Best Museums in America
So many museums, so little time
With hundreds of different options around the country, it can be hard to thin out your bucket list. Why not concentrate on great museum cities instead? That way, you can explore a few world-class exhibitions during one trip. Here are four cities offering some of the best museums in America.
New York City
No question about it, the Big Apple has the big museums and is home to three of the top museums in the country. Step out from your New York City hotel and visit the Museum of Modern Art, which is almost a century old. It houses 150,000 pieces of contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and films. Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is here, as well as Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. New York also has the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art with its 2 million square feet of collections covering everything from decorative arts of the ancient Greeks to musical instruments and armor. Look for a cast of Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais and Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30). The renowned Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue houses a permanent collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and contemporary art.
If you're on the West Coast, stay in Los Angeles to check out some of the top museums in the U.S. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses many different collections divided into several manageable portions. Visit the Broad Contemporary Art Museum to admire a dazzling selection of modern work, including pieces by Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. The Ahmanson Building holds a modern collection with works by Picasso, Mondrian, Klee and Kandinsky, as well as a Greek and Roman collection and an American Art Collection. Then head over to the Getty Center, where you’ll find exhibitions in a series of six pavilions with million dollar views of the city and Pacific Ocean.
The nation's capital has some top notch museums, too. Most people would agree that Washington D.C.'s massive Smithsonian Institution is among the best museum groups in America. It encompasses 19 museums as well as the National Zoo. Other top places to visit include the Museum of Natural History with its IMAX cinema, the enormous Discovery Center and the Kenneth E. Behring Hall of Mammals, which features interactive displays and hundreds of taxidermied animals. The popular National Air and Space Museum is the place to inspect missiles, aircraft and lunar samples, as well as classic planes like the 1903 Wright Flyer and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.
Book a Chicago hotel and take your museum jaunt to the Second City. Chicago is home to the huge Art Institute of Chicago, an institution that owns and displays over 300,000 works and artifacts from all over the globe. They represent every era from antiquity to modern day. Be sure to see "The New Contemporary" exhibition, presenting fragments of Chicago buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Field Museum is another of the best museums to visit in America. It's a large natural history museum that was built as a home for the biological and anthropological collections of the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893. Walk its halls and see dinosaurs, artifacts from royal Egyptian tombs, and impressive collections of gems and jade.
In addition to museum visits, check out these vacation destinations that offer up fun, educational experiences.