Top U.S. Museums for Art Enthusiasts

Art is an international unifier and part of our human culture that is eternal. Art museums are wonderful destinations for family reunions, school trips, social groups, or corporate retreats because of their size and wealth of creative culture. Take a look at some of these recommended art museums that you and your group might enjoy on your next trip.

Modern Art Collections:
These museums have a reputation for comprehensive contemporary and modern art collections from all over the world.

New York Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)
Walkthrough the exhibitions from modern photography, film collections, and contemporary art. Sculptures from contemporary artist Carol Bove are on exhibit along with Rodin, Cezanne, and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, perhaps one of the most famous paintings in the world. What to see: Monet, Picasso, Andy Warhol’s “Campbell Soup Cans” collection

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA)
Japanese Photography, steel sculpture constructions, and pop art are just some of what you will see in San Francisco. Known for their collections of 20th-century art from Cubism and Abstract to Conceptualism and even Californian art. What to see: Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, photography of Mexico

Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH)
Focusing on the modern photograph, several current exhibitions in this Cleveland museum stand witness to the transforming identities, the landscapes of the Dakotas, and the painful but illuminating face of an artist’s mother and her life. This museum also includes collections from movements prior to modernism though they are somewhat less extensive. What to see: Salvador Dali, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol’s Marilyn x 100

Old World Art (European Art):
Some of the most well-known and best crowd gathering pieces are from the Renaissance Masters and the Impressionist movement from Italy and Greece to the Netherlands and England. Check out these collections for their beautifully curated arrangements of the most famous painters in history.

National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)
Home to the only da Vinci in the U.S., this national art gallery has collections of manuscripts, textile art, paintings and photography, sculptures and modern art, all curated with the care and skill that it takes to be a national museum. Sculptures by Bernini and Gauguin, paintings by Thomas Moran, Manet, Van Dyck, and El Greco are but a few of the pieces here in D.C. What to see: Renaissance Bronzes exhibition, Peter Paul Rubens, Durer, Rembrandt

Frick Collection (New York City, NY)
Though this is a relatively small collection of only 200 pieces, the Frick Collection contains some of the most widely known paintings from the most famous artists. Known for their European art and French furniture and decorations and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, this museum is like stepping back in time in the middle of New York. What to see: Renoir, Goya, Manet, Giovanni Bellini, Vermeer

Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
This Chicago museum includes collections from ancient Africa to contemporary America although it would be remiss not to visit their comprehensive European Painting and Sculpture collection. Georges Seurat’s famous work of pointillism A Sunday on La Grande Jatte is featured alongside Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day and the Renaissance masters. What to see: Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Cassatt, Rembrandt

American Art Collections:
The melting-pot that is the United States promotes a curious and rich assembly of stylistic art. These museums have nationally lauded collections of American Art including exhibitions of their subset movements.

Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.)
Devoted entirely to the art of the United States, this Smithsonian museum has the range and freedom to explore every subset and feature of this artistic flavor. Spanning from early America to contemporary art, African-American art, and Latino, there’s enough in this museum to keep you busy for hours. What to see: Georgia O'Keeffe, Albert Bierstadt, William H. Johnson, Thomas Cole

Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, MI)
Ranked third in the nation, the DIA has an extensive collection of paintings from American artists ranging from Colonial America through the end of WWII. For those interested, the museum offers daily tours, private group tours, and special talks and lectures. Student groups are also offered extra programs by request. What to see: Diego Rivera, John Singer Sargent, Frederic Edwin Church, John Singleton Copley, Van Gogh’s Self Portrait

If you’re like most people, you have an eclectic mixture of tastes and enjoy seeing a Van Gogh down the hall from Jackson Pollock or Andy Warhol. These museums are large enough to accommodate a huge range of styles so you can see everything your artistic soul has been craving.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, NY)
Holding its reputation as the largest museum in the United States, the Met is home to over two million pieces of art from all over the world. As there are 73 galleries in the American Wing alone, the museum offers suggested itineraries for families, themes from WWII, Egyptian history and art, Ancient Greece, and more. Art-making programs, tours private and public, courses, lectures, and workshops are all available at the Met. What to see: Vermeer, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Thomas Cole, Iznik, Georgia O'Keeffe

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Ranging from German Cinema to the Hudson River School and Islamic art of the Middle East, the LACMA is the largest art museum on the West Coast having over 120,000 objects in its collection. 17 paintings from Pablo Picasso are on view, Gauguin and Monet are also in attendance along with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Californian art is featured as is 100 years of fashion and the art of 19th-century Spanish colonies. What to see: Renoir, Kandinsky, Peter Paul Rubens, Mary Cassatt

Art enthusiasts will be sure to adore their time at any one of these excellent American institutions. For groups desiring more in-depth participation in art history, tours are available along with more in-depth behind-the-scenes programs depending on the location. You can’t go wrong with any of these museums so stop by one on your next group tour and enjoy!