Best Museums in the United States
Visiting a museum is a delightful experience. It is the ideal day trip for art and history enthusiasts. With 50 states, America is blessed with thousands of landmarks, monuments and memorials. These establishments are repositories of the natural world and human experience. The educational opportunities are vast, and visitors get to immerse themselves in experiential learning while interacting with the palpable objects of science and history. Here are the best museums in the United States to visit.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
MET is one of the world's largest museums and showcases over 2 million pieces of memorabilia. It features collections from all over the globe dating back 5,000 years. The American Wing displays some of the country's most prestigious art pieces by Latin American, Native American and African American artists. The museum also comprises of Asian art, Egyptian art, Islamic art and Greek and Roman art. It's impossible to get around the entire museum in one day. Several visits are required for a full experience.
- 1,000 5th Ave New York, New York 10028, United States.
- Adults: $30.
- Seniors (65 and up): $22.
- Students: $17.
- Children under 12: Free.
- Members and patrons: Free.
2. The Art Institute of Chicago
With such a vast collection of post-modern and impressionist works, visitors can spend an entire day exploring one section of the Art Institute of Chicago. They house an impressive display of famous pieces by artists such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Van Gogh, O'Keefe and Monet. For some memorabilia, take a trip to the museum's store where you will find posters, books, souvenirs and much more. It is recommended that visitors take a bus or trolley to the museum because parking costs $30.
- 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60603-6404, United States.
- Adults: $25.
- Students: $19.
- Teens (14 to 17): $19.
3. National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
To ensure one of the most tragic days in history is never forgotten, New York City opened a museum in 2014 to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the September 11 and February 26 attacks on the World Trade Center. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum is located in the same place as the Twin Towers. The museum comprises of over 70,000 artifacts documenting testimonies by responders, survivors and the fate of the victims. It exhibits items belonging to the deceased, such as shoes, helmets, clothes and photographs. The display is a moving and melancholy. It is not recommended for the faint-hearted.
- 180 Greenwich St, New York, New York 10007, United States.
- Adults: $26.
- Youth (7 to 12): $15.
- Young adults (13 to 17): $20.
- Seniors (65 and up): $20.
- Students: $20.
- U.S.Veterans: $18.
4. Chicago Field Museum
The Chicago Field Museum is one of the world's most prestigious natural history museums. This is the place to visit if you are into science and culture. You'll be introduced to the latest scientific discoveries and learn about ancient civilizations, such as the Quing Dynasty China, ancient Egypt and the prehistoric era. You'll get to meet the largest creature on the planet and check out an ancient Egyptian tomb. The Hall of Gems showcases some of the world's oldest and most precious stones, including the 3,400-year-old ancient Egyptian garnet necklace. The museum also has a 3D theater where you get to watch everything come to life.
- 1,400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, Illinois 60605, United States.
- All-access pass: $42.
- Discovery pass: $36.
- Basic admission: $29.
5. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
MoMA is a 630,000-square-foot building filled with contemporary and modern art, from state-of-the-art photography to Monet's “Water Lillies” and Vincent Van Gogh's “The Starry Night.” It holds a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. If you are a New York City resident, you get a free one-year pass that gives you access to the galleries plus film tickets. If you plan on staying for lunch or dinner and fancy a contemporary American meal, the MoMA has its own two-Michelin-star restaurant.
- 11 West 53rd Street, New York, New York 10019.
- Adults: $25.
- Seniors (65 and up): $18.
- Disabled: $18.
- Students: $14.
- Children under 16: Free.
6. The National Museum of American History
America has a vast and interesting history, but if you want a quick rundown of its highlights, the National Museum of American History is the museum to visit. The original star-spangled banner flag is one of the museum's most prized possessions. The much-loved anthem was once a poem written by Francis Scott Key. This exact flag inspired her to pen the words to the ballad. Make your way to the second floor to get a glimpse of the flag.
- 1,300 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20560, United States.
- Free for all.
7. The National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum hosts thousands of visitors daily. This is the place to visit if you want to know more about the war that transformed the world. The museum provides a rare educational experience and features audio testimonies of soldiers and civilians during the war. For an additional fee, there is a VIP tour available where visitors are shown what takes place behind the scenes.
Additionally, there is an extra charge for entry to the Victory Theater. It is also important to mention that some displays are graphic and may not be suitable for children. Visitor reviews suggest setting aside the whole day if one is going to fully appreciate all the testimonials, artifacts and texts on display.
- 945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.
- Adults: $31.50.
- Seniors (65 and up): $26.50.
- Students: $19.
- Children (K to 12): $19.
8. The Getty Center
Before visitors even step inside the museum, you can't help but marvel at the architectural design of the Getty Center. With its steel and circular concrete structure, the building alone is a work of art. The museum displays historical manuscripts, Baroque sculptures, 20th-century American photography, Renaissance paintings and more. Additionally, it has one feature you won't get at any other museum on this list: a spectacular view of Los Angeles. Visitor reviews recommend paying for a guided tour to make the most of your time at the museum.
- 1,200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, United States.
- Free for all.
Museums are well-loved by tourists who typically make spontaneous visits while touring a city. Depending on the time of year, there can be long queues for admission. To avoid this, purchase your tickets in advance online for a small fee of no more than a few dollars. Additionally, you will have access to discounts and information about community, free days where visitors do not need to pay an entrance fee.