Most Visited Museums in the US: 5 of the Best Museums in the US

Most Visited Museums in the US

There is no better place for a history lover to know about history, rather than museum halls. It is never time-wasting to study the history of mankind, the planets, and its creatures. History has a lot of secrets, inventions, artistic, cultural, and scientific importance. Being an individual of the 21st century, it is required to know about the history and take better education from such museum halls. US has some of the most visited museums that we are going to discuss.

About Museum

Museum came from the Greek word ‘Mouseion’ which is used for a place that is dedicated to ‘Muses’. The museum is a Latin word also called ‘musea’ in plural form. The main purpose of the museum is to collect such items that are culturally, historically, and scientifically important and also have a display of arts.

Besides the national register of historic places, museums are the places that also preserve history with varying aims to help people know about the history and also have education and research purposes. Mostly, the important museums are located in the big cities of a country and thousands of locals in smaller cities. 

Types of Museums

Furthermore, museums are of different types like science museums that is about science-related materials; inventions, tools, etc. Art museums, as the name indicates art-related materials prints, photographs, sculptures, etc.

Similarly, natural history museums are about the history of the planet. War museums, where war weapons and tools are placed that were used in the past. children’s museums, where the main focus is on education as an instruction. Moreover, such museums also help in increasing the economic health of the country.

Top Museums in the US

Looking for the largest museums in the world, the US has the upper hand by having 4 in the top 20 of the world. Following this, I have taken most visited and largest museums in the US and categorized them based on the area they covered the most. You can add them to your travelling destinations bucket.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) - Most Visited Museums in the US

Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)

Established: April 13, 1870

Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York City

Size: 633,100 sq. feet

Total Works: 2 million

Visitors: 1,124,759 (2020)


Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) was founded on April 13, 1870, and is located on the two iconic sites; The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloister, New York. It has covered 633,100 sq. feet of area. The Met has around 5000 years of old art from all over the world that became alive every day since its inception, through exhibitions and events in the museum’s galleries. The collection of arts and studies; preserve and present significant works of art and culture of all time to connect people and develop creative ideas which is the foremost mission of the Met.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Store 

Met has a variety of collections and conservations. They have collected almost all types of art from east to west including Ancient American Art, Asian Art, Egyptian Art, Greek and Roman Art, Islamic Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Oceanic Art.

Similarly, they also have The Costume Institute where 33,000 costumes and other accessories represent seven centuries of fashion of five continents. Drawings and Prints of 670 works were gifted by Cornelius Vanderbilt, in 1880 who was a museum trustee. Moreover, the museum has a conserved variety of materials regarding scientific research, photographs, textiles, and papers.


Katie James Watkinson is a contributing writer at Conde Nast Traveler, she said that Met has till to date maintained their cultural epicenter and still looking forward to bring more improvement to their collection. The Gothic-style building and its location is such a mesmerizing sight that is worth watching. The Met has a collection from children to seniors with a variety of materials from European masters to Greek and Roman sculpture.

People Also Asks

  • How much Met tickets cost?

Once you have bought an admission ticket, you don’t need to buy it for the next time because it’s unlimited free. The admission ticket policy is $12 for students, $25 for adults, and $17 for seniors (65+). Moreover, it is free for members, children under 12, and patrons. You can also book tickets online in advance.

  • Is photography prohibited?

Visitors are not allowed to use a pen, selfie sticks, and video cameras in the galleries. But you can take a picture without flash and tripod for non-commercial use.

Art Institute of Chicago - Most Visited Museums in the US

Art Institute of Chicago

Established: 1879

Location: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Size: 280,000 sq. feet

Total Works: 300,000

Visitors: 1.79 m (2016)


In 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago was both a museum and a school for fine arts. It was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. In 1893, the Art Institute’s trustees called for the new building located on the park site. The new building, they called for, was the site of the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. It was the site where Hindu Monk Swami Vivekananda gave his famous speech “Sisters and brothers of America”.

Finally, the Institute was officially opened on December 9, 1893. In the 1950s, changes were made in the interior for accommodating new departments. With time, in the 1970s, the number of students and visitors was increasing and started expanding eastern side including; classrooms, studios, and public spaces. In the 20th century, the Art Institute made the largest expansion and its overall size reached 280,000 sq. feet.

Chicago Institute of Art Store

After the expansion, it allows space for the representation of more collections. As the name indicates, the Art Institute is purely composed of the art of centuries of different continents. In 2010, it became the new home for Native American and African Art with rich diversity.

The year 2012 brought Roman, Greek, and Byzantine Art. In the following year, 44 amazing sculptures, paintings, and photographs became its part. In 2017, medieval and Renaissance Art, Armor, Arm and 700 different objects were added to the galleries of the institute. Recently, artists from India, Japan, Brazil, Korea, and many other countries showcase their work that adds richness to the institute.


Beth M is a contributor to Trip Advisor, in his review he talked that it is such an art institute that will never disappoint you. It offers a huge collection on every visit. Moreover, he said that you cannot walk around the whole museum in a single day. so you have to come for another day for your tour completion.

People Also Asks

  • Do the Institute have any ticket price?

The institute is free for children (14-17) who are residents of the City of Chicago by providing valid information. While out-of-state residency costs Adults $25, seniors $19, University/College $19, Teen $19, and children (13 and under) are free.

  • What is the required GPA to get admission?

The Art Institute of Chicago requires a 3.51 GPA to enroll you in the institution.

National Gallery of Art

Established: 1937

Location: Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Size: 271,000 sq. feet

Total Works: 75,000

Visitors: 730,408 (2020)


The National Gallery of Art is the national art museum in Washington DC located at Constitutional Avenue NW. It was established in 1937 by a joint resolution of Congress and partly funded by Andrew W. Mellon for the people of America. It is one of the greatest museums in the United States of America. Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh banker, and Treasury Secretary began gathering privately old paintings and sculptures even during WW1 till 1932.

In the 1920s, Andrew W. Mellon planned to establish a national gallery for the people of the United States. It was also supported by the private-public partnership. The federal government of the US provided funds for the maintenance and the operational work. All artwork was provided through private funds and donations. The only museums that have no fee and have attracted around 730,408 visitors in 2020.

National Gallery of Art Store

The National Art Gallery is a gift to the people of the United States. It serves the people with education, art, and culture. This gallery has a collection of over 150,000 photographs, paintings, sculptures, prints, history of western art, and decorative art. It is the host to the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in America and Alexander Calder, the largest mobile.

The National Gallery, London house is the hub of greatest paintings in the world and entry is free as these belong to the public. The gallery collection contains more than 2,300 famous works. The National Art gallery contains collections of paintings from the 13th century to the early 20th century that include Renaissance Italy and French Impressionists. Moreover, the gallery is constantly expanding its collection with the help of gifts from people and through purchasing.


Amy Mckeever is contributing writer to Conde Nast Traveler, she said that the National Gallery of Art is a warming and precious gift to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon. The museum has outstanding sculptures, paintings, prints, and many more of mainly American and European Art. It is the best place for traditional lovers. Moreover, this museum will prove fruitful for history lovers, as here is the whole European history from the 13th century to the early 20th century.

People Also Asks

  • Does the National Gallery have free admission?

The entry to the gallery is free but you will buy a ticket for some major exhibitions. If you join them as a supporter, you can also have your free entry to those places.

  • Does the National Gallery belong to Smithsonian?

The National Gallery of Art is a public-private partnership and the United States federal government provides the funds. So, it is not part of the Smithsonian Institute.

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA)

Established: 1999

Location: North Adams, Massachusetts

Size: 249,990 sq. feet

Visitors: 150,000


Mass MoCA is a museum that is located in North Adams. In the United States, it is the largest center of performing and contemporary visual art. In 1860, the Arnold brothers set up their company for printing cloth. They began their journey largely with the aid of the government at the time of the civil war. They were supplying cloth to the Union Army.

But unfortunately, their economic power went down. Later in 1986, the staff of Williams College Museum of Art was in search of a large factory building to exhibit their modern and contemporary works and they found MASS MoCA perfect for it. The transfer of the mill to the museum started. Later, supported by the government through a public/private coalition. Finally, in 1999 MASS MoCA as a museum started its journey.


MASS MoCA has a variety of items for the public in their galleries. They have both indoor and outdoor art venues. These galleries welcome all types of arts; sculpture, film, music, photography, painting, and boundary-cross works. Moreover, they exhibit the visual arts of emerging artists with an eye-catching installation that is usually impossible in conventional museums.

Besides, performing arts is their main focus. MASS MoCA presents more than 75 performances over a year. Even about 50% of their staffing faculty is devoted more to performance art. Furthermore, there is a wide range of learning opportunities from their educational programs for teachers, families, students, and adults by arranging different types of events and activities; artist Q&As, docent-guided tours, art camps, kid space, and after-school programs.


Vadim R is a member of Trip Advisor, he said that MASS MoCA has a variety of arts that you never thought of. It is one of the best museums in the United States and has no rules of where to start. All of the buildings are in series and you can see items with a specific pattern. Furthermore, he remarked that covering the whole museum in a day is doing injustice. You have to come the next day to have a proper look at everything.

People Also Asks

  • How much Mass MoCA costs for a ticket?

The Mass MoCA opens every day from 10 am-6 pm. It cost $20 for Adults, $18 Seniors, $12 Students, and $8 kids (6-16).

  • How long are MASS MoCA exhibitions?

Mass MoCA has both short and long-term exhibitions. They range from one week to one year, where different artists from all over the world come and take part in creative practices.

National WWII Museum – New Orleans

National WWII Museum – New Orleans

Established: June 6, 2000

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Size: 32,000 square feet

Visitors: 706,664

A visit to the National WWII Museum New Orleans is like traveling back in time. The extensive six-acre museum with exhibits that change every four months, starts at home base—an honest-to-goodness World War II era train car. As your ticket takes you through the latest Campaigns of Courage exhibit, it’s set during D-Day and has detailed information about the road to Berlin and Tokyo. You’ll come face (ouch!) with a real Sherman tank or a Ju 88 bomber hanging from the ceiling.

An Army truck will take you on a simulated patrol while headsets share stories from veterans who took part in these dramatic events––imagine being able to hear hands clapping when they reached Omaha Beach. Besides, the National WWII Museum also offer fun and educational programs with annually national WWII museum essay contest. Moreover, the WWII museum store is full of antique and historic items that were being used in past during wars.

People Also Asks

  • Is the National World War II Museum legit?

No, the museum is a non-profit private institution. They have received funds from private, federal and state institutions to build the road to glory.

  • How much does it cost to visit the World War II Museum in New Orleans?

The cost of visiting the museum is different for different age of people. It is $18 for students and military with IDs and visitors with disability, $29.50 for adults and senior (65+), and free for WWII Veterans and members.


79jenniek shared their though on TripAdvisor that it is a place that worth whole day visit. You can cover it in hour. He added, visiting here will give you precious information about the past and all about WWII. Visiting there is highly recommended.

Final Thoughts

The above-mentioned are the largest museums in the United States. These are categorized on the basis of the area they have captured. All of the mentioned museums are the best of all. Each has its quality and has its importance. But one thing I have noted is that 3 out of 5 have paid tickets but the one that is The National Gallery of Art is free of cost and anyone can visit without paying. This generosity has attracted me the most.

Although, all of them have the best to show in their galleries for their visitors and with updated arts. To sum up, these museums are the main players to help revive the history and make people aware of ancient art, science, music and many other things that one will never get anywhere else.

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