American Museums to Visit on National Go to an Art Museum Day

There seems be a special day for most anything and in America going to an art museum is no exception. As a matter of fact, National Go to an Art Museum Day is November 9, which gives you an excuse to visit one or more of America’s finest museums. On the other hand, even if …

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The Getty Center is popular for National Go to an Art Museum Day

There seems be a special day for most anything and in America going to an art museum is no exception. As a matter of fact, National Go to an Art Museum Day is November 9, which gives you an excuse to visit one or more of America’s finest museums. On the other hand, even if you can’t make a trip on November 9, you can always make plans for another time. After all, winter is fast approaching and going to a museum will be among the most popular indoor activities. So, without further delay, here are just 10 of America’s best art museums for November 9, over Veterans Day weekend and beyond.

Grant Wood's American Gothic in Chicago
American Gothic (credit: Randy Yagi)

Art Institute of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL  60603
(312) 443-3600

For any art enthusiast the Art Institute of Chicago is a must see. This is especially true if you love Impressionism or Post-Impressionism art. That’s because the Art Institute holds one of the largest collections of these art styles outside of France. On National Go to an Art Museum Day, you’ll want to see van Gogh’s “The Bedroom”, Renoir’s “Two Sisters” and Seurat’s “Sunday on La Grande Jatte”. In addition, you’ll want to see the American art, such as Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawka”. Of course, there is much more to see at one of America’s oldest and most prestigious art museums.

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Detroit Industry Murals is a top spot for National Go to an Art Gallery Day
Detroit Industry Murals (credit: Randy Yagi)

Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)

5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI  48202
(313) 833-7900

With over 65,000 works in its permanent collection, the DIA ranks in the top six among America’s finest art museums. In fact, it was named America’s best earlier this year in the annual reader’s poll by USA Today. For National Go to an Art Museum Day, you’ll want to see some of the museum’s most notable artworks. First on your list should be Diego Rivera’s stunning “Detroit Industry Murals” that cover the walls inside the Rivera Court. That’s not to mention other priceless works like van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” and Rembrandt’s “The Visitation”, among others. Likewise, you should see Kehinde Wiley’s “Officer of the Hussars” and a cast of Rodin’s “The Thinker” at the entrance.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90036
(323) 857-6000

With over 150,000 works in its collection, LAMCA is the largest art museum in the western U.S. That should be enough of a reason to visit this popular art museum along LA’s Museum Row.  But even before you walk in (or after) you should stop by Chris Burden’s “Urban Light”, a very popular spot for selfies and Instagrammers. In addition, another outdoor art installation is “Levitated Mass”, also popular for anyone with a smartphone. As for interior highlights, make sure to see Matisse’s “La Gerbe” and Rivera’s “Portrait of Frida Kahlo” and “Flower Day”.

The Met is one of the best art museums in America
The Met (credit: Randy Yagi)

Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY  10028
(212) 535-7710

When talking about the America’s best art museums, the first to consider is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not only is it the largest art museum in the Americas, it’s among the world’s most visited. Yet with more than two million objects in its collection, you’ll probably need to spend more than a day to see the Met in its entirety. However, with a bit of planning, you can see many highlights in a single visit. Among the notables are van Gogh’s “Self Portrait with a Straw Hat”, Monet’s “Water Lilies” and “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. In addition, don’t forget to see Vermeer’s “Woman with a Water Jug” and Of course, there is much more to see, including ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and the largest Egyptian artwork outside of Cairo.

Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)

465 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA  02115
(617) 267-9300

Even before you walk into Boston’s top museum, you’ll see one of its top attractions. Indeed, in the front of MFA you can see the iconic “Appeal to the Great Spirit” equestrian statue. On the other hand, for Go to an Art Museum Day, there’s much more to see inside the Museum of Fine Arts. For one, MFA has the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Secondly, it holds a prestigious collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. This includes such works as Monet’s “Water Lily Pond”, Renoir’s “Dance at Bougival” and van Gogh’s “Postman Joseph Roulin”. That’s to say nothing of its American art collection, with masterpieces like Gilbert Stuart’s “George Washington” and Homer Winslow’s “Fog Warning”.

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van Gogh's Starry Night at MoMA
Starry Night (credit: Randy Yagi)

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

11 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY  10019
(212) 708-9400

For art lovers visiting New York, no trip would be complete without visiting MoMA. After all, it’s the world’s most influential modern art museum and among the most visited. Set in Midtown Manhattan near Fifth Avenue, MoMA holds about 200,000 items in its collection. This includes some of the world’s most famous paintings, including van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” and Rousseau’s “The Dream”. That’s not to mention more highlights like Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and “Gold Marilyn Monroe” and Monet’s enormous “Water Lilies”. With all this and more, MoMA will be very busy on National Go to an Art Museum Day.

National Gallery of Art

Sixth and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC  20565
(202) 737-4215

Of all art museums in America, the National Gallery may be the most visited. What’s more, as a national museum, attendance is free and, in this case, no advance tickets are required. With a collection of over 150,000 artworks, there are many important items for you to consider. Among these are Georgia O’Keefe’s “Shell No. 1”, Cassat’s “Children Playing on the Beach” and da Vinci’s “Ginerva de’ Benc”. In fact, the latter is the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and one of his three surviving portraits of women. In addition are more masterpieces, like Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance”, Jackson Pollock’s “No. 1” and Picasso’s “Family of Saltiumbanques”.

Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMoA)

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA  19130

The City of Brotherly Love is a great location to celebrate National Go to an Art Museum Day. Of the many choices, the Museum of Art should be first on your list. Indeed, before you even walk through the doors, you can see some of Philadelphia’s most popular attractions. In some detail, you get to walk up the famous Rocky Steps, from the original “Rocky” movie from 1976. At the top of the stairs, you can enjoy the views before taking a photo in front of the Rocky statue. Finally, inside the Greek-Revival style museum, make sure Renoir’s “Large Bathers”, van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” and Vermeer’s “Lady with a Guitar”. Lastly, if you have time, try to also top by the Rodin Museum, an extension of PMoA.

Exterior of SFMOMA
SFMOMA (credit: Randy Yagi)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

151 Third St.
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 357-4000

The oldest modern art museum on the West Coast, SFMOMA is likely your first stop amongst all museums in San Francisco. Just a few blocks from busy Market Street, it’s one of the country’s largest modern art museums, covering 225,000 square feet of space. This includes 45,000 square feet of free public art space and a new 10-story extension. Among the notable art you may wish to see are Warhol’s “Triple Elvis”, Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat” and through January, Rivera’s “Pan American Unity”. Equally important is a visit to the Legion of Honor, with a sizable collection of European art.

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Gardens at the Getty Center, a top art museum
Getty Center Gardens (credit: Randy Yagi)

The Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA  90049
(310) 440-7300

While you might not be able to visit LACMA on the same day, the Getty Center is an absolute must see if you’re an art lover. Besides, it has easy access off the 405, has ample parking and a tram to take you to the entrance. If that’s not enough, there is no admission fee to the Getty but instead would pay a parking fee if you’re driving. The primary location of the J. Paul Getty Museum, it offers a full day to enjoy art and its spectacular outdoor space. Among the most important art paintings to see are “Rembrandt Laughing”, Canaletto’s “Grand Canal, Venice and Gaugin’s “Royal End”. However, what’s likely the most celebrated painting at the Getty Center is van Gogh’s “Irises”. If you time permits, you may also wish to visit the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

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About The Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget,, and He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.