Do you like museums? Although I love history, art, and culture (all of the reasons why I love travel), I’m not one to spend a lot of time in museums. That said, I’ve definitely had museum experiences that have turned into the highlights of my trip. I will never forget viewing the impressionist paintings in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, looking up at Michelangelo’s David in Florence, and seeing Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam.
A museum visit can certainly enhance a trip, but let’s be real here, a lot of museums feel lifeless and boring (sorry history nerds!) and spending too much time in one can put a serious damper on your trip!
When planning a trip and debating whether or not to include museums on your itinerary, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you have a memorable experience and most importantly, enjoy yourself. You are on vacation after all!
Traveling Chic’s Top Tips and Tricks to Enjoying a Museum
- Simply enjoy the museum and don’t try to conquer it. This article from the New York Times sums it up best. Slow down!
- Although I just recommended that you slow down, I still think it is important to have a time limit and stick to it–especially when traveling with others.
- Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines. Waiting in lines is the easiest way to start the day on the wrong foot, so plan ahead and get your tickets early.
- Read up before you go. If you have some context or history behind what you are going to see, it will be a much more powerful experience when you finally see it in person.
- Do your research on the type of museum you want to visit. Really think about what you personally enjoy and not what your guidebook tells you that you have to see! If you’re traveling with kids, there are usually great options that will entertain your kids for hours. I mean, how much fun does the Ice Cream Museum sound in Los Angeles??!
- Get your selfie on! Life can imitate art, so why not have a little fun. Sometimes museums make you feel like you have to act like you’re in a library. I think this is nonsense! While you certainly don’t want to be rude, it’s okay to have some fun, be artistic, and actually enjoy the museum!
- Read up on your destination to see if there are any cool exhibits going on. A short-term exhibition could literally turn into a once in a lifetime experience.
- Another fun alternative is to visit a museum at night. A lot of museums have evening options on certain days of the week or months of the year. This can provide a totally different vibe and make for a fun start to an evening out.
- Download a Podcast for a free walking tour of a museum. If you’re visiting Europe this summer, Rick Steves has free podcasts for most of the major museums in Europe that you can download and enjoy.
- Wear comfortable shoes!
What are your tips for making the most out of a museum when traveling? I’d love to hear!