The United States has an overwhelming amount of museums, including some of the top art museums in the world. With nearly each city having multiple fantastic art museums to explore, it can be tough to narrow it down. Here is our list of the country’s top ten.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
The largest art museum in the US, the Met is a dream, with everything from Jackson Pollock to Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, a reconstructed Egyptian temple to Washington Crossing the Delaware. Seeing all of the museum in one day is virtually impossible, but thanks to a “suggested donation” entrance fee, you can go as many times as you need to without breaking the bank. Head to the rooftop for a nice view of Central Park, and on Friday nights in the summer, enjoy a concert there too! Also included in your fee is the Met’s extension, The Cloisters.
The Smithsonian, Washington, DC
No trip to Washington, DC, is complete without a visit to the Smithsonian Museums, a group of museums located on the National Mall. But the American Art Museum is perhaps one of the best, particularly the Renwick Gallery,featuring pieces from American artists dating from Colonial time to today.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City
Whether you love modern art or you think a few lines across a canvas is weird, the MoMA is a must-visit. Right in the middle of bustling Midtown and near a bunch of NYC hotels, the MoMA houses some of the world’s most famous pieces of art, including Starry Night by Picasso and Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Those pieces also contribute to the MoMa’s expensive entrance fee ($25 for ages 17 and up), but Friday nights from 4-8pm are free–just expect a crowd.
The Getty, Los Angeles
The Getty Museum doesn’t just host a collection of beautiful art, including Irises by Van Gogh, it is also located high atop a hill, lending a breathtaking view of Los Angeles. Its stunning gardens are a great place to take in some sun and relax in a gorgeous setting. Plus, entry is free, so pack all of your friends into a car and split the $15 parking fee.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston is one of America’s oldest cities, and the Museum of Fine Arts highlights its rich history in addition to a great collection of Medieval and Egyptian artifacts. Also check out the MFA’s nice collection of Monets in addition to one of the most famous portraits of George Washington, the unfinished The Athenaeum by Gilbert Stuart.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Home to the only Da Vinci painting in the country, the National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall and is free to enter. Other highlights include rooms dedicated to Rembrandt, Raphael, and Titian.
The Guggenheim, New York City
The Guggenheim Museum not only holds a fantastic collection of Impressionist and Contemporary art, it is also a piece of art in and of itself. Both the interior and exterior of this cylindrical building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the only example of his work in NYC, has been featured in countless movies and makes for some fantastic photos. You’ll often find temporary exhibits featuring everything from cars to horses (don’t worry, they were fake!) suspended in the center of the rotunda.
Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia
Recreate the famous Rocky scene while entering this fantastic museum full of treasured pieces including Water Lilies by Monet. Also home to the second-largest collection of armor in the US, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a fantastic rotation of exhibits featuring everything from modern-day fashion to colonial art.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
The second-largest museum in the US, the Art Institute of Chicago houses an array of pieces from varying artistic styles. Some of the most noteworthy pieces include American Gothic, the second version of Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles, and Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
MH de Young Museum, San Francisco
Located in Golden Gate Park, the De Young Museum features thousands of artifacts, a beautiful sculpture garden, and a Japanese tea garden, not to mention a gorgeous view of the Bay and San Francisco from the observation tower.