New York

6 best museums in New York City

We went to New York City for a lot of different reasons. First of all, because we’re so into TV shows and spend most of our evenings watching Netflix, we wanted to visit as much “TV locations” as possible. The second reason we reeeeally wanted to be in NYC was because of all of the amazing restaurants, food stands and fastfood chains that are located here. And last but not least, we really enjoy wandering around museums and art galleries so what better place to tick all of those boxes than New York?

Since we’re really into art, we wanted to visit as many museums as possible. Our taste in art/museums is pretty broad as well, so that’s why we wanted to give you some insights in which museums offer what. Of course we made a selection, we share what we believe are 6 best museums in New York City.

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the MET, is the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere and without doubt the most impressive museum we have ever seen.

The best museums in New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art

It all starts with the outside of the museum where you can find the famous MET steps (Hello Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl Here!). The inside of the museum is even more impressive. Its permanent collection includes both classical and modern art. You can discover an extensive collection of sculptures and paintings, the museum is so big that you would need at least a full day to have seen everything.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Among other things, you can see some famous paintings of Van Gogh, like Sunflowers or Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. There are also paintings from a few of our favorite painters like Klimt and Monet, but you can find other world-renowned painters like Picasso here as well. The well-known painting of Cabanel: The Birth of Venus can be seen here, too.

We were lucky we could visit the temporarily exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts. This was so magical and interesting to see! The exhibition covered some classics like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. You could find a lot of hand-drawn animation, furniture and tapestries, film footage… The exhibition really showed where Disney got their inspiration from. It is very interesting as an adult to get a little more background on the films you saw infinitely as a child. Little spoiler alert! The exhibition poses one interesting question:

IT IS DISNEY, BUT IS IT ART?

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts

Opening hours: Sunday–Tuesday and Thursday: 10 AM –5 PM, Friday and Saturday: 10 AM –9 PM, Closed on Wednesday
Price: $25 (included in Citypass)
Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

2. Museum of Modern Art

The best museums in New York City: Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) is is a must-see for art lovers who happen to find themselves in New York City. This museum was truly our favorite museum of them all! MoMA’s collection offers an overview of modern and contemporary art, which includes Matisse, Dalí, Monet, Magritte and Warhol, as well as The Starry Night of Van Gogh! We spent almost an entire day here, as there is so much to do and to see! If we could only visit one museum ever again, it would be MoMA!

Museum of Modern Art

We recommend arriving before the doors open as the line starts forming fairly early. There are several floors so make sure to plan enough time to admire everything! For some reason, we decided to start at the top and work our way down, which we thoroughly enjoyed. This is just a suggestion, feel free to visit however you like!

Opening hours: Sunday–Friday, 10:30 AM –5:30 PM, Saturday, 10:30 AM –7:00 PM
Price: $25
Location: 11 West 53rd Street

3. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The best museums in New York City: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Another popular museum with fans of modern art and architecture is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The museum itself, shaped as a spiral, is a work of art. It looks spectacular from the outside, and even more so from the inside. No wonder it is one of the most iconic and abstract buildings in New York City!

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The museum has an impressive collection of modern art from great masters like Picasso, Monet, Rousseau, and more. When we visited the museum, there was a temporarily exhibition of Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle. The museum has everything for modern art and architecture fans. We do however feel that the Guggenheim has less to offer than, let’s say, MoMA. We spent less than 2 hours in the Guggenheim (compared to one full day in MoMA), which shows you how fast you can get through the collection.

Opening hours: Thursday–Monday, 11 AM –6 PM
Price: $25
Location: 1071 Fifth Avenue

Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle

4. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

9/11 Memorial & Museum

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum remembers and honors the people who were killed during the September 11 (2001) attacks and the World Trade Center Bombing (1993). It is located at the World Trade Center site, where once the Twin Towers used to stand. In the footprints of these towers you can find two square reflecting pools. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze around the pools. There are volunteers who place a white rose daily with the victims whose birthday it is that day.

If you want to visit the museum, you must purchase your ticket in advance. The museum consists of explicit image, film and sound material. It tells the story and impact of 9/11 through media, personal stories and authentic artifacts. There are a lot of rooms where you can hear testimonials (from victims at the site and even the ones on the planes). Warning: if you are an emotional person we cannot guarantee that tears will not flow (speaking from experience). This museum was really touching, we feel like we were different people when we left the place.

Opening hours: Thursday–Monday, 10 AM –5 PM
Price: $26 (included in Citypass)
Where: 180 Greenwich Street

5. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

Another interesting museum if you’re into history is the American Museum of Natural History, also in Manhattan. In addition to a planetarium, cafeteria and library, it has no less than 45 permanent exhibitions halls! You’ll find countless fossils, animals, plants, minerals, rocks and so much more here. We found the museum’s famed dinosaur halls really impressive, even if you are not so fascinated by history/paleontology, it is really very impressive and a must-visit. This museum is so big that you could wander hours in here without having seen it all!

Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10 AM – 5:30 PM
Price: $23 (included in Citypass)
Where: 200 Central Park West

6. Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

If you’re interested in the history of New York, you must have visited the Museum of the City of New York at least once. It is a history and art museum in Manhattan, facing Central Park. When we visited, there was no fixed price at the counter. This means that you decide the amount you give to visit the museum. When we wanted to pay $40 for the two of us (as this is the recommended amount for 2 visitors), the cashier gave back $20 to enjoy the holidays. This was such a kind gesture! In the museum there is a half-hour film that explains the history in an interesting way with a lot of visuals. There are a lot of exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York, you could immerse yourself in the music revolution or the social activism in New York City.

Fun fact: the outside of the museum was used as the entrance to Constance Billard School for girls and St. Jude School for boys in Gossip Girl!

Opening hours: Friday–Sunday, 10 AM –6 PM
Price: Pay-what-you-wish admission (only at the counter)
Where: 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

Good to know

Museums in New York aren’t cheap, that’s why we made use of the New York Citypass (approximately € 125 per person). This pass gives access to multiple museums and attractions at a discounted rate (think MET, Rockefeller Observation Desk, Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island…). They state on their website that the savings you get are almost €100 per person! If you were going to visit all of the attractions anyway (like we were), we recommend buying the pass to save some cash!

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