Must-see museums and galleries around the world

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Centre Pompidou in Paris
The Centre Pompidou in Paris. Photo from Steffi Cua

In celebration of International Museum Day, here are some of the best culture and arts centers to add to your must-see list according to artists, aficionados, and creatives across different industries.



1. The Royal Academy in London


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“I’ve been going to the Royal Academy in Piccadilly since 1985! The very first show I saw there was about Matisse’s drawings – I’ve always been a Matisse stan! I have seen some fabulous retrospectives there that are unforgettable, such as those of William Kentridge, Ai Weiwei and Antony Gormley. I was particularly curious to see the Marina Abramovic show, if only to see how one does a retrospective of a performance artist’s work. The answer? Very disturbingly and provocatively.”

Bambina Olivares, curator and special exhibitions and projects consultant


2. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art (SCVA) in Norwich

“For a smaller-scale museum, I do love the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art (SCVA) in Norwich, which was Sir Norman Foster’s first commission.  It’s part of my uni, the University of East Anglia; in fact, grad students in the Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies programme attend classes there. It’s quite incredible to walk to class amidst superb Henry Moores and Francis Bacons and Modiglianis, exhibited alongside Tang Dynasty pieces or artifacts from Oceania and the Americas. It’s such an unusual and intimate museum with a decidedly intuitive and nonlinear approach to curation.”

Bambina Olivares, curator and  special exhibitions and projects consultant


3. Museo Thyssen in Madrid

“Sometimes what does it for me is a museum’s collection in an all-new rehang, which makes you rediscover works and contemplate them from a completely different perspective. I love the Museo Thyssen in Madrid for this reason. Sometimes the curation is predictable, but you don’t realize that, of course, until after you’ve seen the specific juxtapositions, yet the element of unexpectedness is still there.”

Bambina Olivares, curator and  special exhibitions and projects consultant

READ MORE: Let’s talk about the Banksy controversy in Manila


4. Palazzo Colonna in Rome

“One of my favorite museums in the world is the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, which is an incredible repository of the fine and decorative arts. Still owned by the same family for more than 800 years, it houses masterpiece after masterpiece in each of its enfiladed rooms. Guercino, Tintoretto, Veronese, Reni, Rosa, and Bronzino are just a few of the important artists represented in the collection. The insanely beautiful (and large) Great Hall even featured in Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. A true gem of the Roman Baroque period, this museum is definitely a must see.”

 — Miguel Rosales, creative director, Caramel Inc.


5. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen

“On top of my list is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen because it provides a unique experience by fusing art, architecture, and landscape which makes for a rich and wonderful museum experience. Viewing an Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Joan Miro, or a Louise Borgeous Sculpture within a sprawling garden of ancient trees and a backdrop of the sea is both visually and emotionally stimulating.  An impressive range of works by the most renowned modern artists in the world like Picasso, Hockney, Liechtenstein, Giacometti, and Warhol, among others, viewed within an 1870s modernist villa with glass windows and passages that seamlessly blend the outdoor with the indoor is definitely a bucket list item for art and architecture fans.”

Patrice Diaz, fashion designer 


6. The Broad in Los Angeles

“The Broad in Los Angeles, California holds a special place in my heart as my favorite museum. It was there that I first encountered large-scale artworks by some of my favorite abstract artists, including Anselm Kiefer, Julie Mehretu, and Mark Bradford. What made the experience even more profound was that it was my first time visiting a museum by myself, allowing me to fully absorb and appreciate the art in solitude and from a different perspective.”

Amado Forés, restaurateur and art collector


7. Tate Modern in London


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The Tate Modern in London. Photo from Bambina Olivares

“Lubaina Himid, Philip Guston, Hilma af Klimt and Piet Mondrian – not to mention Capturing the Moment, about the dynamic relationship between painting and photography – are some of the standout shows I’ve seen in the last few years at the Tate Modern. I’m looking forward to seeing the Zanele Muholi show soon. Part of the experience for me is the  walk along the Thames from the Tate Modern to my daughter’s house just off Tower Bridge. It takes me past some of the oldest and most historic parts of London.”

Bambina Olivares, curator and  special exhibitions and projects consultant


8. Victoria & Albert Museum in London

“I have always made it a habit to make a stop at the V&A every time I’m in London, because no matter how many times I’ve been there’s always something new to see. One day is never enough because of how much is stored in its exhibits. Its vast halls house about 5,000 years’ worth of history in the realm of art and design and have one of the most comprehensive and historic selections of artifacts and objects from all around the world. It is every creative enthusiast’s dream come true—whether it is jewelry, fashion, textile, furniture, costumes, ceramics, and anything in between, you’ll never run out of things to admire and learn about.”

Angela Go Agustin, managing editor of LIFESTYLE.INQ 


9. Palais de Tokyo in Paris

“There are a great many museums, not to mention galleries as well, that I’ve had the privilege of exploring and thoroughly enjoyed. Although the Louvre will always be the one closest to my heart having spent my student life in Paris, I have a special fondness for the Palais de Tokyo. This one year in particular had an exhibit about a child’s dream imagined by mostly Japanese artists and the whole show was so delightful in exploring this theme. This included a fountain of breasts, an entire room of “scribbles”, a life size doll house and bubble bath sculptures. The museum leans on Japanese creativity and playfulness that is such a fun peek into their very ebullient visions and talent in transporting the viewer to another inner world.”

Wendy Puyat, art collector 

READ MORE: James Cameron unveils artistic process in Paris exhibition


10. Centre Pompidou in Paris

“Modern and contemporary art speak to me like no other period in art history, and Centre Pompidou’s collection is jam-packed with this era’s most legendary names: Matisse, Rothko, Mondrian, Fontana and Picasso to name a few. It was in this museum that I first felt the instinctive, emotional pull of art – in the form of Yves Klein’s International Blue (IKB). I bought a can of IKB paint to bring home with me as a souvenir.”

Steffi Cua, creative director of Idyllic Summers


11. The Louvre in Paris

The Louvre in Paris. Photos from Trickie Lopa

“For the marquee museums, I would have to say The Louvre. Perhaps it’s because of the city where it’s located. Every trip to Paris is special, so every visit to the Louvre becomes special. When I go, I never try to take everything in.  I choose one section of the collection to focus on.  I enjoy The Louvre in morsels —one rich, deeply satisfying morsel at a time.  This also means I avoid the crowds that tend to head towards the Italian paintings where the Mona Lisa is. On my last visit, I decided on Northern European paintings, particularly the Flemish and Dutch masterpieces. I was practically the only one enjoying the Vermeers, Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling.”

— Trickie Lopa, co-founder of Art Fair Philippines


12. Palazzo Grimani in Venice

Museo de Palazzo Grimani in Venice, Helen Frankenthaler exhibit. Photo from Trickie Lopa

“Another museum that I love is the Palazzo Grimani in Venice. Every Biennale, it becomes the venue for a major collateral exhibition, mounted inside their beautiful rooms. In 2019, they had Helen Frankenthaler’s Pittura/Panorama, perhaps one of the first major shows to revisit female abstractionists who had been overlooked in favor of  their male counterparts. In 2022, they showed another female abstractionist, Mary Weetherford. The art almost rivals the exquisite interiors. The museum’s highlight is its antiquarium, a room that houses the palazzo’s own collection of Roman art.”

— Trickie Lopa, co-founder of Art Fair Philippines


13. Kunsthaus Zürich

“There are many outstanding museums around the world such as the Prado Museum, Whitney Museum,  Louvre Paris, Galleria Borghese,  Getty Museum,  Guggenheim, and MOMA New York,  but my personal favorite is the Kunsthaus Zurich. I was amazed with its collection of large works of Claude Monet and outstanding pieces by  Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisee,  Manet, Chagall, Edward Munch, Magritte, and Rothko, who are some of my favorite artists.  I like also its architecture as it showcases both Neoclassical style and Modern design  due to several extensions made over the decades.”

— Derek Flores, founder of DF Art Agency

READ MORE: These Filipino artists are exhibiting in Venice


14. Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice

Lala Singian

“I daydream regularly that I can travel back to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. The 18th-century palazzo sits along the Grand Canal, with wisterias falling over the awnings. Peggy Guggenheim was a force of life—a Jewish-American art collector, bohemian, and heiress, whose close friends included celebrated names in twentieth-century art. As wife to Max Ernst and discoverer of Jackson Pollock, the personality of the fabulous, free-wheeling patron of the arts is felt throughout the quaint museum. The collection features rare and definitive work by Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, René Magritte, and Wassily Kandinsky. It was where I first discovered Cy Twombly. There are powerful sculptures throughout the grounds with Etruscan masks by Constantin Brancusi and slender figures by Alberto Giacometti. A favorite of guests is the sculpture by Marino Marini, “The Angel of the City”—a figure surrenders himself in the act of oblation, arms outstretched, mounted naked on a funny-looking horse. The slightly naughty symbolisms echo museum founder Peggy Guggenheim’s own irreverence and sense of humor.”

Lala Singian, editorial assistant and art writer of Lifestyle.INQ


15. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

“The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art left a huge impression on me at a very early age as it was the museum I had the pleasure of viewing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artwork in for the very first time. When I was around 15 or 16, I remember feeling so drawn to his work alongside other contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera. SFMoMA also houses a variety of sculptural work from artists ranging from Marcel Duchamp to Tracy Emin. Whenever I’m in the Bay Area, I always make sure to pay a visit!”

Sophia Concordia, associate editor of Lifestyle.INQ


16. Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid

The Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Photo from Eric Salta

“Museums are staple destinations when I travel and while I’ve enjoyed the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (and its stunning Frank Gehry-design), and the lightness enclosed in the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, I’ve always felt that Prado in Madrid defines the artistic zeitgeist. Thanks largely to its extensive collection of classical European art, a visit to this incredibly important museum is akin to going through a roller coaster of emotions. At least for me. From the pretty puzzling perspective of Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” that made me stand still in front of the painting for a good 30 minutes to a riveting Goya painting of Saturn devouring his son (and the rest of his Black Paintings) inside what felt like an equally heavy room, powerful expressions and emotions all lingered I went in and out of the halls and spaces of the massive museum.

— Eric Nicole Salta, senior editorial manager of Lifestyle.INQ


17. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

A stolen Rembrandt artwork at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Photo from Jaime de Leon

“My favorite private museum in the world would be the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Not only is the collection among the best in the world but it has an inspiring story of how one woman, shunned by Boston society for her new money, amassed a collection like no other.  She aspired to acquire only the finest her money could buy hence the collection is ranked among the highest in importance. The image above is the frame of one of the 13 artworks stolen from the museum in 1990 that remains unsolved to this day.”

— Jaime Ponce de Leon, director of León Gallery


18. De Young Museum in San Francisco


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“Growing up in San Francisco, I would have to choose the De Young Museum. I love the architecture, its otherworldly form, and the materials they used. It was renovated by Herzog & de Meuron in 2005 with a perforated copper cladding. It has a wonderful garden with sculptures and artwork—my favorite being the giant safety pin by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen beside the cafeteria. Definitely go up the tower to see a great view of the Golden Gate Park.”

— Jar Concengco, photographer


19. Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum in Tokyo

“Most might not think of Tokyo as a place to immerse in Japan’s deep history and heritage, but this open-air museum is a great place to visit especially if you won’t have enough time on your trip to visit the less urbanized prefectures. Natural disasters and rapid industrialization have made it difficult to preserve most of the important heritage structures in Tokyo, so the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum has relocated some of them to their property, where they have been restored and preserved. It’s great to be able to walk through these different structures and learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Japanese, as well as their evolving design influences over the centuries.”

— Pauline Miranda, managing editor of Nolisoli


20. The Hamburger Banhoff in Berlin

“My favorite museums are the Modern Art Museums. In particular, MOMA NYC and SFO, Tate Modern,  Pompidou, and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. I also enjoyed the Hamburger Banhof in Berlin which is cutting edge. I enjoy Modern Art museums because not only do you see the incredible artists and innovation of post war modernism from the 50s to 80s and how they are continuing to evolve to this day. Using various mediums and concepts that showcase the evolution of modern day philosophies and issues. The use of various mediums to express various concepts is what intrigues me the most. And the breakaway from the traditional canvas and paper works to more conventional mediums allow the artists an infinite manner of showcasing their concepts.”

— Jose Moreno, art collector


21. Montenmedio Contemporánea in Cádiz

“I’m a big fan of open air museums. Recently, I’ve been most moved by Montenmedio Contemporánea, particularly experiencing James Turrell’s light sequence at dusk, all to myself.

I could wander their grounds for hours. Each commissioned work deeply connects with both the immediate landscape and Andalucia’s rich history, from Islamic rule to ceramic wares and geopolitical migration.

And for me, the works themselves are a beautiful confrontation with my own practice as an art conservator, provoking questions of preservation in the face of objects that are inherently exposed and comprised of intangible elements: in the case of Turrell, the human eye and the sun.”

— Marga Villanueva, conservator and museum administrator of the Lopez Museum


22. Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte in Versailles

“The French baroque Chateau which inspired Versailles—the very stunning Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte. It is a magical castle outside Paris, which has remained such a well kept secret. I gravitate towards places like this that are not touristy at all. It is both enchanting and beautiful during the day and night – at night you get to enjoy magical fireworks. Every room is filled with so much beauty and history. I enjoyed the splendor of the most lavish and intricate details of each room’s interiors, art, and stunning architecture.”

— Nikki Martel, communications manager of Tiffany & Co.


23. Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris

“This museum is memorable because of Monet and the unassumingness of the place. Back in 2014, it was one of the first museums I visited with my aunt in Paris. It was a peaceful museum as it was not as in my face. It is a nice breaker from the grandness of the Louvre.”

Gabbie Sarenas, fashion designer


24. M+ in Hong Kong

“M+ was the last museum I visited with my aunt last year. I like the grandeur of the museum, yet I understood the exhibit (which was about Yayoi Kusama). I especially like the room wherein I get to experience who she really is even if it was only short.”

Gabbie Sarenas, fashion designer


25. The Frick Collection in New York City

The Frick in New York. Photo from Ria Prieto

I’m a wanderer and when I’m in NY I love going to the Frick in the middle of the day. It’s well located and even if it’s modest in size, I find myself discovering a different art piece every visit and really getting to absorb it. Their collection features celebrated works in European fine and decorative arts, from Rembrandt and Fragonard to Ingres, Bellini, and Vermeer. This space is a welcome respite from the busy city.”

— Ria Prieto, editor-in-chief of Lifestyle.INQ

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