This list includes extraordinary museums work hard to preserve art, culture and history in unique and sometimes unusual ways. Surprise your partner with a romantic evening at the California Academy of Sciences with a planetarium show and a behind-the-scenes tour.
For a touch of adventure, explore the International Spy Museum and find out how spying has evolved over time.
1. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas
When an iconic Las Vegas neon sign is taken down, it often ends up at the Neon Museum located in Downtown Las Vegas.
Founded in 1996, the museum rescues retired signs and makes them available to the public through an hour-long guided tour, offered seven days a week. Take a walk though history as you view the collection of 150 signs which date from the 1930s to the present.
It's a good idea to book the tour ahead of time because spaces are usually limited.
770 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-387-6366
2. Society of Illustrators in New York
© Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators, located on the Upper East Side in New York City, features 2,000 works by famous illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Bernie Fuchs and Brad Holland.
See your favorite children’s books illustrations, historical works, films and special exhibitions at this unique museum. The Society of Illustrators was founded in 1901.
128 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065, Phone: 212-838-2560
More places to visit: 25 Best Things To Do in Brooklyn.
3. Museum of Food and Drink, Brooklyn, NY
© Museum of Food and Drink
Brooklyn‘s Museum of Food and Drink (Mofad) is a new kind of museum which endeavors to use the universal love of food and drink to introduce visitors to various cultures. Food and drink forms an integral part of everyone’s existence and learning about the influences of different cultures on foods we take for granted is hoped to bring people of widely different outlooks closer together. As you make your way through the museum you will encounter exhibits which you can see, smell and even taste. You will learn about where your food comes from, how to preserve it and, most importantly, how to enjoy it to the fullest.
Museum of Food and Drink, 62 Bayard St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, 718 387 2845
4. The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC
© The International Spy Museum
Fans of Mission: Impossible and Goldfinger can take a tour of the International Spy Museum and see the largest collection of espionage artifacts available to the public.
In-depth exhibits showcase tools, outfits and techniques used by individual spies. Some extraordinary items on display include the lipstick pistol, miniature cameras and concealment devices.
700 L'Enfant Plaza, SW Washington DC 20024, Phone: 202-393-7798
Romantic weekend ideas: Best Romantic Things to Do in Washington, D.C..
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5. The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh
© The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh
The Andy Warhol Museum features an impressive collection of the artist’s works, including 900 paintings, 100 sculptures, prints, photographs, works on paper, wallpaper, books, film and video work.
You will get to see Warhol’s entire life though his art, beginning with the student years.
This museum is a must-see for everyone interested in contemporary art and culture. More info
117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, Phone: 412-237-8300
What to do Next Weekend: 28 Best Things to Do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
6. The Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
© The Metal Museum
The Metal Museum is dedicated to metal art and craft, offering exhibitions, classes and educational programs.
The permanent collection includes diverse pieces of art from different time periods, including Renaissance-era door knockers, farm tools and contemporary sculptures.
The beautiful outdoor Sculpture Garden showcases bronze and steel artwork surrounded by flowers.
Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive, Memphis, TN 38106, Phone: 901-774-6380
Vacation ideas for foodies: 10 Must-Try Lunch & Dinner Spots in Memphis.
7. Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia
© Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia
Dedicated to the art of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, Woodmere is located in a 19th-century Victorian mansion on six acres.
The museum houses a permanent collection which consists of 3,000 works of world-class paintings, sculpture and other art.
There is also the Helen Millard Children’s Gallery and temporary exhibitions.
9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118, Phone: 215-247-0476
More ideas: Best Museum Restaurants
8. The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Vermont
© The Brattleboro Museum
The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is housed in a former train station, complete with a ticket window, views of the tracks and original marble steps.
The museum presents art exhibits and events designed to be thought-provoking and educational in a historical setting. More ideas: 18 Best Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vermont
10 Vernon Dr, Brattleboro, VT 05301, Phone: 802-257-0124
9. Museum of Ice Cream
With four separate locations in the US, you will never be too far from a wonderful Museum of Ice Cream. There is a Museum of Ice Cream in NYC, Miami, Chicago and Austin and you will be the most popular parent in town when you take the family to have a fun day out at any of them. Visitors get to learn all about the history of ice cream by making their way through 12 multisensory installations and visitors of all ages will have loads of fun taking part in various guided activities. The best part is that you can eat endless amounts of ice cream all day long.
Museum of Ice Cream, 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012,
866 665 1018
10. The Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio, Texas
© Linda Pace Foundation
The Linda Pace Foundation features a permanent collection of local, regional and national foremost artists. The museum presents a series of thought-provoking exhibitions which consist of a variety of media.
The foundation hosts live performances, artist talks and other programs.
111 Camp Street, San Antonio, TX 78204, Phone: 405-604-2793
11. National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin
© National Mustard Museum
Visit the National Mustard Museum where you can admire a collection of over 5,500 mustards from the 50 U.S. states as well as 70 countries around the world.
The antique mustard pots from the Gibbons Collection are a must-see. Admission is free but you will probably end up spending money at the gift shop which sells a variety of delicious mustard goods.
Plan a trip on National Mustard Day (the first Saturday in August) and eat free hot dogs, play mustard games and listen to live music. More info
7477 Hubbard Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562, Phone: 608-831-2222
12. The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami
© The Wolfsonian
The Wolfsonian houses a collection of 120,000 objects dating from 1885 to 1945, including furniture, rare books, paintings, medals and textiles, as well as works in glass, ceramics and metal.
The museum aims to inspire visitors to contemplate the changes that have taken place in the world by studying historical art and design.
1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, Phone: 305-531-1001
13. American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City
© American Banjo Museum
The American Banjo Museum is a 16,000-square-foot gallery spanning two floors, dedicated to the history of the instrument. The first floor of the museum serves as an introduction to banjo’s history and art.
The second floor continues to tell the story about the people and instruments that have shaped banjo music through time. More info
9 East Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, Phone: 405-604-2793
14. Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame
© Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame
Visit the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame on your weekend trip from New York or Boston. The exhibit celebrates 200 years of Rhode Island’s musical history, showcasing artifacts and audio recordings.
Every year, new artists are inducted during a two-day event. More info
999 Main Street #100, Pawtucket, RI 02860, Phone: 401-225-8860
Weekend & Day trip ideas: Weekend Getaways from New York City.
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15. NightLife VIP Tour at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
© The California Academy of Sciences
Couples can go on a VIP tour at the California Academy of Sciences which lets them skip the line, enjoy drinks & snacks in a reserved area, take a one-hour tour of the gem & mineral collection, visit the rainforest, interact with scientists, and watch the evening show at the Planetarium.
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, Phone: 415-379-8000
California getaways: 45 Best Weekend Getaways from San Francisco.
16. Randyland, Pittsburgh
Randyland has been a prominent North Side landmark since 1995, when Randy Gilson, a local waiter, bought a couple of neglected old buildings and set about turning them into a remarkable art center. The center is dedicated to showcasing found objects and showing visitors how just about everything can be turned into an art form. Vibrant murals cover the walls of the all-outdoor museum and guests are welcome to walk around and explore at their own pace. There is no charge to visit this eclectic little patch but guests are very welcome to make a donation towards the running costs.
Randyland, 1501 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, 412 342 8152
17. The Museum of Flight, Seattle
The Museum of Flight in South Seattle is the largest non-profit air and space museum in the world. Home to a magnificent collection of aircrafts and space craft, the museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone coming to Seattle. The collection came about due to the efforts of a small band of aeronautic enthusiasts back in 1964, and it found a permanent home in the Boeing Red Barn, which was the original home of the Boeing Company for many decades. Just a few of the exhibit highlights include an Albatross from WWI, an Aeronca L-3B from WWII and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Boeing B-29 Superfortress, both from WWII.
The Museum of Flight
, 9404 E. Marginal Way, South Seattle, WA 98108, 206 764 5700
18. The Skyscraper Museum, New York
Located in the world’s original skyscraper city, the fascinating Skyscraper Museum showcases New York’s architectural heritage and the historic facts and people who turned the city into the world’s first vertical landscape. The various exhibits delve deep into the multiple facets which come together to produce a very tall building – these include design, technology, construction methods and more. The museum hosts regular exhibitions, lectures and family programs aimed at educating the public about skyscrapers and their role in defining cities like New York, Singapore, Dubai and many other populous cities. They also host guided walks and offer a wealth of information for enthusiasts who would like to learn more.
The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, Battery Park, New York 10280, 212 968 1961
19. Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
© Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition celebrates and showcases the remarkable talents of multi-award winning glass artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition is located at the Seattle Center where you will find 8 galleries filled with his vibrant works of art. In addition, Dale worked closely with landscapers to design a lush garden landscape in which to display his glass sculptures and a magnificent 40-foot tall glasshouse, filled with a mind-boggling 100 foot long suspended glass flower installation. Guests usually find that they can spend several hours in the garden and the galleries. There is also a theatre where you can watch short videos describing the artist’s work processes.
Chihuly Garden and Glass, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109, 206 753 4940
20. World of Coca Cola, Atlanta
If you have ever wondered what goes into producing a bottle of your favorite soft drink, a visit to the fascinating World of Coca Cola will reveal all. You will get to learn all about the history of the world’s most popular beverage, follow your nose around the Scent Discovery experience and meet the friendly polar bear mascot. There is a theatre where you can watch some very special Coca Cola moments, and you can visit the famous Chamber of the Secret Formula and several other interactive exhibits. Once you have finished exploring you get to the most important parts – the tasting and the store.
World of Coca Cola, 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, 404 676 5151
21. Museum of Death, New Orleans
© Museum of Death, New Orleans
If you are fascinated by the macabre and are an avid follower of murder and serial-killer stories, you will definitely enjoy a visit to the Museum of Death in New Orleans. This most unusual museum started off as a collection of “artworks” produced by convicted serial killers in prison. Eventually the founders of the museum, J D Healy and Catherine Schultz, were successful in obtaining a substantial collection of artifacts which were auctioned by the police after the Heaven’s Gate cult suicide investigation. Highlights of the museum include baby coffins, explicit photographs of slain humans, post-mortem videos and even a suicide machine.
Museum of Death, 227 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112, 04 593 3968
22. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest art museums in the US. The museum opened in 1959 in a landmark New York building designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. At the heart of the museum visitors can admire some of the abstract contemporary artworks which first peaked Solomon Guggenheims interest and led to him amassing his remarkable art collection, which boasts more than 8000 items. The museum holds regular exhibitions featuring priceless works of art by renowned artists such as Picasso, Degas, Manet and many of their contemporaries as well as emerging modern artists from around the globe.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, 212 423 3500
23. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island, Florida
© Joseph Creamer/stock.adobe.com
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is without doubt one of the most memorable museums you will ever visit. The fascinating exhibits at the center have been cleverly grouped in chronological order, giving visitors and overview of how space exploration has developed over the decades. You can learn about all the legends and heroes of NASA’s early programs and meet an actual astronaut, take a guided tour of some historic launch sites and see the enormous Saturn V Moon Rocket and the Space Shuttle Atlantis on display. There are many interactive exhibits to enjoy along the way and there are also several other immersive experiences which enthusiasts can add to their tour.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953, 855 433 4210
More ideas: Solomon’s Castle
24. Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans
© Southern Food and Beverage Museum
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a must-visit attraction for everyone visiting New Orleans. The museum is affectionately known as Sofab to the locals and incorporates several fun food and beverage experiences, including the chance to learn how to cook an authentic gumbo in the Gumbo Garden. Cocktail lovers can spend some time learning all about the origins of the American Cocktail and how to craft your own signature cocktails when you get back home. You can also learn all about Absinthe, which was once a banned drink but has once again found acceptance. The museum hosts regular cookery classes for adults and children as well as special exhibits and lectures.
Southern Food and Beverage Museum, 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113, 504 569 0405
25. Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Hawaii
© Ryan Tishken/stock.adobe.com
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial recalls the moment when the fateful Japanese air strike on Pearl Harbor killed thousands of Americans and caused the US to enter WWII in 1941. The National Memorial encompasses the open-air Pearl Harbor Visitors Center, 2 amazing museums (Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum), the memorials to USS Arizona, USS Utah and USS Oklahoma as well as several mooring quays, residential bungalows and other historic features of Battleship Row. The Memorial Park is filled with interesting historic audio tours and virtual experiences and you probably need to set aside several hours for your visit.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI 96818, 909 422 3399
The 25 of the Coolest Museums in the USA & Fun things to do near me today:
- 1. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas
- 2. Society of Illustrators in New York
- 3. Museum of Food and Drink, Brooklyn, NY
- 4. The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC
- 5. The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh
- 6. The Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
- 7. Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia
- 8. The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Vermont
- 9. Museum of Ice Cream
- 10. The Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio, Texas
- 11. National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin
- 12. The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami
- 13. American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City
- 14. Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame
- 15. NightLife VIP Tour at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
- 16. Randyland, Pittsburgh
- 17. The Museum of Flight, Seattle
- 18. The Skyscraper Museum, New York
- 19. Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
- 20. World of Coca Cola, Atlanta
- 21. Museum of Death, New Orleans
- 22. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
- 23. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island, Florida
- 24. Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans
- 25. Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Hawaii