Add these attractions to your bucket list
The United States is home to more than 35,000 museums, an impressive number that surpasses the combined total of Starbucks and McDonald’s. Here are 12 of the finest in the country that any tour group should add to their bucket list.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (Los Angeles)
Devoted to the preservation and cultural impact of the film industry, the Academy Museum offers four floors of immersive exhibitions and live programming that illuminate the world of cinema. Celebrate the technology, art and the artistry of moviemaking in this one-of-a-kind museum.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
Journeying through Yellowstone as well as the West, the Buffalo Bill Center includes five museums all in one collective space. It has activities, tours with experts and even a live raptor experience which allows guests to fully immerse themselves and hear the thrilling stories of the American West.
Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)
Colonial Williamsburg is a one-of-a-kind destination where costumed interpreters bring the World’s Largest Living History Museum to life. Meet a Nation Builder like George Washington or Edith Cumbo and admire the craftsmanship of some of the best artisans in the world. Connect with your family over a horse-drawn carriage ride, world-class dining, and a Haunted Williamsburg ghost tour.
Country Music Hall of Fame Museum (Nashville)
This Nashville Music Hall is dedicated to keeping American music life alive while having the world’s most extensive music collection with instruments, stage wear, records and so much more. Known as “the house that holds the music,” guests are invited to step inside the stories of the people who shaped America’s country music as well as the everchanging and evolving history currently being made.
Harley-Davidson Museum (Milwaukee)
Celebrating over 100 years of motorcycles, freedom and rebellion are at the forefront of what is showcased at this museum along with the life of American design and how it has transformed. Located on a 20-acre campus in downtown Milwaukee, the Harley–Davidson Museum features more than 450 motorcycles and artifacts, dating back to the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Serial Number One.
National Air & Space Museum (Washington, D.C.)
The world’s largest collection of aviation and space artifacts features stories and research can be found at this one-of-a-kind museum. Experience a fresh way of thinking about science and the world around you with the museum’s eight new galleries with more to open in 2024.
National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis)
Featuring a combination of historic buildings and museums, the National Civil Rights Museum offers over 260 artifacts with interactive media which stretches over five centuries of history. Known as the “greatest civil rights story ever told,” this American movement museum revolves around the people who made today as we know it and highlights how it came to be.
National Constitution Center (Philadelphia)
The 160,000-square-foot National Constitution Center is the first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Through interactive exhibits, rare artifacts, and live theater, the museum brings the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages. Museumgoers view exhibits and artifacts, take in the 360-degree live theatrical production Freedom Rising and walk among 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers.
National WWII Museum (New Orleans)
The official World War II museum of the United States as designated by Congress, this comprises a six-acre campus that includes five soaring pavilions housing immersive exhibits, multi-media experiences and first-person oral histories, taking visitors inside the story of “the war that changed the world.”
9/11 Memorial Museum (New York)
Remembering a monumental day in American history, the 9/11 Museum displays artifacts, imagery, stories and interactive media that documents the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Honoring those who were killed in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are at the heart of this museum’s mission.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tracks the evolution of this musical and cultural phenomenon through more than 50 exhibits. With unique architecture featuring a double pyramid and tower, the Rock Hall spans generations of rock music featuring the earliest artists to ones emerging today. There are five levels of music history on display in this 150,000-square-foot museum.
USS Midway Museum (San Diego)
This historical naval aircraft carrier in downtown San Diego houses an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California. With more than 30 restored aircraft and nearly 10 acres of exhibits and displays, the Midway brings you the most complete cross-section of carrier aviation in the world. From high up on the bridge down to the main engine room, the Midway takes you on a unique warship journey.
Main photo: 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York
By Nicole Partis