I would definitely consider myself a “museum person.” I love walking around aimlessly and taking in the beautiful art, sitting on a bench in the middle of a great hall and people watching, and also marveling at the architecture of the museum itself, because many great works of art are housed in the most magnificent settings. There are a ton of museums in New York City, but here are my personal favorites:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States. The Met’s location on 5th Avenue displays over 5,000 years of art from a plethora of time periods and cultures. Don’t miss the Arms & Armor section, European Sculpture & Decorative Arts gallery, or the Musical Instruments area. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for students, and free for children 12 and under.
For more information: https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/met-fifth-avenue
The Frick Collection
Art created by notables such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more adorn the former residence of Henry Clay Frick. The museum opened in 1935 and since Frick’s death, the museum continues to acquire gorgeous pieces and inspire people to learn more about art. The Frick Collection offers free admission on the first Friday of every month from 6-9pm to take in the art, listen to museum educators and curators, sketching, music, and dance performances. The museum also offers lectures, drawing programs, and more. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for students. (Note: children under 10 are not permitted.)
For more information: https://www.frick.org/
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
If you are into impressionist, post-impressionist, and contemporary art, the Guggenheim is the museum for you! The building that houses the work itself is an iconic landmark of 20th-century architecture. You will walk up a spiral ramp to make your way to the top, just under the ceiling’s skylight. This museum is also committed to education, with lectures by artists, classes for teens and adults, and much more. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and free for children 12 and under. Note that the museum is closed on Thursdays, and on Saturday from 5-7:45pm, it is pay what you wish.
For more information: https://www.guggenheim.org/
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Smaller than the Met or the Guggenheim, The Cooper Hewitt Museum is actually housed in Andrew Carnegie’s mansion, and is the only museum in the United States that is devoted to historical and contemporary design. It is quite unique in its pieces as well as the visitor experience, as everyone is given a marker to walk around with and anything you want to save can be saved to the marker. When you return home, you can log into the museum’s website and see all the items that you saved from your visit. Tickets are $16 for adults, $7 for students, and free for people 18 and under. On Saturdays from 6-9pm, admission is pay what you wish.
For more information: https://www.cooperhewitt.org/
American Museum of Natural History
While the other museums mentioned are located on the Museum Mile to the east of Central Park, the Museum of Natural History is to the west of the Park. Since 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has been dedicated to representing cultures, the natural world, and the universe, which is the museum’s mission. Don’t miss the museum’s dinosaur fossil collection and the seasonal butterfly conservatory. The museum also offers fun events, such as A Night at the Museum Sleepovers! General admission is $23 for adults, $18 for students/seniors, and $13 for children 12 and under.
For more information: https://www.amnh.org/
Whether you are looking for long galleries full of paintings with ornate frames, modern art, or art full of scientific history, the New York museum scene has something for you (and these are just a handful!)