Follow in the footsteps of poets and pop artists, past and present, on this in-depth, insider-led journey through the city’s creative communities.
Andy Warhol, James Baldwin, Alfred Stieglitz, Zora Neale Hurston – from Pop artists to Beat poets, the world’s boldest creators have long felt the magnetic pull of New York City. To this day, there’s a curious art space (or 10) in every neighborhood, not to mention lashings of street art and electrifying buskers to stop you in your tracks – and no genre is too avant-garde to find exhibition space.
“I always say that New York can be whatever anyone wants it to be; it’s transformative in so many ways,” says Sabrina Gilbertson of the Agora Gallery in Chelsea. “Art and culture are everywhere, and the city connects such a diverse mix of people, nurtures originality and stimulates expression on every level.” However, don’t just come to browse – it’s a place to buy art, discover enfants terribles and rub shoulders with working artists and gallerists.
So, don your paint-smeared overalls, and tap into the local scene by following this artist-led itinerary, where you’ll nip into working studios, take in the city’s graffiti-scrawled warehouse walls and stay in a hotel fit for a Turner Prize winner, all bookable on Culture Trip.
Where to Stay: the Hotel
Within walking distance of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and handy for all of NYC’s central galleries and museums, this red-brick hotel channels the instantly recognizable loft aesthetic of the city’s artists. Exposed concrete, painted pipes, Basquiat-inspired murals and sculptural light fixtures all add to the feeling that you’re poised to sell your first painting, while supersoft beds and nifty modern amenities up the luxury factor. The building has real artistic pedigree, too: in the 1920s, artists and writers who stayed here include Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and F Scott Fitzgerald. Today’s generation of creatives has crafted many of its masterstroke design details, from the skyline-shaped blinds to the “Do not disturb” signs.
What to Do: the Experiences
Whether you’re into art, history, music, politics or food, Harlem is the obvious place to learn about the golden age of the Harlem Renaissance, from the 1910s to the 1930s. Explore the neighborhood with a lifelong Harlem resident, who gives you the background on how this vibrant Black community filled the city with hot jazz, political commentary, visceral poetry and seminal art via formative figures such as Marcus Garvey and Langston Hughes. The era was a cultural pressure cooker, and its influence can still be felt today.
Brooklyn is the home of NYC’s contemporary art scene, where neat streets of brownstone houses and riverside parks are peppered with some of the best white-cube art studios and flea markets in the country. This walking tour focuses on the Bushwick neighborhood’s proliferation of street art, where the top graffiti pros create head-turning, thought-provoking – but often temporary – works of genius. New to the form? Your passionate guide is sure to spark your interest, make you a connoisseur and help you view the city through spray-can spectacles.
One fascinating aspect of New York’s creative scene is its super-specialists – the artisans who create one incredibly specific product, from hats to stationery. One such master is M&S Schmalberg, a family business that’s spent a century making fabric flowers for the fashion and design industry. Get behind the scenes on this backstage-pass factory tour to see how its unique products are made. You may recognize its work from Sarah Jessica Parker’s outfits on Sex and the City.
Culture Trip compiled these recommendations based on insights from our global community of travel experts and local insiders, combined with search data from millions of users around the world to understand interest in these destinations.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.