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
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Longwood
How to get there
  • Museum of Fine Arts • 4 min walk
  • Longwood Medical Area • 7 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers 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
    Traveled 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, Florida103 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
    Traveled 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
    48 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
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 26, 2023
  • BlueTravels
    Jacksonville, Florida439 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
    Traveled 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
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 8, 2023
  • Mateo0333
    Miami, Florida773 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
    Traveled 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
    Traveled 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
    Traveled 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.

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

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,316 reviews
Excellent
2,217
Very good
670
Average
264
Poor
108
Terrible
57

Travelgirl85858
Somerville, MA24 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021 • Family
While the art inside is truly wonderful, the rules set forth at the museum are horrific and the staff is cold and remarkably unfeeling. First, the only way to gain entry to the museum you need to sign up as a member and then buy tickets electronically before even going through the front door. This, even though we were literally standing outside the museum and the woman would not allow us to simply purchase tickets at the front desk a few feet away. Second, one of the museum workers would not allow us to hold our jackets and insisted we wear them while visiting. I wore mine for about 20 minutes and then took it off so as to not pass out from the heat. It was hot inside! A man came running over and forcibly insisted I put the coat on, even though I didn’t feel well, once again because it was so hot inside. Had they simply greeted people at the entrance to ask guests to check their jackets, it would make things much better for everyone. I implore the management here to find a better way to do things, as it is not working. We stayed at the museum just 30 minutes as we could not wear our coats any longer. I will not visit again until these asinine rules change.
Written November 20, 2021
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.

thrifty1977
Newnan, GA40 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
We were visiting Boston from out of state and had researched various options for spending our weekend. This museum sounded delightful. After taking public transportation about 45 minutes from our hotel to this museum, we we informed that online ticket purchases are required, and they were completely sold out for the day! I had seen that online tickets were an option on their website, but I didn't realize they were a must. Given that we were navigating Boston's public transportation system for the first time and weren't sure when we would arrive, we chose not to purchase advance tickets. The employee at the door was not helpful or pleasant. We ended up making the fairly short walk to the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoyed a lovely afternoon there. It would have been helpful if their website indicated that advance ticket purchases are required.
Written November 21, 2021
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.

kojf
Daytona Beach, FL6 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Couples
Bought tickets for 1:30 entry. Arrived at 11:50AM anticipating relaxed lunch at Cafe G. Visited during time of record heat wave. Museum still following strict Covid protocols late June 2021. Told that we could not enter restaurant until 1PM and then we would have to wait in line. Had to wait outside on the street in oppressive heat(96°). Eventually decided to 'cut our losses' by calling an Uber an forfeiting our tickets. Survival was paramount. Very uncivilized experience. I would recommend not going to the museum during inclement, hot, difficult weather unless you time it proximate to your ticket time. Do Not Go expecting a relaxing lunch at Cafe G prior to your timed ticket.
Written June 29, 2021
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.

afinetraveler
Washington DC, DC989 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022 • Couples
We enjoyed this museum, showcasing the art work collected by Isabella Stewart Gardner and her husband. It was honestly a nice surprise. And it was also interesting to watch the movie which introduced the museum and the life of Isabella Stewart.

The cost to enter was $20/person, and we spent about an hour exploring.
Written January 15, 2022
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.

Roddy P
Johannesburg, South Africa927 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
What a treasure box of delights. You pay $20.00 unless you book via the 1st thursday of the month when it is free. Its is an unbelivable collection of the most remarkable artifacts, art, carvings, collected over many years with love and LOTS and LOTS of money.

In someways it represents the stripping of europe of its artifacts - on the other the collection is open to everyone and is cared for and protected.

I was compeletly bowled over with the place
Written August 4, 2022
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.

Alicia L
4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Solo
This museum is a mess. The displays are not well thought out, many areas look like a storage room, chairs are roped off and it really is a disaster aesthetically. For the enormous sum of $20.00 I would expect a much more beautiful museum. The staff are rude and I was shouted at for sipping from a water bottle “NO WATER! NO WATER” very apt timing as I was looking at Jesus carrying the cross. They also don’t want you carrying your small jacket but allow backpacks which is ridiculous. They allow photos but make such a huge deal about being robbed over 30 years ago!! They keep the empty frames up on the wall which is pathetic. This should be a free museum as it is very far from being worth the entry fee. The garden featured a wilting and/or dead chrysanthemum exhibit. Very sad. I recommend anywhere but this dump.
Written November 2, 2022
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.

drichrx
Brooklyn, NY1,166 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
The bad experience started with the uncoordinated admission process where staff gave conflicting instructions and had a different process. The staff could not adapt to the situation. There was a long line to get in, yet they insisted on gathering personal information (email addresses, etc.) to enter while people waited and waited. They seemed more concerned about their process (as uncoordinated and inefficient as it was) than the satisfaction of the customers. It took over 45 minutes just to get in because it – creating a sour note from the beginning. The museum itself had some nice pieces, but it desperately needs a good curator. Many rooms were dark and the paintings in need of restoration to lighten up. The rooms were filled with a mix of unrelated and unlabeled art so you never knew who the creator was (e.g., a religious painting, next to a watercolor of Venice. Asian art mixed with Renaissance art from Italy – all unlabeled). Would not recommend.
Written April 30, 2022
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.

howart01
Fremont, NE64 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
This is going to be a mixed bag, review wise. This museum is very unique, at least when compared to the other art museums I've been to. Each room has a different look and feel, with various forms of art intermingled. And "forms of art" is used very loosely - paintings, furniture, small drawings, leather tiles, etc.. Additionally, there are virtually no placards for any of the pieces. To learn about what you're seeing, you need to use an app on your phone, and constantly scroll to learn about the pieces, which I found annoying. While I understand that this is what makes this museum unique, I personally did not care for the layout, nor the lack of placards.

I also ran into a number of the staff that didn't seem to know much about the pieces in the museum, which has not been my experience in other museums. The food in the cafe is very overpriced and the options are very unique.

Having said that, there are some very interesting and unique pieces the museum and the story of the great art heist that took place in 1990 is also very interesting as well. The audio tours of each room are interesting and point out things that you probably would have missed otherwise. The courtyard is VERY beautiful, as are a number of the settings.

Realize this is one person's opinion. If you are an art student or are tired of the normal format of an art museum, where things are organized by period or geographic location, you may have an entirely different perspective. I believe Isabella Steward Gardner was a bit eccentric, and the museum reflects this, which may be exciting for some and frustrating for others.
Written May 24, 2021
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.

Traveller Kate 8
Copenhagen, Denmark277 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum gives you a window into one female collector's eclectic taste, presented in a building she constructed to display the collection. Bring your phone, as you will need it to get titles and backgrounds on the paintings. The Gardner doesn't do plaques.

On the day we visited - a weekday in summer - the museum was crowded from its opening minutes. Booking tickets online in advance is a must. We would have enjoyed the museum more with half the number of patrons.

Café G on the premises had very good lunch for a reasonable price with experienced, professional servers. There is a very good museum gift shop as well.
Written July 26, 2022
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.

jeannie410
Orlando, FL21 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
This is a very enjoyable museum. The directional signs at the entrance could be a little clearer, and I’d like to see more written info for those who don’t do the audio tour. Right now, they are only allowing a limited number of people through timed entry tickets, so be sure to get your tickets in advance.
Written August 12, 2021
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.

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