One of the best ways to sample a city’s cultural offerings is taking a day to visit their museums. From viewing priceless pieces of artwork, to admiring the incredible architecture that houses them, the world’s best art museums are an unforgettable experience. We’ve outlined here the top 10 art museums in the United States for you to visit on your next trip.
Part of the Getty Center, which includes incredible views of Los Angeles along with the picturesque Getty Villa, the Getty Museum is one of the top museums in the country. The collections include major works by J.M.W Turner, Manet and Monet. Located in Brentwood, the Getty Center is a beautiful artistic and cultural compound with courtyards, gardens and other offices.
Located in the beautiful neoclassical Watkin Building, The Museum of Fine Arts has the largest art collection in the Southwestern United States and is the sixth-largest in the country. The collection is especially strong in Italian Renaissance, French Impressionism, and American decorative arts. Some of the most popular pieces come from impressionists such as Monet, Signac and Cezanne. With their strong collections, the museum ranks among the top ten in the nation for total attendance.
Well known for its role in the Rocky anthology of films, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an icon of the city. Because of its location at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the east entrance is a popular venue for outdoor concerts and events. As for the museum, it has one of the largest and most visited art collections in the country. The collection is noteworthy for its Asian art exhibits, as well as for the armor collection of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch. The exhibit holds armor from throughout history and is a popular destination for visitors.
The largest art museum in the Western United States, the LACMA houses collections spanning from ancient times to the contemporary present. The LACMA’s permanent collection is particularly strong in modern and contemporary art, American and Latin American art, and Asian art. The museum has one of the largest collections of Latin American art outside of Latin America. And has entire galleries dedicated to Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. Finally, with their proximity to Hollywood, the LACMA has exhibits on the entertainment industry that are especially popular with their audiences.
Probably the most well-known modern art museum in the world, the MOMA is one of New York City’s most popular attractions. The MOMA holds many influential and famous works such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Claude Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond. The MOMA also has one of the premier art libraries in the country, with over 300,000 books, 1,000 periodicals and more than 10,000 artist books. The MOMA is one of the most well-attended museums in the world, with an average attendance of over two million a year.
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is one of the world’s largest collections of American art. The museum features over 7,000 American artists that over each region and art movement found in the country. In particular, the museum has the world’s largest collection of New Deal art, as well as American impressionism and Gilded Age art. The classically styled façade of the museum is an iconic landmark in the city, and exhibits the nation’s love of fine art.
As the fifth-largest museum in the United States, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has one of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world. The building is also a work of art in itself. The neoclassical architecture is accented by a series of murals that adorn the walls and ceilings created by John Singer Sargent. The permanent collection is known for its strength in Ancient Egyptian artifacts, Dutch Golden Age art, Asian art, American art and French Impressionism. In particular, the American art exhibits are some of the most well-known and comprehensive in the world.
Located on the National Mall, the National Gallery of Art is one of the largest museums in North America as well as one of the nation’s most iconic. The collections at the National Gallery of Art hold some of the country’s most prestigious pieces such as the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas. There are also works by Titian and Raphael, both incredibly rare outside of Europe. Other masterworks include pieces by El Greco, Goya, Ingres and Delacroix. The museum also has a highly acclaimed print collection, as well as a collection in rare illustrated books. Entry to the museum is free of charge, helping the National Gallery of Art fulfill its role as a major institution for fine art in the country.
One of the premier art museums in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago is located in Grant Park and features some of the most iconic pieces of art in the world. Masterworks such as Geroges Seurat’s A Saturday on La Grande Jatte, Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks are featured here. The museum is also an active research institution and is connected with the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. Making it one of the few major museums still unified with an educational institution. With over 300,000 pieces in its permanent collection, the Art Institute of Chicago is easily one of the most encyclopedia and impressive museums in the country.
The largest art museum in the United States, the Metropolitan is the third most-visited art museum in the world. The Metropolitan, or “The Met“, is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. The permanent collection has over two million pieces and has strengths and specialties in every art movement and region. Each department of the museum also maintains a library, with the main Thomas J. Watson Library available to any member of the public with a valid photo ID. The main Met building has a distinctive Beaux-Arts façade is located on the eastern edge of Central Park in New York City’s Upper East Side.
From the historic Smithsonian to the Met, some of the world’s top museums are in the United States. Book your next trip to one of these cities to experience a dazzling array of culture.