The 15 Most expensive museums in the world

Unlike most other travel costs, museum prices are particularly hard to predict until you’ve actually done the research. Many governments and private foundations continue to subsidize museums as a way to make them accessible to all, but that doesn’t happen everywhere, of course.

So here at Price of Travel we’re all about trying to help people calculate their budgets in all the major destinations around the world, and in some cases this can be a tool to actually pick your next holiday. We’ve compared taxi prices around the world, and public transportation prices around the world, with mostly predictable results. This one is a bit different.

For this list we’ve researched and recently confirmed prices at all of the most famous art museums in the world, plus a few less-famous ones in very expensive cities. So the definition we used is an “art museum” where the main feature is the art rather than the building itself. If we were to widen the definition you’d notice that the priciest museums in the world are mostly wax museums, so we are ignoring those here.

The 15 most expensive museums in the world

Normal adult admission price, currency converted as of 11-May, 2017

1 – US$25.00 – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (suggested admission)

2 – US$25.00 – Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

3 – US$25.00 – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

4 – US$25.00 – Museum of Modern Art, New York City

5 – US$22.82 – Kunsthaus, Zurich (23 CHF)

6 – US$22.00 – Frick Collection, New York City

7 – US$22.00 – Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

8 – US$19.01 – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (€17.50)

9 –  US$19.01 – Hermitage Museum, Amsterdam (€17.50)

10 –  US$18.47 – Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (€17.00)

11 –  US$17.51 – Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (C$24.00)

12 –  US$17.38 – Vatican Museum, Rome (€16.00)

13 – US$16.30 – Prado Museum, Madrid (€15.00)

14 –  US$16.30 – Louvre, Paris (€15.00)

15 – US$15.21 – Centre Pompidou, Paris (€14.00)

4 very famous museums that are cheaper

US$14.59 – Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (C$20.00)

US$13.04 – Musee d’Orsay, Paris (€12.00)

US$12.26 – Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (700 rubles)

US$8.69 – Uffizi Gallery, Florence (€8.00)

4 very famous museums that are totally free

Free – British Museum, London

Free – Tate Modern, London

Free – J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles

Free – National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Notes and conclusions

It’s a bit surprising to see a pair of Canadian museums charging so much, as they otherwise seem like a country that would subsidize the hell out of them.

London and Washington DC are two cities that are loaded with free (taxpayer supported, really) museums, which helps take the bite out of a visit since both are also extraordinarily expensive in nearly every other way.

Many of the above museums are famous for very long admission queues, like the Vatican Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Louvre, so they could clearly charge more and probably bring in a lot more revenue. It’s nice that they don’t, unless you would prefer to pay more for a shorter wait. In some cases you can book online and skip the queue, which is already a major trend at popular non-museum attractions.

You’ll notice that all of these museums are in Europe and North America. The only other places with overall prices that compare are Australia, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which have cheaper or free museums.

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  1. Eli says:

    Comment*now uffizi is 25 euro

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Thank you. The article hasn’t been updated since 2017 so I assume most or all of them are more expensive now. -Roger

  2. poor ass says:

    hey update your list bro~
    the ticket of this long museum cost 40 USD.
    I amnot trying to accusing you guys work of collecting the info here .

    I am fucking mad that this stupid museum in China the ticket price is almost twice high then all the biggest museum in the whole world.

    the western invented capitalism, Chinese bring it to the level which god will be pissed but can do no shit..

  3. laurie says:

    Admission to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is $25.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Thank you. -Roger

  4. Gracie says:

    British Museum is not free anymore! This is outrageous.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      False. The British Museum continues to be free for the main exhibits. -Roger

  5. art fan says:

    No the most expensive museum is the Field museum in Chicago requiring $22 general admission, $36 to see the whole museum and an additional $15 if you want to see dinosaurs. $52 to see the museum and the dinosaur exhibit. For that price you can fly some where else and see their museum for less. I guess only wealthy people get to go to museums in Chicago.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Unfortunately, many museums charge supplemental fees to see certain displays, and counting those in makes it way too complicated. Even the taxpayer-supported museums in the UK such as the British Museum and Tate Modern are free to enter but the extra fees for certain exhibitions are very high. Personally, I’m glad that museums keep the main displays cheap (or sometimes free). Thanks for the information. -Roger

  6. Mel says:

    The MET does not really count though because you can give them 1 cent and get in. It is SUGGESTED.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’ve seen real cheapskates give nothing to go into the Met, but still I’m wondering why you bothered to make this comment since it says “suggested” right next to the price in the article? Also, if you’ve been there, you know that nearly everyone pays the suggested price. -Roger

  7. John says:

    No. THE most expensive museum in the world is apparently the small San Francisco Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park with a whopping $29 admission fee for adults!

  8. Iain MAsterton says:

    Most expensive is now Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin which charges US$31 for full entry PLUS 4 Euro minimum for audio guide.