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12 USA Cities to Visit for Museum Lovers

By Sandra Roussy August 08, 2023 Travel

Are you a museum enthusiast like me? As a fervent museum aficionado, I love to explore the vibrant tapestry of museums; from exquisite art galleries to awe-inspiring science centers, captivating historical institutions, and enlightening cultural showcases.

  1. New York City, New York – The museum scene in New York City is diverse and world-renowned, featuring a vast array of museums ranging from art to science, history, and culture.
  2. Washington, D.C. – The museums in Washington are unparalleled, with an abundance of world-class establishments dedicated to art, science, history, and culture, many of which are free to the public.
  3. Chicago, Illinois – The museum scene in Chicago is diverse and impressive, featuring a range of world-class institutions dedicated to art, science, history, and culture, with notable highlights including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.
  4. Los Angeles, California – The museum scene in Los Angeles is vibrant and eclectic, with a mix of institutions dedicated to art, science, history, and culture, showcasing a diverse range of collections and exhibitions.
  5. Boston, Massachusetts – The museum scene in Boston is rich in history and culture, featuring world-class institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts.
  6. San Francisco, California – The museums in San Francisco are diverse and dynamic, with a range of institutions dedicated to art, science, and culture, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Exploratorium.
  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The museum scene in Philadelphia is impressive, featuring world-renowned institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute, along with a range of other museums dedicated to science, history, and culture.
  8. Houston, Texas – The museum scene in Houston is diverse and impressive, with a range of institutions dedicated to art, science, history, and culture, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museum of Natural Science.
  9. Atlanta, Georgia – The museums in Atlanta are rich and varied, featuring a mix of establishments dedicated to art, history, and culture, including the High Museum of Art and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.
  10. St. Louis, Missouri – The museum scene in St. Louis is impressive and varied, featuring institutions such as the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum, among others.
  11. Cleveland, Ohio – The museums in Cleveland are diverse and impressive, featuring world-class institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among others.
  12. Seattle, Washington – The museum scene in Seattle is vibrant and diverse, featuring institutions such as the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Pop Culture, among others.

What Makes a City Worth Visiting for Its Museums

There are several factors that can make a city worth visiting for its museums. Here are some key considerations.

Quantity and Quality of Museums

The number and quality of museums in a city are important factors to consider. Some cities, such as New York City and Washington, D.C., have an incredibly high concentration of museums, many of which are world-renowned. Other cities may have fewer museums, but they may still have some top-tier institutions with exceptional collections and exhibits.

Diversity of Museums

A city that offers a diverse range of museums is more likely to appeal to a wider audience. For example, a city with a mix of art museums, science museums, history museums, and cultural museums will offer something for everyone.


The accessibility of museums is also an important consideration. Cities with well-established tourist infrastructures and easy to access museums are great places to go.

Types of Museums

There are many different types of museums, each with its own focus and purpose. Here are some of the most common types of museums.

Art Museum

An art museum is a museum that specializes in the collection, preservation, and exhibition of works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and other visual arts.

History Museum

A history museum is a museum that focuses on the history of a particular region, culture, or time period, and typically exhibits artifacts and objects related to that history.

Science Museum

A science museum is a museum that focuses on the natural sciences, including biology, physics, chemistry, and other related fields. These museums often have interactive exhibits that allow visitors to explore scientific concepts and ideas.

Cultural Museum

A cultural museum is a museum that focuses on the history, art, and traditions of a particular culture or group of people, often including exhibits of artifacts, art, and other objects related to that culture.

Technology Museum

A technology museum is a museum that focuses on the history and development of technology, including exhibits of machinery, computers, and other devices.

Natural History Museum

A natural history museum is a museum that focuses on the study of natural history, including exhibits of fossils, rocks, minerals, and other natural objects.

Archaeological Museum

An archaeological museum is a museum that focuses on the study of human history and prehistory, including exhibits of artifacts and objects from ancient civilizations.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of museums that exist. Each type of museum serves a different purpose and offers a unique perspective on the world.

Best USA Cities to Visit if You Love Museums

The United States has an abundance of world-class museums, showcasing a diverse range of art, history, and culture. Here are some of the best cities to visit if you love museums.

New York City

New York, NY: A diverse crowd on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, walking up and down and taking photos.

With over 80 museums, New York City is a treasure trove of museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C., USA – July 2, 2019: These are exterior views of the National Museum of African American History and Culture…one of the newest additions to Smithsonian collection of public museums run by the Federal Government. The museum focuses on the culture, history, and America’s journey through slavery to civil rights.

The capital city of the United States is home to some of the world’s most famous museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, which consists of 17 museums, galleries, and the National Zoo. The Smithsonian museums include the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois, USA – March 28, 2022: The Art Institute of Chicago is seen in Illinois, USA. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the world.

Chicago is home to some of the best art museums in the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, which has an extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, as well as contemporary art. The Museum of Science and Industry is also a must-visit for science enthusiasts.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, United States – August 3, 2013: The entrance to Getty Center with sculptures on the steps. Vistiors are seen at the entrance. Getty Museum Hosts Vast Collection Of Art And Antiquities

The Getty Center in Los Angeles is a museum and research center that showcases art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Other notable museums in Los Angeles include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and the California Science Center.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Tea Party Museum next to the pier in the Fort Point neighborhood and next to the Congress Street Bridge. The traditional architecture of this museum contrasts with the modern buildings that surround it. The Boston Tea Party was the most important event leading up to the American Revolution. On December 16, 1773, American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “unrepresented taxes,” dumped 342 boxes of tea, imported by the British East India Company, into port. It was the first act of defiance of the British crown.

Boston is a city steeped in history, and its museums reflect this. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has an extensive collection of American and European art, while the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and the Paul Revere House offer a glimpse into the city’s revolutionary past.

San Francisco, California

de young,Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco,California,usa.

San Francisco is home to the de Young Museum, which houses American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, as well as the Asian Art Museum, which has one of the most extensive collections of Asian art in the world. The Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception, is also a must-visit for science enthusiasts.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is home to the Independence National Historical Park, which includes Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were both signed. Other notable museums in Philadelphia include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute.

Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas, United States of America – December 27, 2016. Exterior view of Contemporary Arts Museum buidling in Houston, TX.

Houston is home to the Museum of Fine Arts, which has an extensive collection of art from around the world, as well as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which features exhibits on space, paleontology, and more. The Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts Houston are also popular museums to visit.

Atlanta, Georgia

“High Museum of art during the spring in Atlanta, GA.”

The city of Atlanta is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, which includes King’s childhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was a pastor. Other notable museums in Atlanta include the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola Museum.

St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch, or Gateway to the West, was completed in 1965 to commemorate a number of historical events but in particular the Louisiana Purchase and westward expansion across/along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The site is near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The arch itself is built in the shape of a ‘catenary’, that is the shape a chain makes when hanging with its own weight.

St. Louis is home to the Gateway Arch, which is a symbol of the city and a national monument. The city is also home to the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation which is a contemporary art museum that features rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary art from around the world.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio, USA – June 19, 2018: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, recognizes and archives the history of the influence on and development of rock and roll.

Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which showcases the history and cultural impact of rock and roll music. Other notable museums in Cleveland include the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington, USA – December 3, 2020: The Museum of Pop Culture building in Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Seattle is host to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), which celebrates popular culture, music, and science fiction. Other notable museums in Seattle include the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), the Museum of Flight, and the Pacific Science Center.

These are just a few of the many cities in the United States that are perfect for museum lovers. Each of these cities has a unique cultural identity and offers a wealth of experiences for visitors.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What type of museums are your favorite? Have you been to any of these museums? Which museums are on your bucket list? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website:

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