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Best NYC Museums: 10 Must-See Museums In New York City

Best NYC Museums: 10 Must-See Museums In New York City

This comprehensive guide to the best NYC museums has been years in the making. Did you know there are over 100 museums in New York City? And this number is constantly growing!

In addition to the staggering volume of museums, New York City is also home to some of the most famous museums in the world. That includes the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere, the largest natural history museum in the world and several popular museums documenting the history of New York.

So how do you know what museums are worth seeing in New York City?

This is exactly what we will cover in this comprehensive guide to the best NYC museums including:

  • New York City’s top 10 rated museums
  • What to see in each museum
  • Directions and ticket information
  • How to visit museums in NYC for free

Honorable mentions not included in our top 10 best NYC museum list:

  • Art museums in NYC
  • History museums in NYC
  • Cool museums in NYC
  • Children’s museums in NYC

Let’s find the best New York City museums!

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Table of Contents show

10 Best NYC Museums

As we mentioned, New York City is world renowned for many of its famous and popular museums. We could have easily made this list feature high double and even triple digits, but we wanted to keep it manageable.

You can easily visit a handful of the museums in this guide on your first visit to NYC. Or if you have already been to some, make a plan for which museum to explore next in what is one of the best places to visit in the USA.

We have constructed this list based on Trip Advisor and Google reviews, as well as our own personal experiences. Having lived in NYC, we can stand by this list as our personal favorite museums.

The top 10 museums in our guide are not listed by particular category.

If you are planning to visit several of these New York City museums, it might get expensive. So we will also give you tips on how to get free admission as well as show you which museums are covered under each of the popular New York City Passes.

Graffiti in New York City
Rise New York

Free Museums In New York City

While most museums in New York charge a general admission price, there are a few museums in the city that offer free admission or discounted admission certain days as well as to certain groups.

For each top rated NYC museum on this list, we will specifically discuss the free or discounted prices.

Pay What You Wish Admission For NYC Museums

The pay-what-you-wish scheme lets you choose the price you pay for your admission to a New York museum. Keep in mind this type of ticket is only available at the ticket desk and cannot be purchased in advance.

Technically, you could pay nothing for your NYC museum visit but you should consider making a small contribution. Some New York museums offer a suggested minimum to give you a guideline on what you should pay when you visit.

Overall, with a little bit of planning, you could easily save some serious cash when visiting New York’s best museums and we will help you do just that!

Let’s get stuck into the top 10 museums in NYC:

Temples in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as “the Met,” is currently the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere. This permanent collection contains over two million works which is curated by 16 individual departments each with specialized staff.

The Met includes extensive works of African, American, Asian, Byzantine, Islamic and Oceanian art. But this stunning museum is also home an encyclopedic collection of armor, antique weapons, costumes, musical instruments as well as paintings and sculptures from nearly all the famous European masters.

The Met Cloisters is a smaller branch of the Met in Washington Heights, Manhattan with a focus on Romanesque and Gothic periods. This smaller Met location is America’s only museum dedicated exclusively to art and architecture of the Middle Ages.

What To See At The Metropolitan Museum of Art?

  • Washington Crossing The Delaware (1851, Emanuel Leutze)
  • Bridge Over a Pond of Water (1899, Claude Monet)
  • Autumn Rhythm: Number 30 (1950, Jackson Pollock)
  • Self-Portrait With a Straw Hat (1887, Vincent van Gogh)
  • Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue (1931, Georgia O’Keeffe)
  • Temple of Dendur (only complete Egyptian Temple)
  • The Sphinx of Hatshepsut (1479-1458 B.C.)
  • The Astor Chinese Garden Court

Where Is The Metropolitan Museum of Art?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on 5th Avenue.

The exact address for the Met is 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway – Take the 4, 5 or 6 train to 86th Street and head west then walk three blocks to Fifth Avenue. Estimate a 10 – 15 minute walk from the Subway.

Bus – Use the M1, M2, M3 or M4 bus down Madison Avenue to 83rd Street.

What Are the Hours For The Met?

  • Sunday to Tuesday and Thursday: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
  • Closed Wednesday

How Much Are Tickets To The Metropolitan Museum of Art?

The met offers both general admission and discounted tickets for New York State residents.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $30
  • Seniors (65+) – $22
  • Students – $17
  • Children (under 12) – Free
  • Members and patrons – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • NY Residents – Pay what you wish
  • Ny, NJ and CT students – Pay what you wish

New York City Pass Programs:

  • Please note as of 2022, the Met is no longer participating in any New York City pass programs.

Want a guided tour of the Met? Check out this 2-hour Met highlight tour or personalized private Met tour.

Travel-Tip: For the ultimate Met experience, don’t miss the elevator up to the Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar. Every summer from (mid-April to October) there is a site specific piece. Find the Met’s rooftop elevator in room 555 near the European Decorative Arts section across from the Faberge Egg collection (only stops on G, 1 and 4).

Water pouring down into the 9/11 Memorial in New York City
Water flowing into the 9/11 memorial

2. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

September, 11th 2001 is a harrowing date in the history of New York City. On this day, there were multiple coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States. You can probably remember exactly where you were when you heard the news.

The 9/11 Museum includes a permanent collection of material evidence, primary testimony and historical records about the events at the World Trade Center site, crash at Shanksville, Pennsylvania and Pentagon as well as the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993.

Why Was The 9/11 Memorial & Museum Built?

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a tribute of remembrance commemorating everyone who lost their lives on both the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks. You can visit the Memorial before or after your visit to the main Museum.

What To See At The 9/11 Memorial & Museum?

Our favorite part about the 9/11 Memorial Museum was the timeline which was incredibly detailed taking almost every minute into account. Even though this was a terrible memory we both remember vividly, we learned so much about the September 11th and how the events transpired.

Where Is The 9/11 Memorial & Museum?

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is located in lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center Site, sometimes known as Ground Zero.

The exact address for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is 180 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10007.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway: Use World Trade Center Station line E – Chambers Street line A, C, 1, 2 and 3 – Park Place line 2 and 3 – Fulton Street line A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4 and 5, line R to WTC Cortlandt.

Bus: Use lines M5, M20 and M22.

When Is The 9/11 Museum Open?

  • Weds to Mon: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

When Is The 9/11 Memorial Open?

  • Daily: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

How Much Are Tickets To The 9/11 Memorial & Museum?

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum offers many admission tickets including general admission, tours, early access, family passes and official downtown experiences. See all ticket types here.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $26
  • Youth (7-12) -$15
  • Young Adult (13-17) -$20
  • Seniors (65+) – $20
  • College Student – $20
  • US veterans – $18

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • 9/11 Family Members – Free
  • 9/11 Museum Members – Free
  • 9/11 Rescue and Recovery Workers – Free
  • Active/Retired U.S. Military – Free
  • FDNY/NYPD/PAPD – $12

You can also get free admission to 9/11 Memorial and Museum on Mondays 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Reservations are available each Monday beginning at 7:00am with a limit of 4 per person.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum proudly participates in Museums for All as well. This program offers free admission to visitors receiving SNAP benefits (free admission with EBT card).

New York City Pass Programs:

Guided Ground Zero tours are also run by Get Your Guide and Viator if you want to learn more about the World Trade Center buildings from a local.

Travel-Tip: The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is one of the best museums we have ever visited. This museum is incredibly moving and you will understand exactly what it was like to be in New York City on this horrible day. If you only visit one museum in the city, make sure it is this one.

Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Modern Museum of Art
Kristen pointing out Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’

3. The Modern Museum Of Art (MoMA)

The Museum of Modern Art, otherwise known as the MoMa, is often referred to the largest as well as most influential museum of modern and contemporary art in the world.

This art institution was the city’s first museum focused exclusively on modern art featuring architecture, paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books, electronic media and film.

If you enjoyed this museum, don’t miss MoMA PS1 (Public School 1). The MoMA PS1 is the largest art institutions in the US which is dedicated solely to contemporary art located in the borough of Queens.

What To See At The MoMA?

  • The Starry Night (1889, Vincent van Gogh)
  • Self-portrait with Cropped Hair (1940, Frida Kahlo)
  • The Persistence of Memory (1931, Salvador Dalí)
  • Campbell Soup Cans (1962, Andy Warhol)
  • Water Lilies (1914, Claude Monet)
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907, Pablo Picasso)

Where Is The MoMA?

The MoMa is located in Midtown Manhattan on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

The exact address for the MoMA is 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway: Fifth Avenue and 53 Street, lines E and V.

Bus: use lines M1, M2, M3, M4 and M5.

When Is The MoMA Open?

  • Sun to Fri: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
  • Sat: 10:30 am –7:00 pm

How Much Are Tickets To The MoMA?

The Moma offers both general admission and free tickets for NYC residents.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $25
  • Seniors (65+) – $18
  • Visitors with disabilities – $18
  • Students – $14
  • Children – Free
  • Members – Free

Monday mornings from 10:30am to 1:00pm are reserved for members and their guests only.

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • Free admission for NYC residents on first Friday of every month from 4:00-8:00pm
  • Admission is free for caregivers accompanying a visitor with a disability

New York City Pass Programs:

MoMA tickets also available on Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Great Hall at the National Immigration Museum on Ellis Island
Great Hall at the National Immigration Museum on Ellis Island

4. National Immigration Museum (Ellis Island)

The National Museum of Immigration can be found on Ellis Island. This museum is housed inside the restored main complex of the former immigration site and documents the history of American immigration. From 1892 to 1954, nearly 12 million immigrants were processed through the busiest immigration station in the US under federal law.

During your visit, you will experience a collection of photographs, searchable historic records and personal heirlooms. You will also pass through the Great Hall, baggage room and dormorteries. There are many displays discussing the complicated and historic immigration process in the United States.

What Is Ellis Island?

Ellis Island is a federal owned island situated in the NYC Harbor between the states of New Jersey and New York. The north side of Ellis Island is home to the National Immigration Museum while the south sides contains the Immigrant Hospital which can only be accessed via a guided tour. See tour information here.

Where Is Ellis Island?

Ellis Island is the located in New York City Harbor and can only be reached by boat from lower Manhattan or Jersey City.

See Google Maps location here.

Is The Statue Of Liberty On Ellis Island?

No, the Statue of Liberty is not on Ellis Island. However, Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument which is currently run by the National Parks Service.

How Much Are Tickets To Ellis Island?

You do not need to purchase tickets to visit the National Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, but you will need to purchase ferry tickets through Statue Cruises. This is the only merchant that sells ferry tickets so do not purchase them from any other vendor.

Plan your visit with Statue Cruises and see the ferry schedule here.

Ferrys are available at Battery Park in lower Manhattan or at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ellis Island access is included with all ticket options with Statue Cruises. See all ticket options here.

From New York, the Statue Cruises box office is located within Castle Garden in Battery Park. From Jersey City, ferry tickets can be purchased in the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

New York City Pass Programs:

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tours are also available with Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Further Reading: How to get the Ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York City

View of the Intrepid Museum from the Sky
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum from a helicopter

5. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum in New York City. Created in 1982, this museum was possible due to the acquisition of the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier which served in both World War II and the Vietnam War.

This museums features many exhibits and educational programming about aircrafts, guided missile submarines, world’s fastest jets and the space shuttle Enterprise.

What To See At The Intrepid?

  • An immersive multimedia experience about kamikazes
  • Vietnam war display detailing events from 1966–1969
  • History of the USS Growler, America’s first nuclear missile submarine

Where Is The Intrepid?

The Intrepid is located on Pier 86 at 46th Street in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side in the Hudson River.

The exact address for the Intrepid is Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway – Use any of the A, C, E, N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3, 7 trains to 42nd Street. You will then need to walk (or take the M42 West Bus) to Hudson River on 12th Avenue. From here, walk north to the Intrepid on 46th Street.

NYC Metro Bus – Take any west heading bus such as M34 (34th St), M42 (42nd St) or M-50 (49th St) to 12th Avenue and Hudson River. The Intrepid is a short walk north from M34 and M42 while the M50 drops you off directly in front of the Intrepid.

When Is The Intrepid Open?

June to September:

  • Mon to Fri: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat, Sun and Holidays: 10:00am – 6:00pm

October to May:

  • Sat, Sun and Holidays: 10:00am – 5:00pm

How Much Are Tickets To The Intrepid?

General admission tickets for the Intrepid includes Space Shuttle Pavilion, submarine USS Growler and all temporary exhibitions.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults (13-64) – $33
  • Seniors (65+) and Students – $31
  • Children (5-12) – $24
  • Children 4 and under – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • Free admission for US military and veterans admission
  • Admission is free for caregivers accompanying a visitor with a disability
  • Free admission for electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cardholders and up to three guests
  • NYC residents receive 50% off general Museum admission

See more ticket information here.

New York City Pass Programs:

Intrepid tickets are also available on Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiquets.

Old subway car at the New York Transit Museum
Photo Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum

6. New York Transit Museum

The New York Transit Museum, or NYC Transit Museum features historical artifacts from the New York City Subway, bus and commuter rail systems. Founded in 1976, this museum explores the development of the greater New York City metropolitan area by telling and preserving stories about the history of mass transportation.

The NYC Transit Museum is the largest museum in the US devoted to history of urban public transportation. It is housed in an authentic 1936 subway station with a working platform spanning an entire city block.

What To See At The NYC Transit Museum?

  • Board vintage cars subway dating back to 1907
  • Walk through vintage turnstiles
  • Sit at the wheel of an old city bus
  • Experience several exhibits documenting changes in mass transit

Where Is The NYC Transit Museum?

The main section of the NYC Transit Museum is located in an old decommissioned subway station on Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. There is also a smaller museum Annex in Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.

The exact address for the NYC Transit Museum is 99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway – Jay Street

When Is The NYC Transit Museum Open?

  • Thurs to Sun: 10:00am – 4:00pm

The 10am time slot each day is reserved for Members only. Non-members may reserve tickets in any available time slot starting at 10:30am.

How Much Are Tickets To The NYC Transit Museum?

Tickets for the NYC Transit Museum are not available on site and must be reserved online in advance. This includes members as well. Reserve tickets here.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $10
  • Children (2-17) – $5
  • Seniors (62+) – $5
  • Members – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • MTA Employees: Free (use code goingyourway during check out)
  • Visitors with Disabilities: $5 (use code welcome during check out)

New York City Pass Programs:

  • Unfortunately, the NYC Transit Museum does not participate in any of the New York City pass programs.
The front of American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History

7. American Museum Of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is the largest natural history museum in the world. The AMNH consists of 26 interconnected buildings with 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium, a library and the biggest collection of fossils on the planet.

The Natural History Museum in NYC includes an extensive collection of more than 34 million species of animals, plants, rocks, cultural artifacts as well as specialized collections of frozen tissues, genomic material and astrophysical data.

Note: Read our in depth New York CityPASS Review which includes the History Museum to see if it is the best attractions pass for your trip to NYC.

What To See At The American Museum Of Natural History?

  • 94ft Blue whale model suspended from the ceiling
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Rapa Nui Moai Cast from Easter island
  • Alaska brown bear exhibit
  • Mammuthus, the mammoth skeleton

Where Is The American Museum Of Natural History?

The American Museum of Natural History is located on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

The exact address for the American Museum of Natural History is 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024.

See Google Maps location here.

The most popular entrance is through Central Park West on 79th Street, but you can also enter on 81st Street through the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Nearest Subway: 81st St. Museum of Natural History Station, lines B and C.

Bus: Use lines M7, M10, M11, M79, M86 and M104.

What Are The Hours For The American Museum Of Natural History?

  • Daily: 10:00 am – 5:30pm

How Much Are Tickets To The American Museum Of Natural History?

All tickets for the AMNH including member tickets, complimentary tickets, and pre-paid pass tickets must be reserved online in advance prior to your visit.

There are three ticket types to the American Museum of Natural History. All permenant exhibits are included in the general admission ticket but any special exhibits require an extra fee.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $23
  • Children (3-12) – $13
  • Children (under 3) – Free
  • Seniors (60+) – $18
  • Students – $18
  • Members – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • NY, NJ, and CT residents have access to Pay-What-You-Wish admission
  • Free admission for U.S. military and one guest
  • Free admission to Cool Culture pass holders, caregivers with disabilities and museum staff
  • Free admission for any visitors during the last hour of the day, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

New York City Pass Programs:

American Museum of Natural History tickets are also available on Get Your Guide and Tiquets.

Multi story Whitney Museum of Art
Whitney Museum Of American Art

8. Whitney Museum Of American Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art, otherwise known as The Whitney, is dedicated to exhibiting works from living artists. But also contains a permanent collection of artwork from the first half of the last century with over 21,000 works by over 3,000 artists from the United States.

The Whitney Museum in NYC was opened in 1931 with an impressive 50,00 square feet of indoor galleries as well as 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit space. This museum showcases annual and biennial exhibitions popular with younger and lesser-known artists.

What To See At The Whitney Museum Of American Art?

  • Music, Pink and Blue No. 2 (1918, Georgia O’Keeffe)
  • The Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme (1939, Joesph Stella)
  • Nam June Paik (1932, V-yramid)
  • Monochromatic Chairs (2015, Mary Heilmann)
  • Three Flags (1958, Jasper Johns)

Where Is The Whitney Museum Of American Art?

The Whitney Museum of Art is located in the Meatpacking District and West Village neighborhoods of Manhattan in New York City.

The exact address for the Whitney is 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway: 77th Street, line 6.

Bus: Use lines M1, M2, M3 and M4.

What Are The Hours For The Whitney Museum Of American Art?

  • Mon: 10:30am – 6:00pm
  • Closed Tuesday
  • Wed and Thurs: 10:30am – 6:00pm
  • Fri: 10:30am – 10:00pm
  • Sat and Sun: 11:00am – 6:00pm

How Much Are Tickets To The Whitney Museum Of American Art?

All visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art must reserve timed tickets in advance of their visit.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $25
  • Seniors (65+) – $18
  • Students – $18
  • Visitor with disability – $18
  • Children (under 18) – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  •  Museum admission is Pay-What-You-Wish on Fridays, 7:00pm –10:00pm
  • Members receive free admission plus dedicated viewings, exhibition previews and discounts

New York City Pass Programs:

Whitney Museum of Art tickets are also available on Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Main building for the Museum of the City of NY
Photo Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York

9. Museum Of The City Of New York

The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) was founded in 1923 and aims to present the history of New York City. The MCNY celebrates New York over four centuries through images, videos, photography, objects and interactive digital experiences.

This award winning museum is a great way to learn about New York City and how it has become one of the world’s most influential cities. The first floor gallery will take you back in time through New York’s past, but don’t miss the special exhibits on the second or third floors detailing a wide range of city-specific issues and events.

What To See At The Museum Of The City Of New York?

  • Timescapes by Stanley Tucci (history of the city in 28 mins)
  • Starlight (the famous light installation about the Rotunda)
  • NYC at its Core exhibit (400 years of history)
  • Activists NY (decades of passions and conflicts)

Where Is The Museum Of The City Of New York?

The Museum of the City of New York is located at the top of Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and across from Central Park.

The exact address for the Museum of the City of New York is 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway: 103rd Street (line 6) or 110th Street / Central Park North (lines 2 and 3).

Bus: Use lines M1, M2, M3, M4 and M106 bus at 104th St.

What Are The Hours For The Museum Of The City Of New York?

  • Thurs: 10:00am – 9:00pm
  • Mon: 10:00am – 5:00pm

How Much Are Tickets To The Museum Of The City Of New York?

Admission to the Museum of the City of New York includes all exhibits. The purchase of timed tickets prior to your visit is highly recommended.

General Admission Tickets:

  • Adults – $20
  • Seniors (65+) – $14
  • Students – $14
  • Children (under 20) – Free
  • Members – Free

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • Free admission if you live or work in zip codes 10029, 10035, or 10037
  • Teachers receive free admission upon providing an ID
  • Pay-What-You-Wish admission is only available at the ticket counter

New York City Pass Programs:

Museum of the City of NY tickets are also available on Tiqets.

Bookstore at the New York Tenement Museum
Tenement Museum

10. Tenement Museum

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum gives insights into what it was like to become an American immigrant in the 19th and 20th centuries. This museum follows the path of many immigrants and comments on how America became a nation.

Visitors will experience a guided tour into recreated homes and businesses inside two restored historic tenement buildings. These historic buildings, now a National Historical Site, were originally home to over 15,000 immigrants from more than 20 nations. You will hear stories of the past, “meet” residents and sample immigrant cuisine.

What To See At The Tenement Museum?

  • Apartment Tours
  • Neighborhood Walking Tours
  • Meet the Residents

Where Is The Tenement Museum?

The tenement Museum is located on 97 and 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The exact address for the Tenement Museum is 103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002.

See Google Maps location here.

Nearest Subway: Grand Street (lines B and D) and Essex Street – Delancey St (lines F, J, M and Z).

Bus: Use line M15.

What Are The Hours For The Tenement Museum?

  • Open daily: 10:00am – 6:00pm

How Much Are Tickets To The Tenement Museum?

The Tenement Museum is accessible by guided tours and experiences only. Please note children under the age of 5 are not permitted on in-person building tours. See tour schedule here.

Individual Tour Tickets:

  • Adult – $30
  • Students – $30
  • Seniors – $30

Discounted Admission Tickets:

  • Free admission for members includes building, walking and virtual tours

New York City Pass Programs:

  • Unfortunately, the Tenement Museum does not participate in any of the New York City pass programs.

Tenement Museum tickets are also available on Viator.

Unique structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Want some more NYC inspiration? Don’t miss this collection of famous New York City quotes.

More Art Museums In NYC

This best museums in New York guide could easily continue until we had 100 options on this list. But we wanted to keep things short so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

But there are a few more art museums in New York worth mentioning so keep reading for more of New York’s top rated art museums.

Frick Collection

The Frick Collection features masterpieces from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. This museum is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings, outstanding European sculptures and decorative arts. You can find works by Bellini, Goya, Rembrandt, Turner and many more.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum NYC was designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The stunning building is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to permanent exhibits of Impressionist, Post Impressionist, Modern and contemporary art as well as rotating temporary exhibits.

Guggenheim New York City Pass Programs:

Guggenheim Museum tickets are also available on Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Queens Museum

The Queens Museum is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens. This Museum is best known for its ‘Panorama of the City of New York,’ a room-sized scale model of NYC. This panorama was presented at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the museum continues to hold many additional artifacts from both World Fairs.

The front of the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is New York City’s second largest museum featuring over 500,00 works of art from various cultures. Founded in 1895, the Brooklyn Museum is located in the borough of Brooklyn. This museum is well known for its collections of African and Egyptian art as well as 17th to 20th century paintings and sculptures.

Brooklyn Museum New York City Pass Programs:

Brooklyn Museum tickets are also available on Viator and Tiqets.

New Museum

The New Museum NYC is Manhattan’s only dedicated contemporary art museum focused on diverse perspectives and free exchange of ideas. Founded in 1977, the New Museum uses art to reflect on history, confront the present and imagine the future.

Neue Galerie

The Neue Galerie New York focuses on early twentieth-century German and Austrian art as well as design. This collection features work from Vienna circa 1900 as well as German art from the early 20th century on the two main exhibition floors. Temporary exhibits rotate on the third floor galleries.

More History Museums In NYC

If you are looking for more history museums in New York you have found the right section. Many of the museums below help to educate visitors about the holocaust, Jewish immigrants, Chinese immigrants and understanding the culture of indigenous peoples.

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library (NPL) is the 2nd largest public library in the US and 4th largest in the world. Founded in 1895, the NPL features 92 locations in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. The NPL serves more than 16 million people per year and is home to more than 56 million items.

The New York Public Library is free to enter. But you will need a library card, if you want to check something out of the museum.

One of the best museums in NYC is the New York Public Library
Inside the New York Public Library

Museum Of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage focuses on Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust. It is a memorial to those who lost their lives during the holocaust and strives to protect historical records as well as promote understanding of the Jewish heritage.

Museum of Jewish Heritage New York City Pass Programs:

New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society was founded in 1804 and was New York’s first official museum. Today, this museum presents exhibitions, programs and research that focuses on the history of New York as well as the entire nation. You can visit both the museum and library.

New-York Historical Society New York City Pass Programs:

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum NYC helps to illuminate the complex and vibrant Jewish culture to all who visit. This art museum and repository of cultural artifacts uses distinctive exhibits and programs to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people.

National Museum Of The American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is part of the Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers. The NMAI includes one of the world’s most expansive collection of Native artifacts including archives, photos, objects and media from the Arctic Circle all the way to Tierra del Fuego.

Museum Of Chinese In America

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a museum in New York focusing on Chinese American history. Unfortunately, much of this collection was damaged in a January 202 fire, but the museum has since reopened on July 15th, 2021.

Five paintings in Fotografiska
Works of art inside the Fotografiska

More Cool Museums In NYC

If you are looking for something a little less serious than an art or history museum, you should consider one of these cool and fun New York City museums below.

Note: Many of the more unusual or obscure attractions are included with NY Sightseeing Pass. Read our popular New York Sightseeing Pass Review to see if this is the best pass for you.

The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum is a research library located directly in the heart of New York City. Interestingly, the museum began as the personal library of Pierpont Morgan. Having gone through multiple renovations, this library now holds a collection of historical manuscripts, early printed books and old master drawings.

Fotografiska New York

The Fotografiska New York is located in Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Relatively new to compared to other museums on this list, Fotografiska is a branch of the original Swedish photography museum featuring world-class photos, eclectic programming and dining experiences.

Fotografiska New York City Pass Programs:

Fotografiska New York tickets are also available on Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Long line of people waiting outside of the best museums in NYC, the Ice Cream Museum
NYC Museum of Ice Cream

Museum Of Ice Cream New York City

The NYC Museum of Ice Cream focuses on the history of ice cream with 10 multi-sensory installations. You can eat as many ice cream treats as you want, play in the world famous sprinkle pool and slide down NYC’s highest indoor slide. The Museum of Ice Cream can also be found in Austin, Chicago, Shanghai and Singapore.

Museum of Ice Cream tickets can also be booked with Get Your Guide, Viator and Tiqets.

Museum Of Sex

The Museum of Sex NYC is an intimate museum featuring the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality. The museum is home to over 20,000 artifacts including photography, art, costumes, clothing, inventions and historical ephemera.

Museum of Sex New York City Pass Programs:

Museum Of Illusions – MOI New York

The Museum of Illusions (MOI) in New York tests your eyes with kaleidoscopes, optical illusions, holograms, reverse rooms, educational games and puzzles. The MOI is a great place for children, parents, couples and even grandparents!

Man and woman sitting with the Queen at Madame Tussauds in New York
Mark and Kristen having afternoon tea with the Queen at Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds New York

Voted as one of New York’s most unique attractions, Madame Tussauds wax museum is smack dab in the middle of Times Square. It features some of the world’s most iconic musicians, sports legends, A-listers and even world leaders. With 8 different immersive zones, there is something here for everyone.

Madame Tussauds New York City Pass Programs:

Madame Tussauds can also be booked with Get Your Guide and Tiqets.

Sloomoo Institute

The Sloomoo Institute in NYC is the ultimate playground for a slimy experience. With an interactive 12,000 sq ft experience in SoHo, design and contemporary art meets hand-crafted artisanal slime. The 150-foot DIY bar is the perfect place to design your own slime.

Sloomoo Institute can also be booked on Tiqets.

New York City Fire Museum

The New York City Fire Museum is the official museum of the Fire Department of New York. The mission of this museum is to preserve the history of the fire service in NY as well as provide fire prevention safety. During your visit, you will see hand‐pumped fire engines, horse‐drawn vehicles and early motorized apparatus.

Green lasers in the NYC Spyscape Museum
Lasers in SPYSCAPE

SPYSCAPE

This is a new contemporary experiential museum in New York City. SPYSCAPE features seven main galleries featuring the history of espionage. But as a visitor, you will also get the chance to be profiled as spy when you dive into the world of secrets, tackle challenges and try out high tech gadgets.

SPYSCAPE New York City Pass Programs:

SPYSCAPE can also be booked with Viator and Tiqets.

Color Factory

Since opening in 2017, Color Factory has expanded into New York, Houston and Chicago. Visitors will experience the joy of color through interactive installations, immersive rooms and carefully curated moments. Color Factory also strives to support local business in each location.

Color Factory can also be booked with Tiqets.

More Children’s Museums In NYC

Need something to do with the kids on a rainy day in New York City? One of the museums below will be sure to peak their interest and keep them entertained for hours.

Children’s Museum Of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Open since 1983, this museum strives to provide a unique environment of interactive exhibitions, classes, workshops, performances and museum sponsored festivals.

New York Hall Of Science

The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) was founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair, but has now expanded into New York’s premier center for interactive science with 500,000 visitors annually. Located in Queens, NYSCI is committed to helping others use science, technology, engineering and math to solve problems.

Kids playing inside the Brooklyn Children's Museum
Photo Courtesy of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The Brooklyn’s Children Museum was founded in 1899 and has claim to the first children’s museum in the US. This museum features 30,000 articles relating to natural history and cultural objects ranging from Paleolithic, ancient and modern day as well as an extensive educational collection.

Jewish Children’s Museum

The Jewish Children’s Museum currently holds the title for the largest Jewish-themed children’s museum in the US. Additionally, the Jewish Children’s Museum strives to reach all children of faith and backgrounds to gain a positive perspective about the Jewish heritage.

Staten Island Children’s Museum

The Staten Island Children’s Museum can be found on Sailors’ Snug Harbor of Staten Island, New York. Opened in 1976, this museum focuses on nurturing the creativity and curiosity to all children through an interactive approach.

National Museum of Mathematics

The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) is located in Manhattan and is dedicated solely to mathematics. Opened in 2012, this award winning museum highlights the role of math in the world around us. Each exhibit is designed to spark curiosity and stimulate the wonders of math.

Best Museums In New York City Summary

Museums in New York City are not a one size fits all kind of thing. So after visiting many of these museums in the city ourselves, we have ranked the best museums in NYC based on experience below:

Red flag outside the NYC Fire Museum
New York City Fire Museum

Best NYC Museums FAQ’s

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the best museums in New York City!

What Is The Best Museum To Visit In NYC?

The best museum to visit in New York City is the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). The Met is currently the largest art museum and the most visited museum in New York City.

Which Museum Is Better MoMA or Met?

The Met is better than the MoMA if you are comparing the large size of the Met. You can easily spend in an entire day in the Met. But if you are short on time, the MoMA is one of NYC’s most famous art museums which can be visited in just a few hours.

What Are New York’s Most Famous Museums?

New York’s most famous museums are:

  • The Met: Largest art museum in western hemisphere
  • The MoMA: Most influential museums of modern and contemporary art
  • American Museum Of Natural History: Largest natural history museum in the world
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We hope this guide to the best museums in NYC helps with planning your visit!

Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the museums listed or your visit to New York in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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