Special Report

These Are America’s Cultural Capitals

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10. Tampa, Florida
> Cultural establishments, per 100k: 317.0
> Population: 387,916

A century ago, Tampa was a hotbed of bootlegging and related criminal activity. These days it’s more known for its popular nightlife districts, bars, and clubs. The city has a varied music scene notable for a concentration of metal bands, and its Gulf Coast location makes it a great place for a range of foods, including a wealth of seafood and lots of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.

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9. Sacramento, California
> Cultural establishments, per 100k: 351.6
> Population: 500,930

Sitting at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, the capital of California has lots of theaters, performing arts venues, and live music. It’s also home to a variety of museums, including the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest public art museum in the country west of the Mississippi. The Sacramento History Museum covers landmark events in the area’s past, including the Gold Rush.

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8. Oakland, California
> Cultural establishments, per 100k: 359.1
> Population: 425,097

Across the bay from San Francisco but definitely a cultural hub all of its own, Oakland has a lot going on. The city continues to produce a variety of big-name musicians and is home to plenty of local music and live venues of all sizes. Oakland has several arts districts and culinary hot spots that reflect its very diverse population. Further, it has a notable amount of unique religious buildings and other interesting architecture.

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7. New Orleans, Louisiana
> Cultural establishments, per 100k: 389.6
> Population: 390,845

New Orleans is a mecca of culture in America, with its own very strong and original food and music traditions. The world-famous French Quarter is famed for its colorful debauchery. Magazine Street is a shopping paradise, and the Garden District luxuriates in beautiful parks and charming architecture. The city also has a range of museums that cover history, art, science, and more.

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6. Seattle, Washington
> Cultural establishments, per 100k: 402.2
> Population: 724,305

Seattle is a regional hub for the performing arts and has a strong theater and musical scene. It is the birthplace of grunge –home to Nirvana and many other influential bands. Besides its still-thriving live music scene, it has virbrant literary and independent film communities. The city also boasts impressive unique architecture, a beautiful geographical setting, and the world-famous Pike Place Market.