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Top 5 Art Museums in the U.S. to Check Out

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

National Museum Lover’s Day is coming up this week on May 5th, and as someone whose favorite pastime is going to museums, I’m here to encourage you to visit some amazing art museums that may be near you! Museums are the perfect places to go on a rainy day (or on a date!) because they allow you to detach yourself from technology and the outside world and appreciate one thing: art. You get to step into a world of artistic expression and discover art from different time periods, cultures, styles, and parts of the world, and what could be better than that? Take your family or a group of close friends to a local museum, or even enjoy a trip by yourself and immerse yourself in the art around you! If you’re interested in visiting some fun art museums for National Museum Lover’s Day, or just want to tuck this article away for later, then read on and learn what my five favorite art museums are and why you should visit them!

Seattle Asian Art Museum in Seattle, Washington

I grew up in Seattle so expect a lot of museums from the Greater Seattle Area! Though I favor none of the museums on this list over the other, I admit that the Seattle Asian Art Museum is one of my absolute favorites to visit year-round. I have been there so many times, at almost every time of the year, and the exhibitions they showcase are always changing! I’ve always had an interest in ancient Asian dynasties and the art that came from them, so this museum is such a treat for me to visit. The museum features both contemporary and ancient art and artists from Japan, Korea, China, India, and Pakistan to name a few, and even has interactive and immersive experiences! For younger children, there’s a room where they can fold origami and try on traditional Japanese kimonos, and the adults can experience digital murals that project across walls. The museum is constantly changing and has hundreds of paintings, artifacts, and sculptures from ancient civilizations that you could get lost in for hours. If you’d like to visit the Seattle Asian Art Museum, check their website out for hours and ticket info!

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, Washington

I was debating on if I should’ve included MoPOP in this list, but I believe that pop culture is inspired by art culture and vice versa, so it’s correct to name MoPOP as an art museum. If you’re looking for a museum that guests of all ages will enjoy (especially children), the Museum of Pop Culture is the one! The museum features exhibits from so many different worlds of pop culture from fantasy worlds like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, all the way to infamous Horror movies, Sci-Fi adventure movies, and exhibits dedicated to music and legendary musicians. There is something for everyone to enjoy and is interactive enough for both kids and adults to fully enjoy! It’s a wonderful place to look back on the movies and characters you grew up with as a kid, and for those with an inclination for music, your imagination can run wild in the music lab, where you can play a variety of instruments and learn about famous musical artists. Take a look at MoPOP’s website for details on tickets!

Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) in Bellevue, Washington

If you enjoy contemporary art more than ancient and classic art, the Bellevue Arts Museum might be a better fit for you! Local artists and critically-acclaimed artists hold exhibits here, so you’ll always get new collections, artists, and exhibitions every time you visit. Contemporary and abstract art isn’t what I usually gravitate toward when I seek out new museums to visit, but I can’t deny that some amazing artists hold exhibits at BAM. For those of you who live in the area, BAM holds an art fair festival every year, where over 300 local aspiring artists showcase and sell their handmade art and goods. It’s a wonderful place for kids and adults to enjoy free activities, so plan a family trip to the festival if this sounds like something you’d be interested in! Learn about the art fair here and see how you can visit the museum here.

Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut

I got the opportunity to visit the Yale Art Gallery when I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle last year in New Haven, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. On a cold and rainy night, my Aunt and I spent hours viewing the art on every floor of the gallery. I previously mentioned that I love ancient Asian art and the Yale Art Gallery had no shortage of collection objects, paintings, clothing, and sculptures to explore! Not only was there art from ancient Asian dynasties, but there were also extensive collections of art from Europe, the ancient Americas, Indo-Pacific, and African Art. The Yale Art Gallery is definitely another one of those places where you could spend hours and not notice the day going by! Find out more information about visiting here.

Van Gogh Exhibition: The Immersive Experience

For fans of the famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh, this exhibition is like a dream come true. I’ve been a lover of Van Gogh’s art for several years, and when I heard this exhibit was being held in cities across the U.S. and Europe, I just knew I had to snag a ticket! Touring since 2017, the Van Gogh Exhibition is still going on and is a great place for all ages to visit and can be completed in 60-75 minutes. The exhibition features mirror murals of some of Van Gogh’s works, a smattering of sunflower art throughout the walls and artwork, and the main event: the 20,000 square-foot light and sound projection of Van Gogh’s most famous works. The experience I had was absolutely fantastic, and I’m not ashamed to say that I may have shed a few tears! It’ll surely be an emotional experience for those who attend, especially if you know the artist’s story. At the end of the exhibit, there is a lovely gift shop with goods related to Van Gogh’s works which make for great gifts for friends or family who wanted to attend but couldn’t. I can’t recommend this experience more, so I hope you take my word for it and see for yourself. Check out their website and see if there’s a showing in your city!

Celebrate National Museum Lover’s Day by taking your family and friends out to any one of these art museums, or to any museums near you! If you prefer, enjoy a trip to these museums or a museum of your choice and take some time to appreciate art on your own time. This day can give you a chance to explore local museums in your area if you’ve never been one to visit museums or if you’re a total museum lover, use this day as an excuse to visit multiple museums in one day!



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