Millions of people come to New York every year for a variety of reasons, from business and shopping to an extraordinary collection of museums. It’s not for nothing that New York is called the world capital of art, as the number of museums, galleries, and unique expositions here is amazing.
New York is a city of endless possibilities, including the possibility of touching art. There are over a hundred museums in this city, and it will take you several months to explore everything in detail. Together with USA Art News, we have chosen the main ones for you – of course, with advice on how to see more. Many places have free admission on certain days of the week, so plan your visit well. New York is worth it.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Best Museums in NYC

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most famous museums in the world, along with the Louvre, British Museum, and Hermitage. Today it is the most popular museum in New York City. The museum has an exceptional collection of more than two million exhibits within its walls. Here you can see the legendary works of Danish masters Rembrandt and Van Gogh, as well as works of art nouveau masters. This museum is a must-see.

You can download the museum map in advance, believe me, you’ll need it. And for children, there’s a special drawn interactive map #metkids map. The museum holds cool free tours – thematic or on the treasures of the museum. Check the schedule here. You can also watch video presentations of new exhibitions, take a virtual tour of the galleries, explore art history timelines or learn the museum’s sign language and facial expressions. You can take water in a plastic bottle, take photos without flashing and use pencils for recording. If it is possible to come without a backpack and outer clothing – use this (queues in the wardrobe may be quite small).


The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

Best Museums in NYC

The architecture of the museum fully reflects its name – a glass building with spacious halls and high ceilings. The museum exhibition is truly considered one of the best in the world, they say, its total value is 858 million dollars. The museum consists of five floors, each of which is dedicated to a separate collection or exhibition. On the fourth and fifth floors are permanent exhibitions, there you can find works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Jasper Jones, and other famous masters. Many believe that contemporary art is not for children, but it is not. In The Museum of Modern Art, most exhibitions are suitable for children.

Van Gogh, Picasso, Chagall, Pollock, Matisse – do you need more reasons to put this museum on your mandatory list? And it’s only a permanent collection, and temporary exhibitions can be such that you want to leave everything and fly to the States. You can look at the collection online here. If you only have an hour – upload to your smartphone these audio recordings, which will guide you through all the major masterpieces of the museum.

The museum hosts many cultural and educational world-class events. It was here that Marina Abramovich held her famous performance “In the presence of an artist”. Follow the calendar here, and also stop by the MoMA PS1 branch in Queens at 22-25 Jackson Avenue.

If you’re hungry, there’s the Bar Room of the Modern, a gourmet restaurant with traditional French-American cuisine enhanced by an Alsatian accent. The place has mesmerizing views of the garden with sculptures of Abby Rockefeller. The facility’s visiting card is an amazingly beautiful serving of dishes.


The American Museum of Natural History

Best Museums in NYC
American Museum of Natural History

At the entrance to the museum, you will be greeted by the sculpture of the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, followed by the world’s tallest Barosaurus skeleton. The museum’s collection consists of 32 million pieces. Here you will see stuffed animals, dinosaur skeletons, halls reflecting the life of different tribes, and much more. A trip to this museum will bring pleasure to children and adults. There is a special service in the museum, which appeared after the movie “Night in the Museum” (it was filmed here). Now everyone can visit the museum at night at the museum.

And now it’s time for a Night at the Museum! Here in 45 museum halls, you will see dinosaur skeletons of full height, stuffed mammoths and other extinct land and underwater creatures, huge meteorites and beautiful minerals and gems, the structure of the human body and the expanses of the universe. You can stay in the museum for the night, too, but it will cost $150.

Download the museum map to your smartphone in advance. Look for free tours here – six times a day every day (10.15, 11.15, 12.15, 13.15, 14.15, and 15.15).


The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Best Museums in NYC

September 11, 2001, will forever remain in the memory of Americans. On that day, the largest series of terrorist acts in the United States took place. In 2014, a museum was opened, the slogan of which was “Never Forget”. The exposition of the museum tells about the tragedy that day.

In place of the former twin towers, there is now a park with two large mirror pools of black marble, on the walls of which a continuous stream of water flows. These are the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. It bears the names of all those who died in the terrorist attack.

Access to the memorial is always free every day, and entry to the museum is free only on Tuesday night, with $0 tickets available online (a limited number).


The Met Cloisters

Best Museums in NYC

A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Medieval Art, which looks like a real medieval castle. It is actually a designer assembled from the walls, windows, and arches of various castles and monasteries in France, Germany, and Spain. It turned out, however, very atmospheric: you can walk along the corridors, study tapestries and other medieval works of art, sit in the inner garden, admiring the waters of the Hudson.

Don’t miss the famous tapestry with a unicorn – that’s exactly what will decorate your Instagram.


The Met Breuer

Best Museums in NYC

Another branch of the Metro is the building with unusual ledges, created by the architect Marcel Breuer. Here you will find the art of XX and XXI century: photography, installations, video art, performances.

# See more: You can look inside the museum from the comfort of your home in this video.


Brooklyn Museum

Best Museums in NYC

The museum with the largest collection of art after the Metropolitan Museum. The coverage of the epochs is approximately the same: Eastern and African art, European paintings and interior items, photography – but even cooler than the current temporary exhibitions. Special attention is paid here to the feminist view of art, and the museum has its own Feminist Art Centre with a large database of contemporary artists. You can view the collection online here.


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Best Museums in NYC

The museum, created by the famous patron and collector Solomon Guggenheim, was originally designed to draw the attention of Americans to the geniuses of abstract painting. The building of the museum also turned out to be quite avant-garde: white and rounded, with its concept of a visit – visitors must first take the elevator to the top floor, and then go down in a spiral, looking at the exhibition. The idea to draw attention to the new art is quite successful: now the museum’s collection of more than six thousand works of Impressionists, postimpressionists, and avant-gardists. It houses the world’s largest collection of paintings by Kandinsky, as well as works by Rothko, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne, Miró, and others.

You can view the collection online here, and you can put filters on artists, historical periods, movements, and so on. Every day there are free exhibition tours at the museum – don’t miss the chance to chat about contemporary art with those who really understand it. Finally, the museum’s audio collection has hundreds of tracks on art, from archive recordings to lectures on specific works. Pump it into smart and immerse yourself. If you don’t want to know about individual recordings, download an app that will be your guide.


Frick Collection

Best Museums in NYC

Despite the name, this place is a delight to the eyes of those who are a little tired of modern art. Lush mansion on 5th Avenue, inside which hides an impeccable collection of classic paintings: Titian, Vermeer, El Greco, Goya, as well as ceramics, furniture, and textiles. You can visit the museum halls now with an online tour or live lecture broadcasts.

Download the museum app: there is an interactive map for navigation, information about artists and their works, audio, and the ability to save your favorite paintings.


Whitney Museum of American Art

Best Museums in NYC

And here we go to deal with American art (no, it’s not just Andy Warhol, though he is, too). Exceptionally Americans, from the 20s to the present day – Edward Hopper, Keith Haring, and friends. There’s also a cool collection of archive films at the museum – don’t miss Andy Warhol’s rare films. If you’re more into listening, explore the huge collection of recordings where artists talk about their work themselves. The one where you can find out directly what the author wanted to say!

There are tours of exhibitions (we recommend a tour of the classic part of the collection of 1900-1960s, which starts every day at noon), except them you can get to performances, workshops and artist talks.


International Center of Photography

Best Museums in NYC

Two floors of enjoyment for visual culture fans – from classic works by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro to graduation works by contemporary students. Exhibitions change every few months, so come here even if it’s not your first time in New York.

Sign up for the Instagram of the museum: by checking the ribbon over morning coffee, you’ll gradually learn all the cool photographers of today.


Museum of the Moving Image

Best Museums in NYC

Cinema, television, computer games, videos – all this is here, in the whole perspective of its history and technology. From 19th century optical toys to ultra-modern video art. Sound movies, draw your cartoons, hang out in a movie theater of the 30s, listen to music archives, and look at real costumes and items from films – interactive enough.

# see more: If you’re going to a movie museum, try to get to one of the shows – you can see old or rare films.


Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

Best Museums in NYC

Everything about how fashion and design transcend their purely applied application and become a real art – here you can see cool things in retro style and high-tech works of modernity. Decorations, dishes, interior items – from metal, ceramics, fabric, glass, wood, and their various combinations. Pay special attention to temporary exhibitions – there are those that will turn your ideas about design. There are audio recordings for the current exhibitions.

95% of the museum’s collection is available online – you can prepare for your trip. The museum shop deserves all the attention, too.


New Museum

Best Museums in NYC

If you haven’t had a lot of contemporary art at MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum, here’s another point worthy of your attention – with a focus on 20th and 21st-century contemporary art. Artists whose names you may not know today, but who may become popular tomorrow. Works that will make you feel contradictory feelings, from admiration to disgust. Check the calendar of events here.

#see more: Free museum tours take place at 12.30 am – and in the case of contemporary art, someone who can explain the context and problems of a particular work to you will be very helpful. Another nice trick: if you visit the museum site from your smartphone, you can listen to the audio guide.


Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Best Museums in NYC
Installation view of “Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.” Photo by Matt Flynn © 2016 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Another design museum in the historic building, in the collection of which is a mix of historical and contemporary art objects created over 30 centuries: from the perpetual calendar to the mysterious TV. On the museum’s website, there is an interesting section “Object of the day“, where every day you will be able to understand in detail one of the exhibits of the vast collection. In general, it’s easier to get stuck on the site of this museum for a long time: the collection can be sorted by the shortest or longest object – or pick up items in one color scheme. In general, play, even if you are not going to New York in the near future.

# see more: Here in the calendar, there are not only lectures but also practical workshops: there is a chance to put your hand to the creation of a design masterpiece.


Museum of the City of New York

Best Museums in NYC
Identity redesign for the museum including logo, print, and environmental graphics.

Actually, you should start your tour of New York’s museums from here. The main museum about one of the main cities in the world settled in an old building near Central Park. Inside – a great exhibition, which, of course, did not do without the interactive. Here you’ll find halls detailing 400 years of New York City history, from the founding of the city to the mafia, protests, and our time. Our favorite room is the one that explains in detail all the rules and subtleties of architectural development and the changing rules of urban planning. The museum also organizes free tours conducted by curators (at 14.00 from Monday to Friday, at 13.00 and 15.00 on Saturday). There is a collection of everything that makes New York New York City and everything that can be related to the city. You can look at the collection here.

With a ticket to this museum, you can stop for free at the neighboring El Museo del Barrio, which explores Latin American culture and art.

Like in any big city, you can buy travel cards in New York that will give you free entrance to the main museums of the city. Here are some examples: The New York CityPASS (entrance to the six main sights of New York, valid for nine days and cost $ 114), The New York Pass (valid for 1 to 10 days and cost $ 127 – 315, includes about 100 sights and tours) or The New York Sightseeing Pass.


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