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SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Photograph: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Revealed: The most underrated museums in the USA

California's Filoli house museums wins for best attraction in the USA.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

Ever heard of the Remarkable Venue Awards? Neither had we, but these top honors were recently given to museums by online ticketing company Tiqets. And they're shedding light on some true hidden gems across the USA. 

One of the highest awards is Best Attraction, and Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, CA, 40 minutes south of San Francisco, won this honor. This National Trust home was built in 1971 as a Georgian revival home. It’s set on 654 acres with lush English Renaissance gardens, orchards, pools, five different ecosystems, and a one-mile estate trail. Filoli stands for the first few letters of each line of the credo, ‘Fight for a just cause, love your fellow man, live a good life.’ Wandering through the house and grounds is peaceful and a delight to the eye. Now, if you think Filoli should win globally instead of just in the US, vote for it here by October 19.

Another facility, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, won for the Best Onsite Experience. There are a ton of musical instruments on display, plus – as you might imagine – an ongoing live concert series. You can even try your hand at playing music yourself in the Experience Gallery.

The Best Museum overall is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, which tells the story of the American experience during World War II with collections, immersive exhibits, events and programs. There are also many online experiences, such as a virtual field trip.

Winning for Most Innovative Venue is Area 15 in Las Vegas, an immersive entertainment space. There are restaurants, bars, shopping, virtual reality experiences, and art installations such as the famous Meow Wolf Omega Mart. Add in axe throwing and a flight simulator, and this is a day’s worth of fun.

The Most Remarkable Venue is the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The museum itself is shaped like the ill-fated ship, built in half scale, and contains 400 pre-discovery artifacts. You can even do a Titanic sleepover on the ship! Just lay out your sleeping bag near the lifeboats.

Winning for Best Landmark is SUMMIT One Vanderbilt in New York City. In this skyscraper, you can walk on a glass floor atop the city for heart-racing thrills, take part in an art experience called Air, or ride the world’s largest exterior glass-floor elevator to Midtown’s highest panoramic views.

Finally, the Best Hidden Gem is Fotografiska in New York City, a Swedish photography museum housed in a beautiful historic building. It offers incredible imagery, eclectic events, dining and cocktails that you are invited to spill.

The awards also recognized international museums. For a full listing, visit here.

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