The best museums in NYC
New Your City is the ultimate destination for tourists. The city boasts the ultimate quintessence of different cultures and traditions. Everything here is absolutely stunning: architecture, food, and, of course, an unbelievable atmosphere of a huge metropolitan city.
But there’s more to New York besides being the combination of different cultures. One of the most popular features of the city is the presence of many museums, combining different forms of art. NYC museums offer various benefits for the tourists, including free admission during the night at the museums and interesting excursions to help you learn more about art and culture.
NYC museums are among the most popular tourist attractions around the world, with nearly 7.1 million people visiting only the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the yearly basis.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 NYC museums which you absolutely need to visit:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Museum of Modern Art
- The Guggenheim
- The Morgan Library and Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- Cooper Hewitt
- Museum of the City of New York
Of course, the Met is the first on our list. Being a century and a half old, this museum is a concentration of the most stunning and popular pieces of art. Thanks to the groundbreaking exhibits and a spectacular permanent collection, this museum always gives you a sense of discovering something great as you step in.
However, as the overall floor area of the Met is 190.000 m2, you can imagine how hard it is to be able to see every exhibited piece of art and enjoy all of them in one day. That is why it is highly recommended to dedicate several (at least 3) days to visit the Met.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art numerous sections, here are only a few of them:
- American Art of the 17th to 20th century
- Middle Eastern Arts
- Exhibition of weapons and armory of Japan, Syria, and Europe
- Asian art
- Art of the Oceania, Africa and Southern America, including sculptures, paintings etc.
- Art of Ancient Egypt
- Medieval art and art of the Renaissance
- Numerous temporary exhibitions of modern art etc.
You can organize your visits to the Met according to the different sections, for example, Day 1 – Medieval arts, Day 2 –Middle Eastern and Asian arts etc. It’s also highly recommended to take free guided tours, which run every 15 minutes. You can also choose to take an audio tour, which costs up to $7 to get comprehensive information about each exhibit.
There’s also a possibility to organize group tours at the Met. So if you:
- want to arrange a tour for the college or university students, tourists or simple personal groups, or
- a tour for your K-12 students
- a tour for visitors with disabilities etc.
It’s possible to choose an available option and to get a specific guided tour to see all must-see exhibits in one day.
It is also highly recommended to visit other Met divisions, including:
- The Met Fifth Avenue: see unique temporary exhibitions as well as stunning art collections
- The Met Breuer: take a look at the modern art visiting the unique location of this Met division, situated in a very modern and jazzy building
- The Met Cloisters: get a chance to see one-of-a-kind architecture and garden exhibits.
Interesting fact! The Metropolitan Museum of Art is technically free, however, you’re required to make a pay-what-you-wish contribution.
This museum is worth visiting because it’s something that you’ve never seen before. It’s got that eccentric vibe and unique atmosphere. This is a one-of-a-kind 125.000 m2 space filled with the exhibits of modern paintings, architecture, and other pieces of art. The gallery is very spacious, the exhibits are located in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the visitors, making all tours comfortable and enjoyable.
The most popular MoMA exhibits include:
- Collection galleries 1880s-1950s, including the paintings of Henri Matisse and Claude Monet;
- Art Lab: Nature, helping all generations to discover how artists get inspired by nature;
- Degenerate Art, which is an exhibit of the works of art banned by the Nazi government.
MoMA is also famous for organizing various events, inviting famous artists to tell the public about the works, as well as film series about the history of the cinema, and performance programs. The museum unites the works of many artists from around the world, including Finnish artists Aino Aalto and Eero Aarnio, and Indian artist Manish Acharia and Italian born artist Carla Accardi.
Tip! If you want to visit MoMA for free, come here on Friday from 4 to 8 pm.
Unique buildings of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will take your breath away. Come here to see unique paintings of Picasso, Kandinsky, Miró and Paul Klee. This is a must-see place for the admirers of Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism.
This year the Guggenheim organizes one-of-a-kind exhibitions to help their visitors take a look at art from the different perspective. Don’t miss a chance to see:
- the Brancusi exhibition displaying unique pieces of modern sculpture created by Constantin Brancusi;
- Thannhauser collection, which exhibits the impressionist and post-impressionist works of Justin K. Thannhauser.
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is committed to innovation that is why their exhibits are always worth visiting.
Tip! Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum offers a pay-what-you-wish policy on Saturday from 5:45 to 7:45 pm.
Let’s take a rest from paintings and architecture and look a different form of art, which is literature. While the museum also exhibits paintings, many of its other exhibitions are connected with literature, like the recent Saint-Exupéry Dossier.
Some other exhibitions that you’ll definitely be interested in, include:
- The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection, which includes the letters of Brazilian author and publisher, displaying his beautiful handwriting and style. This exhibition could be particularly interesting for professional essay writers, publishers, and litterateurs.
- Highlights of the Collection Tours: take a look at the library’s collection and discover what the museum has in store for you.
The Morgan Library and Museum also offers educational programs, seminars, and even concerts. There’s a variety of events for every taste, and all of them will leave a lasting impression on you.
Tip! Come here on Friday from 7 to 9 pm to have a free tour.
You might recognize this museum thankfully to Ross Geller, a character from the famous TV show “Friends”, who worked there as a paleontologist. But besides being mentioned numerous times in this TV show, American Museum of Natural History offers many interesting exhibits interesting for people of all generations.
Here you’ll find everything connected to the natural history of our planet, including exhibits of ancient species, depictions of the life of American native tribes, and a hall dedicated to the marine life with a model of a huge blue whale. And, of course, here you’ll learn about dinosaurs than anywhere.
Other popular exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History include:
- Unseen Oceans: this is a stunning display of the marvelous world below the surface of the water. Thanks to the 21-century technology you have a possibility to take a look at the unseen oceanic habitats and unusual marine creatures, rich in details.
- Our Senses: we all know that we perceive the world through our senses, but you probably didn’t know that there’s more to it than just exploring the world. Learn about interesting experiments that will make you doubt your senses. This exhibition is definitely an exciting journey for all the visitors of this museum.
American Museum of Natural History also offers educational programs, lectures, and seminars for all the visitors. It’s highly recommended to visit them because nowhere else you’ll get a better opportunity to learn about natural history than in this museum.
A unique feature of this museum is that it offers an opportunity to spend a night here. This event is organized each month, but you should book your tickets in advance. During this event you’ll be able to:
- have a dinner discussing interesting facts about natural history
participate in a quest to find fossils using just a flashlight;
- watch different thematic films;
- visit special exhibitions.
Also, where else will you have a possibility to fall asleep while watching a huge model of the blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
Interesting fact! American Museum of Natural History offers visitors to pay as much money as they wish, so the museum is free to visit.
This museum is located in a beautiful Georgian mansion in the Upper East Side. This museum represents finest exhibits of design and architecture, starting from the stunning building it’s located in. Here you’ll find everything from furniture to sculpture, pottery etc.
In this museum, you can find unique exhibitions, including:
- The Science of Color, displaying mesmerizing colors and how designers apply the color theories in their works.
- Hear, See, Play: Designing with Sound, exhibiting how designers use sound to give objects they create certain human-like personalities.
This museum also offers exhibits of unique pieces of jewelry and tiny elements of décor like doorknobs, cassettes and other interesting items you won’t find anywhere else.
Cooper Hewitt Museum is open to both individual and group visitors, however, due to limited capacity the museum allows the groups that do not exceed 35 visitors per group. Cooper Hewitt Museum is not free with the admission price of $18. However, the museum also offers to visit its Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, which are free to attend and is open all year round. The prominent feature of this location is that the garden is often updated with the new pieces of design. There’s also a cozy café here, perfect for meetings with your friends and romantic dates.
Learn more about the beautiful city of New York by visiting one of the most prominent museums. This is a history and art museum, which exhibits items connected with the history of the New York City. This museum is also a private non-profit organization receiving government support.
The collection of the NYC museum consists of 1.5 million items dating from 19th to 20th century, including:
- prints and photographs;
- paintings and sculpture;
- theater collection;
- costume and textiles;
- furniture and decorative arts;
- archival collections, including letters of prominent people, etc.
Women will also be interested to visit a Mid-20th Century Women’s Garments exhibition, which displays pieces of clothing designed by well-known designers, including Coco Chanel.
Another famous exhibition called “New York At Its Core” covers 400 years of New York City’s evolution and involves displaying many items that made this city the way it is today and changed it from a striving village into one of the most popular metropolitan cities in the world.
You could also be interested in visiting an exhibition about activists in New York to learn about the history of social activism and events that took place on the streets of this city.
The workers of the museum will gladly tell you different stories about prominent people who lived in NYC and what they’ve done to shape the city’s history and what contribution they’ve made in what New York looks today.
This year museum is also offering summer programs offering education courses and various interesting events for people of all ages.
The museum is open daily except for holidays. There’s an admission price of $18 dollars for adults and $12 dollars for seniors and students. However, people aged 19 and under can visit the Museum of the City of New York for free. The museum also offers various discounts for group tours.
NYC has over 100 museums, and they are all worth visiting. There are also smaller museums dedicated to a particular part of the city, like Bronx museum, or thematic museums like the Museum of Food and Drink.
All NYC museums have incredible collections to everyone’s taste. And what’s even more exciting is that you can attend most of them for free at any time or on specific days. Most of them offer ‘pay as you wish’ policy, offering you an option to make a contribution to the museum’s maintenance.
We highly recommend giving some money, as maintaining all the exhibits takes a lot of time and effort in order to make it exciting and interesting for you.
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