7 Artsy Day Trips Every Culture-Loving New Yorker Needs to Take
There are plenty of reasons to get out of town: to swoon over fall foliage, to commune with nature, to eat all the things. But if your wanderlust is of the cultural variety, head to one of these meccas for art, architecture, dance and more.
The Glass House (1 hour from NYC)
If you have even a casual interest in architecture, you need to visit Philip Johnson’s minimalist masterpiece (and longtime residence). The elegant namesake abode—along with various other building on the property, including a sculpture gallery and lake pavilion—plays with ideas of what a residence can be and how architecture can blend seamlessly with a landscape. (Note: Tour groups are kept small, so advance reservations are a must.)
199 Elm St., New Canaan, CT; 203-594-9884 or theglasshouse.org
Grace Farms (1 hour, 15 minutes from NYC)
Just a short drive from the Glass House, you’ll find another artistic haven on the site of a former horse farm. The 80-acre grounds include a fluid, winding structure designed by an award-winning Japanese architecture firm, idyllic trails to stroll (or snowshoe in winter), a community church and programming that ranges from author readings to tea tastings.
365 Lukes Wood Rd., New Canaan, CT; 203-920-1702 or gracefarms.org
Storm King (1 hour, 15 minutes from NYC)
There’s a reason this Hudson Valley sculpture park has a reputation for being a great date spot (and, OK, selfie wonderland)—it’s just that lovely. Fall is an especially magical time to visit, when the vivid vegetation plays off the always-striking artwork. Be sure to check out the special exhibitions by David Smith and Heather Hart through November.
1 Museum Rd., New Windsor, NY; 845-534-3115 or stormking.org
Dia:Beacon (1 hour, 15 minutes from NYC)
Across the river, the contemporary-art hub that was once a Nabisco box-printing plant rivals the best Manhattan museums. Dan Flavin’s immersive light installations are a perennial favorite, and we’re marking our calendars for the geometric compositions of François Morellet. And if you need further convincing: The museum is right next to the train station.
3 Beekman St., Beacon, NY; 845-440-0100 or diaart.org
Barnes Foundation (1 hour, 40 minutes from NYC)
You could make an entire weekend (or more) out of the Philly arts scene, but for a quicker excursion, we love this sprawling institution, which boasts a 4,000-item collection of impressionist and modernist masters. Stop by during the month of October for fifth-anniversary events, like lectures, live music and a BYO easel day for those who feel inspired to paint their own masterpiece.
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, PA; 215-278-7000 or barnesfoundation.org
Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (2 hours from NYC)
The fact that Bard College’s stunning performance hall was designed by the singular Frank Gehry is certainly a major draw, but the diverse calendar of events—ranging from a dance premiere by choreographer Tere O’Connor to an evening with Stephen King and Owen King (his son)—makes a visit all the more worthwhile.
60 Manor Ave., Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; 845-758-7900 or fishercenter.bard.edu
Mana Contemporary (30 minutes from NYC)
This two-million-square-foot former factory defies easy categorization: It houses artist studios, exhibition space, music rehearsal rooms, dance companies in residence, an architectural model museum, a huge photography archive… We could go on, but you’re better off checking it out for yourself at the fall open house October 15.
888 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ; 201-604-2702 or manacontemporary.com