Offering some of the city’s best views, you can spend a good half-day picnicking on the lawn above the central gardens, or wandering around the Richard Meier-designed exterior (construction employed about 1,200,000 square feet of travertine) before you even head inside. The exhibitions are always varied and interesting, the permanent collection is important, and there are excellent hands-on activities for kids. You only pay for parking at the bottom; admittance is otherwise free.

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