In a country where there seems to be a food or coffee chain on every corner, cultural institutions like libraries and museums are still far more ubiquitous than the Big Mac or the venti latte. Recent data from the Institute of Museums and Library Services indicates that the U.S. has more museums than outposts of the two largest fast food chains combined. In fact, there are about 35,000 active museums in the nation.

  • The US has more museums than outposts of the two largest fast food chains combined.
  • County-wide, there are 681 museums in LA, far eclipsing the Big Apple’s 414.
  • The definition of what counts as a museum is a little bit mushy, with some venues defying classification.

In a country where there seems to be a food or coffee chain on every corner, cultural institutions like libraries and museums are still far more ubiquitous than the Big Mac or the venti latte.

The gardens at The Getty Center are part of the draw to 1.3 million annual visitors to the Los Angeles, CA location. BKingFoto / Shutterstock.com

The gardens at The Getty Center are part of the draw to 1.3 million annual visitors to the Los Angeles, CA location. BKingFoto / Shutterstock.com

Recent data from the Institute of Museums and Library Services indicates that the U.S. has more museums than outposts of the two largest fast food chains combined. In fact, there are about 35,000 active museums in the nation. That number has steadily risen in the past two decades. And, the definition of what counts as a museum is a little bit mushy, with some venues defying classification.

But, you can get your culture at far more places than the doctor’s office. While the study counts the big name museums, it also tallies the tiny little outfits and family-owned attractions that are a pleasant stop for tourists and locals alike.

Measured in sheer numbers, Los Angeles leads the pack as the nation’s cultural (and kitsch) capital. County-wide, there are 681 museums in LA, far eclipsing the Big Apple’s 414. LA residents or tourists can spend an afternoon at offerings ranging from The Broad or The Grammy Museum, to the Museum of Jurassic Technology or the Museum of Neon Art.

The variety of venues that count in this cultural inventory is diverse and often surprising. The list includes aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens and nature centers, museums of every possible type, historic houses and sites, planetariums, science and technology centers and zoos.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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