Skip to Content

18 Best Art Museums in USA to visit now

Looking for the best art museums in USA to marvel at collections of finest paintings, sculptures, modern art, architectural elements, mixed media collections, photography, and other graphic arts?

The United States has some of the world’s most distinguished must see art collections in its premier museums.

You will find everything from modern and contemporary art and Asian art to Greek and Roman antiquities and African American art in these best art museums in the USA.

Dotted Globe contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full Disclosure here. Thank you!

These collections of work are a must visit for those who love art, culture, and even architecture.

Discover some of the nation’s most famous art museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City and the National Gallery of Art of Washington in this epic list of best art museums in America.

Also Read:
Best Street Art in USA
20 Most Famous Bridges in USA
Famous landmarks on North America
Best skylines in USA to Visit Now

And once you have looked through the permanent collection of these museums, don’t forget to visit the outdoor sculpture gardens and art works.

Here are our favorite and the best art museums in USA.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Located in the city of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the best museums in USA.

Known as the Met, this is also the largest art museum in USA and is spread over several square feet.

Located on the Museum Mile near Central park, the Met is a must see attraction in New York.

The art museum is renowned for its sprawling collection of art dating from Prehistory to Modernism.

You can see art work from around the world including European art, American Art, Decorative arts, Asian art, modern and contemporary art, and more.

The museum holds one of the largest collection of Islamic Art including calligraphy, patterns, fabrics, jewelry, and ornaments.

On a visit, you can also see one of the largest collection of musical instruments from the world over.

Or see the master pieces by Van Gogh or admire the vintage photographs.

The variety at the Met is astonishing and you can easily understand why it is one of the best art museums in USA.

The museum is so large that it is impossible to see all the works of art in the Met in one visit!

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Another American museum that is worth a visit for art lovers is located in the city of Chicago.

This is one of the largest art museum in the world and is spread over 280,000 square feet.

It is famous for its impressionist and post impressionist collection of works, making it one of the best art museums in USA.

The Art Institute houses more than 300,000 pieces divided into different collections.

The must see famous paintings here include Grant Wood’s American Gothic, water lilies by Claude Monet, and Van Gogh’s Self Portrait.

You can also see contemporary masters such as Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.

The Art Institute also has one of the largest collection of Asian and Egyptian art in America.

The museum also holds intriguing temporary exhibitions and has an art lab for kids.

The architecture of this historic museum building is superb.

The European decorative arts galleries are located in the Modern Wing, which is equally striking. Here you will find the Thorne miniature rooms, a must see highlight of the museum.

The Art Institute of Chicago is located near popular attractions such as the Bean, Grant Fountain, and Millennium Park making to easy to see while in Chicago.

Museum of Modern Art, New York

As its name suggests, this museum in New York is dedicated exclusively to modern art.

The Museum of Modern Art is undoubtedly one of the best art museums in the United States.

Its modern and contemporary art collection includes pieces from all major artists of the 20th century.

The museum of modern art houses a variety of works of art such as paintings, sculptures, graphics, and photographs.

Some of the most famous paintings in the permanent collection include The Starry Night by Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso as well as works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Frida Kahlo.

The Museum of Modern Art is also popularly known as Moma and should be on your bucket list.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is a stopping point for New England visitors who are interested in culture.

This Boston art museum is a treasure house of fine arts and holds works from the Old Masters, Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists.

The museum’s permanent collection consists of nearly 450,000 pieces of art from many different eras up to the 20th century.

The museum’s collection also includes amazing pieces from history such as a 13th century Madonna in ivory that is intricately carved.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has everything- from sculptures, paintings to decorative art and American arts.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

The free museum is located on the National Mall and is a short distance from the White House, making it convenient to visit even for those who are not art enthusiasts.

The National Gallery of Art was built by John Russell Pope in 1941.

The West building is dedicated to old masters while the striking East building of the National gallery of Art is home to modern art and contemporary art.

The American art collection takes up about two thirds of the space. The museum collection also includes European Masterpieces, African sculptures and Native American Artworks.

The National Gallery of Art also has an adjoining Sculpture Garden.

In the Sculpture Garden, you will find stunning works of art, making this one of the top Instagram spots in Washington D.C.

Getty Center Art Museum, Los Angeles

Among art aficionados, The Getty Center is legendary and considered to be one of the best art museums in the United States.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles is enormously popular among visitors to the West Coast and attracts more than five million people each year.

This museum’s permanent collections include some of the most famous European art paintings, sculptures, drawings and decorative arts from the 15th century to the present day modern art.

The Museum also has some impressive temporary exhibitions, which showcase various periods in art history as well as various media including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photography.

As one of the most important museums in America, it possesses truly impressive works.

Along with its famous works of art, the museum is also renown for its architecture and stunning views of Los Angeles.

The museum gardens also has a large sculpture gallery.

The best time to visit the Getty Center is during one of its elegant outdoor concerts or classical music performances such as Sunset Chamber Music and Masterpiece Piano.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Los Angeles, California

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, popularly known as LACMA.

Located on the famous Museum Row in Los Angeles, LACMA has been bringing the best art to the people of Los Angeles since decades.

The museum is particularly famous for its vast collection of modern art and contemporary art.

The museum houses works of art that span across South America, Central America, Africa, Oceania, Europe and Asia.

One of the most fascinating features of this museum is its collection of Latin American and Asian art.

The museum’s impressive collection also includes amazing sculptures such as the Urban Light and Levitated Mass.

The museum also has a piece of the Berlin Wall – making it a must see attraction for history lovers.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the most popular art museums in the United States and attracts a large number of tourists each year.

No matter if you want to visit an art gallery, or are interested in taking part in an educational program offered at this museum, you will certainly not be disappointed with your visit here.

There is a wide range of galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and each one is impressive in its own way.

The extensive collection includes an extraordinary array of modern art, classic American art, European paintings and decorative arts.

At this museum you will also find a special collection that consists of some superb portraits, still life’s and landscape paintings of the 17th century.

The Museum has an extensive collection of American art that spans over a period of about 250 years starting with works from Colonial America to contemporary art.

Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York City

New York single handedly has half of the best art museums in the United States!

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum is located near the Met in New York and is a must visit while in New York.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum was created in 1937 and has a collection of both historic artworks and contemporary ones.

The museum is best known for the building that houses it, since this was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with an aim to be admired from inside, making you feel like you’re looking at a work of art.

In fact, Wright’s design is so interesting that the building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most striking museums in the world.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston holds one of the most impressive art collections in the United States.

This museum is home to more than 66,000 works of art and you could easily spend a day here without exhausting all that it has to offer.

The collection includes everything from European paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings to American paintings and decorative arts.

The Broad, Los Angeles

This art museum is dedicated to contemporary art and considered among the best art museums in USA.

It is a must see for those who love taking pictures for the ‘gram.

The Broad is one of a kind museum that has a collection of more than 2,000 pieces dedicated to contemporary art.

You’ll find the works of Warhol here, as well as some modern masterpieces by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons.

The museum’s architecture is also astonishing, making it a beautiful picture for both art lovers and photographers alike.

Inside the museum, along with striking contemporary art sculptures and paintings, you will find entire rooms dedicated to immersive art experiences.

The most popular of these is the Infinity Mirrors room by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

Another amazing museum on art on the West Coast!

This art museum in SF is a perfect place for those who love contemporary art and modern artistic techniques.

You will find works of art by artists such as Diego Rivera and Jackson Pollock in the museum collection.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art also has a large collection of photography.

It takes up an entire hall and showcases some of the most important artists in history.

You’ll also find here an incredible collection of 20th Century design in the art museum.

Smithsonian – National Museum of American Art, Washington DC

The Smithsonian National Museum of American Art receives over 3 million visitors per year!

The National Museum of Art is an institution with more than 130,000 pieces in its collection.

The art work is spread over all historic periods and a diverse range of art movements.

On a visit, you will be exposed to the greatest masterpieces of American art history. The collection of American art

The museum is one of the best when it comes to African American art.

The museum’s collection has over 2000 works by African American artists.

Also, if you are already in Washington D.C., this is a great way to pass the time between visiting other near by museums or tourist attractions like the White House or Capitol Hill.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Another must see museum in New York!

The Whitney Museum is focused on American Art from the 20th and 21st century.

You will find videos, films, and new age media works in its extensive collection.

We definitely recommend it for its collection of American artists.

The most famous of the temporary exhibitions is the Whitney Biennial which gives platform to upcoming artists.

This museum of art is one of the most underrated museums in this list.

Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco

The Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum is a historic and impressive structure with amazing views.

The art museum building is modeled after the original Legion of Honor Palace in Paris.

It was originally built for the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 held in San Francisco.

This art museum was originally built to house pieces in the personal collection of a French nobleman.

Today, the museum is a part of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

The Legion of Honor Museum is known for its outstanding collection of European Decorative Arts and Ancient Arts.

The Hall of Antiquities at the museum houses staggering works of art from ancient Greece and Rome, Byzantine period, and the Near East.

This is one of the best art museums in the United States.

It has an extensive collection of figurines, jewelry, sculptures, and wood carvings.

The building and the concept behind it are both enchanting and intriguing. The grand hall, in particular, is an architectural marvel.

Brooklyn Museum, New York

Just a few minutes outside of downtown Manhattan in New York, you will find the Brooklyn Museum.

It was founded in 1895, way before some of the other art museums on this list existed!

The museum has everyone represented from Monet and Renoir to artists from Iran and Easter Island!

You can see Van Gogh’s Cypresses or a replica of Statue of Liberty in New York!

The art museum has an amazing Egyptian antiquities hall, art from the Pacific Islands, Japanese art, Islamic art, and more.

While most visitors to New York skip this museum of art for the Met or Moma, we recommend a visit to this gem in the big Apple for art lovers.

Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Detroit

The Detroit Institute of Arts, in Michigan, has been serving art lovers and artists since it opened its doors.

It has a breath-taking collection of over 66,000 pieces that showcase American, European, African, Asian and Pre-Columbian works.

Some of the great masterpieces from the 19th Century are housed here.

The museum has a whole wing dedicated to ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures!

Its European Decorative Arts department is quite impressive too- with a great selection of furniture and ceramics.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland

Another American museum that is worth a visit for art lovers is the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The museum is best known for its collection of American art from the 20th century.

It also has excellent European works from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The permanent collection has over 40,000 works of art from around the world in it.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is truly a behemoth and a place that can keep art enthusiasts busy for days.

In addition to the museums mentioned above, there are many more art museums in America.

These best art museums in USA house a stunning collection from present day artists to old masters.

They make excellent attractions for cultural travelers from all over the world.

These museums help art lovers appreciate work of the best artists from all around the planet as well as explore the world’s culture and history through different art pieces!

Don’t hesitate to visit these outstanding art museums in the United States on a trip!

15 Cities with the best skylines in the USA
← Read Last Post
Stunning Fall in the Great Smoky Mountains: Best Things to do + Travel Tips
Read Next Post →