New York City is home to over a hundred—some of them among the most famous in the world—museums; so many, in fact, that you could literally spend months visiting them all. So how does a visitor to NYC manage to choose where to go without renting an apartment and scheduling a 52-week long residency in the city, visiting two museums a week?
The Major Museums & Museum Mile
If you just want to visit the major museums—American Museum of Natural History, the Met, and so on, we’ve already created a walking tour
that’s perfect for you. Another intensive jaunt for museum-lovers to take is a walk down Museum Mile
, the appropriately-named mile-long stretch of Fifth Avenue that starts at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art
and stretches 22 blocks north to El Museo del Barrio
and includes nine museums. The second Tuesday of every June is home to the yearly Museum Mile Festival
, when the city closes Fifth Avenue to car traffic, opening the thoroughfare to pedestrian, street entertainers, live music, and offering free admission to the Mile’s nine museums during the evening.
Museum Mile Attractions:
82 St – The Metropolitan Museum of Art
83 St – Goethe-Institut New York/German Cultural Center
86 St - Neue Galerie
88 St – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
89 St – National Academy of Design
91 St – Smithsonian: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
92 St – The Jewish Museum
94 St – International Center of Photography
103 St – Museum of the City of New York
104 St – El Museo del Barrio
Other big-name museums abound in New York, as well. The Museum Of Modern Art
, on West 53rd Street, has a staggering collection of 135,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models, and design objects. While most world-famous art museums are steeped in the old school, the MoMA—as it is affectionately referred to by New Yorkers—with its comparatively short 89 years, was the first museum in the world to be dedicated solely to modern art. Having doubled in size after a vast renovation helmed by noted Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, MoMA features extensive special exhibits throughout the year. And to top it all off, admission is free starting at 4pm on Friday nights!
The Whitney Museum
—which itself is housed in a Marcel Breuer-designed work of starchitecture—is one of the finest collections of American art in the city. Their two-floor Permanent Collection features works by Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, Reginald Marsh, Stuart Davis, Louise Nevelson, Agnes Martin, Claes Oldenburg, Alex Katz, Ad Reinhardt, and others. The Whitney also houses special exhibitions that inspire, enflame, and excite like no others. Located just a short walk away from the Metropolitan Museum Of Art on the Upper East Side, the Whitney offers a beautiful counterpoint to its nearest cousin, as well as free guided tours through their current exhibitions each day.
Off The Beaten Track
In New York, that phrase has less meaning than it should, simply because every possible path is already pretty beaten; however, there are less-known, hidden gems in the city and might be just what’s needed to beat those droves of visitors at the major museums in the area. As far as the usual goes, we’ve already put together a nice little guide to the Hidden Treasures of New York
so that you can avoid them, unless that’s your style. The New Museum of Contemporary Art
opened in 2008 to much ballyhoo at its new location on the Bowery. The jury is still out as to whether its exterior represents a fascinating work of modern starchitecture or its interior was created out of IKEA materials. Down in SoHo, you can get a taste of the lesser-regarded medium of comic and cartoon action at the MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
A time-tested location for great art galleries is the Chelsea area, a neighborhood so chock-full of galleries that we’ve had to make a list of the top art establishments
for that area alone! There are no bad places to start when it comes to the Chelsea art scene, but some great places to visit are the best know. An obvious choice is the Chelsea Art Museum
, with extensive collections and a focus on multimedia, artistic diversity. Then there’s the Paula Cooper Gallery
, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2008, the very first art gallery to open in SoHo, only to move to Chelsea later on. The gallery offers concerts, book and poetry readings, charitable events, and even a specialty bookstore, 192 Books
around the corner on 10th Avenue. Directly across from 192 Books you'll find the fascinating and quirky art book store Printed Matter
. Other notable galleries in the area are the Gladstone Gallery
, which includes one of the area’s largest collections of contemporary American and European art in diverse mediums like film, photography, and installation art, and the Gagosian
, which has three different locations in New York, as well as locations in Russia, Italy, and London.
For up-to-the-minute news, subscribe to our Arts RSS feed
or browse through our events listings