13 Best NYC Museums: Planning a Fun and Educational Trip

There’s no shortage of NYC museums, so how can you decide which ones to visit during your vacation?

This article will take a look at some of the most fun museums in NYC so you can find the topics you’re most interested in.

Best NYC Museums

13 Best NYC Museums - Planning a Fun and Educational Trip

Exploring the Treasures of New York’s Museums

Below are 13 great New York museums that both locals and tourists can appreciate. Tourists should also check out the tallest buildings in NYC during their visit.

1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

The Met is the country’s largest museum and the world’s 5th-largest museum. It’s located in Central Park, and it has been there since 1880. It has over 2 million art pieces that span over 5,000 years.

This art museum is also NYC’s most-visited museum with about 6 million visitors each year. It’s home to many famous paintings, such as “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze and “Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat” by Vincent van Gogh.

The Met is overwhelming at first since it can take up to five hours just to see the museum’s permanent collection. So, you may need to pick and choose which exhibits are most interesting to you.

2. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is another one of the country’s most popular art museums. It’s not as big as the Met, but it’s home to many famous paintings.

At this museum, you can see “Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, “Campbell Soup Cans” by Andy Warhol, and “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair” by Frida Kahlo.

All the artwork is displayed in a modern atmosphere that has been renovated since the museum opened in 1929. There are almost 200,000 pieces on display.

3. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History 2

The Museum of Natural History is the perfect museum for people of all ages and interests. It was founded in 1869, and it’s now home to over 33 million specimens. Only 3% of those items are on display, but it’s still an overwhelmingly big museum.

This museum is considered one of the world’s greatest natural history museums. It brings in about 5 million visitors every year. It’s also one of the best museums in Manhattan.

Some exhibits include dinosaurs, sea life, a butterfly conservatory, and a planetarium. You can expect to spend at least two and a half hours at this museum. It’s located in Central Park, not far from the Met.

4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

This unique-looking museum was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but sadly, he passed away a few months before it opened in 1959. It’s a modern art museum, and the building itself is one of the art pieces, featuring a spiral ramp on the front.

The Guggenheim is a smaller museum with about 600 pieces, but it’s still worth a visit. You’ll find several famous pieces, such as “Composition 8” by Wassily Kadinsky, “Mountains of Saint Remy” by Vincent van Gogh, and several Piccasso pieces.

5. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

This is by far the most emotional museum in NYC. It’s located next to One World Trade Center, the tallest NYC building.

The outdoor memorial is free for everyone to walk around, but the indoor museum has an entrance fee. The museum is full of moving tributes to the thousands of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Inside the museum, you’ll find artifacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits related to the tragic event. Most people go through this museum at a slower pace because it’s a lot of emotional information to process.

6. Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is one of the largest museums in New York City. It’s an art museum with about 1.5 million items on-site.

This museum’s art showcases both modern and ancient cultures from around the world. It’s best known for its Egyptian art collection. When visiting this attraction, you’ll be experiencing history and art all in one.

7. Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney is home to over 22,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art. Its current building has gorgeous views of the Hudson River that you can admire from observation decks.

The museum was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an American socialite. It’s home to paintings from many famous artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Richard Avedon. It takes about two hours to see all the exhibits.

8. The Morgan Library and Museum

The Morgan Library and Museum

If you’ve ever wanted to enter the home of a millionaire with a love for books, this is the museum for you. This museum was once the home of J.P. Morgan. It has been open since 1906 to preserve his private book collection.

Inside this museum, you’ll find beautiful architecture, along with endless shelves of books on display. Tours of this facility only take an hour, but it’s well worth it if you enjoy historic structures.

This museum is located just down the road from the iconic Empire State Building.

9. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier on Pier 86 was repurposed into this gorgeous museum. It holds a variety of military vessels, including planes and submarines. Even the Space Shuttle Enterprise is on display.

If you’re fascinated with military history, there are lots of cool facts to learn while browsing the vehicles of the sea and sky. It takes two to three hours to view everything.

10. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

When visiting the Statue of Liberty, make sure you check out the National Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island. The museum was once the entry point of over 12 million people coming into America.

Now, the island is home to a museum where people can learn about immigration history, including information about some of the people who entered the country. It’s full of artifacts and passenger records.

You can only reach Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty by boat, so visiting this museum is an adventure.

11. The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection

If you’re looking for elegance, this museum NYC is perfect. The structure is the former mansion of Henry Clay Frick, so it has lots of gorgeous architecture.

The museum is full of old, classic paintings, including works from Rembrandt, Holbein, and Vermeer. The sculptures and furniture in the museum are also timeless works of art. It’s less crowded than the more popular art museums, but it’s just as impressive.

12. New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

Transportation is a big part of the busy city. So, this museum is housed in a subway station from 1936, and it provides history and interactive exhibits about NYC’s transportation over the years.

This is a great museum for all ages because you get to step inside vintage cars that resemble different periods. There are also plenty of artifacts and photographs showing the evolution of the subway system.

13. New Museum

New Museum

As the name implies, the New Museum is one of the newest art museums in the city. It opened in 2007, and it focuses on contemporary art.

This museum is unique from other art exhibits because it doesn’t have any permanent exhibits. Instead, it regularly rotates its collection to ensure that new pieces are always on display. These pieces will be unique from anything else you’ll see in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Many Museums are in NYC?

There are at least 145 New York City museums, but that list is always growing.

Are There Any Free Museums in NYC?

Yes, a few lesser-known museums are free to everyone, such as the Bronx Museum of Arts, the Harbor Defense Museum, and the Socrates Sculpture Park. Some museums may also have free days for everyone or free opportunities for NYC residents.

How Much Do NYC Museums Cost?

Most NYC museums cost between $15 and $30 per person, depending on the museum’s size and popularity. The age of the guests may affect the cost as well.

Do NYC Museums Have Parking?

Many NYC museums have their own parking garages, but you will likely need to pay extra to park. Check the museum’s website to find out where to park.

Why is the Met so Famous?

The Met is famous because it’s known as the world’s largest and finest art museum.

Whether you love history, art, or interactive displays, you’ll find something to enjoy. The best museums in NYC on this list are worthwhile for both visitors and locals, so everyone should check them out if they have the chance.