Best Art Museums in the US 2024 – 10 Must-Visit Establishments

The United States is home to some of the best art collections in the world, and they feature countless works from the artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Willem de Kooning, and many more. In today’s article, we will talk about some of the best art museums in the US and their locations.

You can find some of the most sophisticated art museums stateside that house the works of the world-renowned artists from different eras. There are so many you can visit, so we did a bit of research and came up with a list of some of the most famous museum names in the United States we would like to share with you. There is a lot of ground to cover, so without further delay, let us get into it.

1. Museum of Modern Art – New York City, New York

best art museums in the us new york museum of modern art

After a long renovation, the Museum of Modern Art reopened in 2004 with nearly double the space that it previously had. This extra space was utilized to the highest level as it is used to display some of the finest artworks from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

There are also rumors that this museum will be expanded by a whopping 50.000 square feet for gallery space, which will add even more to this exceptional museum. The museum’s permanent collection contains seven departments, including architecture and design, drawings and prints, film, media and performance, painting and sculpture, and photography.

There are numerous highlight items you can see here, such as Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. You can also see various masterpieces by Giacometti, Hopper, Matisse, and many more.

2. Museum of Fine Arts Boston – Boston, Massachusetts

museum of fine arts boston best art museums in the us

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the largest museums in the United States, and it boasts over 450.000 works of art you can enjoy. Some of the museum’s finest collections are American Art, Egyptian Art, and an ongoing #techstyle exhibit that is quite unique and interesting since it includes fashion in the age of sci-fi technology.

The museum also boasts America’s most extensive collection of Japanese art and poetry outside Japan. If you are a fan of music, there is also something for you as well, since there is a gallery of 1.100 musical instruments from Medieval times to now.

When visiting this fine museum, make sure to check out John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Paul Revere. There are also other pieces, such as Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington and works by Gauguin, Cezanne, and Monet, which you should definitely take a look at.

3. Phoenix Art Museum – Phoenix, Arizona

phoenix art museum best art museums in the us

The Phoenix Art Museum is a must-see location for all art lovers out there. It boasts three floors packed with masterpieces and breathtaking regional art you will not get a chance to see anywhere else in the world.

It houses over 20.000 objects that make it the Southwest’s largest art museum. The permanent collections residing in this establishment are diverse and very rich, and you can see everything from American and Western art to Latin American, Asian and European masterpieces.

You can also enjoy exhibits of fashion design and modern art and photography that make this museum a very vibrant place for people of various artistic interests. Some of the highlights of this museum are masterpieces from Monet and Delacroix, along with paintings that distinctly portray Native Americans and Southwestern landscapes.

4. The Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

the art institute of chicago best art museums in the us

This comprehensive institution owns nearly 300.000 artworks and artifacts from various eras connected to locations all over the world. Some of the visitors’ favorite pieces include the Japanese prints, blueprints and furniture by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Thorne Miniature Rooms.

The light-filled Modern Wing is also very impressive and a perfect place to enjoy the architecture and design collections, modern art, and a wonderful view of Millenium Park. Some of the most famous paintings in this museum include Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and many more.

5. Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Los Angeles, California

los angeles county museum of arts best art museums in the us

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a museum that certainly requires several days to experience fully due to the size and scope of its collection. You can find various iconic works in this museum, from the Chris Burden’s entrance installation, Urban Light, to the Pavilion for Japanese Art, which is currently closed due to repairs.

Highlights in the collection include Diego Rivera’s portrait of Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse’s La Gerbe, and many more. Exhibitions at the Renzo Piano-designed Resnick Pavilion include retrospectives by artists like Alexander Calder, James Turrell, and Tim Burton. The museum is a true cultural and artistic shrine, well worth checking out.

6. Philadelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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This museum is one of the largest in the United States as it boasts more than 200 galleries containing around 240.000 items from the first century A.D. all the way to the modern era. Its vast belongings include renowned American paintings, sculptures, and decorative art collections.

Among these art collections, you will find various items, particularly 18th and 19th-century American furniture and silver and Pennsylvania German art. The Philadelphia Museum of Art also houses the most important works by American realist artist Thomas Eakins.

However, what made this museum a mecca for generations of artists is the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection of Modernist Masterworks. This collection includes Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass, which is a true sight to behold.

7. Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, Texas

museum of fine arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, and it features two gallery buildings, a visitor’s center, a sculpture garden, a library, a movie theater, cafe, gift shop, two schools, and two house museums.

Most of the wings of this museum are designed by Miles van der Rohe, while the Audrey Jones Beck building opened in 2000, which doubled the museum size and expanded it vastly. The museum covers various world cultures, including art from America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. In addition, it has an ample collection of Renaissance and eighteen-century paintings.

The Museum of Fine Arts is also home to the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, which is a leading research institution that mainly focuses on 20th-century Latin American art. When visiting, make sure to check out the sculpture garden that features the works of Rodin, Matisse, and Giacometti.

8. The Cleveland Museum of Art – Cleveland, Ohio

cleveland museum of art

In 2016, The Cleveland Museum of Art had its 100th birthday, and it is widely recognized as one of the best art museums in the whole country. It is famous for its extensive Asian and Egyptian items, as well as it is for its medieval art from Europe and America. In addition, the museum boasts a growing collection of postwar pieces that are attracting a broad audience.

Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly expanded the museum, and the whole project was completed in 2013, making the museum’s floor space stand at a whopping 592.000 square feet. Some of the highlights of the museum pieces include an Egyptian hardstone sculpture of the head of Amenhotep III and Albert Pinkham Ryder’s symbolist painting, The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse).

9. Smithsonian American Art Museum – Washington, D.C.

smithsonian arts museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the first museum in the country dedicated to American art, and it has one of the best collections of pieces from the Colonial period all the way to the present day. The primary location is placed in the historic former Old Patient Building, which displays more than 7.000 artists.

Some of them are pretty famous names like famous portraitist John Singer Sargent, painter Mary Cassatt, multi-media innovator Nam June Paik, and some pieces by less-known artists. The museum’s separate Renwick gallery was built in 1859 and is also known as The American Louvre. Nowadays, it showcases craft objects and decorative arts made in the past two centuries. It is a museum rich in history and well worth visiting.

10. Walker Art Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The Walker Art Center was founded back in 1879 by lumber baron Thomas Barlow and today is one of the five most popular contemporary art museums in the United States. It is a 17-acre campus that conveniently combines the museum’s Edward Larrabee Barnes and Herzog & De Meuron buildings with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Most of the pieces in the museum were created after 1960, and they include works of artists such as Bharti Kher, Danh Vo, and Gabriel Kuri. The Walker Art Center also offers an acclaimed performing arts program and state-of-the-art cinema, which you can all enjoy when visiting.

Final Words

There is so much more in the world than just the Louvre and the Prado when it comes to museums, and numerous locations in the United States are certainly the proof. We hope you liked our top ten list of the best art museums in the US as it offers something for everyone and accommodates different tastes.

So, whenever you find yourself stateside and decide to visit some of the finest art museums, stop by some of the locations we just listed, and we guarantee you will not regret it. You will find incredible collections and beautiful art pieces in these museums, and they are sure to soothe your artistic appetites.