If you love visiting museums you’ve come to the right place. New York City is home to some of the best museums in the world such as the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here you can see work from famous artists such as Picasso Monet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. A visit to New York City is a must if you’re interested in art.
No matter what you’re interested in, we got you covered with our list of the best and most popular museums in New York City.
Note that some museums could be closed at least once a week, and some are open at nighttime once a week, most likely on Thursdays and Fridays. Check each museum’s website before you head over there to ensure they’re open.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
|Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028
|Phone number: +1 212 535 7710
If you only have time to visit one museum in New York City I would recommend the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is one of New York’s most famous and biggest museums located in a gorgeous building next to Central Park. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as The Met has more than 2 million objects covering 5,000 years of world history.
Here you can enjoy work from Von Gogh and Picasso but also see the Temple of Dendur, a 2,000-year-old Egyptian temple. This museum has something for everyone! It might be difficult to see everything in one day so make sure to plan your visit, so you don’t miss out on anything important.
If you go on the same day, you can use your ticket from The Met to visit the Met Cloisters. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on the famous Fifth Avenue on Upper East Side.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
|Address: 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128
|Phone number: +1 212 423 3500
One of the best museums in New York is The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, also known as “The Guggenheim” is home to work from Picasso, Kandinsky, and more. This iconic seashell-inspired building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was opened in 1959 by Solomon R. Guggenheim. It’s worth a trip to this Upper East Side museum just to check out the building. Once inside, visitors will make it up their spiral ramp to observe classic works in styles from cubism to surrealist and abstract expressionism.
The Guggenheim is located close to The Met and it could be smart to visit them both in the same day.
|Address: 281 Park Ave South at 22nd St. New York, NY 10010
|Phone number: +1 212 433 3686
Fotografiska gallery is a Stockholm-based destination for the world’s best photography and has recently opened a location in New York City. It opened in 2019 and is located on Park Avenue and 22nd Street near Union Square. The gallery mounts temporary exhibits featuring photos from famous photographers as well as emerging talent such as Annie Leibovitz, Zanele Muholi, Albert Watson, Ren Hang, Sebastião Salgado, Bettina Rheims, Sally Mann, David LaChapelle, and Robert Mapplethorpe.
MoMA Museum of Modern Art
|Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
|Phone number: +1 888 999 8861
The Museum of Modern Art, also known as MoMA, is one of the world’s most influential museums showing works from world-class artists like Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Jasper Johns, and Salvador Dali. This is definitely one of the best museums in New York, attracting over one million visitors every year. You can also visit MoMA’s other location PS1 in Long Island City which has more cutting-edge contemporary and experimental art.
American Museum of Natural History
|Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
|Phone number: +1 212 769 5100
The American Museum of Natural History is considered one of the best natural history museums in the world. This 150-year-old institution has all different types of permanent exhibits such as the dinosaur floor, the space section, and the ocean life room. Here you can see a 94-feet long life-size model of a blue vale and massive dinosaur skeletons. The American Museum of Natural History is arguably one of the best things to do in New York City with kids.
9/11 Memorial Museum
|Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
|Phone number: +1 212 312 8800
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is dedicated to the 2983 victims of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It’s located in lower Manhattan next to where the two towers once stood. The museum will show what’s left of the buildings, images, audio, and video recordings from what happened that day.
Whitney Museum of American Art
|Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
|Phone number: +1 212 570 3600
The Whitney Museum of American Art is a must-visit for you if you’re interested in modern American art. Here you can find some of the best modern American art from the twentieth century, focusing on art from artists who are still alive today. In addition, they have a very nice outdoor section where you can enjoy the view of Manhattan and the newly opened park Little Island.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
|Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
|Phone number: +1 212 245 0072
If you’re into space airplanes and submarines, this is the best museum for you. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space is a very unique museum in New York City. Here you can board the large aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11), see airplanes, a space shuttle, and the submarine USS Growler. The museum is located in Hell’s Kitchen.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
|Address: Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, 10004
|Phone number: +1 832 960 0009
Ellis Island once served as America’s port of entry and inspection for immigrants. 12 million people arrived here from all over the world between 1892-1954 to find happiness and start a new life. Ellis Island is located right next to the Statue of Liberty Island.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum is today one of the best museums in New York where you can see exhibits about the whole immigration process and the “wall of honor” which are plates with the names of 700,000 immigrants who died during their journey.
We highly recommend taking their guided audio tour if you plan to visit this museum. You will be guided through the museum just like an immigrant arriving to America back in the days.
The Met Cloisters
|Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY 10040
|Phone number: +1 212-923-3700
The Met Cloisters is a museum in New York that is an extension of the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s located in Washington Heights and is my personal favorite. Come here to enjoy this beautiful European medieval building surrounded by beautiful gardens and a view of the Hudson River.
This museum is America’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages. Visit this museum to experience the rich tradition of medieval artistic production, including metalwork, painting, sculpture, and textiles. The collection once belonged to John D. Rockefeller Jr. who also bought the land where the museum was later built. The building itself is a copy of a medieval castle, which was built from parts of French cloisters.
If you go on the same day, you can use your ticket from The Met to enter this museum for free.
|Address: 103 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
|Phone number: +1 877 975 3786
Are you interested in learning more about the history of New York’s immigrants? When the Tenement Museum is the perfect museum for you. The Tenement Museum is one of the best and more interesting museums in New York and will give you a unique look into old apartments in their original condition. These apartments were once home to immigrants from 20 different countries between 1863-1935. This museum will show you how they lived a very tough and poor life, with a shared toilet in the backyard with 20 other people, no electricity, and running water. This museum has been open since 1988.
|Address: 22-25 Jackson Avenue Long Island City Queens, NY 11101
|Phone number: +1 718-784-2084
The famous MoMA expanded into Long Island City into another museum called MoMA PA1. At this museum, visitors can explore works of contemporary artists, and engage with new art and perspectives. MoMA PS1 is known for highlighting driven and emerging artists.
|Address: 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
|Phone number: +1 212 512 9600
Are you interested in a museum where you can see wax models? This famous global operation has a large museum located in Times Square, with the usual line-up of realistic wax models of celebrities, politicians, and royalty, like Spiderman, Justin Beiber, and Abraham Lincoln. Madame Tussauds is considered to be one of the best wax museums in the world. If you pay extra, your ticket will include the Marvel 4D Film & Experience where superheroes, like the Hulk, are brought to life with a 4D film and wax figures.
|Address: 928 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019
|Phone number: +1 212 549 1941
This museum is great if you’re interested in the FBI and CIA. Spyscape is one of the world’s best spy museums and experiences, located in Midtown. This unique museum gives visitors a chance to experience the world of intelligence agents, investigate journalists, codebreakers, and more. You also get to explore your very own spy skills, learn what kind of spy you would be, and take lie detector tests.
Museum of Sex
|Address: 233 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
|Phone number: +1 212 689 6337
The Museum of Sex is located at 5th Avenue, Manhattan. This is a very unique museum and maybe not for everyone. Just as it sounds, this is a museum about sex. Here you can learn about the history, evolution, and cultural significance of human sexuality. The Museum of Sex was opened in 2002 by Daniel Gluck. Of course, this museum is forbidden to children, and you must be 18 years old to go there. Here you can see artwork, film, clothing, men’s magazines, inventions, and more.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
|Address: 234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036
|Phone number: +1 212 398 3133
Ripley’s Believe It or Not in New York is a one-of-a-kind museum in NYC and probably the most fun museum for kids. Here you can learn and experience the unbelievable mysteries of our world, collected by Robert Ripley. You can see how big the world’s tallest man is but also strange things like sticking your head up in a plastic bubble surrounded by cockroaches. You can also see the crystal ball that they drop at midnight every New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
International Center of Photography (ICP)
|Address: 79 Essex Street New York, NY 10002
|Phone number: +1 212 857 0000
If you enjoy photography or just like looking at beautiful photos, this museum in New York is a must-visit. The International Center of Photography is a museum, a school, and a center for photographers and photography. The museum is dedicated to photography and visual culture. The museum was founded in 1974 by renowned photographer Robert Capa. You can see a list of their current and future exhibitions on their website.
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
|Address: 2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128
|Phone number: +1 212 849 8400
This museum in New York City is a must-visit if you are interested in design. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is the largest museum in the world devoted to historical and contemporary design. Here you can see over 200,000 antique and new modern objects such as lamps, jewelry, trinkets, furniture, glass, old floor plans of designed theaters, and gardens. They have had some unique objects over the years such as Abraham Lincoln’s chair, and a car owned by The Beatles.
|Address: 1109 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
|Phone number: +1 212 423 3200
The Jewish Museum is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the landmarked Warburg mansion and is the oldest Jewish Museum in the world. This museum will give you an insight into the Jewish culture in New York City and its impact. Here you can admire almost 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting on the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years.
|Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238
|Phone number: +1 718 638 5000
The Brooklyn Museum is one of New York’s oldest and third-largest museums in NYC. Here you can admire around 1.5 million works of art that span thousands of years from all corners of the world. Some highlights include the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and the ancient Egyptian Art Gallery. The museum is located in Brooklyn right next to Prospect Park and has been open since 1895.
Natural Museum of American Indian
|Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
|Phone number: +1 212 514 3700
The National Museum of American Indian is located in the historic Alexander Hamilton US Custom House in lower Manhattan. This is the world’s largest collection of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere. Here you can find ceremonial objects, clothing, works of art made from wood and bones, and everyday items such as baskets, ceramics, and instruments.
More information about the best museums in New York
What is the New York’s Museum Mile?
The Museum Mile is a stretch on the Upper East Side’s Fifth Avenue between 82nd to 110th street. Here you can find some of the best museums in the city: The Africa Center, El Museo del Barrio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie and the Museum of the City of New York.
The second Tuesday in June is the annual Museum Mile Festival. This day will give you free entrance to all museums plus they have all extended their opening hours. The Museum Mile Festival has been around since the 1970s.
New York CityPass
We recommend getting a CityPass if you plan to visit many museums in NYC. This will give you a group discount for places such as the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, American Museum of Natural History, and Guggenheim Museum but also the Empire State Building, and Top of the Rock.
More information about museums in New York
Biggest museum in New York?
The largest museum in New York, and the United States is the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What is the best museum in New York?
If you only have time to visit one museum during your visit, I personally recommend the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you prefer modern art you can visit MoMA.
Museum in New York for kids
- American Museum of Natural History
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
- Madame Tussauds
- New York Transit Museum
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- Spyscape Museum
- Children’s Museum of Manhattan
- Children’s Museum of the Arts
- Staten Island Children’s Museum
- Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling
- Jewish Children’s Museum
- New York Hall of Science
- Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
- Liberty Science Center
- Bronx Children’s Museum
- New York City Fire Museum
- Long Island Children’s Museum