Headed out of town or just trying to plan the ultimate stay-cation? If you're trying to add a little culture into your life, this list might just be what you've been looking for. TripAdvisor has released it's Travelers' Choice Awards for the top museums both in the United States and around the world.
To determine the winners, TripAdvisor looked at both the quantity and quality of museum reviews and created an algorithm to calculate which institutions came out on top. The travel website also completed a survey to determine museum preferences, and found that approximately half of their U.S. respondents plan a trip around a museum and 62 percent will travel just to see a temporary exhibit. With a wide variety of museums making TripAdvisor's Choice Awards, they found the most popular types to visit are history, art and science museums, respectively.
So whether you're looking for a family-friendly museum to check out with the kids or the perfect place to visit during a couple's getaway, this list has an option for you. With everything from historical art collections to glassblowing exhibitions to maritime museums, there's certainly something for all interests.
Top 10 Travelers' Choice Museums in the U.S.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, New York
The Met, as it's commonly called, is a New York City landmark in its own right. With everything from works by Old Masters and modern art to ancient Egyptian and Costume Institute collections, there's sure to be something for everyone. The 145-year-old museum is quite a mecca of art. With its stunning roof garden that offers views of Central Park, it's the ultimate destination for a day that's focused on the arts.
2. Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
A trip to the Windy City might not be complete without a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, which has an entire wing dedicated to modern and contemporary art. This section of the museum includes the works of big names like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. Visitors can also expect to see classic pieces like Grant Wood's "American Gothic" and Claude Monet's "Water Lilies." The convenient location next to Chicago's famous Millennium Park makes it a great destination for those looking to get the most out of their visit.
3. The National WWII Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana
American history buffs, this museum is for you! With interactive exhibits that include multimedia displays and oral histories along with historic artifacts, the National WWII Museum makes the American experience of the war come to life. The museum also features a 4-D film called "Beyond the Boundaries," which discusses the war from every aspect. Visitors of this museum are sure to leave with a comprehensive overview of the U.S.'s involvement in the global crisis.
4. The Getty Center – Los Angeles, California
With its travertine stone exterior and Richard Meier design, he Getty Center is truly picturesque. Located in the heart of Los Angeles in the Brentwood neighborhood of the city, the center includes gorgeous gardens that are filled with beautiful sculptures. The works of art legends like Van Gogh and Rembrandt line the walls of the Getty Center, making this museum a must-see stop in L.A.
5. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – Washington, D.C.
With so many museums in the nation's capital, it's often hard to decide which ones to visit. But if you're having a hard time choosing, consider putting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at the top of your list. The museum is most famously known for it's vast collection of air and spacecraft artifacts and photographs — in fact it has the most in the world. It provides an in-depth look into the history of aviation, spaceflight and planetary science.
6. National Gallery of Art – Washington, D.C.
Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is truly a world class museum. It includes highly curated collections of Western art from the Middles Ages to the present. The pieces were donated by some of the the top collectors around the world. One of the most notable features of the National Gallery is that it's home to the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the United States.
7. Frick Collection – New York, New York
Not far from the Met, the Frick Collection includes one of the most highly curated art exhibits, specifically focused on the works of European artists in the 1800s and earlier. It houses a mix of paintings, sculptures and antiquities. With a permanent collection that's on the smaller side compared to other museums, it's known for it's revolving door of temporary exhibits, which keep the museum fresh and exciting.
8. Chihuly Garden and Glass – Seattle, Washington
Chihuly Garden and Glass is rather new to the museum circuit, having opened in 2012. Since then, it's gained worldwide attention for it's incredible sculpture garden. The museum is named after Washington native Dale Chihuly, a famous glass blower, and thus it showcases his finest pieces of work in its multiple galleries and glasshouse. The museum's convenient location near Seattle's iconic Space Needle make it the perfect activity for visitors and locals alike.
9.USS Midway Museum – San Diego, California
Ahoy! The USS Midway Museum is one of the top maritime museums in the world. Visitors get to step onto the longest serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, where they learn about all aspects of life aboard a Navy vessel. It's known as a highly interactive and informative experience where visitors can learn about more than 60 different locations aboard.
10. American Museum of Natural History – New York, New York
Filled with everything from dinosaur fossils and Asian mammals to meteorites and Native American artifacts, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the entire world. The museum was founded back in 1867 and is housed on Manhattan's Upper West Side, just across from Central Park. With more than 45 exhibits, it's sure to have something for everyone in the family.
And if you're looking to cross international borders check out TripAdvisor's Top Travelers' Choice Museums in the entire world. The good news is two of the top museums are even in the U.S., so you don't have to bring your passport in tow to see them.
Top 10 Travelers’ Choice Museums in the World:
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, New York
2. Musee d'Orsay – Paris, France
3. Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
4. Museo Nacional del Prado – Madrid, Spain
5. Musee du Louvre – Paris, France
6. State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace – St. Petersburg, Russia
7. National Gallery – London, England
8. The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) – Amsterdam, Netherlands
9. Vasa Museum – Stockholm, Sweden