Art-wise, I highly, highly recommend the new Cone Collection in the Baltimore Museum of Art. It was under renovation until last May, and the finished product is awe-inspiring. The Cone sisters were local art collectors who courted Matisse and Cezanne during their early years; the Matisse collection features “Blue Nude,” one of his most famous, and every other Matisse you can imagine. (I cannot possibly name all of them, but most of them are there). They also feature a revolving Cezanne exhibition with extremely rare sketches and writings - they switch it about because it can’t be exposed to too much light.
As for books, I recommend:
[li]Shakespare - if I have to narrow it down, I recommend Antony and Cleopatra and Hamlet. But most of his works are a worthwhile read.[/li][li]Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (Russian Lit)[/li][li]The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (AmLit)[/li][li]The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank (Holocaust Lit)[/li][li]Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (Black Lit)[/li][li]Steppenwolf, Herman Hess (German Lit? Just an overall good read)[/li][li]Sophia’s Choice, William Styron (AmLit/Holocaust Lit)[/li][li]David Copperfield, Charles Dickens (BritLit)[/li][li]Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (BritLit)[/li][li]The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois (AmLit/Black Lit)[/li][li]Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington (AmLit/Black Lit)[/li][li]Slaughterhouse Five Or The Children’s Crusade, Kurt Vonnegut (Modern Lit)[/li][li]The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde (BritLit)[/li][li]Collected Works, T.S.Eliot (Modern Lit/Brit Lit)[/li][li]The Simile of the Cave, Plato (Classic Lit)[/li][/ul]
Most of my English classes are seperated into such categories, and I tried to pick the most enjoyable and important works from each grouping. I avoided early BritLit (like Chaucer) because I hate it; maybe someone else can help you there. I’m also not a huge fan of the classics (except Plato; I love Plato), so any expert in that area can help more than me.
[li]Rainer Maria Rilke, the Duino Elegies[/li][li]Stephen Dunn, Collected Works or Between Angels[/li][li]T.S. Eliot - read it all. The man is pure genius.[/li][li]Elizabeth Barret Browning, The Portugese Sonnets and Aurora Leigh[/li][li]Robert Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi and The Bishop Orders His Tomb…[/li][li]Deborah Garrison, A Working Girl Can’t Win (note: daLovinDJ, I know you will love her. She’s a New Yorker with a kick-ass rap/rhythm flow)[/li][li]Mark Doty, My Alexandria[/li][li]Alexander Pope - An Essay on Criticism and The Rape of the Lock (this man is the most incredibly beautiful classical poet I can imagine. He is pure genius.)[/li][li]Shakespeare - The Rape of Lucrece[/li][/ul]
Hope that helps.