Inspiration for the Beautiful: 15 Best US Museums

You don't need to fly somewhere to admire the most beautiful works of art. Art museums in the United States are ready to surprise you with world masterpieces - from interesting modern works to paintings and sculptures of the Old World. Time-out.

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There are many incredible art museums in the US, offering visitors from all over the world the opportunity to see amazing masterpieces. They present not only modern works, but also brilliant works that are thousands of years old.

In addition to the world-famous New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Art Gallery of the District of Columbia, there are many obscure museums among the cultural favorites of tourists. Take a look at The Broad in Los Angeles, which is one of the world's most Instagrammable museums with its brilliant Yayoi Kusama exhibit. Also popular is the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago, which is known for its collection of experimental works through traveling exhibitions, film screenings and performances.

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The works of iconic artists such as Monet, Matisse and Picasso can be found in these remarkable museums. It is important that the entrance to some of them is completely free. So, to inspire you on a journey filled with aesthetic pleasure, check out our selection of the 15 best art museums in America. Get ready to be surprised.

1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) | New York, New York

Midtown West

Founded by three women in the 1920s, Museum Contemporary Art along with MoMA PS1 in Queens attracts millions of visitors each year. It displays impressive works of art from the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries. Its permanent collection includes six curatorial departments: architecture and design, drawings and prints, film and photography, media and performance, painting and sculpture.

Among the many brilliant works are Picasso's Maidens of Avignon, Van Gogh's Starry Night, Dali's The Persistence of Memory, as well as masterpieces by Giacometti, Hopper, Matisse, Monet, O'Keeffe, Pollock, Rothko, Warhol and other celebrities. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, designed by Philip Johnson and dated 1939, contains works by Calder, Rodin, and Moore. Don't miss the Michelin-starred The Modern restaurant overlooking the garden.

You can book tickets here.

2. Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York, New York

Central Park

It's huge institution, consisting of 17 curated collections and more than 2 million items. It not only houses treasures such as the Egyptian temple from 10 BC. e., but is in a state of constant self-improvement. A $2025 million renovation of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing is due to be completed by 70, with collections focusing on sub-Saharan African art, as well as Oceania and ancient America.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has European galleries. There are well-known works by European artists of the XNUMXth and early XNUMXth centuries, in particular collections of works by Monet (including his famous "Irises") and Van Gogh. Don't miss The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where you can explore the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe, as well as enjoy contemporary art from artists such as Kara Walker, Louise Nevelson and Helen Frankenthaler.

You can book tickets here.

3. Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, Illinois

Grant park

You can spend the next four years getting to know this comprehensive institution, which houses about 300 works of art and artifacts from around the world from different eras. Among the favorite works are Japanese prints, drawings and furniture by Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as Thorne miniature rooms. Meanwhile, the light-filled contemporary wing is the perfect place to enjoy architecture and design collections, contemporary art and, to top it all off, magnificent views of Millennium Park.

Several of the world's most famous paintings are housed in this museum, including Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles, Grant Wood's American Gothic, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, and Ferris Bueller's favorite, Georges Seurat's massive pointillist masterpiece Sunday Afternoon on island of Grande Jatte.

You can book tickets here.

4. National Art Gallery | Washington

National Mall

Pittsburgh investment banker and industrialist Andrew Mellon donated the neoclassical West Building of the National galleries in 1941. His son Paul commissioned the East Building, designed by I. M. Pei, which opened in 1978. American and European art from the XNUMXth to the early XNUMXth century, including Leonardo da Vinci's Portrait of Ginevra de Benci, Botticelli's Adoration of the Magi, and Jan van Eyck's Annunciation.

The Sculpture Galleries contain the world's largest collection of wax and mixed sculptures by Edgar Degas. An underground vestibule connects the two buildings with a moving walkway through the Multiverse, a stellar installation by American artist Leo Villarreal. After three years of construction, the East Building reopened in the summer of 2022 and boasts two impressive towers, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden on a terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue.

You can book tickets here.

5. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) | Los Angeles, California

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LACMA is a multi-day story given the size and scope of the collection presented here. From Chris Bourden's iconic City Light entrance installation of 202 cast-iron street lights collected from across Los Angeles to the Pavilion of Japanese Art, a day at LACMA can include works spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. Among the main works are "Portrait of Frida Kahlo" by Diego Rivera, "Magdalene with a Smoking Candle" by the XNUMXth century artist Georges de Latour and "Coat of Arms" by Henri Matisse.

Exhibitions at the Renzo Piano-designed Resnick Pavilion included retrospectives by artists such as Alexander Calder, James Turrell and Tim Burton.

You can book tickets here.

6. Whitney Museum of American Art | New York, New York

Meatpacking District

Another artistic museumfounded by a woman. Whitney started it as a studio in Greenwich Village. The museum went through several different locations before finding its current location in the Meatpacking District at the foot of the High Line.

Officially founded in 1930 by sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the institution houses over 25 works by some 000 artists including Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg. However, the museum's reputation rested primarily on its temporary exhibitions, especially the prestigious and controversial Whitney Biennale.

The current nine-story steel and glass building was designed by Renzo Piano with space for a comprehensive display of the collection, including iconic works such as Alexander Calder's Circus and Jasper Johns' Three Flags. The dramatic asymmetrical structure features a series of outdoor terraces: on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors, you can admire stunning views of the Hudson River and the city, while admiring outdoor sculptures and installations.

7. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden | Washington

Impressive, aggressively modern cylindrical building Smithsonian Institution, was built by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 1974 to house the collection of XNUMXth-century paintings and sculptures by Wall Street millionaire Joseph Hirshhorn.

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Today, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden showcases all forms of art, including papercraft, as well as painting, installation, photography, sculpture, digital art, and video art. The galleries on the third level house the permanent collection, which includes one of the largest public collections of works by Thomas Eakins in the world. There is even a sizable Giacometti collection and a couple of rare Willem de Kooning door paintings.

The sculpture garden presents works by Rodin, Matisse, Koons, Calder and others. It is located on the side of the gallery overlooking the National Mall via Jefferson Drive.

8. Getty Center | Los Angeles, California


Architect Richard Meyer started designing museum in 1984, but it took 13 years, a few extra designers (to work on interiors and landscaping) and $1 billion. The result is a wonderful complex of pavilions made of travertine and white metal. The highlight of the Getty are the colorful, quiet gardens. The lobby is, among other things, a show-stopper, an airy and bright rotunda that opens onto a courtyard with a fountain. It is surrounded by six pavilions that house the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

You will see creations of medieval art, as well as furnished rooms in the style of French decorative arts and modern works. Fun bonus: the visit starts with a light rail ride from the parking lot.

You can book tickets here.

9. Philadelphia Museum of Art | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ben Franklin Parkway - Kelly Drive

Art museum Philadelphia is one of the largest in the US. Its 200 galleries contain about 240 exhibits from the 000st century AD to the present day. His extensive holdings include notable collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, particularly American furniture and silverware from the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, as well as Pennsylvania German art.

The museum houses, among other things, the most important works of the American realist painter Thomas Eakins. What made it a mecca for generations of artists is Louise and Walter Arensberg's collection of modernist masterpieces, including Marcel Duchamp's "Large Glass", which the couple donated to the museum in 1950. It is worth noting that for the price of the entrance ticket, you also get into the Rodin Museum, which is operated by the Philadelphia Museum.

You can book tickets here.

10. Cleveland Museum of Art | Cleveland, Ohio

Art museum Cleveland is a longtime Mecca of art. It has over 45 items in its collections, covering 000 years of art creation in 6 departments. This is one of the richest and most visited art museums in the United States. The entrance is free. Known for its extensive Asian and Egyptian exhibits, it is famous for medieval art and boasts a growing collection of post-war masterpieces. The north wing was designed by mid-century modernist Marcel Breuer, while an extension designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vignoli doubled the museum's footprint.

The countless treasures on display here range from uhunmwunelao from Nigeria in the mid-1500s and early 1600s to paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe.

11. Museum of Fine Arts | Boston, Massachusetts


Collection Museum fine arts, covering the whole world, has about 500 items. The American art collection is impressive and includes the Sons of Liberty Bowl silver bowl by Paul Revere and paintings by John Singleton Copley. The Egyptian collection, most of which was excavated jointly with Harvard University in the first half of the 000th century, is also fantastic. In addition, the exceptional collection of Japanese art is the largest collection of such works outside of Japan. Impressionist as well as Post-Impressionist paintings are on display here, including one of the largest collections of Monet's work in the United States. In addition, there are seven galleries dedicated to Dutch and Flemish art.

Best recommendation? Stroll through the contemplative space of Japan's Tenshin-en, the "Heaven's Heart Garden".

You can book tickets here.

12 Menil Collection | Houston, Texas

Menil Collection, located on campus in one of the earliest and most serene museum buildings of Renzo Piano, presents a private collection assembled by John and Dominique de Menil. The museum's holdings comprise some 17 items ranging from Byzantine icons to surrealist paintings, all of which reflect a deep belief in the spiritual or transformative power of art. Thus, the Duchamp, Warhol and Twombly galleries are accompanied by such permanent exhibits as Witnesses to the Surrealist Vision, displays of anthropological objects and other curiosities that fascinated and inspired the Surrealists.

In addition, the campus houses the interfaith Rothko Chapel, which houses a set of 14 paintings by the Latvian-American artist Mark Rothko, as well as the Drawing Institute, which promotes the study of contemporary drawing.

13. Museum of Modern Art | Chicago, Illinois


In this Museum  one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the country is located, as well as major touring exhibitions, film screenings and performances by artists. The museum opened in 1967 as an art gallery, a non-collectible art gallery focused on new and experimental works and educational programs. This includes dance, theater and music on the museum stage, at the Edlis Neeson Theater or in the garden at Ann and John Kern Terrace, as well as community gatherings, installations and artist projects at The Commons.

When you need a break from the sprawling network of galleries, get some air in the picturesque sculpture garden, but don't forget to exit through the gift shop - the museum boasts one of Chicago's finest array of quirky trinkets.

14. Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery | Washington

At the Smithsonian the museum American Art Museum, the nation's largest and most inclusive museum dedicated to American art, features works from the colonial period to the present day. The core collection features the work of over 7000 artists, including famed portrait painter John Singer Sargent, artist Mary Cassatt, multimedia innovator Nam June Paik, and lesser-known artists. The vast collection of classics and unusual museum items (such as video games and VR apps) in the museum can be interpreted as a reflection of contemporary America.

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A separate SAAM Renwick Gallery, known as the "American Louvre", now features crafts and arts and crafts created over the past two centuries. Its 1858 building was the first in the United States to be organized as a public art museum.

15. The Broad| Los Angeles, California


Founded on the principle of making contemporary art more accessible to the public, The Broad offers free general admission to view its permanent art collection, which includes 2000 works by over 200 artists, including Karu Walker, Cindy Sherman, and Takashi Murakami. The building itself, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, is distinguished by its "veil and vault" concept. The curtain, designed by architect Liz Diller, is a honeycomb structure that provides filtered daylight to the galleries and wraps around the vault that houses The Broad exhibits.

Instead of hiding exhibits like most museums do, The Broad has viewing windows in the vault so visitors can look right inside. Of course, given all the iconic exhibits, including several works by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

You can book tickets here.

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