If your hotel is your destination, you’re doing something wrong. You haven’t traveled all this way to hang out in the lobby or at the spa. But if you do want to stay inside somewhere — especially when inclement weather sours the thought of a pleasant stroll or challenging hike — check out the interior of something wonderful. I’ll take you there.
After your long flight, or train ride, or car journey, you may be tempted to collapse at your accommodations for a while, but you haven’t spent months planning a trip that revolves around sleeping and watching free cable. Drop off your luggage and get out there!
So, what’s to see? I’ve always been amused by people who restrict their travels to the obvious. When they arrive in London, for example, they’ll most likely dash over to Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey — iconic monuments that are major tourist attractions, and with good reason: They’re beautiful works of architecture, steeped in history, representative of an entire nation, and visiting them is essential. But these are the same people who don’t take a broader look around and miss out on everything else. That’s great for the intrepid traveler — we often get to have these places to ourselves. Southwark Cathedral? The Clockmakers’ Museum? Brompton Oratory? Probably not on most travelers’ hit lists for England’s capital, but they’re all fascinating in their own right, and you won’t be trampled by the crowds.
These are some of my favorite places to be indoors — the must-sees as well as those places you stumble upon by accident, places that aren’t emblazoned on postcards and that don’t make the top 10 sites at the travel information centers.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass (Seattle, Washington)
- Town Hall (Tallinn, Estonia)
- Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
- Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (Miami, Florida)
- Woolworth Building (New York, New York)
- City Hall (Oslo, Norway)
- War Photo Limited (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
- Turku Castle (Turku, Finland)
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery (St. Louis, Missouri)
- Jefferson Building, Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.)
- Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, Washington)
- Kiek in de Kök (Tallinn, Estonia)
- The Seattle Underground (Seattle, Washington)
- Venetian All Stars at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
- A Scandinavian Mansion on the Shore of Lake Tahoe, California
- How to Store a Blimp at Oregon’s Tillamook Air Museum
- Unexpected Masterpieces in the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art
- A Danish Royal Palace for — and of — the Ages
- Sweden’s Vasa: From Wreck to Celebrity
- A Quintet of Canadian Pyramids
- Miracles in Québec
- Detroit’s Endangered Art: Now You See It…
- Missouri’s Mosaic Marvel
- Exploring America’s Other Half Dome
- Venice Churches Without Masses