Lovers of all things related to art, science, history, and all the odds and ends in between, could plan a trip touring the US with just a focus on museums.
All of the cities on the list below have a ton of great things to do as a tourist, but the museums in these spots are too amazing to miss out on. Take a look at these 10 American cities with the best museums.
10 New York
There is so much to do in New York City it’s hard to cram it all into one trip. If museums are your thing then you can’t go wrong in New York City. There’s likely a museum that will cover the interests of just about anyone. The biggies include the American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Guggenheim Museum, and the 9/11 Memorial.
For those who want to go off the beaten path, consider a stop at the Tenement Museum, the New York Transit Museum, or even the super quirky Museum of Sex. Regardless of which stops make it on your list, you won’t be bored in the city that never sleeps.
9 Washington DC
It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital has an incredible score of museums to visit. History lovers will be in heaven with all the choices and visitors can plan an entire trip based solely around museum stops. Some of the country’s most incredible museums reside in DC including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.
Travelers will also find the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. And if that list doesn’t check all your boxes, don’t forget to stop by The White House for a tour, rounding out your educational and stimulating trip to D.C.
Traveling to the middle of the country, the next stop on our museum tour of the U.S. is Chicago. Chicago has some incredible museums that are fantastic for the whole family. The Field Museum should top your list. Kids and adults alike will delight in seeing Sue, the largest T-Rex ever discovered.
The skeleton greets visitors as they walk in and it’s an awesome sight. After visiting with Sue, check out the Chicago History Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and round out your tour at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
7 Los Angeles
Museum options in LA rivals the other cities on our list. There is no shortage of possibilities to make your trip fun and interesting. A stop at the Griffith Observatory should top any travelers list when visiting L.A.
Check out the website for special events throughout the year. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, California Science Center, and the California Science Center are just a few of the other must-see museums. Make sure to stop by the La Brea Tar Pits for a quintessentially California museum experience.
There is so much to do when visiting Seattle and their list of museums is just as interesting as the rest of the city. The Museum of Pop Culture should be on the list of anyone who’s a nerd for all things that have gathered a following through the years. Exhibits like Minecraft, Prince, and Pearl Jam, just to name a few current displays at the museum.
There’s also the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, the Museum of History and Industry, and don’t forget the Seattle Pinball Museum. Once you buy your ticket to get in you can play any of the games for as long as you like. Now that sounds like a fantastic day at the museum.
5 New Orleans
New Orleans is steeped in history and culture and the museums represent the vast richness of this city’s past. The first museum stop in New Orleans should be The National WWII Museum. This museum isn’t just one of the best in Louisiana but in the entire country.
Other stops that shouldn’t be missed include the Backstreet Cultural Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. For a real glimpse behind the scenes check out Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World and don’t miss the unique experience of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.
There are so many excellent museums in Philadelphia it’s hard to know where to start. If art is your passion a visit to The Barnes Foundation has to top your list. Housing an incredible collection of Renoir, Matisse, and Cezanne, fans of the impressionist and early modernist painters won’t be disappointed. Anyone looking for a bit different experience should spend some time at the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.
These ruins of the former prison will fascinate and stay with travelers long after they’ve moved on. Other must-see sights include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution, and the Rodin Museum.
Boston has museum options both on land and at sea. The USS Constitution Museum is a hands-on experience where visitors can help scrub the deck and fire a cannon. Another treasure in the Boston areas is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to see an impressive art collection and wander the flower-filled courtyard.
Other Boston stops should include the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Science.
The Baltimore museum circuit covers the bases, whether you are an art lover, baseball fan, or history buff. Check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum to see memorabilia and Ruth’s bat from his 1927 season.
Prepare to see some crazy artifacts at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Baltimore location. After that learn about trains at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. If art is more your thing both The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art can’t be missed.
1 San Francisco
There is so much to do and see in San Francisco it’s hard to narrow it down to a few museum selections. San Francisco has some really fun stops that are too interesting to miss. The Walt Disney Family Museum focuses on Walt Disney and how his company was created. The Exploratorium is another spot that visitors won’t want to miss.
A hands-on museum experience, the exhibits here are all about experimentation and play. Round out your day by stopping at the Museum of Ice Cream. The name alone is incentive enough for a visit to this museum.