I’ve listed my favorite museums in New York you should not miss! Depending on your personal preference and interests, or if you are in town only for a few days, make sure to at least visit The Met, MoMa and the American Museum of Natural History. If you have kids, you should definitely not miss the American Museum of Natural History. This museum also comes with the added perk of pay-as-you-wish for everyone, anytime.
Tip: bookmark this page on your cellphone for addresses and the pay-as-you-wish information, trust me you will need it!
1. THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s best museums. Its my favorite museum in New York, if not the whole world! One of the things that truly stand out with this museum is its collection spanning from Ancient Egypt and Persia, to the latest in contemporary art. It’s located in Central Park by Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street on the Museum Mile. It also has two more locations, The Met Breuer on Madison at 75th as well as The Met Cloisters beautifully located in Washington Heights. The museum has pay-as-you-wish policy for New York State residents and students from across the tristate region. Visitors from outside New York will be required to pay mandatory admissions (children under 12 remain free). For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
The Met is one of the world’s largest and best museums. Its my favorite museum in New York, if not the whole world!
2. AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
This amazing museum has everything from dinosaurs, mammals and ocean life to Indians and space! It’s also a big favorite of our kids and they discover new things every time. The museum has pay-as-you-wish policy for everyone anytime. Any special exhibition however requires its own set admission if you opt to add them. The museum is located on UWS by Central Park at 79th Street. For more information, opening hours and special exhibitions visit their website.
Easily a family favorite!
The Museum of Modern Art reopened in October 2019 after expanding its space and reinventing itself. Alongside classics of modern art such as Matisse, Pollock, van Gogh, Dali, Picasso among others, it has added a multicultural reconsideration of 20th- and 21st-century art. The museum feels larger, airier and better in every way. MoMa is located in Midtown on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. MoMa offers everyone pay-what-you-wish Fridays between 5:30 to 9 p.m., however expect long lines. For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
The Whitney Museum of American Art, is another wonderful museum that focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American art. The collection has work by notable artists such as Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder and Georgia O’Keeffe. It recently moved downtown to a new building by architect Renzo Piano located on Gansevoort Street in Meatpacking where the High Line begins. Whitney offers pay-what-you-wish, Fridays between 7 to 10 p.m. Be prepared for long lines! For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located in an eye catching building by architect Frank Lloyd Wright on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile at 88th Street. Its known especially for its Kandinsky and Turrell collection as well as Cubist, Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist works. Guggenheim offers a busy (expect long lines) pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays between 5 to 8 p.m. You can combine your visit with close-by Cooper Hewitt below, which also has pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays. For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
6. THE FRICK COLLECTION
The Frick Collection is a small museum housed in the former Frick mansion on Fifth Avenue by Central Park at 71st Street. The collection features some of the best-known paintings by major European artists and Old Masters such as Renoir, Rembrandt, Holbein and Vermeer. If you are a fan of these artists, you do not want to miss the Frick! The museum offers free admission first Friday evening of the month (except September and January), from 6 to 9 p.m. It also offers pay-what-you-wish Wednesdays between 2 to 6 p.m. Be sure to be there no later than 5 for guaranteed admission. For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
ARE YOU INTO DESIGN MUSEUMS?
Then I can recommend MAD by Columbus Circle. The Museum Of Arts And Design offers pay-what-you-wish Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm. For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website. Another great design museum and one that kids really love, is COOPER HEWITT. The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is located on UES by Central Park at 91st Street. They offer pay-what-you-wish Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, opening hours and current exhibitions visit their website.
A special mentioning in the end (as a Swede) for a new Swedish photographic museum that has recently opened, Fotografiska New York. I have not yet visited the museum, but if its as good as the one in Stockholm, it’s a must visit!