VACATION IDEAS

Photos: World's Most Beautiful Museums

No big city vacation is complete without a visit to a beautiful museum. Our favorite collections combine great locations—like Central Park, central Paris, or the Pacific Coast—with iconic, inspiring works of art.

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Monday, Dec 31, 2012, 11:00 PM

Source Article: Photos: World's Most Beautiful Museums

The Louvre, Paris

The Louvre museum, in Paris, was once a fortress, then a palace, before it housed one of the world's most beautiful art collections.

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Louvre Museum

The Louvre features more oh-I-recognize-that pieces of art than any other museum in the world.

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Louve Museum, Paris

Even the architecture at the Louvre is eye-catching and beautiful.

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The Getty Center in Los Angeles, Calif

The J. Paul Getty collection in Los Angeles is a relative youngster among beautiful museums founded in the 1970s.

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The Getty Center - Los Angeles

The Getty combines old-world art with views of the Pacific Ocean.

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The Getty Research Center - Los Angeles

The Getty's design is as inspiring as its art collection.

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NYC: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City, houses the largest art collection in the U.S.

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Temple of Dendur in Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met's Temple of Dendur is a favorite of visitors.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art Great Hall

The Great Hall at the Met features fresh flower displays that change with the seasons.

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Rijksmuseum reflected in the pool, Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, reflected in a pool.

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Rijksmusem, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Rijksmusem has an unparalleled collection of Dutch masters' paintings.

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The New Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Cyclists enjoy a ride past the newly renovated Rijksmuseum.

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Hermitage in Saint-Petersburg

The Hermitage, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was founded by Catherine the Great.

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Ancient art in State Hermitage. Saint Petersburg

The Hermitage combines ancient collections with masterpieces of European art.

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Interior of State Hermitage. Saint Petersburg

The Hermitage occupies several buildings that were once part of the Russian emperors' property.

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Courtyard of Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museums, in Vatican City, offer one of the most extensive art collections on earth.

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Staircases of the Vatican Museums

Staircases of the Vatican Museums.

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Archway in the Vatican Museums

A noteworthy archway in the Vatican Museums.

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Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum in the Kensington neighborhood of London.

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Victoria and Albert Museum Art Gallery

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a magnet for art and history buffs.

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Victoria and Albert Musuem

London's Victoria and Albert Museum is named for its long-reigning 19th-century queen and her husband, Prince Albert.

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The British Museum in London

The British Museum in London boasts a collection drawn from Britain's colonial history.

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British Museum London England

Detail of the facade of the British Museum, with the bas reliefs on its top entrance and its ionic columns.

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British museum in London

Admission to the British Museum is free!

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Art Institute of Chicago - the Modern Wing.

The Art Institute of Chicago's modern wing.

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The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is located in Grant Park.

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Art Institute of Chicago - the Modern Wing.

Another view of the Art Institute of Chicago's imaginatively designed modern wing.

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Guggenheim Musem, NYC

The Guggenheim in New York City has one of the most distinctive designs of any structure in the world.

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Ceiling of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City

The ceiling of the Guggenheim is worth a neck-craning look up.

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The Guggenheim, New York City

The Guggenheim is just up the avenue from the Met, part of New York City's famed Museum Mile.

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Moma museum, New York

The Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, traces the evolution of art from the 19th century to the present day.

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Museum of Modern Art

MOMA draws crowds to its retrospective exhibitions, films, and other events.

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MOMA interior

Recent expansions have created more space to show the extensive collection at MOMA.

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The National Gallery, Washington DC

The pyramid of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC.

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National Gallery of Art , Washington DC

The west building at the National Gallery of Art.

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East Building of the US National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The dramatic facade of the National Gallery's east building.

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Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The garden at the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam, draws visitors year-round, but especially in spring.

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Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

There's always a bustle in Museum Square, with the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum to attract the crowds.

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Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum is a memorial to the distinctive artist whose work heavily influenced 20th-century modernism.

(Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam/Wikimedia)

Egyptian Museum in Cairo with great sphinx at the entrance of the museum.

The iconic sphinx outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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Egyptian Museum

Though many treasures of ancient Egypt were taken to far-flung museums the world over, the Egyptian Museum's collection is thorough and captivating.

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Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum was founded in 1858.

(Dennis Jarvis/Wikimedia.com)

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