The-Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art,-New-York-City most visited museums

(English) 18 Most Visited Museums in The World and Their Free-Admission Days


Do you know whIch are the most vIsIted museums In the world?

Museums are no doubt among the most popular attractions for travelers in cities around the world. The museums show every kind of appreciation: art, history, science, culture.

And some of them are really well-curated, enhancing the learning experience. Here are the most popular museums that attract visitors from every part of the world and their free admission conditions.

1) The Louvre, Paris with 8.1 million visitors


The official name of the museum is Great Louvre in English or Grand Louvre in French. It is the national museum and art gallery of France and is on the top of the list of the most visited museums in the world. The museum itself is offering works from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th century.

This place is great to trace the Revolutions of 1848. Also, you will find masterpieces from Italian Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most popular one – and from the Baroque period.

The Louvre is open every day except Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It has night opening until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday and Fridays. Morning hours and the night openings are the best time for visiting the museum if you want to wait for less and have free space in the museum.

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Free admission: On the first Saturday of each month, the museum is open from 6 p.m to 9:45 p.m. and admission is free for all visitors.

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2) National Museum of China, Beijing with 8.063 million visitors

National-Museum-of-China most visited museums

Just next to Tiananmen Square and opposite to the Great Hall of People, National Museum of China is one of the top attractions in Beijing. It came into existence with the unification of two previous museums: National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution. After the expansion project that ended in 2010, NMC has become the largest museum in the world.

With a collection of more than a million items, NMC has 48 exhibition halls in total. It is the perfect place to explore Chinese history and art such as porcelain, jade, calligraphy, Buddhist statues and various forms of other cultural treasures. There are also temporary modern art exhibitions from time to time.

National Museum of China is open every day except Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission is at 4:40 p.m.

Free admission: There is no free admission option for adults but children not higher than 1.3m who are accompanied by an adult may enter without a ticket. Various exhibitions are free of charge and they can be visited during opening hours.

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3) National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. with 7 million visitors

National-Air-and-Space-Museum,-Washington,-D.C. most visited museums

National Air and Space Museum belongs to the Smithsonian Institution. Every year it invites its visitors to the history of air and space travel with significant icons. The flagship shaped building on the National Mall contains 23 galleries that exhibit interesting examples of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts.

National Air and Space Museum is also home to various research centers of history and science of spaceflight, planetary science, and terrestrial geology and geophysics. The museum has a planetarium and an IMAX theater for virtual experiences.

National Air and Space Museum is open every day except for the 25th of December. The regular admission hours are from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Free admission: The museum offers free admission. There is a charge of $15 for parking.

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4) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City with 7 million visitors


Located on 5th Avenue, MET is the largest art museum in the United States. The collection includes more than two million pieces, divided among seventeen departments. The museum has collections of art from the entire world in various periods, from classical antiquity to modern American art. It has extensive holdings from African, European, Oceanian, Byzantine and Islamic art.

The museum has two other locations, The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters which are accessible by the same ticket.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open seven days a week. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May. Admission hours are 10 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Free admission: For New York State residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students, admission is “pay as you wish”. But for the visitors outside New York State, there is a mandatory fee of $25 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+) and $12 for students. Free admission is for members and children below 12.

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5) The Vatican Museum, Rome with 6.4 million visitors

The-Vatican-Museum,-Rome most visited museums

The Vatican Museum is mainly a Christian art museum located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City in Rome. First founded in the early 16th century by Pope Julius II, it is one of the most impressive museums in the world. It has fifty-four galleries, including the Sistine Chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museum displays works from the enormous collection collected by popes throughout the centuries. The museum includes the most famous and valuable masterpieces of Roman sculptures and Renaissance art. The museum contains roughly 70000 works, of which 20000 are on display.

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The last admission is at 4 p.m.

Free admission: Last Sunday of the month, World Tourism Day (27th of September). Admission is also free for children below 6.

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6) Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Shanghai with 6.4 million visitors


One of the main attractions of China, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum has the theme of ‘Nature, People, and Science’, promoting science and education. Though it is considered quite attractive for children, it is appealing to everyone who wants to learn more about science.

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum has the shape of a spiral, symbolizing scientific progress. It is composed of five main exhibition halls named after Heaven and Earth, Life, Wisdom, Creation and Future.

The opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 5.15 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays except for national holidays.

Free admission: For seniors above 70 years old, retired veteran cadres, military personnel, disabled people and family of martyrs. Also, admission is free for children under 1.3 meters, with the condition of being accompanied by an adult.

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7) The National Gallery, London with 6 million visitors

The-National-Gallery,-London most visited museums

Located on Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery is one of the best museums in the UK and one of the most visited art museums in the world. The National Gallery was founded in 1824 with the British government’s purchase of 38 paintings from the heirs of a collector businessman. The museum was shaped mainly by its early directors.

The National Gallery now hosts a precious collection dating from the mid-13th century to 20th, exhibiting many European masterpieces such as Venus and Mars by Botticelli and Sunflowers by Van Gogh. It is a nice place to trace the development of Western European painting.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Fridays, until 9 p.m.

Free admission: The museum offers free admission.

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8) National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. with 6 million visitors

National-Museum-of-Natural-History,-Washington-D.C. popular museums 

Just like the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History also belongs to the Smithsonian Institute. It was opened in 1910 to promote the discovery and the education of the natural world.

The museum is an enormous building with a green dome. The museum’s collections are about the history of the planet and human interaction with the environment. Hope Diamond and a dinosaur fossil hall are among the main attractions to be seen. It is overwhelming and dazzling.

The museum is open every day of the year except for on the 25th of December. The regular admission hours are 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., but hours are extended during the spring and summer with a closing time of 7:30 p.m.

Free admission: The admission is free.

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9) The British Museum, London with 5.9 million visitors


The British Museum is the first national public museum in the world. It was opened with the effort of the physician, naturalist, and collector Sir Hans Sloane. Since the museum was founded in 1753, it has granted free admission to all ‘studious and curious persons’.

With a collection of around 8 million objects about history, culture, and art, the British Museum is a treasure for anyone interested in the history of humanity. In addition, in 2009, the Museum was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard Certificate for its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. On Fridays until 8.30 p.m. The Museum is closed on 1st of January, Good Friday (in April) and 24th, 25th and 26th December. 

Free admission: The admission is free.

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10) Tate Modern, London with 5.6 million visitors

tate-modern art gallery museum

Tate Modern was named after Henry Tate, an industrialist who offered his collection of British nineteenth-century art to the nation and provided funding for the first Tate Gallery. It was opened in 1897 with a humble collection of British artworks. As years passed, it has become one of the most popular museums in the UK.

Today Tate Museum exhibits many beautiful works of international modern and contemporary art. The museum also includes some pieces by Picasso, Rothko, Dali, and Matisse. It is definitely worth visiting.

Tate Modern is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Sunday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the opening hours are extended until 10 p.m.

Free admission: The admission is free.

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11) National Palace Museum, Taipei with 5.4 million visitors


The National Palace Museum was originally founded within Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, but following the government relocation in 1949, the present-day museum moved to Taipei’s Shilin District. It opened its doors to the public in 1965.

The museum has a wide collection of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, based on the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The museum is one of the largest of its type in the world. So, the people who are interested in Chinese culture and history are highly recommended to visit the National Palace Museum. It is never disappointing.

NPM is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. all year round. On Fridays and Saturdays, it is open until 9 p.m.

Free admission: Admission is free for all the visitors below 17. Also, disabled people and their accompaniers, the Taiwanese citizens above 65 (only on weekdays) and Taiwanese students meet the free admission requirements.

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12) National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. with 5.2 million visitors


Established in 1937, the National Gallery of Art was the joint action of the United States Congress. The Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts shows the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present.

The gallery occasionally hosts temporary special exhibitions from the world. The museum has a Sculpture Garden attached to it. In total, the National Gallery of Art is one of the largest museums in North America.

The admission is between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the gallery is open between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Gallery is closed December 25 and January 1.

Free admission: The museum offers free admission.

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13) National Museum of American History, Washington D.C with 4 million visitors


Being another Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of American History is one of the most popular museums in the USA. The museum traces the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history. There are many reasons why it attracts so many visitors around the world.

The museum includes many presidential artifacts such as the hat Lincoln had worn on the night that he was assassinated. The original Star-Spangled Banner of the United States is exhibited in the museum as well. There is a cooking workshop, an exhibition on American transportation and business, also a part called Wegmans Wonderplace, an exhibition designed for children below 6.

The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except for December 25.

Free admission: Admission is free.

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14) Natural History Museum, London with 4.6 Million Visitors

Natural-History-Museum,-London most visited museum

Located on the Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum is one of the most breathtaking places in which the scientific and natural history of humankind is displayed. The museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of natural treasures. It has more than eighty million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.

Natural History Museum is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons. Besides, one of the most attractive sides of the museum is the exhibition for the specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The Darwin Center is a recent addition to the museum as a modern facility for valuable collections.

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed between 24th and 26th of December.

Free admission: Admission is free.

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15) The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg with 4.1 Million Visitors


The State Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from a merchant. That’s why the museum celebrates the anniversary of its founding each year on the 7th December, Saint Catherine’s Day. The State Hermitage Museum has been open to the public since 1852. Now it is considered as the second-largest art museum in the world.

The museum has more than three million items, but only some parts are on permanent display. It has one of the largest collections of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. The museum has several exhibition centers abroad.

The museum is open from 10.10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Tuesday and Sunday. The closing hour is extended to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. The museum is closed on Mondays as well as January 1st and May 9th.

Free admission: The admission is free for children and students. The third Thursday of every month, March 8, May 18 and December 7 are the dates which offer free admission to all visitors.

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16) Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid with 3.3 Million Visitors


With its building of a former general hospital, now Museo Reina Sofia is one of the most popular museums in Europe. The museum is mainly dedicated to 20th-century Spanish art. The main attractions include wonderful collections of two Spanish masters Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Picasso’s well-known painting Guernica is exhibited in the museum.

Not only the Spanish artists but also the works by international artists such as Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Rene Magritte, and Vasily Kandinsky are on display. Museo Reina Sofia is a must-visit for art lovers from all around the world.

Museo Reina Sofia’s working hours are between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Free admission: On April 18th, May 18th, October 12th., and December 6th, the admission is free. Apart from these dates, free admission conditions apply to some groups of visitors including children below 18, students below 25, seniors above 65, disabled people, officially unemployed people, journalists, teachers.

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17) Science Museum, London with 3.2 Million Visitors


Science Museum is one of the three major museums on the Exhibition Road. The others are the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. It was founded in 1857. Science Museum now holds a collection of a considerable number of items, such as the famous items like Stephenson’s RocketPuffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), the first jet engine, the Apollo 10 command module, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson’s model of DNA and some of the earliest remaining steam engines.

The museum tells the story of the Industrial Revolution as well as the story of the Information Age of our day. The museum has also a large library dedicated to scientific periodicals and publishing.

One of the most visited museums, Science Museum is open daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Last entry is at 5.15 p.m. The museum is closed between December 24th and 26th.

Free admission: Entry to the museum is free, donations are welcomed. A ticket is only required for some special events and organizations.

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18) Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris with 3.2 Million Visitors


The last one of the most visited museums, Center Pompidou is a complex building, one of the most iconic of 4th arrondissement in Paris. Designed in high-tech architectural style, the museum is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building.

“I passionately want Paris to have a cultural center which will be both a museum and a creative center.” These were Pompidou’s words to declare the project. Today the museum attracts many visitors as a wide collection of European modern and contemporary art.

The Centre Pompidou is open every day except for Tuesdays and 1st of May. The opening hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but exhibition areas close at 9 p.m. The exhibitions on level 6 are open until 11 p.m. on Thursdays. Ticket offices shut one hour before closing time.

Free admission: On the first Sunday of every month, admission to the museum, the View of Paris and the Galerie des enfants is free for every visitor.

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