Established by three women in the 1920s, the Museum of Modern Art, along with MoMA PS1 in Queens, attracts millions of visitors annually. It displays some of the most impressive artworks from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Its permanent collection encompasses six curatorial departments: architecture and design, drawings and prints, film, media and performance, painting and sculpture, and photography. Highlights include Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory and masterpieces by Giacometti, Hopper, Matisse, Monet, O’Keeffe, Pollock, Rothko, Warhol and many others. The Philip Johnson-designed Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, which dates to 1939, contains works by Calder, Rodin and Moore. Don't miss the on-site Michelin-starred restaurant, The Modern, which overlooks the garden.
Of course, landmark art museums like NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and D.C.’s National Gallery of Art are national treasures, but checking out an exceptional permanent collection or the latest exhibitions ranks among our favorite things to do in any urban destination. Since several cities have more than their fair share of standouts, we had to make some tough choices, but our short list includes some idiosyncratic gems among the encyclopedic art institutions. In our view, these are the best museums in the country for feasting your eyes on the finest paintings, sculptures, photography, installations and other visual art forms.