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There are plenty of reasons to get out of town: to hit the beach, to commune with nature, to give your air conditioner a break. But if your wanderlust is of the cultural variety, head to one of these meccas for art, architecture, dance and more.

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philip johnson glass house summer party
Neil Landino

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). This weekend (June 8), the structure celebrates its 70th anniversary with its annual Summer Party, featuring a site-specific performance by Philippe Petit, the French high-wire artist (of Man on Wire fame).

199 Elm St., New Canaan, Connecticut; 203-594-9884 or theglasshouse.org

grace farms new canaan ct
Sahar Coston Hardy

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, Connecticut; 203-920-1702 or gracefarms.org

storm king art day trips NY
Storm King/Facebook

Storm King Art Center (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 Jean Shin and Mark Dion through November. 

1 Museum Rd., New Windsor, New York; 845-534-3115 or stormking.org

dia beacon art day trips NY

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, New York; 845-440-0100 or diaart.org

barnes foundations art day trips NY
Smallbones/Wikimedia Commons

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 in 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; 215-278-7000 or barnesfoundation.org

fisher center bard college art day trips NY
Peter Aaron '68/Esto

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, New York; 845-758-7900 or fishercenter.bard.edu

mana contemporary art day trips NY
Mana Contemporary/Facebook

Mana Contemporary (30 minutes from NYC)

This 2-million-square-foot former factory defies easy categorization: It houses artist studios, exhibition spaces, 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.

888 Newark Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey; 201-604-2702 or manacontemporary.com 

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