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I Heart My City’s Museums

It’s time for another special edition of I Heart My City! This time we’re serving up recommendations for the world’s best museums from the people who know their cities best. Some are off the beaten path — some offer us compelling reasons to revisit the old stand bys.

Here are 20 must-see museums from 20 past I Heart My City contributors in 20 different cities. Okay, there are a bit more than 20. As you’ll soon see, many of our contributors had trouble picking just one!

Do you want to share your hometown pride with the rest of the world? Fill out an I Heart My City questionnaire and send it to us at

Jessica’s Barcelona (Spain): The MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia) which features impressive classical and modern artwork as well as a palatial façade built for the 1929 World’s Fair. Another great thing to do in this area is witness the delightful Magic Fountain and its charming “aquatic” concert.

Christine’s Melbourne (Australia): The National Gallery of Victoria, but there are heaps of amazing independent galleries throughout the city!

Daniel’s London (England): The V&A in South Kensington or the fantastic Museum of Childhood in East London. The V&A is beautifully organized into different artistic techniques and methods. If you’ve got kids bring notebooks and pencils for them to sketch what they find. That night you might be able to sleep at the Science or Natural History museums which are are right across the street.

Jo’s Cape Town (South Africa): Groot Constantia, the oldest wine farm in the country. Once you’ve had your dose of colonial history in the beautifully restored Cape Dutch homestead, it’d be rude not to taste the estate’s wines…

Berit’s Copenhagen (Denmark): Louisiana in the north of Copenhagen or Arken in the south. Both offer fantastic exhibitions and are situated in beautiful areas. Follow Berit Bonde @BeritBonde

Keith’s Montréal (Canada): The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts — but don’t miss the Insectarium and Pointe-a-Calliere, the fascinating archeology museum in Old Montréal.

Yvonne’s Berlin (Germany): The Jewish Museum Berlin with a building designed by Daniel Libeskind — but I also like the Currywurst Museum near Checkpoint Charlie.

Colleen’s Beijing (China): The Urban Planning Museum, for its futuristic models of Beijing.

Lea’s Vienna (Austria): The Albertina, which has recently started to attract the young folks by combining art with music and by doubling as a stylish clubbing location for special exhibitions.

Spencer’s San Francisco (United States): The Cal Academy of Sciences. It’s not just a museum but a natural history museum, aquarium, and planetarium, all in one.

Kash’s Edinburgh (Scotland): The newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland where, under one roof, you can enjoy the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology, and Scottish history. It’s a great day out for the kids, and the best thing is that it’s free. 

Kristina’s Santiago (Chile): The Pablo Neruda Museum. Many travelers overlook this museum in favor of Neruda’s larger museum at Isla Negra on the coast, but his eccentric old Santiago home is quite spellbinding, and it is replete with anecdotal art, collections, and awards, including the poet’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Katie’s Rome (Italy): The Musei Capitolini, which is home to a stunning collection of ancient marble and bronze sculpture.

Rachael’s Dakar (Senegal): The House of Slaves on Goree Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The original slave house built in the 1700s was used as a holding place for slaves before they were transported to Western countries. The house is now a museum and memorial to Africans who lost their freedom and brings slavery’s haunting history to life.

Katie’s Reykjavik (Iceland): The 871 +/-2 Settlement Museum. In 2001, an ancient Viking longhouse was discovered beneath Reykjavik and around it was built a modern, multimedia and interactive museum that gives a comprehensive history of the country’s early settlement.

Charlotte’s Wellington (New Zealand): Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa — it’s great for kids.

Lindsey’s Paris (France):  The Musée d’Orsay. Even if you’re not a fan of art you will appreciate the museum’s building, a former railway station.

Joe’s Chicago (United States): The Shedd Aquarium. Beluga whales and otters. Enough said.  

Maja’s Belgrade (Serbia): The Nikola Tesla Museum, which is dedicated to the art of invention.  

Do you want to share your hometown pride with the rest of the world? Fill out an I Heart My City questionnaire and send it to us at

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