Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
4.5
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
A Venetian palace in the middle of Boston, Gardner's home is now a museum displaying her impressive, eclectic collection of European, American and Asian art, including sculpture, paintings, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Visitors can stroll or rest in a spectacular skylit courtyard filled with plants and flowers.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and nearby attractions

The area
See what travellers are saying
  • stevehh2525
    91 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best Kept Secret in Boston
    A Boston must do. The Venetian feel of the building's inner courtyard with 4 floors above the floor is truly grant. Don't be misled by the plain exterior. Suggest you to read up a bit on the history of this magnificent museum and about the vision of a lady who gathered all the displayed item while traveling most of the world. Sadly, the theft of a handful of items, mostly paintings, remains unsolved and the empty frames illustrate where they were displayed. Check out the small map in the corner room with small paintings you most likely to enter first. It shows where and when items were acquired. Don't ask the guards about the theft, they are not allowed to discuss that apparently.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written June 29, 2023
  • Monica
    12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Museum for people who don't like Museums
    Yes. I'm that person. I'm not one to head to a museum unless I'm on a trip. This place was amazing for the setting itself! The art on the walls, the architecture, the flowers, the decorations, the rooms, and the variety of art were all captivating. I loved the audio tour that I could QR code and listen to as I walked around each room and made me a mini expert. Bring headphones. I had watched the art heist documentary a year before and am now rewatching with a new perspective. I was only planning on 1 hour in the museum but enjoyed about 2 hours as I spent time listening to the tour and walking through each room.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 19, 2023
  • allthegirls2014
    Naples, Florida101 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous personal collection of eclectic artwork
    This quirky museum is very enjoyable. You have to pre-purchase tickets. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you arrive, because per Mrs. Gardner, none of the art is labeled. Therefore, you need to scan a QR card in each room to get a map of the room and identification and description information on the artwork. The collection is eclectic and extensive, but set in essentially a Venetian style palazzo, without traditional "museum" trappings like tags and really good lighting. Be sure to spend time walking around the courtyard on the first floor and the gardens, as they are very peaceful and beautiful.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written July 24, 2023
  • Katie C
    Indianapolis, Indiana492 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A great experience!
    We had a lovely morning at the museum - we arrived around 10:30 and bought our tickets the night before so we were guaranteed timed entry. The museum took about an hour and a half, and became crowded quickly, so going early was good. We really enjoyed looking around, and tried to use the digital guides as well. Will definitely go back!
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 25, 2023
  • Allison K
    36 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the best museums in the world
    I've never been to a museum like this. It was breathtaking, spectacular, fascinating and full of wild stories. It's a MUST if you're visiting Boston. They have free audio guides to download on your phone and you can choose which one you want, so make sure to bring your airpods. The audio guide was fantastic and really helped us understand the art work and reasons why Isabella placed them in very specific places. I recommend going when it's sunny, because the rooms are purposefully left dark for the safety and preservation of the art.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 26, 2023
  • BlueTravels
    Jacksonville, Florida441 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The audio tours make all the difference
    I've been to this museum two or three times over the last 20+ years and was never a fan. I felt that Gardner's stipulation that the collection be displayed exactly as she left it, and with no identifiers on any of the pieces, made the place look old fashioned, dated, and like just an old collection of, well, stuff. This time, we listed to the audio files that the museum provides for each room and it made a huge difference in my interest and enjoyment so that I was able to see the collection in a new way. Be sure to scan the QR code on the sign just after you enter the palace as it will take you to one webpage where you can easily access the commentary for each room. My husband, and others I noticed, instead tried to access the QR codes displayed in each room which took him to a completely different page that was not user friendly. He finally gave up and I saw others that seemed frustrated as well.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 31, 2023
  • Seamus48
    Hopewell Junction, New York298 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Boston must see
    Parking is easy nearby. Beautiful building, garden. An amazing collection of art. The cafe lunch was delicious and reasonable. Nice book shop. Close to T stop, Museum, Wentworth and Northeastern.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written October 8, 2023
  • Mateo0333
    Miami, Florida750 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Beautiful Museum
    A gem. The museum offers three stories of Christian icons; artist collections of Rembrandt and Italian painters. An amalgamation of years of collection by Ms. Gardner. The garden is the centerpiece of the multistory Venetian palace.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written November 7, 2023
  • Dave H
    West Chester, Pennsylvania102 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique museum - just a few demerits.
    A unique museum still laid out like Isabella wanted it. The central garden was beautifully decked out for the Christmas season. Only a few notable paintings, probably due to the infamous theft in 1990 of millions of dollars worth of art. Only a few things kept me from giving it a 5. The lighting is very dim in some places and it hard to see the paintings. And the lack of labeling/documentation is disappointing. The QR codes in the galleries do not add much. But...it's definitely worth a visit.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written December 7, 2023
  • Theresa
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must see, Italian Courtyard in Boston and more
    A truly enchanting museum with a magical aura. I loved the courtyard featuring tropical plants among sculptures and other antiquities. Different rooms in the building feature various periods of art, architecture and furnishings. Beautiful paintings. A one of a kind museum.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written December 14, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,314 reviews
Excellent
2,215
Very good
670
Average
264
Poor
108
Terrible
57

Loribbb
Gaithersburg, MD11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
The ISG Museum is one of my favorite museums; I returned after last visiting in the 1980s. It's a personally curated collection, displayed as Isabella Stewart Gardner left things a hundred years ago. Research beforehand is highly suggested, but if you just go and look you'll still have a wonderful visit. They have audio guides (download before you go). Timed tickets are needed, and when I visited it was quieter near the 11 am opening than at about 2 pm when I left, but it was never too packed. If it gets busy, they'll control entry to the smaller rooms and you may have to wait on a line for a bit.

My advice - arrive at the opening, take the vintage elevator to the 3rd floor of the palace, and work your way down. Most people will work their way up, so you'll have a few rooms to yourself for a few minutes. The courtyard and the building itself are really lovely (you can only look at the courtyard).

There was a 9-minute intro film in the new building; it can be viewed anytime but you might like it as an orientation if you don't know the history. No, it did not mention the notorious robbery. Read up on this before you visit, and you'll see the empty frames where glorious works of art once hung. I teared up when I got to the Dutch room, as I recall the spectacular Rembrandts that were there.

In each room, don't forget to look up, as some of the pieces are up high. And take time to appreciate the furniture, from various time periods and with spectacular and varied fabrics.

The cafe was a treat; great table service and not-too-overpriced lunch entrees ($22-25). There are restrooms on several floors in the old and new buildings.

After lunch, I revisited the palace, as the lighting changes during the day. The rooms are darker than 'regular' museums, and while it was a bit difficult to see some of the items in the morning light (with my old eyes), after noon the rooms were brighter. A tip - some of the most important pieces are near windows (again, this is arguable - you will have a lot of favorites once you've visited).

They had maps with 'highlights' (arguable; there are many highlights) that you replace for someone else to use as you leave. There's also some signage and very helpful guards, but the art itself is not labeled, one of the lovely quirks of this museum. Rather than spend your time reading placards, you will spend your time looking at the art.

The only place I found uncomfortably crowded was the gift shop.

Depending on your level of interest, you could spend an hour here, or the whole day. There's a "living room" in the new building where you can browse art books and sit, and several rooms have benches for sitting.

The buildings and restrooms are accessible. There are elevators if you need them.
Written May 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kleic
San Antonio, TX1,070 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
I was prepared to love this fabled place and I am really glad I've now been, but ... it is unbelievably crowded on a weekend even though there are timed tickets (and it was a good thing we had them in advance because tickets were entirely sold out the Saturday we were there) and the fact that Ms. Gardner left instructions not to change anything means that explanations of the tremendous volume of art you're looking at are available only on your phone. The place is stunning and some of what she collected really is extraordinary but it was a little overwhelming even for me as someone who loves art and a big downer for my husband who absolutely couldn't wait to leave.
Written April 27, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

semery03
Lyndon, VT87 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Went to the Gardner today between appointments.
Had a ladies lunch (salad and wine)
Pulled up the guided tour and found an 18 minute guided meditation for the Gardner Garden.
It was amazing.
So there I sat, on a stone bench , lotus position- peering into Isabella’s garden. And I listened to the meditation
And it was amazing.
Written April 25, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Derrick Aw
Singapore, Singapore1,096 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
A fantastic collection of vintage stuff from around the world. Spread over three floors, almost every available space is packed with something to see and admire,

If you’re someone like me who doesn’t want to listen to some audio guide as I walk, you may wish to note that there are QR codes at each art collection for you if you want to know more.

One would take 1.5 to 2 hours for this visit, excluding lunch at their cafe G (which only accepts walk-ins).
Written April 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

631BarbaraM
Inwood, WV206 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Remarkable place not only for the obvious works of art displayed but for the cabinets with royal and presidential letters and signatures, tapestries and garden brimming with plants and flowers. Garden closed to visitors but worth two hours, at least, to walk around and view Isabella’s eclectic collection.
Written April 19, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Casper65
Singapore, Singapore237 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
A truly world class museum
If you only have limited time in Boston, this is a must see
Booked tickets in advance to avoid disappointment
You need to spend at least 2 to 3 hours to truly appreciate the whole place
Written April 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RayGCincinnati_OH
Cincinnati, OH270 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
Isabella Stewart Gardner collected and carefully displayed a collection comprised of more than 2,500 paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, drawings, silver, ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, photographs and letters—from ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Italy, Asia, France and America.
There is very little rhyme or reason to the display of this collection. Objects fill every square inch of this 15th-century style Venetian palace. Not one single item is labeled so if you want to know anything, you have to ask a docent. Every, single, time.
The courtyard is imposing and very nice.
Written April 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Allison H
46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
The very best museum for a comprehensive aesthetic experience, housing the collection of 19th-century connoisseur Isabella Stewart Gardner. The building and garden, both also conceived by Mrs Gardner, are gorgeous.
Written April 5, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Soabrevaya
Buenos Aires, Argentina448 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
It's an old house that belonged to the founder, full with diverse art pieces. Saddly its a bit chaotic. You should take ear buds because without the guide doesn't make much sense. Also buy the tickets before hand.
Written March 26, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

E450KCad
39 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
Nice small museum. Highly recommend going on a weekday if possible or arriving as soon as to opening on the weekend as sections of the museum can feel crowded due the museum's set-up. Plan for around 60 - 90 minutes for the visit. It walkable from the E green line T/subway (less than 10 minutes from Museum of fine arts stop and could also used the Longwood stop). Limited street parking; closest garage is by the museum of fine arts. If you like art, it makes sense to do both museums together since they are so close together.
Written March 24, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 3,000
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All Boston HotelsBoston Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Boston
All things to do in Boston
Day Trips in Boston
RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars