Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
- The 26 Best Museums in New York City
- 1. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- 2. American Folk Art Museum
- 3. American Museum of Natural History
- 4. The Bronx Museum
- 5. Children’s Museum Of Manhattan
- 6. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
- 7. Jewish Museum
- 8. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
- 9. Museum at FIT
- 10. Museum of Arts and Design
- 11. Museum of Broadway
- 12. Museum of Modern Art
- 13. National Museum of the American Indian
- 14. Museum of the Moving Image
- 15. National Museum of Mathematics
- 16. New Museum of Contemporary Art
- 17. New York City Fire Museum
- 18. New York Transit Museum
- 19. Noguchi Museum
- 20. Rubin Museum of Art
- 21. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- 22. Skyscraper Museum
- 23. Tenement Museum
- 24. The Met Cloisters
- 25. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- 26. Whitney Museum of American Art
- How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to New York City Museums
- Final Thoughts
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New York City is a top travel destination for a lot of reasons. It’s one of the biggest melting pots in the U.S. and home to some of the most famous monuments in the country. The city also happens to be one of the best places in the nation for museums. Whether you’re a fan of art or are more interested in learning about American history, New York City has an exhibit for you.
The 26 Best Museums in New York City
1. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Though it didn’t open until 2011, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is one of the most important in the city. Almost exactly 5 years after the tragic 9/11 attacks that saw the destruction of the World Trade Center, construction on the memorial and museum began.
The museum associated with the monument, located where the Twin Towers used to be, houses 74,000 artifacts that help visitors get a greater understanding of the day. Among the artifacts in the exhibits are relics from the first responders, the towers, the attack aftermath, and stories remembering the survivors, victims, and heroes of the day.
The hero stories not only recognize first responders but also the K-9 units that helped find people in the building wreckage. Not only are the events of 9/11 remembered, but also the events of the February 1993 bombing that also took place at the World Trade Center. The museum also hosts a number of memorials and educational events throughout the year.
Admission to the museum is free for children under age 7, $21 for children between ages 7 and 12, $27 for students, teenagers, and seniors, and $33 for adults. Access to just the 9/11 memorial is free. The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Park Place.
- Address: 180 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10007
2. American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum first opened in 1961, and since then has been the nation’s most important center for the preservation of folk art from around the U.S. Today, the museum’s collection has grown to encompass 8,000 different art pieces created by self-taught artists from the 1700s to the present day.
The museum’s curated collection is ever-growing, thanks in large part to the gifts donated by patrons of the museum. Today, this collection spans a variety of mediums, from drawings and sculptures to textiles and furniture. In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum hosts several temporary exhibits throughout the year celebrating specific artists and time periods.
Some of the most notable pieces in the museum are “Peaceable Kingdom” by Edward Hicks and a flag-painted gate created by an unknown artist in the 19th century. Hand-made goods are also available for purchase.
Admission to the museum is free. However, making advanced reservations for your visit is preferable to help keep crowd levels under control. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 66 Street/Lincoln Center.
- Address: 2 Lincoln Sq., New York, NY 10023
3. American Museum of Natural History
Since first opening in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has grown to be the largest museum of its kind in the world. Its 45 permanent exhibits are spread out across 20 separate buildings containing 35,000,000 artifacts and specimens.
One of the most important areas of the museum is its fossil hall, famous for its dinosaur skeletons and examples of long-extinct megafauna. The museum also houses preserved animals and replicas of the varied habitats found around the continent.
The museum also hosts exhibits about human history as well, mostly focusing on ancient cultures that helped create the stepping stones for the modern world. The museum isn’t just a visitor attraction, but it’s also a research center as well. The library used by on-staff scientists is even open to the public.
Admission is free for children under 3 and members, $16 for children aged 3 to 12, $22 for students and seniors, and $28 for adults. Discounts are available for East Coast residents. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 79 Street.
- Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
4. The Bronx Museum
Since its opening in 1971, The Bronx Museum has been a premier place to admire contemporary art from the 1900s. The permanent collection of over 800 pieces spanning various mediums portrays a thorough look at how American art has changed.
Though the facility focuses on art from the U.S., it hosts temporary galleries celebrating contemporary artists from around the world. These special exhibitions are a large part of the museum’s charm. Since the museum was first established, hundreds of installations have been presented here.
Some of its most beloved pieces are the “Elvira” bust by Elizabeth Catlett and the portrait “Richard” by Coreen Simpson. The museum also actively supports up-and-coming artists with education and scholarship programs. Some of these artists have even unveiled their work at the museum.
Admission is free for all visitors, though donations are welcome. Advanced notice is required if you plan to visit with a group of 10 or more. The exhibits are open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway station is 170 Street.
- Address: 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456
5. Children’s Museum Of Manhattan
Families visiting New York City with children should make it a point to visit the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. With over 41,000 square feet of exhibits, there’s something here to interest nearly any kid.
There are 6 exhibits in the structure, but these regularly change, meaning you can visit multiple times without having the same experience twice. Though many of the galleries and interactive galleries were created with children under the age of 11 in mind, visitors of all ages can have fun while exploring the museum.
From teaching the importance of voting to letting kids create and learn in exhibits featuring favorite characters like Dora and Diego, the facility provides hours of fun and edutainment. In addition to the galleries, the museum regularly hosts events and even classes for children of all ages, all of which are listed on the site’s event calendar.
Tickets for the museum are $16.75 for children over a year old and adults, while seniors aged 65+ and visitors with disabilities are eligible for a $3 discount. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 212 W. 83rd St., New York, NY 10024
6. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
Since the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration opened to the public in 1976, it’s been one of the country’s most important museums of American history. The museum houses artifacts and records of many of the 12,000,000 people who passed through Ellis Island on their quest to move to the U.S.
The museum is located directly on Ellis Island, right on the water border between New York and New Jersey. It consists of touring 3 separate areas: the Great Hall entrance point, the baggage area, and the dormitories where men and women were quarantined.
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration doesn’t just showcase the history of U.S. immigration through displays. It also incorporates interactive exhibits meant to help visitors step into the shoes of those who came to America between 1892 and 1924.
As more records are made public and artifacts are donated and uncovered, the museum continues to change to create a more all-encompassing look at history.
Admission is free for children aged 3 years and under, $9 for children aged 4 to 12, $14 for seniors, and $18.50 for adults. The museum is open daily from 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. A ferry is needed to get to the island, which can be taken from New York or New Jersey.
- Address: Ellis Island Bridge, Jersey City, NJ 10280
7. Jewish Museum
With its roots in 1904, New York City’s Jewish Museum houses the largest collection of art and artifacts celebrating Jewish culture outside of Israel.
The total number of pieces in the museum tops 30,000, many of which showcase not just art but also capture Jewish history. Since it first opened to the public in 1947, the museum’s exhibits have grown to include sculptures, paintings, media, and ancient relics worldwide.
Some of the museum’s most notable pieces in its permanent collection are “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century” by Andy Warhol and “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz. The museum has also hosted numerous temporary exhibitions over the years, which dive into particular artists, figures, and time periods.
Admission is free for children under 18 and members, $8 for students, $12 for seniors, and $18 for adults. Admission fees are waived on Saturdays. The museum is open Saturday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 86 Street.
- Address: 1109 5th Ave. and E. 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128
8. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art opened in 2016 and has since been one of New York City’s premier spaces for art representing those in the LGBTQ+ community. The museum houses over 22,000 pieces made by LGBTQ+ artists and depicts themes, issues, and figures in the community using a variety of mediums, from photography to sculpting.
At any given time, 1,300 items from the museum’s collection are displayed in its permanent exhibits. Many of these pieces were created by famous LGBTQ artists, past and present, like Ingo Swann and Arthur Tress.
Its founders, J. Frederic Lohman and Charles W. Leslie, donated the museum’s original collection. The facility was opened to educate visitors about the diversity of the community and foster a place of understanding.
The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free for all visitors, though a suggested donation of $10 per adult is always welcome. The nearest subway stop is Canal Street.
- Address: 26 Wooster St., New York, NY 10013
9. Museum at FIT
The Fashion Institute of Technology is one of the most important fashion schools in the country, covering topics in all parts of the industry. In association with the institute is the Museum at FIT. This museum houses a collection of over 50,000 articles of clothing and fashion accessories that track the progression of style starting in the 1700s.
In addition to the completed articles showcased in the gallery’s exhibits, there are also thousands of designs, sketches, and photos showcasing the garment-making process. The museum’s exhibits are ever-changing as fashion continues to evolve, with new pieces being added to the collection on a yearly basis.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also honors designers from around the world as well as particular periods of fashion history through temporary exhibits. Events are also regularly held at the museum, like lectures and luncheons.
Admission to the museum is free for all visitors, though special events may require a ticket or reservation to attend. The museum is open Wednesday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway station is 23 Street.
- Address: 227 W. 27th St., New York, NY 10001
10. Museum of Arts and Design
The Museum of Arts and Design, locally referred to as MAD, first opened in 1956. Since then, it’s been a leading facility in preserving the evolution of design and art through history.
The museum’s permanent collection has curated jewelry pieces, household items, and art in a variety of mediums, from metal to fiber. This main section of the museum focuses on the period between the 1950s and today in particular. Altogether, this collection tops 2,400 pieces, with that number growing each year as new items are added.
In addition to the items always on display, the MAD is known for its temporary installations and exhibits as well. These special galleries dive into the way design is used by a variety of artists, past and present, using pieces on loan from other exhibits as well as items from the archives.
Admission is free for children and members, $12 for students, $14 for seniors, and $18 for adults. Some special exhibits may require an additional ticket. MAD is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 59th Street/Columbus Circle.
- Address: 2 Columbus Cir., New York, NY 10019
11. Museum of Broadway
Opened in 2022, the Museum of Broadway is one of New York City’s newest exhibits, though the planning process took over 10 years to complete. It serves as the first museum dedicated to the famous Broadway theater shows and how they’ve helped shape the city.
The museum is divided into 3 separate and interactive sections. The first showcases the history of NYC’s theater scene through documentaries. The second section features a timeline of Broadway’s development over the years. The third takes visitors through the process of creating a full Broadway production.
In addition to the documents and written histories displayed, the museum also showcases hundreds of artifacts from past shows, including costumes, set pieces, and other props.
Admission is $29 for students, $32 for seniors, and between $34 and $41 for general admission, depending on your reserved visit time. Flexible entry is also available for $49. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Central Park North.
- Address: 145 W. 45th St., New York, NY 10036
12. Museum of Modern Art
New York’s Museum of Modern Art, also called the MoMA, is one of the most important centers for 19th- and 20th-century art.
It first opened in 1929 and has since become one of the most influential museums in the world regarding art trends and preservation. The museum’s collection includes over 200,000 pieces of architecture, film, books, and more, and continues to grow every year.
The MoMA is divided into 6 specific departments, each one tackling a particular art form. Though the museum collects work from around the world, the vast majority of the collection comes from Western artists.
Some of the most recognizable pieces in the MoMA’s possession are Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair,” Henri Matisse’s “The Dance,” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”
Admission is free for members and children aged 16 and under, $14 for students, $18 for seniors and those who are differently abled, and $25 for adults. The museum is open Sunday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 5th Avenue/53rd Street.
- Address: 11 W. 53rd St., New York, NY 10019
When planning your NYC vacation, check out our guide to the best tours and activities in New York City!
13. National Museum of the American Indian
Since 1989, the National Museum of the American Indian has been an important center in preserving the history and culture of the nation’s indigenous tribes. Over the years, the museum’s collection has grown to consist of over 800,000 artifacts and art pieces from over 1,200 tribes and groups throughout North and South America.
Since the museum aims to educate visitors about the complex history and culture of Native American tribes, numerous exhibits were made to be interactive for younger guests. The museum continues to add new exhibits to its collection, with the “Infinity of Nations” collection gaining particular traction since opening in 2010.
The museum mostly focuses on historical artifacts, some dating back as far as 12,000 years. However, more recent artifacts are also featured in the permanent and temporary exhibits.
The museum is associated with the Smithsonian Institute and even has a partner museum in Washington, D.C. As such, admission is free for all visitors. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on major holidays. The nearest subway stop is Bowling Green.
- Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
14. Museum of the Moving Image
With its first iteration opening in 1988 and its first permanent museum opening to the public in 1996, the Museum of the Moving Image has been essential to preserving film history.
The museum’s exhibits focus, in particular, on the television, film, and digital media fields through the preservation and evolution of technology and art. The museum houses over 130,000 pieces, including props from famous movies and TV programs, to show how filming has changed. In fact, this collection is the largest of its kind in the country.
Some of the most popular artifacts in the exhibits are early examples of early special effects makeup, rare merchandise from over 100 years of media, and glass slides from the first years of the film industry. The museum also hosts various events throughout the year.
Admission is free for members and children under 3, $10 for children aged 3 to 17, $12 for students and seniors, and $20 for adults. The museum is open Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Steinway Street.
- Address: 36-01 35th Ave., Queens, NY 11106
“Visitors are often surprised by the scope of what we offer, which includes the popular ‘Jim Henson Exhibition’ where you can encounter puppets used in Henson’s productions, to exhibits that explore the creative process of making film and TV, plus exciting new media art. It’s also a very hands-on museum that appeals to people of all ages. You can play video arcade games and make your own animation or dub your voice into a movie clip.”Tomoko Kawamoto, Director of Public Information, Museum of the Moving Image
15. National Museum of Mathematics
New York’s National Museum of Mathematics first opened in 2012, marking its place in history as the first and only museum on the continent dedicated to math. Through its exhibits, the museum, affectionately called MoMath, aims to educate visitors about the importance of math in the world.
The museum has over 30 exhibits, all of which are interactive to help get guests of all ages interested in the subject. Each exhibit has explanations for math topics that are suitable for both younger and older visitors.
These exhibits showcase curves, diameters, symmetry, and more about how math plays a role in the universe and the different real-life ways it shows up in the world. MoMath also has multiple programs and visiting exhibitions it hosts throughout the year. These events dive deeper into mathematic topics to provide further education to visitors.
Admission is free for children under 2 and members. Child, student, and senior tickets are all $20. General admission is $25. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway station is 23 Street.
- Address: 11 E. 26th St., New York, NY 10010
16. New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New Museum of Contemporary Art, sometimes referred to as simply New Museum, first opened in 1977 as the city’s premier spot for contemporary art. Since the museum aims to highlight modern art, creators from around the world have been showcased in its exhibits.
The museum was founded to help promote up-and-coming artists to help launch careers. So, it often displays new and out-of-the-box techniques. The museum’s exhibits are ever-changing to reflect the industry. At any given time, thousands of pieces can be seen on display in its galleries.
In addition to singular pieces displayed as part of the museum’s stable exhibits, it hosts temporary collections and art events that showcase particular topics and styles. One of the most famous installations of this type hosted at the New Museum was a 2016 show entirely dedicated to collecting as its own art form.
Admission is free for children and members, $12 for students, $15 for differently abled visitors and seniors, and $18 for adults. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Bleeker Street.
- Address: 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
17. New York City Fire Museum
The New York City Fire Museum‘s first iterations can be traced back to 1870. At that time, the renovated firehouse that now hosts the exhibits was first opened as the city’s Fire Department headquarters.
Today, the museum is home to over 10,000 new and historic artifacts and thousands more documents and photos that record the evolution of New York’s firefighters. Some of the oldest items in the museum even predate the formation of the U.S., with their roots in the 1650fs.
These displays range from the first carriages and buckets the fire department used to a permanent memorial dedicated to the firefighters who responded to the 9/11 events. In total, the museum is divided into 5 separate exhibits, each dedicated to a different part of the fire department.
Admission is free for children under 3, $3 for visitors part of the Museums for All program, $6 for children, $10 for students, differently abled visitors, and out-of-state firefighters, and $15 for adults. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Spring Street.
- Address: 278 Spring St., New York, NY 10013
18. New York Transit Museum
Opened in 1976, the New York Transit Museum aims to show how the city’s transportation system has evolved over the years, particularly its subway and commuter trains. While the main museum is located in Brooklyn, the museum is so popular and comprehensive that a smaller associated museum opened at the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
The massive collection of artifacts housed in the museum has reached close to the 1,000,000 mark and continues to grow each year. That’s largely because most of the items in the facility’s care are donated by collectors.
The museum’s location in a decommissioned station has allowed it to easily display artifacts of the city’s rail system. It also has a sizable exhibit dedicated to the different buses and cars that have been used as part of NYC’s public transit system.
Admission is free for members, transit employees, and children under 2, $5 for differently abled visitors, children aged 2 to 17, and seniors, and $10 for adults. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Jay Street-Metrotech.
- Address: 99 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
19. Noguchi Museum
First opened in 1985 on a temporary basis, the Noguchi Museum is a sculpture garden created and named after the artist Isamu Noguchi. Opened after Noguchi’s retirement to help preserve his art, the garden houses over 400 of his statues, sculptures, and other designs.
When it opened, it was the only preservation museum dedicated to an artist still alive. Since 2004, the museum has been able to stay open all year thanks to renovations.
For many years, one of the museum’s most notable features was the Tree of Heaven, which was present on the property when Noguchi acquired the space. However, after it died, its wood was repurposed and used for benches throughout the gardens.
The garden also hosts events and runs community outreach programs throughout the year. It also hosts virtual exhibits which can be viewed online.
Admission is free for children, military personnel, members, Columbia University students, and various other club members. Tickets are $6 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The closest subway stop is 36 Avenue.
- Address: 9-01 33rd Rd., Queens, NY 11106
20. Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum of Art has been New York’s top museum dedicated to Asian culture and art since it first opened in 2004.
The museum was 30 years in the making, starting as a private collection of art from the Himalayan region, India, and Central Asia. Today, the museum’s collection tops 3,800 pieces, a large portion of which is Tibetan art in particular. These pieces span a range of mediums, from paintings to textile art. The exhibits even consist of artifacts important for rituals in several cultures.
The art housed in The Rubin is mostly historical in nature, dating as far back as 1,500 years. More modern pieces are also displayed, particularly at the temporary exhibits hosted periodically throughout the year with pieces from the Rubin archives and partnering museums.
Admission is free for children and members, $14 for students, differently abled visitors, and seniors, and $19 for adults. Admission is waived on Friday evenings. The museum is open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 14th Street/8th Avenue.
- Address: 150 W. 17th St., New York, NY 10011
21. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum first opened in 1939, though it didn’t earn its current name until over a decade later, in 1952. Since then, it’s become one of the most important museums dedicated primarily to Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern art.
The facility is instantly recognizable for its structure, designed by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In the over 80 years since its opening, the museum’s collection has grown to 8,000 pieces. Of this collection, only about 10% is typically on display.
Many of these pieces come from private collections that have been purchased and donated throughout the years, including from Solomon Guggenheim himself. Its extensive curated collection of work includes Kandinsky’s “Landscape with Factory Chimney,” Chagall’s “Paris Through the Window,” and Archipenko’s “Pierrot Carrousel.”
Admission is free for members and children, $19 for students, seniors, and differently-abled visitors, and $30 for adults. The museum is open Sunday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 86th Street.
- Address: 1071 5th Ave., New York, NY 10128
22. Skyscraper Museum
Since it first opened in 1996, New York’s Skyscraper Museum has showcased the development of skyscrapers over the years, particularly in and around the Manhattan area.
Through its exhibits, the museum displays the technology needed in their design, the tools needed in their construction, and how they became real estate investments. There are currently 7 exhibits in the permanent collection, though numerous temporary galleries are also held throughout the year.
One of the most notable displays in the museum is the supertall wall, which shows the height differences between the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Another top exhibit is the collection of miniature models of NYC buildings. In addition to the concrete museum space, the facility also hosts satellite exhibits throughout the city and educational events.
Admission is free for all visitors. However, reservations are recommended to help manage crowd levels. Group tours are also available with advanced notice. The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Bowling Green.
- Address: 39 Battery Pl., New York, NY 10280
23. Tenement Museum
The Lower East Side’s Tenement Museum, also known as the Immigration Museum of NYC, was once home to 15,000 people when it was in use between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Since opening in 1988, the museum has aimed to preserve the stories of the immigrants who called the building and similar tenement apartments home. The historical documents, records, and items housed in the museum help visitors learn about the immigration experience and process.
Even after opening as a museum, one of the buildings associated with the museum was still in use as an apartment complex. As such, the restored rooms that can now be visited depict the way living conditions and experiences changed between 1869 and the 1980s.
The museum offers tours and educational events that teach American history through the framework of immigration. The museum also constantly adds new pieces to its archives and hosts temporary exhibits.
Admission is free for members and teachers on Sundays and $30 for students, seniors, and adults. The museum is open Sunday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Grand Street.
- Address: 103 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002
24. The Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters opened in 1938 and has since been New York’s premier spot to admire medieval, Gothic, and Romanesque art and architecture. The museum houses 5,000 artifacts and art pieces brought from Europe and can be traced back to the 9th and 17th centuries.
One of the most particular things about the museum is its layout. The museum houses multiple authentic buildings, recreations, and gardens, giving it a distinctly European look.
The museum’s exhibits include illuminated manuscripts, religious iconography, and intricate tapestries. It even houses authentic stained glass from German, Dutch, and French churches.
The Cloisters regularly adds to its rare and historic collection to help bring European history to the Americas. The Cloisters is associated with the Met Museum, which further adds to its prestige as a facility.
Admission is free for children under 12, $17 for students, $22 for seniors, and $30 for adults. Reservations are recommended. The museum is open Thursday to Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Dyckman Street.
- Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr., New York, NY 10040
25. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known simply as the Met, is one of NYC’s most famous museums. Housing over 2,000,000 pieces of art from around the world, some of which can be traced back 5,000 years, it’s one of the largest museums of its kind.
The Met doesn’t focus on a singular style or form of art and is, instead, divided into 17 different departments ranging from Egyptian art to costumes. That’s because one of the museum’s main pillars is preserving culture and history.
The museum opened in 1870, and its current building became its home a decade later. Some highlights of this diverse collection are a Stradivarius violin, “Wheat Field with Cypresses” by Van Gogh, and a small collection of Leonardo da Vinci sketches.
Admission is free for children, $17 for students, $22 for seniors, and $30 for adults. The museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday to Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway stop is 81 Street.
- Address: 1000 5th Ave., New York, NY 10028
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26. Whitney Museum of American Art
Since 1930, the Whitney Museum of American Art has been home to one of NYC’s premier 20th- and 21st-century art collections. The original museum was made up of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s private collection but has since grown to over 26,000 works of art from nearly 4,000 American artists.
With examples of sculpture, painting, photography, and more, the museum shows how art trends in the U.S. have changed over the past 200 years. New pieces are continuously being added to the exhibits, sometimes even leading to the inclusion of new departments, like the photography wing, which was founded in 1991.
Of the museum’s vast collection, some of its stand-out pieces are Edward Hopper’s “New York Interior” and “Central Park” by Maurice Prendergast. The museum is also home to a prominent research library, which contains the museum’s archives.
Admission is free for members and children, $24 for students and seniors, and $30 for adults. The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Fridays, which are open until 10 p.m. The nearest subway stop is the 14th Street/Eighth Avenue station.
- Address: 99 Gansevoort St., New York, NY 10014
“The Whitney is the perfect destination for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in art, culture, and all that NYC has to offer. We have a constantly rotating program of innovative temporary exhibitions as well as iconic works by American artists like Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jacob Lawrence in our permanent collection. I recommend starting on the top floor and working your way down and take in the panoramic city views from our outdoor terraces.”Benjamin Lipnick, Assistant Director, Whitney Museum of American Art
How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to New York City Museums
We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, or seniors receive free or reduced admission. There are also several other programs that offer similar concessions.
The Museums for All program offers free or reduced admission to museums through the U.S. for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Participating attractions in the greater New York City area include the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Museum of Modern Art, and more.
Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders free general admission on the first full weekend of every month to the following New York City museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MET Cloisters, the Jewish Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of the Moving Image, El Museo del Barrio, the Staten Island Zoological Society, the New-York Historical Society, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Capital One cardholders can enroll in a complimentary 6-month membership with The Cultivist (through June 22, 2024) and receive access for themselves and a guest to the Guggenheim Museum, the Neue Galerie, the New Museum, the Met, the Jewish Museum, and the Frick Collection.
Participation is subject to change; please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.
New York City’s culture is famous around the world. From art to history, the city is full of museums to suit any traveler’s interests. Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down your options regarding the many museums The Big Apple has a lot to offer, so now you know what you should add to the top of your itinerary.
Featured Image Credit: Chris Hassan
Frequently Asked Questions
Are any NYC museums free?
While not all the museums and exhibits in NYC are free, many don’t require paid tickets to visit. Others, instead, offer modified tickets, so visitors can pay for only the exhibits they’re actually interested in without paying the cost of the full admission.
How many museums does New York City have?
It’s difficult to give an exact number of how many museums are present in New York City since exhibits are constantly rotating, and traveling museums often stop in the city. However, there are at least 80 museums, galleries, and exhibitions open at all times.
Does New York have the best museums?
While the title of “best museum” is subjective, New York City has some of the most well-known exhibits in the world. It’s home to renowned pieces from artists of all genres and mediums, so it’s often considered a top place for museum lovers.
Do you need tickets for NYC museums?
Many of NYC’s museums require a ticket of some sort. These tickets are divided between paid proof of admission and museum reservations for free visits. However, some facilities don’t have any ticketing process requirements at all in order to access the gallery showcases.
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