The Best Art Museums in America

The Best Art Museums in America
Putting together a list of the best art museums in the US is no easy task. Much like compiling a 'top 10' of the greatest climbs or hikes, it's subjective, but a handful of great ones crop up time and time again.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

More than 1 million visitors walk through this art museum's 200-plus galleries, after jogging up its famous 'Rocky' steps, of course. For cyclists, the museum is conveniently located along a 25-mile city loop which takes in the best that the 'City of Brotherly Love' has to offer. The museum is comprised of several buildings, including the Rodin museum which houses the largest collection of works by the sculptor outside of France. Other highlights include an authentic Japanese tearoom and an extensive collection of Dadaist art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

If you're looking for another stop-off point on the Philadelphia 25-mile cycle loop, head out to the town of Merion in the Philadelphia suburbs to unlock a gem of a museum. Considered by many to be one of the most eccentric art museums in the world, The Barnes Foundation Museum comprises eclectic art collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Barnes' collection is considered one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern painting. Works of Cezanne, Modigliani, Mattisse and Picasso can be viewed in its galleries alongside important African sculptures.

The Barnes Foundation
300 North Latch's Lane
Merion, PA 19066-1729

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Whether you're enjoying the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay or planning a ramble down the National Mall, do consider the National Gallery of Art as a stop-off point. As the nation's official art gallery, it has a guaranteed spot on any list of the best art museums in the US. But, with entire galleries devoted to the great artists, such as Rembrandt and Manet, this museum is more than worthy of its spot. What's more, it's free.

National Gallery of Art
4th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20565

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY

The sprawling museum tops many art fans' list of the best museums in the world and really requires more than a day to do it justice. Curators of the museum's permanent collection look after 130,000 pieces of art, from Van Gogh's 'Cypresses' to Jackson Pollock's 'Autumn Rhythm.' The Costume Institute collection spans five continents and 700 years is popular with children, as is the collection of Medieval armor. And if you have the time available, do visit The Cloisters which are housed in Tryon Park, north Manhattan. Housing more than 5,000 medieval works of art--including 14th century medieval tapestries, this gallery's focal piece are its clositered gardens.

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198

Art Institute of Chicago Museum, Chicago, Ill.

Situated on the Chicago Loop, the Art Institute of Chicago boasts 300,000 pieces in its permanent collection, including a noteworthy collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Considered by many as one of the best art museums in the world, it's notable pieces include Claude Monet's 'Water Lilies,' Vincent Van Gogh's self portrait and Cezanne's 'The Bay of Marseilles.' Guarded by two large bronze lions, this 1 million square feet space has a rather unique characteristic: it straddles two open-air rail lines.

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, 60603-6404


J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

More than one million visitors annually visit the J. Paul Getty Museum, making it the best art museum on the West Coast. While the main site, the J. Paul Getty Center boasts an impressive collection of art spanning the middle ages to present, the J. Paul Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades hosts a number of important pieces of ancient art from Greece, Rome and Etruria.

1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049--1679

Article Written By Karen Cotton

Karen Cotton has been a writer for five years. Her features work has appeared in newspapers and magazines in both the United States and Europe, as well as appearing globally online. Cotton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with first-class honors in journalism from University College Falmouth.

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