The 8 Most Romantic Destinations for Art Lovers

The main staircase at the Winter Palace. St. Peter
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There's no doubt about it — museums are romantic places. They spark conversation and display works that immortalize love. Some feature evening hours and places where you can have drinks and carry on your tête-à-tête adjacent to hushed galleries.

Best of all, museums are affordable; many are free or ask only for a suggested donation and offer low-cost or complimentary talks and lectures that enhance understanding of their collections. What follows are eight destinations among thousands in the world that are home to great museums bringing culture indoors and providing enchanting diversions for romantics. 

  • 01 of 08

    New York City

    museum mile signs
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    There's not just one great museum in New York City; there are seven  on Gotham's Museum Mile, which stretches along Fifth Avenue on the eastern edge of Central Park. It includes the intimate Neue Galerie, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, and the comprehensive Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. The Met stays open till 9 on Fridays, offering couples a unique setting to hear live music and clink cocktails.

    Where to Stay

    Although Upper East Side hotels are closest to Museum Mile, New York is a great city for walking and also has excellent public transportation. So consider one of the sexiest NYC hotels for your visit rather than one of the nearest.

  • 02 of 08

    Paris

    Artemis-Diana of Versailles Sculpture
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    Combine the beauty of Paris with the magnificence of its museums, and you're in the world capital of romance. While many insist on visiting the Louvre to view the incomparable Mona Lisaothers find it overwhelming and choose to bypass it in favor of the more manageable Orsay Museum, which concentrates art made between 1848-1914.

    Where to Stay

    In Paris there are is a multitude of extraordinary luxury properties to choose from, and romantics can also check into a recommended budget hotel.

  • 03 of 08

    St. Petersburg

    Interior of the Winter Palace of the Hermitage Museum. Grand Staircase. Saint Petersburg. Russia
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    The riches of the tsars repose in the Hermitage Museum, where gilded chariots, intricate Fabergé eggs, and a room clad entirely in malachite dazzle. The looted art collection is equally impressive, with French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings taken from German private collections to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Perhaps the most exciting are Matisse's large-scale paintings of Dance and Music; the latter is rarely seen outside the country.

    Where to Stay

    Just off Nevsky Prospekt, elegant Belmond Grand Hotel Europe has welcomed guests since 1874. Romantic and literary-minded ones might imagine it as a place where fictional Anna Karenina might have rendezvoused with her lover, Count Vronsky. For a real thrill, splurge at the hotel's jewel-like Caviar Bar and toast one another with icy vodka.

  • 04 of 08

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    santa fe museum hill
    Susan Breslow Sardone

    It's no wonder UNESCO named Santa Fe a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts; the city's spirited culture pervades everything from the Native American work it celebrates to the 250 galleries it supports. Many line Canyon Road, a fine place for a romantic stroll. But don't neglect Museum Hill, a sculpture-filled plaza with four museums. The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and Museum of Indian Arts & Culture display Native American pottery, beadwork, and jewelry. The Museum of International Folk Art contains 130,000 colorful and fascinating objects from more than 100 countries.

    Where to Stay

    From its handcrafted furnishings and mesquite-burning kivas to the flourish of ethnic textiles and colorful mosaics that meld East-West influences, the Inn of The Five Graces is one of the most artful and hospitable hotels for couples looking for the ultimate getaway. 

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  • 05 of 08

    Amsterdam

    Netherlands, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Gallery Of Honour
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    Free-wheeling Amsterdam is home to two museums that focus on its greatest artists, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Rijksmuseum, the former, was closed for a decade and reopened after a half-billion renovation. Treat yourselves to a meal in its Rijks restaurant, where accomplished chefs from around the world work their magic. The Van Gogh Museum holds the world's largest collection of paintings by the troubled master. 

    Where to Stay

    Registered as a national monument, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is a classic hotel with modernized guest rooms and an artistic treasure within: Its Marriage Chamber is decorated with Jugendstil murals and stained-glass windows that depict a couple in the stages of their relationship from love to marriage to procreation.

  • 06 of 08

    Venice

    'Hands', the sculpture by the artist Lorenzo Quinn on Canal Grande in Venice, Italy
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    A city that's a work of art in itself thanks to the architecture, sunsets, and picturesque gondoliers who ply its canals, magical Venice has long drawn lovers. For couples who treasure modern art over religious, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a welcome refuge. This house museum was built by an eccentric American socialite (oh! the dionysian parties that took place before World War II) and focuses on works by European and American artists made during the first half of the 20th century. Its well-manicured grounds overlook the Grand Canal, a perfect place for a kiss and a selfie.

    Where to Stay

    World-renowned Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice feels more like a secluded island resort than a hotel in a bustling urban center. Yet it is both. A private wooden boat ferries guests from the hotel on the island of Giudecca to San Marco Square and back, making each trip an exhilarating journey. 

  • 07 of 08

    Philadelphia

    barnes foundation interior
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    Relocated from its home a few years ago to a modern, purpose-built museum, the Barnes Foundation collection mirrors the original's quirky, intuitive installation. Paintings and objects are displayed together not by era but by thematic relationship, and multiple works fill each wall rather than being mounted alone. On First Fridays, hear music, visit the collection and savor light bites and cocktails.

    Where to Stay

    Two Kimpton hotels in Philadelphia seem made for couples: Hotel Monaco and Hotel Palomar. In the latter, a Spa King room provides soft, sexy Frette sheets and feather pillows, Etro toiletries, a flatscreen TV offering both Hollywood and adult movies, abstract art on the walls, dimmer switches on lamps, and free wi-fi. Best of all is the bathroom's spa tub, big enough for two.

  • 08 of 08

    New Haven, Connecticut

    Yale University Art Gallery
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    You need not attend Yale University to explore its spectacular museums. The Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery stand across from each other. Admission to both is free. The Art Gallery is like a survey course in Western Art, with a dazzling collection of big-name modernists.  

    The British museum, which has the most British art outside of the country, arranges its collection through the eras, beginning in 1550 and up to the current day. The Long Room, reminiscent of Barnes Foundation exhibits, arranges multiple paintings organized by theme from ceiling to floor.  Modern masters include Lucian Freud and Henry Moore. The latter’s miniature maquettes foreshadow his famous full-size sculptures. 

    Where to Stay

    No hotel is closer to these two museums than The Study at Yale; they’re literally across the street. This cool, low-key property is a comfortable place for couples on a culture trip. Sip  complimentary morning coffee in the welcoming lobby and have a drink at the bar before bed. Generously sized guest rooms include a king-size bed and large TV monitor and views overlooking the venerable campus.