World's best places to experience art and culture for 2018 (so far) named

Looking for a culture hit? These are the best places to see and experience art and culture in the world right now.

TOKYO'S 'LIVE HOUSE' SCENE

Tokyo has a huge and passionate live music scene, much of it housed in tiny basement venues that you'd walk past a thousand times without even realising they were there. In nightlife hubs such as Shinjuku, Koenji and Shimokitazawa, bands that range from the hardcore to the hippie play to devoted audiences in bunker venues nightly. See jnto.org.au

MUSEUM ISLAND, BERLIN

Museuminsel brings together some of Europe's best museums. Pergamon Museum has fabulous Persian, Assyrian and Babylonian artefacts and Neues Museum some of the best Greek and Roman statuary you'll ever see. Old National Gallery features leading German Romantics and French Impressionists. The entire museum complex is a World Heritage site. See visitberlin.de

TWEED REGIONAL GALLERY, NSW

Enjoy an intimate encounter with one of Australia's most beloved artists, the late Margaret Olley, at this first-rate gallery, where you can marvel at some of the colourful, cluttered rooms of her Sydney home that have been painstakingly recreated here. The gallery also hosts an impressive calendar of exhibitions. See artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au

YAYOI KUSAMA MUSEUM, TOKYO

This new museum in the northern suburbs of Tokyo is dedicated to the life and work of Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan's most iconic and idiosyncratic modern artists. Expect to see plenty of brightly coloured murals, as well as Kusama's signature pumpkin sculptures. Advance bookings are a must. See yayoikusamamuseum.jp

CAPE TOWN'S ART SCENE

The traditional focus for a visit to Cape Town is on the amazing array of outdoor activities available. However, the recent opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa has shifted people indoors. The continent's first modern art museum is complemented by independent galleries and exhibitions spaces across the city. zeitzmocaa.museum/

THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI

M2G446 United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Louvre art gallery Satjun30coverannual

Abu Dhabi, Louvre art gallery. Photo: Alamy

It may have been spectacularly late and built with massive ethical question marks hanging over it, but if you can look past that, the new Louvre Abu Dhabi is probably the world's most spectacular new museum. With artefacts from the last 500,000 years of humankind, it's a wonder – as is Jean Nouvel's revolutionary design. louvreabudhabi.ae/

DUBAI GETTING LA PERLE

For some visiting Dubai for culture is a bit like visiting Scotland for a suntan. However, the city is growing up fast and to that end, it recently opened the marvellous La Perle, a sort of Cirque du Soleil alternative, performed in a unique, purpose-built arena. laperle.com/en/

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MINSK, BELARUS

GWFYAJ Minsk, Belarus. 12th Sep, 2016. A graffiti painted in Oktyabrskaya Street as part of the 2016 Vulica Brasil Brazilian and Belarusian street art festival. Credit: Viktor Drachev/TASS/Alamy Live News Satjun30coverannual

Street art on Oktyabrskaya Street as part of the 2016 Vulica Brasil Brazilian and Belarusian street art festival. Photo: Alamy

With the introduction of a five-day visa-free stay for Australians travelling through Minsk National Airport this progressive (and super clean) city is opening up. The Soviet-era architecture is still here, but the biggest surprise is the music and street art scene (Oktyabr'skaya Street), fashionable cafes, design studios and youthful vigour that 22 universities bring to a city. See rsti.by

NYAMIRAMBO WOMEN'S CENTRE

This women's centre runs walking tours through Kigali's Nyamirambo township, a neighbourhood in Rwanda's capital that's notable for its harmonious mix of Muslims and Christians. The tours offer an immersive insight into the local culture and provide local women with a valuable source of income. See nwc-umutima.org

PETRA BY NIGHT EXPERIENCE, JORDAN

EDA64F Treasury (Khasneh) in Petra, Jordan at night. Petra by Night in the light of 1,800 candles. Satjun30coverannual

Petra by Night in the light of 1800 candles. Photo: Alamy

The rock-hewn Treasury building, in the ruins of Petra, is an incredible sight at any time of day; however, it's unforgettable to witness in the dead of night, as you walk through a narrow canyon by candlelight, squeeze through a gap in the rock, and then spot this towering landmark bathed in a soft glow. This is the "Petra By Night" experience. See visitpetra.jo

THE NORTH DAKOTA HERITAGE CENTRE AND MUSEUM

Who knew that mastodons, mammoths and dinosaurs once roamed the prairies of North Dakota? Visitors of all ages will be captivated by stories and displays – including a triceratops skull – spanning 600 million years. statemuseum.nd.gov/

THE MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART, DOHA

Stuffed with treasures from the region and housed in an architectural masterpiece designed by Pritzer Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, this museum provides a joyous distraction during a long stopover in Doha. mia.org.qa

KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL, RWANDA

The good (mountain gorillas, civic mindedness) can't be properly understood without the bad (the 1994 genocide in which millions of Tutsis were systematically slaughtered by their Hutu neighbours). The memorial tells the harrowing story without sensationalising it, and evokes the introspection necessary for the prevention of another such atrocity. kgm.rw

THE GLACARIUM, PATAGONIA

Housed in a building designed to resemble the face of a glacier, this museum near El Calafate in Argentina demystifies the science behind the Southern Patagonian Icefield through dioramas, models, film and interactive representations. glaciarium.com/es/

THE MUSEUMS AT HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI

KB3C6C Japan, Kyushu, Hiroshima, peace park, Hiroshima peace museum, inside, exhibit, replica of the atom bomb dome, Satjun30coverannual

Replica of the atom bomb dome, Hiroshima peace museum. Photo: Alamy

The commemorations of the atomic bombings of Japan at the end of World War II warn of the profound impact of war on the innocent – citizens still suffer today from the fallout – and urge peace in a world still riven with conflict. nagasakipeace.jp/english/abm.html and hpmmuseum.jp/

CONTRIBUTORS

Elspeth Callender, Ben Groundwater, Belinda Jackson, Brian Johnston, Ute, Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Kristie Kellahan, Jamie Lafferty, Sally Macmillan, Rob McFarland, Steve McKenna, Catherine Marshall, Julie Miller, Sheriden Rhodes, Louise Southerden, Alison Stewart, Craig Tansley, Kerry van der Jagt, Guy Wilkinson
 

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