The first stop on a cultural trip to the Spanish capital has to be the Museo Reina Sofia. Here you can view Picasso's most famous painting, Guernica, as well as plentiful masterworks by other 20th century artists-the museum is home to one of the largest collections of modern art in the world. Two more museums comprise Madrid's "Golden Triangle of Art." These are the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The former is Spain's national art museum, with a collection ranging from the 12th to 20th centuries, while the latter is home to 1,600 paintings which once made up the second largest privately held art collection in existence.
Cultural trips to Washington, D.C. are surprisingly well-suited for budget travelers, because one of the best aspects of the 17 museums comprising the Smithsonian Institute is that all entry is free! Learn about the country's African American history at the fairly new African American Museum, brush up on your knowledge of the moon landing at the Air and Space Museum, or get to know the country's finest artists with a visit to the American Art Museum.
The City of Light is home to 130 museums, so you really can't go wrong here. In addition to viewing seemingly endless art, you might also want to book tickets for the opera at the opulent Palais Garnier, while dance lovers will want to check out the Paris Opera Ballet, the world's oldest national ballet company.
The German capital is home to a diverse mix of great contemporary art galleries and older, more traditional art institutions. Head to the six museums of Museum Island for the latter. Particular highlights include the Gate of Ishtar at the Pergamon, and the bust of Nefertiti, housed in the Neues Museum. Opera enthusiasts will want to see what's on at either the Komische Oper Berlin or the Deutsche Oper Berlin. For wonderful classical music, performances at the Berlin Philharmonie are tough to beat.
For a mix of culture and sunshine, elegant Mexico City is an ideal destination. Get acquainted with contemporary Mexican art at MUAC, then check out Mexico's best muralists (among them Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco) at the architecturally stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes. And don't miss the Museo Frida Kahlo, housed in the iconic artist's former home, which she shared with Diego Rivera.