The USA is a hotbed for culture and history, with thousands of museums, galleries and sights just waiting to be explored.
When you’re traveling on vacation, it can be hard to know what to prioritize when you’re there. So, we decided to find the top museums across the states, to help make that decision for you!
By pulling together a list of museums across each state, we then analyzed search volumes and Google reviews to discover the most popular ones. So, read on to discover which museums you should pay a visit to, depending on which state you’re in.
Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
With a staggering 1,293,076 Google reviews, and 40,500 searches a month (a huge 45% increase over the last 12 months, despite the film ‘Elvis’ being released last summer), Graceland is officially the best museum in the United States.
Set in Elvis’ beautiful former mansion, spend the day touring the picturesque gardens, discover the aircraft he used to fly to his shows in, and stumble across a whole house-load of personal mementos along the way.
Visit at Christmas, and Graceland will be decorated in lights, with special holiday tours taking place; and there’s even a chapel on-site if you want to plan your wedding there!
Once you’ve visited Graceland, make the most of your trip to Tennessee with a visit to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, or the Parthenon in Nashville, which is a replica of the original in Athens.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
With 201,000 monthly searches, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or ‘Met’ is officially the second favorite museum in the US, with a 22% increase in searches over the last three months, and a staggering 82% increase over the last year. Not only that, but it has the second most Google reviews on our list, at 781,558.
Perhaps most well-known for being the venue for the most exclusive event of the year: the Met Gala; the museum is an iconic destination for fashionistas (and if you want the perfect snapshot, be sure to lounge on the steps with a cup of coffee á la Blair and Serena).
Current exhibitions include ‘Dutch Masterpieces,’ and ‘Van Gogh’s Cypresses’; with upcoming exhibitions including ‘European Paintings from 1300-1800’, and ‘Africa and Byzantium’.
If you want to make a weekend of it and discover a selection of museums in the area, then the American Museum of Natural History, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) tied in second place, with 90,500 monthly searches each.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s Art Institute makes it into third place, with an impressive 165,000 searches every single month, and 219,608 Google reviews. With a collection of art that spans the globe across centuries of time, this museum is a must-visit for any art aficionado.
Visit now, and you’ll get to uncover their current exhibitions, which includes a look at Ellsworth Kelly’s portrait drawings, and the work of Peter Hujar; but pay a visit towards the end of 2023 or summer of 2024, and you’ll get to enjoy a carefully curated exhibition on both Picasso, and Georgia O’Keefe.
When it comes to other museums to discover in the state of Illinois, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry came in second place, with 90,500 searches, followed by the Adler Planetarium, with 40,500 searches.
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
In fourth place is the Phoenix Art Museum, with 27,100 monthly searches, and 130,000 Google reviews. Located in the city’s Midtown, the museum is home to more than 20,000 works of art; with one of the most impressive exhibitions the Fireflies installation, where you’ll lose yourself in a room full of mirrors and LED lights.
The museum also has a couple of dedicated fashion exhibitions, including ‘Fashioning Self: The Photography of Everyday Expression’ and ‘The Modern Cut of Geoffrey Beene’ where you’ll get to see some of his most iconic looks on display.
Once you’ve visited Phoenix Art Museum, pay a visit to Heard Museum, which celebrates the culture of indigenous peoples of the southwest, and the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) – both are located in Phoenix, and have 18,100 and 14,800 monthly searches, respectively.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio
For something a bit different, why not pay a visit to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which has 110,000 monthly searches – up 22% both over the last three months, and year-on-year?
Get ready to rock and set up your own band in The Garage, before heading to The Hall of Fame, where you’ll get to see signatures from some of the biggest bands in the world, including Abba, The Beatles, Blondie, and more.
Other museums to pay a visit while you’re in the state of Ohio include the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, with 27,100 monthly searches; and Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Columbus Museum of Art, both with 22,200 monthly searches.
California Science Center, Los Angeles, California
LA’s California Science Center slides into sixth place, with 113,000 Google reviews, and 49,500 searches every single a month – an 18% increase over the last three months.
Located in Exposition Park, you can easily spend an entire day here, as you discover the ‘Humans in Space’ exhibit with spacesuits and spacecrafts on display, followed by the ‘Mystery of the Maya’, which includes an introductory movie at the IMAX theatre, followed by a 13,000 square foot exhibition.
And if you still haven’t gotten your fix of museums while you’re in California, head to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, or the Getty Center in LA, both of which get around 40,500 searches every month.
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan
Detroit’s Institute of Arts sits in seventh place, due to its 108,828 Google reviews, and 33,100 monthly searches.
Founded in 1885, the space includes over 100 galleries, as well as an art reference library, and a 1,150- seat auditorium.
Upcoming exhibitions include ‘After Cubism’, ‘Masterpieces of Early Italian Renaissance Bronze Statuettes’, and ‘Dining with the Sultan’.
Alternatively, other museums to visit in Michigan according to search volume, include Detroit Zoo (74,000 monthly searches), and Greenfield Village in Dearborn (40,500 monthly searches).
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg comes in eighth place, with 60,500 monthly searches, and 104,722 Google reviews.
Cited as the world’s largest US history museum, this open-air museum invites you to step back in time to the 18th-century and see how Virginians lived. Not only will you get to visit the homes of key colonial figures, including James Geddy and Peyton Randolph, but you’ll also get to discover the courthouse, gaol, and governor’s palace; as well as community spaces including a coffee house, market square, and hospital.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see here, why not visit Jamestown Settlement, also in Williamsburg, with 18,100 monthly searches; or the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, with 14,800 monthly searches?
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
With 40,500 monthly searches (a 22% increase YoY), and 104,722 Google reviews, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta comes in ninth place for the top museums across the USA.
Nestled in between the areas of Midtown and Ansley Park, discover the museum’s current collections, which include African Art, Folk and Self-Taught Art, and Photography. The self-taught art is particularly insightful, with some pieces incorporating stone, scrapyard metal, and chewing gum.
Other museums to check out while you’re in Atlanta are the World of Coca Cola, and Atlanta History Center.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts
Rounding off our top 10 list of the best museums in the US is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, located in the bustling city of Boston. With 98,997 Google reviews, and 74,000 monthly searches, the museum is home to several events, including tours, open studios, and even concerts.
When you visit, take some time to discover the courtyard and gardens, where you’ll find a whole array of beautiful plants and flowers, with horticulturists on-hand to answer any questions you may have.
To round off your museum-hopping trip to Boston, head to the New England Aquarium, followed by the Museum of Science, which are just a half an hour walk away from each other.
So, now you know the best museums the USA has to offer, it’s time to decide where to visit first! If you’re traveling by plane, then you’ll want to sort out airport parking in advance, as well as an airport hotel if you have an early flight out, or late one back.
We offer thousands of airport parking spaces across the country – from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco to Seattle. So, start booking your next vacation and get ready to discover a new state, or an old favorite!
We first used AI to pull together a list of the top 15 museums in every US state. We then used a keyword tool to discover which museums are the most searched for in each state, and gathered data from Google reviews and Linkfluence, to create our list.