It’s almost summer and you know what that means… it’s road trip time!
Sure, you could drive across the US stopping at every “World’s Biggest” whatever sign. But you could make your trip a classier affair stopping at some of the best museums this great country has to offer. So start loading up the car with beef jerky, updating Google maps, and preparing your student discount cards, because we are proud to present The Ultimate Museum Road Trip.
Stop #1: Musee Mecanique, San Francisco, California
Let’s start in the state where summer is just as much a state of mind as it is a season (California) in a city where seasons are actually more of an idea than a reality (San Francisco). Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, the Musee Mecanique contains one of the largest privately owned coin-operated collections in the world. Here you can enjoy classic arcade fare like Pac Man alongside antique player pianos from the 1800s. It’s also one of the least expensive museums on the list, free to enter but the games range from 25 cents to 2 dollars.
Stop #2: The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada
Once you’ve had your fill of losing money and dodging terrifying knockoff Transformers on the strip, head on over to The Neon Museum for a look at classic neon signs from the glory days of gambling. Here you’ll stroll through the Neon Boneyard paying your respects to signs that have been lovingly rescued and restored.
Stop #3: The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, Tucson, Arizona
Go mini or go home at the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, Arizona. Here you’ll live out all our fantasies of being an all-powerful giant as you explore over 400 miniature houses and room boxes. Scenes and stories from all throughout history and the world are represented in these tiny time capsules. Plus, if you get into a Honey We Shrunk Ourselves type of situation, you’ll know exactly where to live.
Stop #4: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sure, you’ll find a lot of giant flowers here, but you’ll also get to enjoy all the landscapes, drawings, and sculptures created by Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s also the only museum in the world dedicated to an internationally known American woman artist so if you don’t know the way to Santa Fe, you should figure it out and go!
Stop #5: Art Car Museum, Houston, Texas
Called the “Art Car Capital”, Houston has more art cars than any other city. And most of these bad boys are housed in the Art Car Museum. At this one-of-a-kind location, you’ll enjoy contemporary art that focuses on all things auto, featuring the most elaborate, imaginative, and innovatively decorated cars you did see.
Stop #6: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
If you always fantasized about yee-hawing and horse wrangling all over your home on the range, you should check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Here you’ll learn all you can handle about life in the American West. You can even sign up for one their classes, where you’ll learn everything from painting to basket making to saddle crafting. Just FYI: it’s BYOCH (bring your own cowboy hat).
Stop #7: The Titanic Museum, Branson, Missouri
We all remember how the Titanic sank in Branson, Missouri in 1912, right? No, of course, we don’t. Branson may seem like a strange place to memorialize the “unsinkable” ship but whatever. At the Titanic Museum, you’ll feel like you are actually aboard the famous cruiser as you’re surrounded by real-life artifacts and a full-size replica staircase. You’ll even be issued a boarding pass of a real-life passenger and you won’t know if you died until the end of the tour. No word on if they make you kill Leonardo DiCaprio at the end or not.
Stop #8: American Writers Museum, Chicago, Illinois
If you want to celebrate an art form that’s not sculptural or pictoral, head over to Chi-town for the American Writers Museum. Here you’ll get to explore your favorite American authors and their works, from poetry, lyrics, speeches, drama, fiction, nonfiction, journalism, and more. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to write your own book about the amazing museum road trip you just went on.
Stop #9: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio
We’re pretty sure you’re not legally allowed to drive through Ohio without stopping at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Okay, so maybe it’s not illegal, but it sure would be a darn shame. At this classic hot spot, you’ll enjoy all the memorabilia and rock and roll stories you grew up, with from ABBA to ZZ Top and beyond.
Stop #10: The Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA
The Liberty Museum is devoted to honoring, duh, liberty. Here, you’ll find stories of real-life heroes, including Jackie Robinson and Nelson Mandela, as well as contemporary art and cool glass sculptures. You can also participate in a number of interactive exhibits which will help stretch your body and your mind after all those hours in the car.
Stop #11: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
An American museum road trip would not be complete without a final stop at a museum that people from all around the world flock to, The MET. Here you’ll enjoy art from all culture and time periods. Located in the gorgeous Central Park, The MET is like the mom of museums, and no trip is complete without visiting your mother. She (or the guilt) might kill you. You’ll probably be pretty tired after your insane trip, so plan a few
days to visit all of the MET’s awesome exhibits. If you’re looking for some guidance, you can even hop on one of our signature Un-highlights tours!
On the Road Again…
What do you think about our road trip? Did your favorite museum make the list?
Let us know what we’ve missed in the comments, and we just might include your fav for round two!