Top five museums to visit in New York City

It’s not only apple picking season, but museum season as well. The weather is still nice in New York, but as soon as the weather turns, what better way to spend your weekends than enjoy art, the history and science in the best New York City museums. I’ve been to maybe less than ten percent of all of the museums the city has to offer, but here are my two cents about a few of my favorites! Also, at the end of this article you will find tips on how to get in for free at most of the museums in NYC* (some apply only to residents).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the most famous and popular museums in the city, this is where 2 million objects are displayed, covering 5,000 years of history. With so many options it’s difficult to get to everything in just a few hours. Grab a map and audio guide and go see what you’re most interested in. If you’re looking for hidden gems, check out the Atlas Obscura suggestions here. You can end your visit with a drink on the rooftop terrace: Cantor Roof Garden. The views are amazing and it also hosts a temporary exhibition that invokes a miniature solar system. Once your visit is over you are only a few steps away from Central Park so enjoy a walk to Bethesda Fountain or the Sheep Meadow.

How to get there: Take the 4/5 (green line) to 77th Street subway station on the Upper East Side.
Price: $25, almost free for NYC residents – donate as much as you want

The MET Cloisters

If you come from the city get off at the north tip of Manhattan and check out the Muscota Marsh and the Inwood Hill Park. This will make for a nice walk in nature before getting to the Cloisters. The museum is built from dismantled medieval artwork from Europe and is centered around four gardens also known as cloisters. For an after visit snack head over to Dyckman street for a taste of the local cuisine.

How to get there: take the A train (blue line) to Dyckman Street subway station
Price: $25, almost free for NYC residents – donate as much as you want

American Museum of Natural History & The Hayden Planetarium

This one is definitely the kids’ favorite but can be thrilling even for adults such as myself. From dinosaurs, whales, lost civilizations to the stars and outer space. Yes, the largest planetarium in the world is hosted by this museum: the Hayden Planetarium. For an extra $25 you can listen to Neil Degrasse Tyson tell you about the Dark Universe.

How to get there: take the C to 86th Street subway station on the Upper West Side
Price: almost free for everyone – donate as much as you want

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Perhaps the most unique museum is the Intrepid. It’s housed on a WWII aircraft carrier. Walking around you’ll get a taste of daily life on the boat, view historic video footage (we saw the kamikaze attack) and explore interactive exhibits. Don’t miss the British Airways Concorde and the NASA space shuttle that has its own pavilion.

How to get there: take any time to Times Square and walk west to the Hudson River.
Price: $33

Storm King Art Center

Get to this one before it gets cold because it’s a beautiful outdoor space. It’s located in the New York’s Hudson Valley, where visitors experience over 100 works of large-scale sculpture and site-specific commissions under open sky.

How to get there: get the Coach bus from Port Authority. Find all details here.
Price: $48 (transportation included)

Tips on how to get free entry to museums:

  • These New York City museums are either always free, free on specific days of the week or free for select hours. Check the list here
  • If you are a NYC resident, get a public library card (NYPL, Brooklyn Library) – this will allow you to access Culturepass and get free tickets at specific times – that’s how I got into the New York Botanical Garden and the Intrepid Museum.
  • Corporate member – you can get in for free and generally bring a friend along or more. Bring your badge with you 🙂


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