In the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills lies the “cradle of American modernism.” Out of all of Cranbrook’s different schools (which start from pre-K), the Academy of Art’s unique graduate program for architecture, art and design is especially renowned for not having traditional courses but teaching solely through apprenticeship—it’s effective, considering the list of alumni boasts past and present-day innovators from Charles and Ray Eames to Nick Cave. While the campus hosts science and art museums and even a not-to-be-missed planetarium, the best way to experience Cranbrook is by simply taking a stroll around the grounds.
Wander through the Oriental Garden, around Kingswood Lake, or chance upon the outdoor Greek Theatre. Stepping on a specific tile causes a mysterious bust of Zeus to transform into a fountain as tears spill from his eyes. Finnish sculptor Carl Milles designed numerous sculptures that are hidden throughout the campus, including the Orpheus Fountain (keep an eye out for Beethoven’s face on one of the eight life-sized figures), which is considered to be his masterpiece. For those interested in more large-scale views, there are incredible contemporary structures from famous architects around the world such as Eliel Saarinen, Rafael Moneo, Juhani Pallasmaa and Steven Holl. Whether you're a student, artist or visitor, there's no shortage of visual inspiration here.