The 10 Best Museums in the World

January 18, 2020

Here are the best museums in the world and the United States, and the ones you could skip the line at.

The World’s Best Museums, According to TripAdvisor Reviews
Musée d’Orsay: Paris, France
The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum: New York, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, New York
The British Museum: London, England
Prado National Museum: Madrid, Spain—Museum Tour with Skip-the-Line Admission
Acropolis Museum: Athens, Greece—Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of Athens New Acropolis Museum
Louvre Museum: Paris, France
The National WWII Museum: New Orleans, Louisiana
National Museum of Anthropology: Mexico City, Mexico
War Remnants Museum: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Best Museums in the United States, According to TripAdvisor Reviews
The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum: New York, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, New York
The National WWII Museum: New Orleans, Louisiana
Art Institute of Chicago: Chicago, Illinois
USS Midway Museum: San Diego, California—Skip the Line USS Midway Museum
National Air and Space Museum: Washington, District of Columbia
American Museum of Natural History: New York, New York
The Getty Center: Los Angeles, California
NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Titusville, Florida
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Washington, D.C.
Booking fast-track and skip-the-line admission online beforehand can be close to essential for out-of-town visitors with limited available time. And although TripAdvisor lists the museums in overall rank order, the concept of “museum” is sufficiently varied—so let’s take a look at them by type.

Art Museums

Four of the world’s best museums feature art, including paintings, sculpture, and related visual forms. All four are in the centers of major visitor destination cities and easily accessible by public transportation.

Musee d’Orsay, Paris: The d’Orsay is the number one place to see an extended collection of impressionist art. It’s in a former rail station, and it deserves its many accolades. Timed tickets are available, and it’s closed Mondays.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City: In many ways, the Met is the 400-pound gorilla of the art world. It’s gigantic, and it covers just about every niche. To do it justice takes days, not hours. Express admission tickets are available, and it’s open daily except major holidays.

Prado National Museum, Madrid: The Prado is another huge gallery, with a collection that focuses on Spain’s Old Masters: El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez. Fast-track admissions and tours are available, and it’s open daily except major holidays.

Louvre, Paris: In contrast to the compact and more-focused d’Orsay, the Louvre is huge and its collection is diverse. Crowding is a major problem; just getting a good look at the Mona Lisa takes the skills of a regular rush-hour New York subway rider. Fast-track admissions and tours are available, and it’s closed Tuesdays.

In addition to the Met, two other art museums make the top-10 U.S. list: The Art Institute of Chicago and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

History Museums

Another four of the top 10 world museums focus on history, from ancient to contemporary. As with the art museums, all four are in important destinations, and easily accessible by public transit.

National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, New York City: The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers is arguably the most memorable event in the lives of Americans too young to remember Pearl Harbor, and the memorial is a centerpiece of the gigantic renewal program within and adjacent to ground zero. It’s open daily.

Acropolis Museum, Athens: Although the Parthenon ruins are the Acropolis’ main attraction, the nearby new Acropolis Museum offers a look at various aspects of life and art in ancient Greece. It’s open daily with the exception of holidays, and with varying hours depending on the season.

National WWII Museum, New Orleans: As TripAdvisor notes, America’s WWII Museum “tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.” It’s open daily until 5 p.m.

War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City: Although many other museums offer vastly greater scale, War Remnants Museum reminds visitors of the high cost of lives and of treasures in one of the most controversial U.S. wars.