” and its Little Saigon neighborhood hosts a Tet Festival in honor of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year every January. San Francisco is another city with a boost in rental searches and was named on the Homes.com “Top 5 Most Improved Searched Cities in the Rental Market” in Q2.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
The “City of Brotherly Love” was founded as a refuge for Quakers. Philadelphia has the distinction of having more public art than any other U.S. city and is filled with art museums, dance theaters, and the famous Rocky statue and Museum of Art stairs. The birthplace of Tastykake and the “Philly Cheesesteak,” Philadelphia has earned accolades as a world-class “food city.” Ralph’s, the oldest Italian restaurant in the country continuously owned by the same family, was a favorite of Frank Sinatra.
- Kansas City, Mo.
With art, acting, food, gambling and more, Kansas City has something for everyone. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy a trip to the American Jazz Museum, visit the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts for a show, or take in an art exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. The American Royal, an annual eight-week horse show and rodeo, has been taking place in Kansas City every fall since 1899.
- Nashville, Tenn.
Often called “The Athens of the South,” Nashville is a hotbed of music, art and drama. Vanderbilt University offers several museums and performing arts opportunities. Many notable musicians have called Nashville home, including Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and Donna Summer. The city boasts the Grand Ole Opry, a country music show presenting the biggest stars, broadcasted every week since 1925.
- New York, N.Y.
Busy year-round, New York City boasts culture like none other. “The Big Apple” is home to numerous historical sites like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and The Empire State Building. There’s no shortage of art, history and theater in the city – from Radio City and Broadway to the Guggenheim and MOMA. The city’s streets have talented artists on every corner, and New York’s “Arts in the Parks” program offers outdoor exhibits through a collaboration of organizations and artists.
- Portland, Ore.
Portland has a thriving fine arts culture and is home to many accomplished authors and artists such as Matt Groening, Gus Van Sant and Beverly Cleary. Home to several classical performing arts institutions including the Oregon Ballet Theatre and The Portland Opera, Portland is a cultural arts hub also known for its independent music scene and diverse venues. The Oregon Zoo hosts a concert series every summer. The Wonder Ballroom was historically a meeting place for cultural and political groups, but has now been revamped as a popular music spot.
Families curious about owning a home in one of these famed culture cities can visit Homes.com for the best homes in Nashville, Philadelphia and everywhere in between.