When in New York City, you must visit at least one museum. There are over 80 museums in the five boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island). Visiting museums is not cheap unless you go on designated free museum nights or if you purchase the New York City Pass.
Museums are the only places where we can see things classified as 'rare finds' or treasures. They are the places to understand our roots and the geniuses of mankind. "Museums are shared places where many people come to see rare and interesting things" as written on the front cover of the Visiting a Museum manual for kids by the Smithsonian Institution. Museums are found in every city in every country we visited.
Ready to explore New York City's cherished artworks? Here is a list of the best museums in New York City. I'll be adding more to this list.
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met has over 2 million exhibits in a two-million-square-foot building. You won't be able to see everything in a day. It's the only museum that I hold a yearly membership pass to.
Admission: $25 per adult, $17 for seniors (65 and above) and $12 for students. Children under 12 are free. But if you have the New York City Pass you can get general admission for free.
Information: Met Museum
2. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
MOMA has over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and architectural models and drawings. There are over 22,000 films, 300,000 books and works by 75,000 artists.
Admission: Free every Friday from 4 to 8 pm. On normal days/hours, Adults are $25, Seniors (over 65) are $18 and students with current ID are $14. Children 16 and under are free.
Information: The Museum of Modern Art
3. Noguchi Museum
Noguchi Museum is located in Long Island City, Queens, New York. It is a 27,000 square foot exhibition space with 10 rooms and two stories displaying the works of Isamu Noguchi. It is the first and only museum in the United States started by an artist during his lifetime.
Admission: Admission is free on the first Friday of every month (year round). The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and extended hours are available from May to September.
Information: The Noguchi Museum
4. Morgan Library and Museum
Morgan Library and Museum is a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark and historic site. It was the private library of banker Pierpont Morgan. His son, JP Morgan, donated the library to the public in 1924. Inside you will find musical works by Mozart, Schumann, Schubert and more. You can also find rare autographed manuscripts by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, Rembrandt's etchings and more.
The library (East Room), Study (West Room), Rotunda and North Room are some of New York City's architecture treasures.
Admission: The Morgan is closed on Monday. Admission is $18 per adult and $12 for seniors, students and children 13-16.
Information: Morgan Library and Museum
5. Museum of American Finance
The Museum of American Finance is located in the historic Bank of New York building on 48 Wall Street in New York City's Financial District. The Bank of New York was founded by Alexander Hamilton. The museum has a room dedicated to Alexander Hamilton's life story - triumphs and tragedies. You'll learn about financial markets, Wall Street, ticker machines, banking in America and more in the museum.
Admission: The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is $8 per adult and $5 for students and seniors.
6. The Frick Collection
The Frick Collection is located in the former residence of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick on Fifth Avenue, facing Central Park. It is one of the few remaining Gilded Age mansions in New York City. The museum was opened in 1935 and contains masterpieces by artists like Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Goya collected by Mr. Frick during his lifetime. The museum continued collecting more artwork after his death.
Admission: The Frick Collection is open daily except Monday. Admission is $20 per adult, $15 for seniors (65 and above) and $10 for students with valid ID. And Sunday from 11 am to 1 pm, is the "pay what you wish" time for all visitors. Children under 10 are not admitted to the museum.
7. Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York was founded by a Scottish-born writer named Henry Collins Brown in 1923 to connect the past, present and future of New York City. It shows New York City's heritage of diversity, opportunity and perpetual transformation. The museum's collections include Eugene O'Neill's handwritten manuscripts, furniture by Duncan Phyfe, 412 glass negatives by Jacob Riis and 750,000 other objects of decorative arts, costumes, sculptures, toys and theatrical memorabilia.
Admission: The museum is open daily. Admission is $14 per adult, $10 for seniors and students with ID and guests ages 19 and under are free.
8. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The main draw of the Guggenheim Museum is it's inverted ziggurat architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. A ziggurat is a stepped or winding pyramidal temple of Babylonian origin. Read more, One of a Kind Architecture.
Admission: $25 per adult, $18 for seniors and students with valid ID and children under 12 are free. On Saturday from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm is "pay what you wish" time. Guggenheim Museum is closed on Thursday. But if you have the New York City Pass you can get general admission for free.
Information: Which is better? The Met Museum vs The Guggenheim
9. The Cloisters
The Cloisters museum and gardens is part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a place to see the art and architecture of medieval Europe from the 12th through the 15th century. The museum houses over 2,000 works of art. It is located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan.
Admission: If you go to the Cloisters on the same day you went to the Met Museum, admission is free.
10. Museum of Chinese in America
The Museum of Chinese in America or MOCA presents stories of Chinese Americans – the past and the present through a period of over 160 years. Maya Lin designed this 14,000 square foot space with permanent exhibits and temporary exhibition areas.
Admission: The museum is closed on Monday. Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.
Information: New York City Museum of Chinese in America
11. Museum of the Jewish Heritage
It doesn’t matter what religion, race or age you are, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is worth a visit. It is not a fun place but a place to ponder on human sufferings.
Admission: Free admission every Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm.
Information: Museum of the Jewish Heritage
12. National Museum of the American Indian
A few feet from the charging bull sculpture is the neo-classical Beaux Arts U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green and Broadway. This seven-story steel-framed building has four monumental female limestone sculptures representing the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Custom House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Since 1994, the Custom House is the National Museum of the American Indian.
The museum is divided into three areas with contemporary art by Native American artist George Morrison and an extensive collection of Native American arts and artifacts with over 825,000 items representing 12,000 years of history and 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas.
Admission: Museum is open daily. Admission is free.
Information: Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
13. American Natural History Museum
The American Museum of Natural History has the foremost collections of fossils and dinosaur related educational materials.
Admission: The museum is open daily. General admission is $22 per adult, $17 seniors and students with valid ID, and $12.50 for children 2-12. But if you have the New York City Pass you can get general admission for free.
What is your favorite museum in NYC? Leave a comment below.