New York City is renowned around the world for its incredible museums. Not only tourists, but locals too enjoy exploring the sacred halls of NYC’s museums.
No matter what you’re interested in, be it sculpture, Impressionism, Surrealism, Modern Art, or historical objects, you’re sure to find something you’ll love on this list of seven of the best museums in the Big Apple.
1. MoMA: Museum of Modern Art
If you are a great fan of modern art, this is the museum for you. With its inspiring pieces and abstract lines, the Museum of Modern Art has something to offer every visitor.
Not only is the Museum of Modern Art one of the most famous museums in New York, but also one of the most popular in the entire world. There is always a new and exciting exhibition or installation to check out that changes season by season.
The MoMA is also home to one of the most famous paintings ever created – Van Gogh’s Starry Night. In addition, the museum’s collection boasts such masterpieces of contemporary painting as “Dance” by Matisse, “The Persistence of Memory” by Dali, and many others. During your visit, be sure to check out the MoMA shop for unique and creative items to add a splash of modern art to your home.
MoMA, by its existence and success among the audience, proved that such art could be exciting and in demand, laying the foundation for the tradition of opening huge centers of contemporary art around the world. In the museum, you can always see something unusual and fascinating, expand your horizons, and sometimes even change your worldview. Therefore, for all tourists and residents of New York, this one of the most fascinating museums has long been a favorite place.
Address: 11 West 53rd St
2. Metropolitan Museum
Not only is the Metropolitan Museum one of the best museums in New York, but it is one of the most popular attractions as well. The museum has 19 different departments and an astounding collection of 2 million artworks.
It seems that the whole history of humanity is collected here: 5000 years from Ancient Egypt to modern art. So expect to spend the whole day in the museum and reconcile yourself in advance that you won’t see everything: just choose those most exciting halls.
Visitors can enjoy new featured exhibits as well as tour the permanent collection. At the Met, you will have an opportunity to see works from the European masters, pieces from Ancient Egypt, contemporary and older American works, and so much more.
In addition, the art connoisseurs will undoubtedly appreciate the halls dedicated to the art of Indian and Polynesian civilizations, the halls with the art of the countries of the East, and the halls with a huge collection of impressionists. There are many paintings by Van Gogh, Degas, and Monet.
If you plan to visit the Metropolitan Museum, make sure you have plenty of free time. You could easily spend an entire day in this fantastic museum. Then, after a long day of browsing the artwork, you can start your day with a delicious brunch at the nearest cafe and have an unforgettable dinner in the museum restaurant. One of the most famous museums in the world is worth staying in for a week – and it’s not a fact that you will have time to study all the collections in detail.
Address: 1000 5th Ave
3. American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is a fascinating museum that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Although this museum is perfect for history junkies, there is something for everyone, even if you have never been particularly interested in art pieces, artifacts, or history.
I am not interested in history, it is true, but I love visiting this place every time I come to NYC. The museum boasts around 124 million objects in its collection. Check out the amazing exhibits on wildlife from around the world, and be sure not to miss the famous reconstructed dinosaur skeletons, stuffed mammoths, and other extinct terrestrial and underwater creatures. Besides this, you will also see giant meteorites, beautiful minerals, precious stones, the structure of the human body, and the expanses of the universe.
From personal experience, I can say that there are plenty of fantastic things to see, from unique exhibitions to out-of-this-world space shows at the Hayden Planetarium. You certainly won’t regret spending the whole day in the American Museum of Natural History.
Address: Central Park West & 79th St
4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is among the best museums in New York for a great number of reasons. Since the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum represents the artworks of the most famous artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, it is also one of the city’s most unique and fascinating museums.
First of all, the museum itself is a wonder of architecture – it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous American architect. The museum building also turned out to be quite avant-garde: white and round, with its own concept of the visit – visitors must first take the elevator to the top floor and then go down in a spiral, examining the exposition.
Museum halls were designed so that the paintings in them looked like those in the artist’s studio. When traveling from floor to floor, your viewpoint does not change: you always stand as if in front of an easel.
The idea to draw attention to modern art was quite successful. Currently, the collection of the Guggenheim Museum has more than six thousand paintings, sculptures, and graphic works – from the Impressionists to the present day. The names of the masters in this collection speak for themselves: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir, Césaanne, and Modigliani, all the most famous artists of the 20th century.
The Guggenheim Museum has become the pride of New Yorkers. And only by traveling through the spirals of the interior and viewing Wright’s masterpiece from the outside will you understand why.
Address: 1071 5th Ave
5. New Museum
Despite its simple name, this must-visit museum, located in the heart of the Lower East Side, has plenty to offer visitors. Like the Met and the Guggenheim, the New Museum is also notable for its construction.
It’s a place that deserves your attention, specializing in the latest art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Artists whose names you may not know today but may become popular tomorrow. Works that will make you experience conflicting feelings from admiration to disgust. Moreover, the New Museum organizes at least six significant exhibitions, including solo ones.
This contemporary art hub offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to take in exhibits and works by artists from Chile to China and beyond. So again, if you are planning to visit this NYC museum, be sure to have plenty of free time.
Address: 235 Bowery
6. Frick Collection
One of my favorite NYC museums that I think everyone should visit is the Frick Collection. The Frick Collection in New York is a famous art museum that houses a unique collection of masterpieces by the best masters of the 14th-19th centuries. It is from this fascinating building, built in the style of French palaces of the XVIII century, that the famous “museum mile” in New York begins.
The museum is named after Henry Clay Frick, right-hand man to the famous millionaire Andrew Carnegie. Frick collected art throughout his life, and the Frick Collection was once his elaborate townhouse.
It boasts a small but high-quality collection of old master paintings, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Monet, Oriental rugs, Titian, Vermeer, El Greco, and Goya, as well as ceramics, awesome French furniture and textiles, sculptures, and many other fantastic pieces.
One of the best things about the Frick Collection is that you can watch many exciting films there that educate you about the museum, its contents, and the collector himself. Though its permanent collection is fairly tiny, The Frick often brings in new exhibits, so you know there will always be something exciting and eye-opening to see.
Address: 1 East 70th St
7. Museum of Arts and Design
Located in the heart of Manhattan on Columbus Circle, the Museum of Arts and Design is definitely worth visiting. This museum focuses on works showing innovation in the areas of art, craft, and design.
The Museum of Art and Design is small, and its halls are located one above the other. There are small expositions of the “classic” type on the lower floors – with objects, installations, and video screens. Its collection includes jewelry, artifacts, tapestries, and more. The MAD boasts art from all over the world and prioritizes an interactive experience for its visitors. You will undoubtedly find something for yourself regardless of your preferences and tastes. Pay special attention to temporary exhibitions – some will turn your ideas about design upside down.
In addition to exhibitions, the museum has an auditorium of 150 seats and studios where artists work. These studios can be visited and looked at in the process of creating paintings and sculptures. Furthermore, the museum constantly holds lectures and master classes.
The museum itself, although not large, but rich. Exhibitions can be bypassed in an hour; after that, you can look into the restaurant on the 9th floor. From there, you will have a stunning view of Central Park.
Address: 2 Columbus Cir
8. The Met Cloisters
Almost a real medieval monastery in Manhattan – The Cloisters – is primarily an architectural museum. The museum was opened in 1938. This place used to be a French monastery with four buildings adjoining it, which served as a frame for the museum.
This is a constructor assembled from the walls, windows, and arches of various castles and monasteries in France, Germany, and Spain.
It is located at the northernmost tip of Manhattan and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. In addition, the museum is part of the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. You can come here even for the sake of the building itself.
The main focus of the museum is on European medieval art and architecture. By the way, its impressive collection includes almost 5,000 exhibits. It contains crucifixes, sculptures of saints, sarcophagi for relics, Limoges enamels, crosses, ivory figurines, and illustrated manuscripts, including the magnificent Hours of the Duke of Berry.
Most of the collection dates back to the XII-XV centuries. The main treasures of the collection are a series of mystical tapestries, “Hunting the Unicorn”, created in the early 15th century by Brussels weavers, and the Merode triptych by Robert Campin.
Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr
9. Brooklyn Museum
World-renowned and perhaps the oldest museum on the planet – the Brooklyn Art Museum. It is located near the center of Manhattan. It’s a museum with the most extensive collection of art after the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The total area of the museum is huge – over 50 thousand square meters. And in terms of the number of visitors per year, it is in the lead – about half a million people.
The current Brooklyn Museum is a temple of art. It contains paintings by American and European painters, a rare collection of examples of the life of ancient Egypt and “pre-Columbian” America, Africa, and Oceania.
Temporary exhibitions are the latest brilliant know-how of the museum. Here were presented “Scythian gold of the burial mounds of Ukraine”, drawings by Winslow Homer, and breathtaking paintings by Leah Krasner.
In addition, you are welcome to enjoy fascinating beauty in the halls where the furnishings of residential premises of various eras – Period Rooms and a sculpture garden – Frieda Schiff Warburg Memorial Sculpture Garden.
Particular attention is paid to the feminist view of art, and the museum has its own Feminist Art Center with a large database of contemporary artists. And since 2000, the museum has been organizing free exhibitions for children during the summer period in order to familiarize them with the spiritual and historical heritage of the planet.
Address: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt. It offers visitors from all over the world to get acquainted with all kinds of US art of the 20th century. Its collection includes more than 19 thousand exhibits.
Particular attention is paid to the exhibition of works by living artists. The museum is dedicated to collecting, describing, preserving, and exhibiting exclusively American artists, and its collection is undoubtedly the finest in the world. The museum’s collection includes works by hundreds of legendary American artists: Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Kenneth Noland, Hans Hoffmann, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Pfeiffer, and many other masters.
It still hosts the Whitney Biennale every two years, an international exhibition that reflects the trends in contemporary art – it allows you to replenish the collection continuously. Moreover, this fascinating museum was the first to host its exhibitions by establishing corporate-sponsored affiliates and the first museum to take on a collection exchange program to increase access to its famous collection.
All this makes it a must-visit museum in New York for all connoisseurs of contemporary art.
Address: 99 Gansevoort St
There are many fascinating museums in New York and they are all unique and interesting in their own ways. Even if you don’t like going to museums, consider visiting one of these seven museums and you will change your mind.
These ten museums are versatile and they have something to offer everyone regardless of the kinds of exhibits they prefer. You will learn something about each genre, each artist and every movement of art, and you will see that visiting museums is not a boring activity at all.
Do you enjoy visiting museums? What’s your favorite NYC museum? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
What is the coolest museum in New York?
The American Museum of Natural History is the coolest museum in New York. It has the largest natural history collection in the world, including a collection of dinosaur skeletons, a huge mammal exhibit, an ocean hall, a bird hall, and a fossil hall. It contains several tens of millions of various exhibits. In addition, the museum is famous for being one of the world’s largest libraries dedicated to the natural sciences.
What is the most-visited museum in New York?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the most-visited museum in New York. More than 6 million people visit it every year.
What is one of the top rated museums in New York City?
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is one of the top rated museums in New York. This is the world’s first and most famous contemporary art museum. In this museum, you will get acquainted with the works of outstanding masters who worked in the style of cubism, surrealism, abstraction, minimalism, and pop art. Among the permanent exhibition, you can find paintings by legendary artists, such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Kazimir Malevich, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt, Marc Chagall, and Andy Warhol.