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America's Top 10 Best Museums

As the end of summer approaches, thoughts may be – however regretfully – turning away from beaches, baseball and barbecues to more cultural pursuits. Just in time for the first chill of autumn, TripAdvisor has released its list of the top museums across America.

If you’re in New York or Washington, D.C., you’ll have plenty of choices – the two cities together are home to half of the top 10 on this year’s list. Top honors go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and that city’s Frick Collection and American Museum of National History came in at Nos. 7 and 10 respectively. In our nation’s capital, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art came in at Nos. 5 and 6.

“This is really an award from travelers,” said TripAdvisor spokesperson Kevin Carter. “Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews [on TripAdvisor's site]… gathered over a 12-month period.”

High praise goes to the Metropolitan. “Since 1870, this iconic institution on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has strived to ‘connect people to creativity, knowledge and ideas’ through art,’” says TripAdvisor.

Even if New York and D.C. get much of the glory on this Top 10 list, other museum towns around the country have plenty to be proud of. Also included are the Art Institute of Chicago, National World War II Museum in New Orleans and the Getty Center in Los Angeles (at Nos. 2, 3 and 4 respectively), plus Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle (No. 8) and the U.S.S. Midway Museum in San Diego (No. 9).

Among TripAdvisor’s top 25, the D.C. area is the clear winner, home to more than one-fifth of the top 25, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (No. 12), Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (No. 18), the Newseum (No. 19), all in the District, plus the additional location of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in nearby Chantilly, Va. (No. 24). And all of the Smithsonian museums are free to enter.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also came in No. 1 among the ratings of international museums, beating out top Parisian museums (Musée d’Orsay and Louvre, Nos. 2 and 5 respectively) and the Prado in Madrid (No. 4). The Art Institute of Chicago was No. 3 in the international survey. For a complete list of winners worldwide, visit TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards page.