The Afar Guide to
Culture and Design

For the Cultural Connoisseur

Let's take back the phrase "culture vulture": after all, when Ogden Nash wrote that "There is a vulture / Who circles above / The carcass of culture," he couldn't have foreseen the range of opportunities available to modern travelers. An aficionado seeking out the newest architecture, music, art, and fashion around the world has so many options that the vulture's wingspan might actually come in handy.

Our Favorite Culture and Design Destinations
Culture is everywhere, of course. But a few places rise to the top. Here's where we're going now.
Culture Mavens' Picks around the World
Want to know where the cognoscenti go? Follow their footsteps.
10 Tips for Finding Culture and Design No Matter Where You Are
Be educated: The best experiences will come to those who plan ahead, talk to the locals, and don't fear serendipity.
Talk to locals. That sommelier who recommended a perfect match; the woman sitting next to you on the plane reading an arts magazine; the gallery attendant wearing a local designer. They know their city, and they likely love to share some insider knowledge.
Read ahead. The local newspaper might be a good start, but also seek out arts publications, listings, and blogs.
Wander the back streets. Street art, intriguing boutiques, unique galleries: a city's culture often thrives in the small alleys and lesser-known, off-the-beaten path neighborhoods. Step off the tourist trails and explore.
Seek out your passions. Whether you travel for the architecture, theater arts, indigenous art, or jewelry making, read up on the culture and design specialties of your destination, and make time to go down the rabbit hole.
Gather experiences, not things. Culture and design aficionados gain their travel stories from the gallery walls, the stages, the building facades—not necessarily from the gift shop.
But gather some things, too. Bringing home something unique from a trip, whether it's a locally made clothing item, jewelry, or a piece of art, will serve as a special reminder of your travels.
Don't fear the organized tours. Outfitters like Artisans of Leisure can organize private tours based on your interests. Travel agents (including the experts on AFAR's Travel Advisory Committee) can get insider access and first-hand destination knowledge.
Value improvisation. Some experiences might not be booked ahead. But if you get the chance at tickets to a local theater festival, or come upon a gallery opening on your way to dinner, improvise.
Support the arts. Tickets can be expensive, depending on where you're traveling. But supporting the arts in a destination will never be a bad investment.
Get inspired. Give yourself time to think about the places you've seen, the artists and creative types that you've met, and incorporate your travel experiences into your daily life once home.
Original stringio.txt?1383769821?ixlib=rails 0.3

Davina Baum, Culture and Design Curator

Davina Baum is the director of digital content at AFAR. Her travel passions are contemporary art and great food.