Full of life, history, and exploration, museums bring people from all walks of life together. In this list of the best museums, we have detailed 25 of the best museums in the world. From history to science to art, all of the museums on this list offer something truly special.
And thankfully, many of the museums on this list are either always free or free on certain days. So your wallet doesn’t need to hinder you from experiencing all these museums have to offer. With so much to see, don’t delay – there is a museum near you just waiting to be explored!
Museum Highlights: Has over 3 million artifacts, a large selection of different types of artifacts.
AboutMuseum: A massive building, the State Hermitage Museum houses over 3 million artifacts. Visitors can see everything from art to archaeological discoveries to arms and armory. The building itself is a work of art as well, making any visit to the State Hermitage Museum a special trip.
Museum Highlights: Features paintings and sculptures, offers new exhibits on a regular basis.
AboutMuseum:The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, is a well-known fixture in New York City. The Met is going to feature a wide variety of paintings and sculptures. And, with constantly changing exhibitions, art enthusiasts will enjoy going to the Met time and time again. If you are in NYC, the Met is a must-see. Also, while you are in NYC, look to catch a show or dine at one of the amazing restaurants in NYC.
Location: London, Manchester, and Cambridgeshire, England
Museum Highlights: Made up of five different museums, focus on the causes of war and the impact war has on people’s lives.
AboutMuseum:The Imperial War Museums consists of five museums throughout England. Three museums are in London, one is in Manchester, and one in Cambridgeshire. With sites like Churchill’s war room and a retired Navy ship, each museum is unique in its own way. Although each museum is unique, they are all dedicated to exploring the causes of war and its impact on people’s lives. The museums are going to paint a picture of life during wartime. With lots of interactive exhibits, educational activities, and ever-changing displays, the Imperial War Museums are worth visiting.
Museum Highlights: Features a large selection of van Gogh’s works.
AboutMuseum:The van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is a must-visit for any admirer of van Gogh. Thousands of van Gogh’s works are displayed here. Pieces like van Gogh’s self-portrait and his flower pieces highlight the museum’s offerings. Amsterdam is one of the best European destinations, so add in the beautiful surroundings, and the van Gogh Museum is a must-visit.
Museum Highlights: Covers the history of the Ancient East, named after the Pergamon Altar (a Hellenistic piece).
AboutMuseum:The Pergamon Museum is nothing short of a wonder in itself. Its rooms are overflowing with some of the world’s most impressive, long-buried treasures, and encompasses the vast history of the Ancient East. The museum is named after the Pergamon Altar, a Hellenistic masterpiece of white stone architecture. This imposing structure invites you to walk the steps of 2000 years of history. Don’t get lost in this wonder for too long, though, as there are many more wonders under the museum’s roof.
Museum Highlights: House an extensive collection of European art, features pieces as far back as the 12th century.
AboutMuseum: Almost 200 years old, the Museo del Prado is Spain’s national art museum. Located in central Madrid, the museum houses an extensive collection of European art. These pieces are going to date from the 12th century to modern times. If you love all things Spanish and all things art, the Museo del Prado should be a definite stop. If you can swing it, try visiting Madrid in December as they have one of the best Christmas lights displays as well.
Museum Highlights: Consists of ten curatorial and research departments that put together all of the world-class exhibits, is free to visitors.
AboutMuseum:The British Museum is a large museum that covers everything from Africa and Ancient Egypt to coins and prints. The museum has ten curatorial and research departments that help with creating these fantastic exhibits. Best of all, the museum is free and is easily accessed by several London tube stops. Plan for at least a whole day of exploring here – you will need it!
Location: Washington D.C., USA and Chantilly, Virginia, USA
Museum Highlights: One of a kind flying objects, a planetarium, IMAX Theater.
AboutMuseum:With thousands of air and space objects on display, the National Air and Space Museum is fun for all. Displays include the original Wright brothers airplane, a lunar rock, and more. There are two locations, one in Washington D.C. and one in Chantilly, Virginia. The museum also features a planetarium, an IMAX Theater, and a public observatory.
Museum Highlights: Offers sculptures and paintings from the middle ages to today, includes words from Michelangelo, Leonardo, and other greats.
AboutMuseum: The Uffizi is a premier art museum in the heart of Florence, Italy. It offers ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. Masterpieces include works from Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Mantegna, and other greats. The Uffizi also has a collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family as well. The Uffizi museum an excellent destination for both art and sculpture lovers.
Museum Highlights: Features 800 years of Dutch history, famous works by Rembrandt and van Gogh.
AboutMuseum:Rijksmuseum is the Dutch national museum and is located in Amsterdam. It features items from over 800 years of Dutch history within a global context. Visitors can see famous works by Rembrandt and van Gogh and explore Delftware, sculptures, clothing, and more. If you want a museum that features both art and history, Rijksmuseum is a great choice.
Museum Highlights: Features art, archaeology, and more, the Sistine Chapel.
AboutMuseum:The “Museum of Museums,” the Vatican Museum is a breathtaking collection of art, archaeology, and more. It is one of the best places to visit in Italy and also the world. These pieces were put together by the different Popes from over the centuries. The collections are something every culture lover should witness at some point. Even the rooms themselves are pieces of art, with the Sistine Chapel and other significant rooms housed at the Vatican.
Museum Highlights: Features life science, earth science, and cultures from around the globe.
AboutMuseum:The World Museum in Liverpool, England, is going to have something for everyone. It features varied collections and displays from the life sciences, earth sciences, and cultures from around the world. Visitors can enjoy the famous Terracotta Warriors exhibit, visit the aquarium and planetarium, discover dinosaurs and planets, and so much more.
Museum Highlights: Permanent collection of close to 700,000 Chinese artifacts and artworks, pieces that date from the 10th century to modern times.
AboutMuseum:With a permanent collection of almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, visitors to the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, can spend days enjoying the collections. And, with pieces that date back to the 10th century as well as modern pieces, the National Palace Museum is a must-see for any lover of Asian culture.
Museum Highlights: Offers more than 100,000 Egyptian artifacts.
AboutMuseum:The Egyptian Museum, or the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, in Cairo, Egypt houses more than 100,000 Egyptian artifacts. The museum was commissioned in 1835 as a way to help stop the plundering of Egypt’s archaeological sites. So if you love ancient Egyptian antiquities, this is the museum for you.
Museum Highlights: Exhibits include life and earth galleries, geological collections, and more.
AboutMuseum:The world-famous Natural History Museum in London, England, features a variety of interesting exhibits and displays. Visitors can enjoy the Life and Earth Galleries, as well as a wildlife garden, geological collections, and so much more. For a diverse, exciting museum, the Natural History Museum is a must-visit.
Museum Highlights: Consists of a warship that is hundreds of years old, learning about maritime and transport history.
AboutMuseum: One of Scandinavia’s most visited museums, The Vasa Museum, is one of a kind. It consists of a restored warship that is hundreds of years old. Visitors can learn about maritime and transport history at the museum. As well as wonder at the unique and well-preserved inner workings of the warship.
Museum Highlights: In-depth information on World War II and the impact that it had on the world.
AboutMuseum: The WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, gives visitors an inside look at the war that changed the world. It consists of immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, and an extensive collection of artifacts. For anyone fascinated with World War II, the WWII Museum is a great way to connect with history and learn.
Museum Highlights: This is the most visited museum in the world, features the Mona Lisa.
AboutMuseum: The most visited museum in the world, The Louvre is situated smack dab in the middle of beautiful Paris. From its iconic glass pyramid entrance to the famed Mona Lisa, this museum has endless rooms and corridors open for exploration. You can easily spend all day here, so plan accordingly.
Museum Highlights: Offers 1.5 million square feet of museum space, exhibits cover a vast amount of topics and interests.
AboutMuseum:The main building on the National Mall, the Museum of Natural History, contains 1.5 million square feet of space. Exhibits include everything from dinosaurs to gemstones to insects and plants. Everyone from kids to adults will enjoy this museum, and as part of the National Mall, the Museum of Natural History also offers free admission.
Museum Highlights: Features one of a kind Chinese cultural relics and artwork.
AboutMuseum: Founded in 2003, the National Museum of China is a merger of two previous museums – the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution. Highly visited, the museum is a leader in displaying Chinese cultural relics and artwork.
Museum Highlights: Features art from the 13th to the 19th century, free of charge to visitors.
AboutMuseum: Free of charge and open most of the year, the National Gallery houses Western European art from the 13th to the 19th century. With a wide variety of styles showcased, art lovers will truly enjoy the National Gallery. So if you are in the London area, make sure that you set aside some time to visit this great museum.
Museum Highlights: Features, one of a kind pieces, has regularly scheduled events for guests.
AboutMuseum: Housed in a former railway station and just minutes from the Louvre, the Orsay is every bit as special as the Louvre. If you already have a trip to the Louvre planned, you cannot skip the Orsay. Add in the picture-perfect location, and this museum is not to be missed.
Museum Highlights: Features art from some of the most famous artists to ever live, offers visitors new exhibits regularly.
AboutMuseum:Voted the number one museum in the world by Trip Advisor, the Art Institute of Chicago features almost every style and period of art. Famous pieces (think Monet) are on display, as well as some lesser-known works. Check it out for yourself to see what all the buzz is about.
Museum Highlights: Features Michelangelo’s David and other famous sculptures.
AboutMuseum: Best known for housing Michelangelo’s David, the Accademia is also home to a number of other Italian masterpieces. If in Florence, the Accademia is a must-see with all of its spectacular works of art. You will be able to walk back through the portals of time and discover pieces that are still remarkably intact.
Museum Highlights: Features all things Acropolis, offers an up-close look at an archeological excavation.
AboutMuseum:The Acropolis Museum provides an up-close look at all things Acropolis related. It is located right at the base of the Acropolis, so you will also get to see where everything happened as well. You will be able to learn in the museum and then better appreciate what happened right up the road.
Best Museums Conclusion
The museums on this list could keep you captivated for days and even weeks on end with all of the great exhibits. It was really hard for us to narrow down the list as much as we did, and I am sure we will continue to add some great museums moving forward. We hope that this list will have inspired you to visit as many of these great museums as possible.
If you have visited one of these great museums or feel that we left one off of here, that should’ve made it, please comment below and let us know! And, if you are looking for more in-depth information on any of these museums or cities, our list of the best travel blogs is full of expert travelers that will be able to provide all the info you will need.