The 20 Most Visited Museums in the World

With everything from art to history to science to architecture and more, museums have something for everyone. They’re great places to go to whether you are on vacation or close to home, a great way to spend a day under any circumstances. Some museums are world-renowned while others inspire on a quieter level. The best thing about museums is they are usually inexpensive if not free. Millions of people visit museums each year, here are the most visited museums in the world.

1. Louvre (Paris, France)

No surprise here. The home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa hosts 8.5 million persons each year. It also houses some 35,000 works of art.

2. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington, D.C.)

This free museum on the National Mall hosts the largest collection of aviation artifacts in the world, including 50,000 original relics, and hosts about 8.3 million visitors annually.

3. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)

Home to some 126 million artifacts, 6.8 million people a year make this the most visited natural history museum in the world. It also hosts the world’s largest marine collection.

4. British Museum (London, U.K.)

7 million objects, 2.5 miles of galleries, and free admission make this one of the most popular museums in the world, tallying over 5.8 million visitors per year.

5. Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)

Special exhibits, along with its vast permanent collection, make this art museum a hot spot for tourists and New York natives alike, garnering some 5.2 million annual guests.

6. Tate Modern (London, U.K.)

Located in a former power station, this museum hosts fine works of modern art along with more than 5 million visitors a year.

7. American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY)

5 million guests come to see the infamous hanging blue whale replica each year at this institution that has been around since 1869. There is also an interesting architectural phenomenon in the museum in which, if you are standing at the right spot, you can hear someone whisper across the room.

8. National Gallery (London, U.K.)

Located on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery sees just under 5 million visitors per year and houses Western European paintings from the 13th through 19th centuries and costs nothing to enter.

9. National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)

Originally the personal art collection of Andrew W. Mellon, the museum has expanded and now hosts nearly 4.8 people annually.

10. Vatican Museums (Rome, Italy)

Over 5 centuries old, this museum is a collection of sculptures and fine art collected by the popes that sees almost 4.7 million guests a year.

11. Natural History Museum (London, U.K.)

It houses 70 million items, including specimens found by Charles Darwin, and host over 4.6 million visitors each year.

12. Smithsonian National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C.)

4.2 million people come to see the 3 million artifacts, ranging from serious historical items to popular culture relics, each year.

13. Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)

Over three million people come to this famous museum, which houses great works such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The price of admission has skyrocketed but is free Friday evenings from 4 to 8.

14. Centre Pompidou (Paris, France)

The building itself is a work of art along with the over 60,000 pieces of modern art inside, which is why 3.1 million people go there every year.

15. National Museum of Korea (Seoul, South Korea)

The museum only has 13,000 items but its permanent exhibitions are free and it houses some of the most important Korean artifacts on record, leading to over 3 million annual visitors and its status as the most popular museum in Asia.

16. Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France)

The building’s arched glass ceiling is as much of a draw for the just under 3 million annual visitors as Impressionist art found inside.

17. Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Europe’s largest science museum is not as well known as the prominent Louvre but still hosts over 2.8 million guests a year.

18. Science Museum (London, U.K.)

With a collection of over 300,000 items, London’s Science Museum is great for the 2.7 million people who visit it each year.

19. Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid, Spain)

The museum has expanded to include an auditorium, a bookstore, and restaurants in addition to its many galleries of European art, which 2.7 million people come to see every year.

20. Victoria and Albert Museum (London, U.K.)

The 50,000 items in this museum range from decorative arts such as ceramics to stylish clothing and design artifacts. 2.6 million people visit each year.

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