5-Day Itinerary to Washington DC

Five days is the perfect amount of time to soak up Washington DC. Museums alone could fill that but having a longer visit leaves room for day trips and taking your time. DC has plenty to offer from historical sites and buildings to restaurants and shopping. Regardless of your interests, there's something for everyone. Having spent quite some time in DC, I've put together an itinerary for a 5-day trip that includes everything from sightseeing to day trips. Grab a pen for notes, and keep reading…

Read More

Exploring the San Antonio Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk is not a small feat to conquer yet it’s the main point of attraction for many people who visit the city. The riverwalk is located just below street level and has it’s very own water taxi to navigate long distance destinations. Many of the things people travel to San Antonio to visit are located along or within a short distance of the riverwalk from the downtown area to the Pearl District and the four Spanish missions. Instead of sharing details on how beautiful the riverwalk is, we all know it’s gorgeous, we’ve broken it down to make planning easy. Regardless if you’re visiting San Antonio for a weekend or a week, there’s plenty to do to fill that time and no reason to leave feeling like you haven’t accomplished much.

Exploring the San Antonio Riverwalk.png

IF YOU LOVE HISTORY
The riverwalk and the Alamo tie for first place in popularity. The Alamo is a must visit for San Antonio whether you think you’ll be interested or not. If you don’t go for the history, go to be amazed that most of this “mission” is still standing after a 13-day battle 182 years ago. That alone is astonishing. The Battle at the Alamo is an important moment in Texas history marking an almost two-week long fight that a severely undermanned army of mostly volunteers fought against the Mexican regime. There were a handful of famous names that participated in the battle including Davy Crockett and James Bowie. The grounds are gorgeous and worth walking around. Tours are available if you’d like an inside look into history but anyone can walk around the common area for free.

Alamo ed.jpg

Around the corner from the Alamo is Fernando Cathedral, built in 1731. This beautiful building is the oldest standing cathedral sanctuary in the United States. If you’re up for a hike, the San Antonio Missions National Park consists of four Spanish colonial missions that stand almost exactly as they were built. These are also somewhat along the riverwalk but there are no water taxis that take tourists to them, only options on land.

IF YOU LOVE FOOD
There is a ton of food to enjoy along the Riverwalk from high-class dining to walk-up gelato stations. No one will go hungry in San Antonio, that’s for sure. A few restaurants that we will be featuring in the coming weeks include: Rita’s on the River, a Tex Mex-style restaurant featuring mind blowing guacamole and Boudro’s on the River, a Texas-style bistro with a hint of French flare featuring french fries with this chili seasoning that I cannot seem to recreate.

Boudro's on the River ed.jpg

For a more unique dining experience, The Guenther House is a popular spot for tourists and locals with great views of the river in an old private residence. The Guenther House mixes history and dining for an original experience only this old home could provide. From the charming design to a menu filled with classic southern comfort food, there’s no wonder it’s irresistible to anyone who’s familiar. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dessert every day of the week. A few items you’ll find on the menu include Buttermilk Biscuits & Country Sausage Gravy, Strawberry Waffles, Chicken Salad Sandwiches and more.

IF YOU LOVE THE ARTS
The San Antonio Museum of Art is not far from the Hotel Indigo San Antonio Riverwalk and also has its own water taxi stop. Take advantage of free admittance on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings to save a buck! The museum has a large collection of American art spanning Spanish Colonial and Latin American Folk. There are also artifacts and collections from ancient civilizations such as Rome, Greece, Egypt and China.

San Antonio Riverwalk 3.0.jpg

Right across the street from Hotel Indigo is the Southwest School of the Arts. Now a community art school, the property and building used to be a convent for Catholic nuns and a school for girls. The building is more than 150 years old and breathtaking. It's also where my cousins got married and they couldn’t have picked a better location. Finally, right across the river from Hotel Indigo is the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. You can identify this building from around the area thanks to the large dome. This is a great place to catch a show happening during your visit. They also have free movies on the plaza each month as well as free fitness classes from March through October.

San Antonio Riverwalk 6.0.jpg

IF YOU LOVE SHOPPING
La Villita (the little village) is a preserved neighborhood that Spanish soldiers built while stationed at the Alamo (source: Visit San Antonio). It’s a fun place to visit with cafes, galleries, boutiques and markets. It also has a well-known arts scene including live performances that happen regularly right on the riverwalk.

The Pearl District is a newer neighborhood at the end of the riverwalk’s water taxi line. It used to be the main brewing location for Pabst Beer and is now a mixed-use area with restaurants, shops, events, markets and more. If you love food, the arts, history, shopping, or anything else...there’s something here for you. It’s an all encompassing destination for the San Antonio area.

Pearl District ed.jpg

TOP 3 RECOMMENDATIONS
1 - If you have kids, tire them out with a walk down the river to the San Antonio Zoo. With 54 acres and more than 750 species, there’s tons to explore and may even take up an entire day of your trip if you’d like it too. It’s kind of a long hike depending on where you’re walking from so you might want to drive instead.

2 - The Pearl District is my #1 recommendation for San Antonio. I honestly love this neighborhood and spent almost two days there. From the beautifully designed Hotel Emma to classes at the Culinary Institute of America San Antonio, there’s plenty to stay entertained. Big feature on this neighborhood coming soon.

3 - The downtown area of the riverwalk has plenty to see and do. It’s easy to spend the majority of your time downtown with the amount of restaurants and activities. The Shops at Rivercenter are great if it’s a rainy day and the Tower of the Americas is an attraction that lots of people love.

Downtown San Antonio ed.jpg
San Antonio Riverwalk 8.0.jpg

5 Things To Do In Irving, TX

Last summer, I attended an event at Raised Bar in the Renaissance Hotel Chicago with Tour Texas courtesy of Windy City Bloggers. I was able to chat with representatives from several cities around Texas from San Antonio to Houston to Irving. While visiting Texas on my annual trip last fall, I reconnected with the rep from Irving and had the opportunity to join other members of the media on a weekend press trip. It was an incredible experience where I got to meet several wonderful people and we all had a ton of fun. Honestly, it was a blast. I was overfed, over-entertained and I have so many great memories from that trip. Not to mention my to-do list for the DFW area which has since expanded by about five times what it started at.

5 Things to Do In Irving.png

We visited several restaurants, toured many sites and met quite a few people. I can only hope that they invite me on another trip in the future because let me tell you, no one does it like Texas does. They pulled out all the stops and made sure we all had a great time but more importantly, felt like we were at home. I have a lot of posts coming up on Irving and the DFW area in general over the next few months but today, we’re kicking it off with five things you should do in Irving. It’s short and sweet, a great way to kick start your adventure of a new destination.

Big Beat Dallas (grand opening March 29 - Apr. 2nd)
During our tour of the city, we got a behind the scenes look at Big Beat Dallas while it was still under construction. Almost three months later the location has come a long way with opening weekend set for March 29th through April 2nd. I’m so excited for this entertainment giant to open that I may even take a quick trip back to Irving just to experience the opening events!

The space will include an indoor/outdoor farmers and ranchers market serving everything from seasonal produce to fresh meats, cheeses and retail items. Restaurant concepts include a Latin-style bar, walk-up barbecue joint, wine and scotch bars, outdoor food stations, Texas-style restaurant concept, martini bar, ice cream, and much more. Free music performances will happen every single day of the year and properties throughout the center will also include live blues, American-style jazz, piano bars and more. The Facebook page for Big Beat Dallas is a great source of updates and information and they’re getting a lot of great local media attention at the moment as well. Next time I make it to the DFW area, I’ll definitely be checking out Big Beat which you can expect to see on here as well.

Big State Fountain Grill
Would you believe me if I said I’d never tried any kind of soda float before my most recent visit to Irving? Well, you’re not alone. Several of the people in the group of the press trip I went on couldn’t believe it either. Let’s back it up for a second. The Big State Fountain Grill was one of the stops on our Tour of Irving Day and boy am I glad it was. What has to be one of the few remaining old-school diners, Big State Fountain Grill is run by family and feels like family. The staff are so friendly and the food is SO good. The owner’s daughter, who runs the joint, actually came out from working on the line in the kitchen to chat with us. It was a unique experience in the best kind of way. Big State has an enormous menu with anything you could think of but what you really need to visit for is their Fountain Favorites. Get a Big State Root Beer or Cream Soda. If you prefer ice cream, you’ll never see larger scoops! It was at Big State I had my first ever soda float. I don’t like Root Beer but that was no problem. They came out with a gigantic Dr. Pepper float and I think my mind is still blown.

Big State Fountain Grill 5.0.jpg
Big State Fountain Grill 1.0.jpg
Big State Fountain Grill 3.0.jpg

Irving Heritage District (Downtown)
The Irving Heritage District is the downtown area of the city of Irving. It’s main goal is to preserve the history of the city and display it for locals and visitors to experience. Heritage Park features “The Caster Cabin built in 1887, a replication of the Rock Island Depot built in 1903, and Irving’s first water tower, windmill, and library” (source: Visit Irving). Visit one of Irving’s oldest homes at the Heritage House which has period antiques and items to take you back in time. The Heritage District additionally includes the Texas Musicians Museum, Big State Diner, and more.

Texas Musicians Museum
Music lovers are going to enjoy this one. The Texas Musicians Museum celebrates local talent with memorabilia and artifacts. From Selena to Buddy Holly, the Dixie Chicks to Destiny’s Child, and Tonya Tucker to ZZ Top, this museum has a little bit from every corner of the music industry. Even Barney! Listen to original records, see musical instruments and outfits from the artists. Anyone would find at least one artist they admire or love in this museum. Tours are available for those interested in a more informed experience. They also have live entertainment on weekends! Grab some grub at Smokin’ Joe’s Cafe with a margarita and watch a Texas-born musician perform.

Texas Musicians Museum ed.jpg

The Mustangs of Las Colinas & Museum
A sculpture created by African wildlife artist Robert Glen, the Mustangs of Las Colinas depict “nine bronze mustangs galloping across a granite prairie stream.” It’s a gorgeous piece with an odd setting. The “stream” and waterfall is peaceful. Since we visited on the weekend, it was quiet but on any other weekday, the square would be bustling with people. It almost seemed like an oxymoron but in a beautiful kind of way. Across the street from the Mustangs of Las Colinas is the museum which showcases the life and story of Robert Glen, especially the eight years of work it took to create this sculpture in particular.

Mustangs of Las Colinas 1.0.jpg

The National Mall | Washington, DC

The National Mall is one of the easiest ways to cover a lot of ground in Washington DC at one time. Many museums, monuments and historical sites are along the mall making it easy to get around and create a plan. Free Tours By Foot explains it best, “the National Mall is a long, rectangular public park stretching from the U.S. Capitol Building on its east end to the Lincoln Memorial on its west end.” With that said, it’s almost two miles long which may not seem like a lot but feels like ten times its length. This is most likely because there are so many things packed throughout the park from museums to memorials and even the White House. Today, we’re breaking it down for you and sharing our list of must-dos so that you can cut through the clutter and get to exploring.

National Mall Feature.png

MUSEUMS
History and art lovers are in luck because there are several fantastic history and art museums to explore. The American History Museum is a personal favorite. It includes the First Ladies’ Exhibit, Julia Child’s Cambridge home kitchen, a fantastic pop culture exhibit, and more. There’s also the National Museum of Natural History which is where kids will get to walk among giant Woolly Mammoths and dinosaur bones. For a more somber history lesson, visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to get an inside look at what it was like for people surviving the Holocaust during the Nazi regime. Dive into specific cultures at the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 11.0.jpg

Art lovers can view priceless masterpieces by classic and modern artists at the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden. Get a taste of African culture at the National Museum of African Art. The National Mall also has an interactive museum for science buffs at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Kids and adults can take part in simulations and see technology through the years with their own eyes.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 12.0.jpg

MEMORIALS
There are hundreds of memorials in Washington DC, many of them along the National Mall. It might be easier to narrow down the memorials to visit by personal interest. For example, if you love presidential history, you can find the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. To pay respect to veterans, the Vietnam, World War I & II, and Korean Veteran and War Memorials are also throughout the park. If you’re interested in other political and well-known figures, there is a memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Einstein too.

Washington Monument ed .jpg

ATTRACTIONS  & SITES
The National Mall is home to a few pretty significant DC attractions as well. The Capitol Building flanks the mall on the East end facing the Lincoln Memorial which borders the West end. The White House is also along the Mall towards the center on the North side of the Washington Monument. For a taste of history and breathtaking architecture, stop by the Smithsonian Castle which acts as a visitor’s center. Go for a paddle boat ride on the Tidal Basin which also includes the Jefferson, MLK, and Roosevelt Memorials. The US Botanic Gardens are also located right off the mall, West of the Capitol Building.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 4.0.jpg

TOP 5 RECOMMENDATIONS
1 - Visit the Sculpture Gardens behind the National Gallery of Art. They’re stunning and there’s a little cafe that reminds me of a small one I found in the Tuileries Gardens back in Paris. It even has a decorative Metro stop.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 1.0.jpg

2 - The Jefferson Memorial & Lincoln Memorial. These are two of the most beautiful memorials in the park. Each memorial is magnificent and breathtaking. I haven’t had the chance to see the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise but I’ve been told it’s an experience worth rising early for. The Jefferson Memorial, located along the Tidal Basin, provides an almost calm and serene experience. There are no words to truly capture it. You must experience it for yourself.

3 - The National Museum of American History has a lot of fantastic exhibits and collections. It’s my personal favorite with Julia Child’s actual kitchen, not a replica - the actual thing, from Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a dream being able to see it as a foodie. The First Ladies’ exhibit has dresses from inaugural balls and significant events from the likes of Michelle Obama and Jackie Kennedy Onassis . Don’t forget the pop culture exhibit! See everything from a Muppet to the famous red slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 5.0.jpg

4 - Visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It may leave you feeling sad and you might even shed a few tears while walking through - but it is worth every second. I don’t know that I could visit every time I go to DC but it’s definitely an experience all people, regardless of nationality, should have at least once. It’s sobering to see the cruelty and hatred that was present during the time and it’s even more harrowing to know that it still exists today. This was a disappointing era for humanity but if we can learn from it, hopefully we can stop similar acts of cruelty and hate and work towards a world where kindness and acceptance are the norm.

5 - Take a photo near the Carousel. It’s not something that I included earlier in the post but it’s definitely a great photo opportunity. I saw this exact carousel several times in Bones and I was pretty excited to be able to snap my own photo of the attraction. There aren’t many traditional kid activities I genuinely enjoy but carousels are still one of them!

National Mall Carousel ed.jpg

3 Nature + Science Museums | DC Museum Guide

Me being a pop culture nerd, I was excited to find the real life version of the “Jeffersonian” which for those of you who are not obsessed with TV, is the museum in the show Bones. Sadly, I did not find the Jeffersonian because it’s a combination of about five of the Smithsonian museums. If I had to pick one that was the closest though, I might go with the National Museum of Natural History but I could be dead wrong. Sometimes it can be disappointing when you try and find the real life version of something in a movie. Anyway, to round our our DC museum guide, we’re finishing with nature and science museums. We only chose three to note in particular but they are each magnificent in their own way. See below and make sure to check out our Art Museum Guide and History Museum Guide with a total of ten more museums for your bucket list!

DC Museum Guide- Nature & Science.png

National Air & Space Museum
The National Air & Space Museum is a kid favorite with the big airplanes and interactive exhibits. Go through the history of aviation and spaceflight, enjoy a film on their IMAX screen, observe the Sun and planets in the observatory or see a planetarium show. A few exhibits in particular you might be interested in include “The Legacy of Aerial Smuggling,” challenges of communication in space, women in aviation and more.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 12.0.jpg

National Museum of Natural History
Another kid favorite, the National Museum of Natural History is the spot for wooly mammoths, dinosaur bones and my least favorite of all...bugs. Collections include African Elephants, Human Origins, a live Coral Reef, Mammals, gems including the Hope Diamond, an Insect Zoo and more. Something to note, the exhibit for fossils is under renovation until 2019 but there are a select few currently available to view.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 11.0.jpg

US Botanic Gardens
Not technically a museum but large enough to be included is the US Botanic Gardens. It includes a Butterfly Garden, Rose Garden, Rain Garden, the First Ladies Water Garden, Bartholdi Fountain and more. The indoor Conservatory features a “jungle, desert and primeval  paradise” so you can enjoy the gardens even on the coldest of days. The gardens also participating in conservation of rare and endangered plants, meaning they grow and study certain greenery to protect it from extinction. It’s not only a beautiful place to visit but an educational and enlightening one as well.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 2.0.jpg
National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 3.0.jpg

5 History Museums | DC Museum Guide

We started our three-part DC museum guide last week with 5 art museums that should be on your list. This week, it’s all about history. From living the life of a spy to learning about native cultures, this list has a few predictable picks as well as a few lesser-known spots. Regardless, if you love history, make time in your DC schedule to visit at least one of these. If you love science and nature, stick around for the third part of our guide next week! What are some history museums you like to visit whether in DC or another city?

DC Museum Guide- History.png

International Spy Museum
Included in our top tourist spots to visit, the International Spy Museum is a must for anyone who enjoys indulging their inner child. It’s the only public museum dedicated to espionage and provides a unique interactive experience into the spy world. Besides pretending to be a spy, you can also tour the James Bond exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary. It’s an absolute must for anyone who’s ever enjoyed mystery, suspense and wondered what the life of a spy would be like. I’m look at all of you, Alias fans.

National Museum of African American History & Culture
The newest Smithsonian museum and museum to the DC metro area is the National Museum of African American History & Culture. The museum is “devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture” and the only national museum to do just that. Exhibits and collections include everything from clothing African Americans have worn over the centuries to musical instruments, photography and military documentation. Explore the Civil Rights movements from over the years, religion, life in the South and West, and much more. It’s a unique opportunity because there really is no other museum that has such an extensive and thorough representation of life as an African American throughout American history such as this one.

National Museum of American History
One of my personal favorite museums is the National Museum of American History. I was lucky enough to arrive just as a tour was starting with a lovely gentleman that had an extensive knowledge about everything he discussed. A few exhibits in particular this museum includes is the First Ladies exhibit which has gowns on display former first ladies have worn as well as china from the white house and photographs. It also includes the Food Exhibition which takes you through the history of the culinary world and nutrition in America including Julia Child’s kitchen from Cambridge. Visit the Hall of Music which has Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz among other cultural treasures. This is also the museum where you can see the Star-Spangled Banner, a flag that is remarkably enormous and inspired the national anthem. It’s so much larger than you’d imagine when you see it in person.

National Mall_Smithsonian Museums 5.0.jpg
National Mall_American History Museum 6.0.jpg

National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is a vast collection of historical, religious, artistic and anthropological artifacts from Native American tribes throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The exhibits feature everything from religious artifacts to everyday items that date all the way back to thousands of years old. Besides ancient artifacts, the museum also curates collections of modern and contemporary artistry.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
No doubt the most somber of the museums in this post, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is an experience everyone should have. It’s as close to this piece of history as many of us will get and it’s such an important piece of history we should remember. The museum takes you through a unique tour of the era sharing the experience many people endured from beginning to end. The exhibits include personal stories and gruesome photographs showcasing the horror of the period. Tickets are free but it’s advised to reserve them in advance since this is such a popular site to visit.

The Smithsonian Castle which isn't technically a museum but a gorgeous historical structure on the National Mall.

The Smithsonian Castle which isn't technically a museum but a gorgeous historical structure on the National Mall.

5 Art Museums | DC Museum Guide

There are dozens of museums in Washington DC, so many that it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit. The great news is that many of these museums are free so even if you want to pack a bunch into your trip, it won’t cost you a ton of money. The bad news is most of them are pretty large so you’ll be spending a good chunk of time in each of them. I had planned to share a master museum guide broken into three sections but the post got so long, I knew I wouldn’t keep you past art. So today begins a three-part series diving into Washington DC museums, not all of them but our own personal recommendations.

DC Museum Guide- Art.png

National Gallery of Art
For a wide collection of art from every period, media and artist, visit the National Gallery of Art. It’s a phenomenal collection that includes around 4,000 paintings, 3,000 sculptures, 70,000 prints, 31,000 drawings,15,000 photos and more. Notable artists the museum carries pieces from include Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Degas, Cézanne, van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Picasso, Matisse and more. Enjoy the sculpture garden, take a tour of the museum and have lunch at the Pavilion Cafe. The Cafe is located within a garden next to the museum and has a Metro sign like the ones you’ll see in Paris that gets me all nostalgic.

The Pavilion Cafe outside of the National Gallery of Art

The Pavilion Cafe outside of the National Gallery of Art

National Museum of African Art
One of the 17 Smithsonian Museums in DC  the National Museum of African Art strictly focuses on African art and culture. According to their website, the museum “initially focused on the traditional arts of sub-Saharan Africa….but broadened its scope after 1987 to include both modern and contemporary artwork” as well. It was the first US museum to do so. The museum has collections of everything from paintings to mosaics, sculptures and architectural treasures.

National Portrait Gallery
Also included in our Free Things to Do Post, the National Portrait Gallery is another Smithsonian museum but located in Chinatown, away from the tourist rumble of the National Mall. The museum features portraits and portrait collections of celebrities, athletes, presidents, political figures and more. They offer a variety of tours that range from a half hour long to an entire day. See portraits of Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Andy Warhol, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson and more.

Phillips Collection
For those interested in French impressionism (*ahem* me), American modernism and contemporary art, the Phillips Collection has more than 4,000 pieces of artwork. The museum has artwork from Cézanne, Picasso, van Gogh, George O’Keeffe, Degas, and more. The museum also has a collection of over 1,000 photographs. It’s a much smaller and intimate space compared to many of the Smithsonian museums and less likely to be overrun by groups in case you’d like a more quiet art viewing experience.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Comprised completely of American art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to collections that span the last three-hundred years. From photography to African American art to video games, the museum has an eclectic and vast collection of work. This museum does have a large collection of art so if you’d like a little direction, we recommend hopping on one of their tours especially the Collection Highlights Tour.

Is there a special art museum or gallery you like to visit while in Washington DC? What is your favorite type of art?

The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art

10 Museums To Visit In The US

We recently shared 10 museums to visit around the world so it only seemed appropriate to continue the list with museums to visit within the United States. There are hundreds of beautiful museums with a range of exhibitions from art to archaeology and every city has something different. There are museums known for their size and reputation like any of the Smithsonian's in Washington DC but there are also smaller, less-known ones that have a personality you can't argue with. Our list has a combination of both and I truly hope it inspires you to go out into your own nearest city to visit and support a museum with exhibits that you're personally interested in.

10 Museums To Visit In The US.png

Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, Illinois
This is one of my personal favorites and one that I have visited a number of times, I cannot say enough about this museum. Did you know that the AIC has the second largest collection of Impressionist art? The first is the d'Orsay in Paris. Outside of the impressionist movement, their collections range from ancient art and artifacts to modern day contemporary. It's truly an experience that you don't want to miss if you're visiting Chicago. Be on the lookout for their free admission nights to save a buck and avoid school crowds.

The Art Institute of Chicago.  The Woman's Board Grand Staircase.  Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago. The Woman's Board Grand Staircase. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Chihuly Garden and Glass | Seattle, Washington
Complete with works by Dale Chihuly, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is an experience of vibrancy, color and beauty. The amount of creativity that went into the creation of this particular museum is not lost on anyone. Walk through the garden, experience the glasshouse and do it all through an audio tour available for visitors. 

Coral Castle Museum | Miami, Florida
Created by one single man from 1923-1951, the Coral Castle Museum is not only magnificent, it's a marvel. No one knows how Ed, the creator, carved the coral rock into the amazing piece of art we're able to enjoy today. This is certainly one of the more unusual museums on this list but clearly one of the more astonishing.

Image c/o Coral Castle Museum

Image c/o Coral Castle Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | Boston, Massachusetts
Isabella Stewart Gardner made it her life's work to create a collection of some of the most revered and sought after artists in America. Displayed at this museum are paintings, sculptures, silver, ceramics, manuscripts, rare books and more as far as ancient Rome to America. It's become one of the most revered museums and is known for beautiful gardens. 

Photo Credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Photo Credit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Matchstick Marvels | Gladbrook, Iowa
Matchstick Marvels is exactly what it sounds like. This museum is home to 65 models made all from matchsticks that include everything from machines to architecture by artist Patrick Acton. His work has also been featured in other museums around the world but this is where you will find the largest collection and arguably some of his best pieces. 

Photo c/o Matchstick Marvels

Photo c/o Matchstick Marvels

Museum of Bad Art | Somerville, Massachusetts
Interested in seeing some of the worst art? You might even say there's a beauty in the ugliest things. Located in Somerville, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) shows some of their 600 pieces in a gallery in the basement of a theater. See a variety of portraits, landscapes, blue people and much more. If nothing else, this is definitely a unique experience, one I wish I would have taken advantage of while visiting Boston.

Charlie & Sheba c/o The Museum of Bad Art

Charlie & Sheba c/o The Museum of Bad Art

Hollywood Lips c/o The Museum of Bad Art

Hollywood Lips c/o The Museum of Bad Art

The Andy Warhol Museum | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Andy Warhol is one of the most common household artist names. It seems everyone knows who Andy Warhol is for one reason or another. His work is truly one-of-a-kind, a combination of vision, aesthetic and pure talent. As far as the what you'll find? All of Andy Warhol's legacy, of course. The museum includes 900 paintings, about 100 sculptures, works on paper, published and unique prints and 4,000 photos among much, much more.

The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, © Abby Warhola

The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, © Abby Warhola

The Getty Center | Los Angeles, California
Art is a rich part of any culture and The Getty Center makes it a priority to make sure both are showcased throughout their exhibits. Located in both Los Angeles and Malibu, they collectively host collections of European paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and more. In addition to their exhibits, they study the arts and cultures from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. 

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures | Tuscan, Arizona
Do you enjoy seeing everything and anything in miniature form? This is your place. The museum transports you to different eras and stories throughout history via mini pieces of art. It's an interactive experience that drags you into the story being told for a truly unique experience despite its size.

Children In The Enchanted Realm Photo By: Amy Haskell, courtesy of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Children In The Enchanted Realm
Photo By: Amy Haskell, courtesy of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Detail with Dime from Chateau Meno Photo By: Amy Haskell, courtesy of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Detail with Dime from Chateau Meno
Photo By: Amy Haskell, courtesy of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Whitney Museum of American Art | New York, New York
Most people are familiar with the Degas', Monet's, da Vinci's and Rembrandt's of the world but one thing all of these greats have in common is that they're dead. The Whitney Museum was founded to showcase art by living artists. Since it's establishment in the early 20th century, the museum now holds art created within the last 100 years or so. 

What are some museums throughout the US that are your favorites or that you are interested in visiting at some point? Have you been to any of these before? Tell us in the comments below.