New York museums: which ones to visit?

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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New York's most iconic museums

MoMa, for lovers of modern and contemporary art

You have no doubt heard of the Museum of Modern Art of New York City. He is world famous and leaves no one indifferent.

It focuses on contemporary art and offers a large collection bringing together the most iconic artists like Pollock, Warhol, Rothko. Also, the museum regularly offers new exhibitions. And some are frankly unmissable.


You will also find a section devoted to architecture there, although I must admit that I prefer its permanent collection.


Before leaving, be sure to take a walk in the shop of MoMa. You will find there what to make pretty gifts or original souvenirs. For example, there are replicas of Warhol's works.

Finally, located at 11 West 53rd Street, the museum is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 17:30 p.m., except Fridays when it closes at 20 p.m. That said, prefer to go there on weekdays and early in the morning to avoid too large a crowd.

Also note that admission to the MoMa is included in the New York City Pass and New York Pass.

Good to know: Entrance to MoMa is free every Friday from 16 p.m. to 20 p.m.. Keep in mind, however, that during these times there are a large number of visitors and therefore the visit may be a little less pleasant (in addition to having much longer queues).

The Met: a must-see New York museum for everyone

The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art is the second on most visited in the world and the largest in New York. Also, it offers a huge collection that will leave you speechless. The latter contains more than two million works from all over the world!



Also, you can find more than 5000 années art through 400 galleries! I therefore strongly advise you to inquire in advance in order to target your visit. Whether you are interested in ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages or rather modern art, you will be served.

Finally, its location is ideal: on the outskirts of Central Park, you can enjoy a coffee on your way out.

The good plan: visit it « EmptyMet ». This is a guided tour of the main attractions of the museum taking place at 8:30 am, when the doors are still closed. A privileged moment that you will enjoy in peace and in a small group. Remember to book before.

And then, in summer (from May to October), do not hesitate to go to the top of the museum. There you will find its “Roof Garden Cafe”, in order to listen to music while recovering from your emotions. You can also admire a superb view of Central Park and the New York skyline.

Finally, the museum displays prices of $ 25 for adults and $ 12 for students. However, be aware that this is a suggestion and that entry to the MET is done by donation of your choice. Plus, admission is included with the purchase of a New York Pass or New York City Pass.

The Met is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 17:30 p.m., except Fridays and Saturdays, when it closes at 21 p.m.


The Met Breuer: modern art

If you have a soft spot for modern and contemporary art and have visited MoMa before, head to the Met Breuer. Attached to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Breuer is accessible with your entrance ticket to the Met (for the same day).


Located in the former five-story Whitney Museum building at 945 Madison Avenue, the Met Breuer is about a quarter of an hour from the Met.

In particular, you will discover works dating from the 20th and 21st centuries in a pleasant way. Indeed, this museum is for everyone and offers educational and fun workshops to learn more about modern art.

Once your visit is over, if you want a break, head to the Blue Bottle Coffee on the top floor. Does the name mean anything to you? I told you about it in my article on the different neighborhoods of New York.

If you have more than a simple snack, head to the museum restaurant, located on the ground floor.

If the museum opens from 10 a.m. to 17:30 p.m. and even until 21 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, note that it is closed on Mondays.

The Guggenheim Museum, an architectural gem

Located at 1071 Fifth Avenue, the Guggenheim Musem building dates from 1959. It was invented by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

In particular, you will be able to observe the works of Cézanne, Picasso and Van Gogh by going to level 2. Then, going up again, you will discover Kandinsky, Modigliani, Pollock or Chagall, at level three. On the same floor is Café 3, where you can rest for a few moments sipping coffee and tasting cakes.


Free for children under 12 and on Saturdays from 18:30 p.m., admission is $ 22 per adult and $ 18 for students. It is also included in the New York City Pass et New York Pass.


If you don't have the time (or feel like) to visit this museum, go ahead to admire its superb facade.

Open every day from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m. except Saturdays (45 a.m. to 10 p.m.), the museum is closed on Thursdays.

New York Museum of Natural History

Have you seen the movie Night at the Museum? So you know what it comes out of. This magnificent museum houses some 32 million specimens to observe. Reptiles, birds, skeletons, meteorites… You will find it all in Central Park West, on 79th Street.

Also, if you go to New York with children, know that this museum is very popular with them. Indeed, where could they admire immense Dinosaurs if not ?

Be careful though, the museum is huge. So I advise you to decide in advance what you want to visit, in order to save time. My favorite collections? Those on dinosaurs and space exploration.

The dinosaur area is on the 4th floor. It will allow you to observe real dinosaur bones and learn more about the various potential causes of their disappearance. Something to fascinate young and old alike.


The one devoted to the exploration of space is located on the 3rd floor, and explains in particular how space was discovered. You will also learn a little more about life in space. It might wake up old childhood dreams, who knows?

Also, be sure to go under thehuge whale hanging from the ceiling, in the part devoted to ocean life. Thrills guaranteed!

Note that the Museum of Natural History is open every day from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.

The Whitney Museum, a pleasant surprise

Even if it is not really one of the essentials New York museums, the Whitney Museum is nice if you like contemporary art.

In addition, located at 99 Gansevoort Street, near the Highline de Chelsea, it offers several terraces with a nice view of the Hudson River.

Its collections focus in particular on the 20th century, through 21.000 works. Sculptures, paintings, photographs and more, from more than 3.000 artists, mostly American, including the famous Jeff Koons.

There is also a souvenir shop and a café on the top floor, with a great view. Plus, admission is included with the New York Pass, so take advantage of it!

You can go there every day, except Thursday, from 10:30 am to 18 pm and even until 22 pm on Friday and Saturday. That said, if you plan to go there in the summer, know that the museum also opens on Thursdays, from 10:40 a.m. to 18:00 p.m.

Theme museums

The Museum of Moving Image, for moviegoers

Located in Queens, the Museum of Moving Image focuses on the 7th art and its strings.

Designed for all audiences, the museum exhibits in particular the various objects and tools used during the filming of certain famous movies. You can also learn more about the appearance filming technique.

My advice: check it out when visiting Queens, you won't regret it.

The September 11 Museum, a tribute

Paying homage to the victims of the September 11 attacks, this museum is located under the memorial of the same name.

In particular, you will see some debris from the twin towers, fire helmets and other vestiges of the tragedy. Then you can go to the Historical Exhibition. This exhibition traces the sad day of September 11 with the help of photos and archives.

Finally, don't miss the « Wall of Faces », where you can collect your thoughts in front of the photos of all the victims. It may be a difficult moment, but it is also a nice gesture.

The September 11 Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 20 p.m., except Fridays and Saturdays when it closes at 21 p.m. Of course, it closes its doors on September 11.

You can access it free of charge after 14 p.m. if you have the New York City Pass, and at any time with the New York Pass.

L’Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Do you like planes, submarines or space shuttles? The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, located at Pier 86 on 46th Street, is for you.

The latter was built in a real aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, having been used during the Second World War or that of Viet Nam.

You will see in particular 27 planes military including the supersonic British Airway Concorde, as well as the USS Growler submarine. A spaceship is also there. However, you will have to pay $ 7 to see and enter it.

One million visitors go there every year, including many children who generally like the museum. You can enter for free with one of the city passes, which will also entitle you to an audio guided tour.

The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m., except from April to October, when it closes at 18 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Tenement Museum, on immigration

If you have already visited the main New York museums and particularly want to know more about thehistory of the city, meet at the Tenement Museum.

Created in 1988 and located at 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side, the latter traces the history of immigrants who came to New York. So you can visit there 6 apartments in which more than 7.000 immigrants, coming from 20 different countries.

Note, however, that access to the apartments is only possible during guided tours. The museum offers several, for different durations and audiences. Visit a sewing workshop, meet families with diverse origins and histories, you will be spoiled for choice. Find out in advance!

Also, actors in costumes will play the roles of the tenants of the time. It will show you in a fun way the conditions in which these people lived: no electricity or running water, toilets to share and poverty.

You can go there from Friday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. and on Thursday from 30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Count about $ 25 for an adult and $ 20 for a child aged 6 to 17.

The Frick Collection, the museum-residence

A small museum of modern art, The Frick Collection is located in the upscale Upper East Side, at 1 East 70th Street.

Created in 1913 by Henry Clay Frick, it was then a private collection. Its owner had planned to open the doors to the public after his death.

Located in the former residence of Monsieur Frick, the museum includes 16 permanent exhibitions and a few temporary exhibitions, combining sculptures, textiles, ceramics and paintings in particular. For example, you can admire paintings by the famous Renoir !

Open from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. every day except Sunday (10 a.m. to 17 p.m.), the museum is closed on Mondays. Also, note that the entrance is unfortunately not allowed to children under 10 years old.

The International Center of Photography

Founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa, the International Center for Photography in New York City is divided into Three parties. The museum, of course, as well as a school and a research center.

Located in the heart of NoLIta, this small museum houses a collection of over 100.000 photos ! In addition, it regularly offers temporary exhibitions.

So if you like Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith or photography in general, do not hesitate to go to 250 Bowery Street, and visit his shop before leaving.

Go for a little tour from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m., and even until 21 p.m. on Thursday.

The Native American Museum

Highly enriching, the Native American Museum is housed in a magnificent building, on the site of the old Fort Amsterdam, supposed to protect New Amsterdam.

Discover many objects of art, clothing and various objects from Indian tribes and collected over the years in several American countries.

Then lift your head and gaze at the ceiling in the hall, covered with sublime paintings.

The museum also houses concerts, film screenings and dance performances. It is possible to visit it with the family, since it offers a space for children and even a reading workshop in a tipi !

And then the entrance is there free, so why not go take a look?

Meet at One Bowling Green, just above Battery Park, every day from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m. and until 20 p.m. on Thursdays.

Children's museums

Discovery Times Square, a cultural temple

Huge exhibition hall of 5.500m², Discovery Times Square is home to many temporary art installations and events.

This is where the Madame Tussauds and Ripley's Believe It or Not museums are located, mentioned below.

Also, it is a place to visit with your children, given that it offers many workshops for the youngest, such as a Lego atelier, an exhibition on Harry Potter and even on Star wars and his costumes!

Open every day from 10 a.m., the museum closes from Sunday to Tuesday at 19 p.m., from Wednesday to Thursday at 00 p.m., from Friday to Saturday at 20 p.m.

Don't forget your New York Pass, which will give you the right to enter for free!

Body Worlds, for scientists

Created by anatomist Gunther von Hagens, Body Worlds is not an exhibition like any other. It stages the plastination process, discovered by its creator.

This process, with the aim of preserving bodies in order to use them later in scientific training. For this, bodies no longer contain liquids but silicone polymers instead.

Also, all the bodies present in the exhibitions are of real bodies, from donors. If this may bother some, Body Worlds does however provide a better understanding of how the human body works. Also, the exhibition includes several educational workshops for kids.

Admission is included with the New York Pass, but requires a reservation in advance.

Open every day from 10 a.m. except Thursday (closing day), the museum closes at 19 p.m. Sunday to Tuesday, 20 p.m. Wednesday and 21 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Madame Tussauds, the wax museum

You probably already know the Madame Tussauds museum in London. The latter was created at the end of the 19th century by the sons of Madame Tussauds.

By the way, did you know that the first wax statue of Maria Tussauds was the famous philosopher and writer Voltaire ? Awesome, isn't it?

Also, the museum has since multiplied by 18, and is present throughout the world, including in New York since 2000.

The latter offers the wax statues of the greatest American stars, as well as many fictional characters, such as Hulk or Spiderman.

Also discover the different activities offered, including a musical workshop, a journalist's studio and a Marvel experience of 4D cinema.

Admission is included with the New York Pass. The opening is every day from 10 a.m. to 20 p.m., and even until 22 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The unusual museums of New York

The Gangster Museum

In the heart of the East Village, the gangster museum allows you to retrace the lives of some american gangsters country and to know a little more about the period of prohibition in New York.

You can go there every day from 13 p.m. to 18 p.m. Count $ 20 per adult and $ 12 for students, children and seniors.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not, musée de bizarreries

Finally, if you want a change from the ordinary and have a little fun, head to Ripley's Believe It or Not. The latter brings together a multitude ofstrange objects collected by the museum's creator, Robert Ripley.

Great adventurer and illustrator of the 20th century, the latter brought back all these objects during the exploration of more than 200 countries !

This museum is therefore the ideal landmark for travelers or curious, as well as for children.

Go there between 9 a.m. and 1 a.m. every day, except during the winter period, when the museum closes at 23 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday.

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