16 Top Museums of the World

16 Top Museums of the World

Sometimes a museum can be a destination in and of itself. Even if you don't every display and exhibition, you'll most likely leave feeling impressed and amazed. We compiled this list based on the popularity of the museums and the famous works of art they have in their possessions. So get out and take in a little culture on your next vacation or trip and stop by one of these museums!

Musee du Louvre - Paris, France

The world's most famous museum, which was once a royal palace, houses some of the world's most amazing art. Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is easily the most famous piece of art.

If you can elbow to the front of the crowd that stands in front of the glass and bulletproof enclosure, you'll be face-to-face with one of the world's most beloved masterpieces.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York City, New Your, USA

Located on New York's Museum Mile, The Met shares the same pavement as other big names in New York's world-famous art scene. The size of this museum is enormous, so don't plan to see it all in one day - unless you get trapped inside overnight! (Don't do this.) You can explore art, sculpture, design and more from ancient times to the modern day.

Don't miss The Cloisters, which is the museum's other site, located in Fort Tryon Park. Completed in 1938, it's a reconstructed European abbey dedicated to medieval art and tapestries. The Cloisters boasts some of the most tranquil and scenic views of the Hudson River and nature in the city, thanks to land on the New Jersey side of the river purchased specifically to preserve the museum's view.

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Vatican Museums - Vatican City, Rom, Italy

This is where the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's famous ceiling frescos are found. It also has work by some of the other greatest Renaissance artists within the Chapel's walls. Displaying works from the extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church and spanning from antiquity to modern religious art, the museum occupies a distance of 9 miles and is one of the largest in the world. This museum brings people from all over the world -- it is estimated to welcome four million visitors annually.

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Uffizi Gallery - Florence, Italy

The walk to this museum is a gallery in and of itself. When you stroll through the Piazza della Signoria toward the Uffizi, you see such marvelous sculptures! Inside the museum you are treated to such masterpieces as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" as well as paintings by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The Botticellis are, in my humble opinion, the prize of museum. With the most delicious gelato in the world, beautiful plazas and streets with so much history, it is easy to fall in love with the city of Florence!

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Prado Museum - Madrid, Spain

Located in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and famous for its amazing works from Spanish artists. The museum houses one of the best collections of European art from Goya to El Greco. Velazquez's painting 'Las Meninas' is certainly the best-known piece of work in the collection and has been recognized as one of the most important paintings in Western art history. Velazquez also contributed to most of the collection that is in the Prado to this day by assembling work from such artists like Titian, Rubens and Raphael.

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The State Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia

The second largest museum in the world, the State Hermitage Museum was founded by Catherine the Great herself. The extraordinary setting includes six historic buildings including St. Petersburg's famous Winter Palace, overlooking the Neva River. Collections span art and design history, from prehistoric art of the Caucasus to European arms and armour, Renaissance and Flemish paintings, and modern art. The rich decorations of the palace complex are as much an attraction as the incredible art within its walls.

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J. Paul Getty Center - Los Angeles, California, USA

With such paintings as 'Irises' by Vincent Van Gogh, the Getty collection is remarkable. The museum collection is within a beautiful piece of architecture with an outstanding view of surrounding Los Angeles. It also remains free to the public and has a massive underground parking lot so you can always find a spot. Be sure to visit the tranquil Central Garden area and take in some of the landscape and natural beauty of the surrounding canyons.

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Musee d'Orsay - Paris, France

Located on the left bank of the Seine River, this museum was formerly a railroad station and has a huge clock window. The collection is mostly filled with French art and an impressive collection of Impressionist masterpiece paintings by Monet, Renoir and Degas. The museum is much smaller than its Louvre neighbor so it allows for more intimate viewings without the crowds.

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National Gallery of Art - Washington DC, USA

The National Gallery is located on the National Mall and is made up of two buildings, the East and the West building. The West Building has a huge collection of sculpture and paintings from Europe from medieval times up to the 19th century, but includes some American artists.

The usual names like Monet, Rembrandt, da Vinci and Van Gogh grace the walls with amazing masterpieces. The East Building is more concerned with contemporary and modern art like Pollock, Picasso, Warhol and Lichtenstein. Be sure to check out the sculpture garden with works by Alexandar Calder and Joan Miro.

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Center Georges Pompidou - Paris, France

The museum with the inside on the outside! I loved the funky, creative design of this place - it made me really feel like I was in the future. Known as the "Beauborg" to local Parisians, this museum is home to all Modern art with a capital 'M'.

On a nice day you can spend some time in the front of the museum with the street performers and all the other = activities. It is easy to spend an hour plus just checking out the different performers and mimes.

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Tate Modern - London, England

Known for its collection of international modern art and specific pivotal movements of the 20th century. Located on the River Thames and near the Millennium Bridge the museum is a former power station. Be sure to explore the Tate's vast collection of Surrealism paintings and specifically Salvador Dali's work.

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Museum of Modern Art - Manhattan, New York, USA

Located in midtown Manhattan, MOMA is often called the most important and influential museum dedicated to modern art in the world today. The collection has works in almost all the major areas of fine and contemporary art, from painting and sculpture to film and new media.

You can see Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' and in a few more steps you can see Warhol's 'Campbell Soup Cans' and Picasso's famous 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'.

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British Museum - London, England

With more than 13 million objects originating from all over the world, this museum of human history and culture is enormous to say the least! View the vast collection of Egyptian antiques, the largest of its kind outside of Cairo. Also the prints and drawings ranks among one of the best behind the Louvre and the Hermitage. Another plus is that admission is free.

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Solomon R. Gugenheim Museum - New York City, New York, USA

One of the best known museums in New York City, the Guggenheim is the only building in the city designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The museum was founded with the intent to showcase avant-garde art and modernists like Kandinsky and Mondrian. The experience is as inspiring as the art work. You can take the elevator to the top and walk the circular spiral down to the rotunda as you view the gallery along the way. Another plus is that it is hard to get lost in this building!

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Solomon R. Gugenheim Museum - New York City, New York, USA

Considered to be one of America's top five art museums and home to the largest collection of Philadelphia artist Thomas Eakins, Philadelphia Museum of Art also offers a great room concentrating on the work of Marcel Duchamp and another for sculptor Constantin Brancusi.

This museum puts on up to 20 special exhibitions each year and really knows how to put on a show. The special exhibit of Paul Cezanne in 1996 attracted 546,000 visitors and the Dali show in 2005 pulled in more than 370,000. While you're here, walk down the parkway and check out the Rodin Museum, where you can say hello to 'The Thinker'.

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Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, Illinois, USA

Impressionist and American art is what is highlighted here. If you ever saw the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off then you may remember this was one of the stops. They took in that beautiful impressionistic work of Seurat's 'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte'. More highlights of the collection would be 'American Gothic' by Grant Wood and Monet's 'Water Lilies'.

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