The 10 Museums Every Traveler Should Visit in the U.S.
Museums give you a chance to get to know some of the world’s top creative minds, and can provide quite a relaxing reprieve during a trip.
To determine the museums that are regularly on travelers’ lists, travel review site TripAdvisor measured both the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings on its site over the past 12 months to reveal the top museums in the country of its Travelers’ Choice Awards.
Several of the museums on the list hail from New York City, including the popular Metropolitan Museum of Art, which took the top spot. The museums that made it to the top 10 offer visitors everything from ancient aircraft and classical works of art to bold contemporary pieces and stunning architecture to explore.
Before you plan your next trip, here are the 10 U.S. museums travelers swear by from coast to coast.
10. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Titusville, Florida
Besides its impressive displays, which range from astronaut artifacts to the Saturn V rocket, this museum also offers meet-and-greets with astronauts and a tour with a former NASA launch director that gives you a first-hand look at everything from the control room used during launches to the massive crawler that would carry rockets to their take-off points.
9. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City
MoMA’s collection is made up of close to 200,000 modern and contemporary artworks that range from outdoor sculptures and hand drawings to playful interactive exhibits. The museum also regularly hosts film screenings.
8. American Museum of Natural History in New York City, New York
If you’re a lover of animals, head to the American Museum of Natural History, where you’ll be treated to an array of halls and exhibitions digging into the history of ocean life and dinosaurs, while large-scale displays of animals like bison and elk will leave you in awe. Plus, the museum also has boozy slumber parties that adults can enjoy at night.
7. The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a modern new world at the Getty Center, where glass-and-stone buildings make up the façade. Perched on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, the space is home to breathtaking gardens you can admire after perusing through its art collections that include works from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, and more.
6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Those interested in intergalactic affairs will find themselves in paradise here, where displays include the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and even a lunar rock you’re invited to touch. The museum, which is free to enter, is also home to popular attractions like the Albert Einstein Planetarium and a public observatory where you can gaze at the sky through telescopes.
5. USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California
Located onboard one of the country’s longest serving aircraft carriers, this museum invites you to get lost at sea with more than 60 exhibits that take you through 29 restored aircraft, while narrations by Midway sailors help to transport you back in time.
4. The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City
Honoring the thousands of lives that were lost during the September 11 attacks, this museum takes guests through the events before, during, and after that tragic day with archival photographs, videos, and artifacts from Ground Zero. Outside, a set of reflecting pools stand in the fallen towers’ footprints as a solemn memorial.
3. Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
The Art Institute of Chicago is home to roughly 300,000 works of art, from ancient to contemporary. Made up of eight buildings and covering nearly 1 million square feet, the museum is a work of art in and of itself, displaying elements of historic Beaux Arts architecture while simultaneously showcasing Greek and Roman influences with its Corinthian columns and friezes.
2. The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana
Now the top rated-tourist attraction in the city, according to TripAdvisor, this museum takes you on a historic journey through its collection of artifacts and first-person oral histories that delve into the story of the war. In addition to its display of boats, tanks, and planes of the past, the space also has a wartime-themed canteen for when it’s time to unwind.
1.The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
At the Met, visitors will be greeted with more than 2 million pieces they can admire in just the museum’s permanent collection alone. The sprawling space, which spans four city blocks, also regularly brings in fascinating collections that range from the works of famed traditional painters to eclectic clothing displays and historic photographs.