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. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.The Neon Museum in Las Vegas
© The Neon Museum
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
More trip ideas: Great Las Vegas Vacation Ideas.
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.The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh
© The Andy Warhol Museum, Photo by Abby Warhola
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.
117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, Phone: 412-237-8300
What to do Next Weekend: 28 Best Things to Do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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.
800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 0004, Phone: 202-393-7798
Romantic weekend ideas: 27 Best Romantic Things to Do in Washington, D.C..
5.The Goss-Michael Foundation Collection in Dallas
© The Goss-Michael Foundation Collection
The Goss-Michael Foundation Collection is a private art collection featuring 500 works by 100 contemporary British artists.
Michael and Goss have personally assembled a collection of innovative paintings, sculpture and other pieces which fit together to tell a story.
1305 Wycliff Avenue Suite 120, Dallas, TX 75207, Phone: 214-696-0555
More vacation destination: 23 Best Things to Do in Dallas, Texas.
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.
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
Great getaways: 25 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia.
, From LA
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.MOBA in Boston
The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) lets you observe art with a sense of humor. Despite its name, the purpose of the museum is not to criticize but rather to help visitors appreciate the artist's efforts.
Perhaps it can serve as an inspiration to those who feel that their paintings are never good enough.
9 E Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73014, Phone: 781-444-6757
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. Read more
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. Read more
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.
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.
999 Main Street #100, Pawtucket, RI 02860, Phone: 401-225-8860
Weekend & Day trip ideas: Weekend Getaways from New York City.
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 (from $59 per person) 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.
15 of the Coolest Museums
- The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Photo: The Neon Museum
- Society of Illustrators in New York, Photo: Society of Illustrators
- The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Photo: The Andy Warhol Museum, Photo by Abby Warhola
- The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, Photo: The International Spy Museum
- The Goss-Michael Foundation Collection in Dallas, Photo: The Goss-Michael Foundation Collection
- The Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, Photo: The Metal Museum
- Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, Photo: Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia
- The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Vermont, Photo: The Brattleboro Museum
- MOBA in Boston, Photo: MOBA
- The Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, Photo: Linda Pace Foundation
- National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, Photo: National Mustard Museum
- The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami, Photo: The Wolfsonian
- American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City, Photo: American Banjo Museum
- Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, Photo: Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame
- NightLife VIP Tour at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Photo: The California Academy of Sciences
- Cover Photo: The Neon Museum