The Most Visited Museums in the World
The Most Visited Museums in the World

Many people love visiting famous museums. These include art lovers, history fans, and those who enjoy cultures. In 2023, the Louvre in Paris, France, got the most visitors – a whopping 8.9 million.1 People go there to see amazing works like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Closer in numbers, the Vatican Museums in Vatican City welcomed 6.8 million visitors in 2023.1 They show off the Vatican’s culture and art, including the famous Sistine Chapel. London’s British Museum and Natural History Museum are not far behind, with over 5 million visitors each.1

In the U.S., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City drew 5.4 million people in 2023.1 These places have their unique collections and are huge cultural spots worldwide. They attract millions every year, confirming their global influence.

Key Takeaways

  • The Louvre in Paris, France, is the world’s most visited museum, with 8.9 million visitors in 2023.
  • The Vatican Museums in Vatican City and the British Museum in London, UK, are also among the top-visited museums globally.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is another highly popular museum, attracting 5.4 million visitors in 2023.
  • Museums in major cities like London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. tend to dominate the list of the world’s most visited attractions.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on museum attendance, but visitor numbers are steadily recovering.

Introduction to the World’s Most Popular Museums

NameLocationVisitors in 2023 or 2022
France LouvreParis, France8,900,000 (2023)[2]
Vatican City Vatican MuseumsVatican City6,800,000 (2023)[3]
United Kingdom British MuseumLondon, United Kingdom5,820,860 (2023)[4]
United Kingdom Natural History MuseumLondon, United Kingdom5,688,608 (2023)[5]
United States Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York City, United States5,400,000 (2023)[6]
France Musée d'OrsayParis, France5.2 million (including Musée de l'Orangerie) (2023)[7]
United Kingdom Tate ModernLondon, United Kingdom4,742,038 (2023)[8]
United States National Museum of Natural HistoryWashington, D.C., United States4,400,000 (2023)[9]
South Korea National Museum of KoreaSeoul, South Korea4.18 million (2023)[10]
France Musée National d'Histoire NaturelleParis, France3.8 million (2023)[11]
United States National Air and Space Museum[a]Washington, D.C., United States3,100,000 (2023)[12]
Spain Prado MuseumMadrid, Spain3,209,285 (2023)[14]
Russia State Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg, Russia3,273,753 (2023)[15]
United Kingdom National GalleryLondon, United Kingdom3,096,508 (2023)[16])
United Kingdom Victoria and Albert MuseumLondon, United Kingdom3,110,000 (2023)[17]
Italy Galleria degli UffiziFlorence, Italy2,717,857 (2023)[18]
United States Museum of Modern ArtNew York City, United States2,839,509 (2023)[19]
Mexico National Museum of AnthropologyMexico City, Mexico2,636,352 (2023)
Mexico Museo Nacional de HistoriaMexico City, Mexico2,456,825 (2023)
United States Smithsonian Museum of American HistoryWashington, D.C., United States2,100,000 (2023)[20]
Spain Guggenheim Museum BilbaoBilbao, Spain1,324,000 (2023)[21]
China Guangdong MuseumGuangzhou, China3,359,700 (2022)[22]
Turkey Mevlana MuseumKonya, Turkey3,352,505 (2022)[23]
Russia State Russian MuseumSaint Petersburg, Russia2,900,000 (2023)[24]
Taiwan National Museum of Marine Science and TechnologyKeelung, Taiwan2,582,444[25]
United Kingdom London Science MuseumLondon, United Kingdom2,334,930[26]
China Chinese Aviation MuseumBeijing, China2,300,000[27]
Taiwan National Museum of Natural ScienceTaichung, Taiwan2,299,808[25]
Germany Topography of TerrorBerlin, Germany2,100,000[28]
Hong Kong M+Hong Kong2,034,331[1]
China Opium War MuseumDongguan, China2,025,800[29]
France Cité des Sciences et de l'IndustrieParis, France1,992,823[30]
United Kingdom National Museum of ScotlandEdinburgh, United Kingdom1,973,751[26]
Russia State Tretyakov GalleryMoscow, Russia1,910,000[1]
Taiwan National Taiwan Science Education CenterTaipei, Taiwan1,878,504[25]
Taiwan National Science and Technology MuseumKaohsiung, Taiwan1,875,372[25]
South Korea National Museum of Modern and Contemporary ArtSeoul, South Korea1,806,641[1]
Netherlands RijksmuseumAmsterdam, Netherlands1,766,084[1]
United States California Science CenterLos Angeles, United States1,694,000[31]
China National Museum of ChinaBeijing, China1,630,911[32]
United Kingdom Royal Museums GreenwichLondon, United Kingdom1,628,580[26]
China Nanjing MuseumNanjing, China1,610,000[33]
China Zhejiang Museum of Natural HistoryHangzhou, China1,581,263[34]
Australia National Gallery of VictoriaMelbourne, Australia1,580,303[1]
China Jianchuan Museum ClusterChengdu, China1,538,143[35]
United States Houston Museum of Natural ScienceHouston, United States1,520,000[31]
Japan Tokyo Metropolitan Art MuseumTokyo, Japan1,509,970[1]
China Changzhou MuseumChangzhou, China1,508,229[36]
Germany Humboldt ForumBerlin, Germany1,500,000[1]
Taiwan Kaohsiung Museum of Fine ArtsKaohsiung, Taiwan1,461,406[25]
Greece Acropolis MuseumAthens, Greece1,451,727[1]
China China Science and Technology MuseumBeijing, China1,431,189[37]
Italy Galleria dell'AccademiaFlorence, Italy1,428,369[1]
China Suzhou MuseumSuzhou, China1,417,412[38]
China Chengdu MuseumChengdu, China1,404,735[39]
China Shanghai Science and Technology MuseumShanghai, China1,403,179[40]
Japan The National Art Center, TokyoTokyo, Japan1,400,096[1]
France Louis Vuitton FoundationParis, France1,500,000 (2023)[41]
Japan Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, Japan1,372,132[1]
Poland National Museum in KrakówKraków, Poland1,365,425[1]
Brazil Centro Cultural Banco do BrasilSão Paulo, Brazil1,364,208[1]
Netherlands Van Gogh MuseumAmsterdam, Netherlands1,364,023[1]
Japan National Museum of Nature and ScienceTokyo, Japan1,350,000[31]
Austria Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna, Austria1,345,617[1]
China Tianjin Natural History MuseumTianjin, China1,320,752[42]
Spain Palacio de Cristal del RetiroMadrid, Spain1,318,823[b][1]
France Museum of European and Mediterranean CivilisationsMarseille, France1,300,000 (2023)
United Kingdom Scottish National GalleryEdinburgh, United Kingdom1,277,230[1]
Singapore National Gallery SingaporeSingapore1,262,189[1]
Spain Museo Reina SofíaMadrid, Spain1,253,183[c][1]

There are countless museums worldwide, with over 55,000 known to exist, according to ICOM.2 ICOM is a global organization of museums and museum professionals. To see which museums are the most popular, we look at how many people visit them each year. AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association’s yearly report shares this data, with a special focus on museums.2

This information shows that museums in big cities like London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. often rank high on the popularity list.2 Moreover, the data highlights the exceptional popularity of Paris’ Louvre. In 2022, it attracted over 9 million visitors, placing it at the top spot as the world’s most visited museum.

The Louvre Museum: Iconic Parisian Institution

History and Highlights of the Louvre

The Louvre Museum in Paris tops the list as the most popular museum in the world, draws info from the first and second sources.3 It started as a royal palace and then became a museum for everyone to enjoy.4 On August 10, 1793, it opened its doors to the public. So, by 2023, the Louvre will be celebrating its 230th birthday.4 The museum holds a huge collection of famous art and historic items, earning it global fame.

Masterpieces at the Louvre

The Louvre houses treasures from ancient times to the 19th century.3 It contains art from all European eras up to 1848, with post-1848 art moving to the Musée d’Orsay later.3 No other museum can beat its collection of French art from the 15th to the 19th century. And, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is among its top pieces.3

Aside from famous paintings, the Louvre has a vast collection of decorative art. This includes items like bronzes, jewelry, and furniture that once belonged to French kings.3 It also features Egyptian treasures, collected during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt, and Mesopotamian art in the Near Eastern department.3

The Louvre has a whopping 615,797 objects in its collection, with around 38,000 items shown at any time.4 Its space for the public to explore is over 60,600 square meters. In 2023, it was visited by 8.9 million people, showing a 14% growth from the year before.45

Louvre Museum

British Museum: A Treasure Trove of Global Antiquities

The British Museum in London ranks 5th worldwide, a top museum according to sources.6 It’s filled with cultural artifacts and global antiquities. This makes it a key place to learn about human history and civilization.

The museum’s collection includes items from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. You’ll also find treasures from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.6 With such a broad range, visitors get to explore the rich heritage of the world.

The British Museum’s variety of exhibits shows off its deep expertise. For instance, the Edvard Munch exhibition gives a big view of his art until July 21. There’s also a Manga collection exhibit until August 26. It highlights classic and modern Japanese graphic storytelling.6

The British Museum’s Renowned Collections

The Department of Egypt and Sudan is home to over 100,000 items. It’s one of the best collections of its kind in the world.6 The Middle East exhibition offers over 330,000 items. It’s the biggest outside Iraq for Mesopotamian works.6 Plus, the Department of Asia displays over 75,000 items from colonial officers across Asia. This includes pieces from every part of the continent.6

Metropolitan Museum of Art: A New York Cultural Gem

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as “The Met,” is in New York City. It’s a top-rated art museum that welcomes millions yearly. It’s the 6th most visited museum worldwide.7

At The Met, you’ll find a wide range of art and cultural items from across the globe. These pieces span many eras and styles. The museum is a rich source of history and art.8

The Met’s Diverse Exhibits and Galleries

The Met houses over thirty thousand works of Greek and Roman art. This art dates back as far as the Neolithic period (around 4500 B.C.). The collection is impressive and considered one of the most complete in North America.

In this collection, you’ll find pieces like painted Greek vases, Greek grave reliefs, and bronze Roman portrait busts. The Met is a key player in preserving and displaying these historical artworks.8

Iconic Artworks at the Metropolitan Museum

The Met is home to well-known works, including the “Portrait of a Woman.” This and other masterpieces pull in art lovers from all over. It’s a highlight in New York City, drawing many to its doors.7

Visitors are amazed by the museum’s broad and extraordinary collections. This includes iconic artworks that have stood the test of time. The Met is one of the most popular museums globally because of this.7

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vatican Museums: Exploring the Heart of the Vatican City

The Vatican Museums stand in Vatican City, drawing many visitors and ranking 8th worldwide.9 They house a vast collection, showcasing precious works that give insight into Vatican life.

The Sistine Chapel and Other Vatican Highlights

The Sistine Chapel is a major draw, featuring Michelangelo’s masterpieces.9 It also highlights other art forms, like Roman sculptures and Renaissance paintings, attracting art lovers and cultural explorers.

In the Vatican Gardens, you’ll find 100 fountains,9 while the Pinacoteca displays over 400 art works by legends such as Caravaggio and Leonardo.9 The Pio-Clementino Museum exhibits remarkable Greek and Roman statues, including well-known pieces like the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön and His Sons.9 Don’t miss the stunning statues, Raphael’s tapestries, and the remarkable map frescoes in other galleries.

St. Peter’s Square, a creation of Bernini and Pope Alexander XII, is a vast open space in Rome.9 A notable piece in the Vatican Museums is Raphael’s “The School of Athens,” showing philosophers including a self-portrait of Raphael.9 Then, there’s St. Peter’s Basilica, home to impressive art like Il Baldacchino and La Pieta, plus St. Peter’s statue.9

Various tour options await visitors, catering to all from students to those seeking exclusive, intimate experiences.10 Choose from Private Experiences or select from Private Vatican Night Tour and Private Vatican Early Morning Sistine Chapel Tour, offering unique insights.10 Group tours like Early Morning Vatican Tour offer less crowded views of the Museums and Chapel with special entry.10

For comprehensive visits, options like the VIP Vatican Tour and Rome in a Day with Colosseum and Vatican ensure full immersion.10 These tours cover the Vatican’s art and history, along with Rome’s cultural and architectural wonders.10

Vatican Museums

most visited museums in the world

Major cities like London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. host the world’s most visited museums, as noted by the first source.1 A lot of the most popular museums can be found in North America and Europe. The second source backs this up. It says many top museums are in these cities. London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. lead the list of the top 20 most visited museums in the world.11

Regional Breakdown of Popular Museums

The most visited museums are mainly in big cities in North America and Europe, says the first source.1 For example, in 2023, the Louvre in Paris saw 8,900,000 visitors,1 and the Vatican Museums had 6,800,000 visitors.1 Also, the British Museum in London welcomed 5,820,860 visitors,1 and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art saw 5,400,000 guests.1

Emerging Museum Hotspots

But, the first source shows us that new museum hotspots are popping up. The National Museum of China in Beijing and the National Museum of Korea in Seoul are good examples. They’ve seen a lot of visitors lately.1 This change tells us that where people go to see art is changing. New cultural spots are becoming more and more popular.

Factors Contributing to Museum Popularity

The first and second sources both point to key reasons why the most famous museums see so many visitors. Iconic exhibitions and artworks draw people in. For instance, the Louvre is home to famous pieces like the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, attracting millions every year.12

Iconic Exhibitions and Artworks

The cultural and historical value of museums is also vital. They allow visitors to connect with the cultural legacy of their regions and the world. This engagement adds to the museums’ appeal.12

Tourism and Cultural Significance

Additionally, their location in major tourist cities boosts their popularity. Places like London, Paris, and New York already draw large crowds. Having iconic museums there adds to the overall travel experience.12

Visiting the World’s Top Museums

Planning Your Museum Visit

Exploring top museums worldwide can be an amazing journey with the right prep.1 First, pick the museums you want to see. Think about where they are, what they show, and how busy they might be. Also, make sure you plan enough time to really dive into their displays.

Tips for an Enriching Experience

When you’re at the museum, there are smart things you can do to enjoy it more.1 Get to know the museum’s layout to save time and energy. Taking short breaks is also key. And don’t miss out on educational resources and guided tours. Willingness to learn and a bit of planning can turn your museum visit into a real adventure, filled with history and cultural insights.


The world’s top museums draw in people from everywhere. Places like the Louvre in Paris or the British Museum in London see millions each year. These places aren’t just for looking at cool art. They show us stories from large parts of the world’s history.13

Visiting these places means diving into human stories. You can see and feel what our ancestors dreamed and created. Seeing these things helps keep the stories alive. And more, it lets us be part of that story-telling.14

These museums also play a big role in sharing world history. They let us peek into the lives of people far away or ages ago. This kind of travel through time and place is what makes museums special. They are like bridges between all of us, no matter where we’re from.14


What are the most visited museums in the world?

The Louvre Museum in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City top the list. Also, the Vatican Museums in Vatican City are very popular. They welcome millions of visitors every year.

Why are these museums so popular?

These museums are famous for their iconic exhibits and artworks from history. They hold large cultural and historical value. Plus, they are in cities known worldwide for tourism.

How can visitors make the most of their experience at the world’s top museums?

Visitors can do a few things to fully enjoy these museums. Research the museums you want to see and plan your trip well. Learn about the museum’s layout and join educational tours. This can make your visit more insightful.

What are some emerging museum hotspots around the world?

Not just in North America and Europe, museums in Beijing and Seoul are becoming popular. For example, the National Museum of China and the National Museum of Korea are attracting more visitors. These new spots are gaining fame in the museum world.

How have museum attendance numbers been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 led to a big drop in museum visitors in 2020. Yet, by 2023, attendance was on the rise. Still, the overall number of museum-goers hasn’t reached its pre-pandemic high.

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