1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Upper East Side
If you only have time for one museum while in New York, the Met should be your destination. In this museum, there are more than 2 million historical objects from around 5000 years of world history. You can celebrate the Year of the Pig by looking at the swine ornaments by different Chinese artists from 2,000 years ago, and then come to the 20th century and examine Jackson Pollock’s splattered canvas art. The tickets are $25 for adults and$12 for students, and for the residents of New York State, it is free, with a suggested donation.
2. Museum of Modern Art – Midtown West
The MoMA has to be the best acronym for a museum. It holds works by Basquiat, Warhol, and Haring, as well as a considerable collection of classics art by iconic artists, including Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” and Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory.” The ticket for the museum is $25 for adults, it is free for people under 16, and completely free on Fridays between 4 pm and 8pm.
3. The Frick Collection – Upper East Side
If old European art in a decadent setting is your thing, head over to the Frick and enjoy the epic landscapes and historical portraits in gilded frames, located at Henry Clay Frick’s Upper East Side mansion. Top pieces are by such artists like Turner, Constable, and El Greco. You will feel like you have escaped Manhattan for somewhere in the South of France. What is more, the audio guide is informative and lively. Regarding the tickets, adults pay $22, students pay $12, there is a pay-what-you-wish Wednesday from 2 pm to 6 pm, and children under 10 are now allowed.
4. American Museum of Natural History – Upper West Side
Fans of dinosaurs, elephants, whales and other animals are all present at the Natural History Museum, so make your way there if you would like to witness these amazing artifacts from the past. This adventure will take you through jungles, up the mountains, and deep down into the sea. Additionally, outer space at the planetarium next door is also available. It is basically Jumanji in real life. Ticket wise, adults pay $23 dollars, and children between 2 and 12 pay $13.
5. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – Hell’s Kitchen
Lovers of breakneck speeds and deafening noises, as well as awe-inspiring power, cannot miss the opportunity to visit this one while in NYC. The museum has enough gear to initiate an invasion. The top deck is reserved for the fighter planes, and there is even a nuclear submarine in the dock underneath. The legendary British Airways Concorde is another thing to experience here, as is the NASA space shuttle in its own pavilion. Adults will have to set apart $33, while tickets are $24 for children between 5 and 12. US military and veterans do not pay any fee.
6. The New York Hall of Science – Corona, Queens
If you are a science freak and on the hunt for some tech gadgets from the past, or if you love engineering and mathematics activities, go to the 111th Street 7 Train stop and visit the NYSCI. This establishment has been educating and entertaining visitors since the World’s Fair in 1964. There are approximately 450 exhibits in its library. Children fee is $13 while their parents pay $16.
7. The New-York Historical Society – Upper West Side
This is the oldest museum in the whole city, which was opened all the way back in 1804. There are art, literature, and memorabilia pieces that tell the tale of old New York and the wider history of all America. Some of the exhibitions are on themes like the Battle of Brooklyn and Muhammad Ali. The hyphen in the name is not a typo. Rather, it is how “New York” was spelt when the museum was founded, and they decided to keep it as a memory. Adults pay $21, and children pay $16.
8. Tenement Museum – Lower East Side
This museum is amazingly well preserved. Located at the Lower East Side, this is a real time capsule of New York life with stories of working-class immigrants who lived in the city during 19th and the early 20th centuries. One tricky part is that you cannot explore it on your own, as you must take a guided tour and even pick the desired era. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children between the ages of 6 and 17.
9. South Street Seaport Museum – South Street Seaport
The waterside museum holds everything regarding New York’s extremely rapid growth from a trading outpost to the world-leading industrial port in a matter of decades. The museum has its home at the Federal-era warehouses on the Schermerhorn Row. You have to visit it to see the schooners docked outside from that period. Tickets are $5 for all ages.
10. Brooklyn Children’s Museum – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
This is the first children’s museum in the world, and you will be amazed at how much fun you can have with the conveyor belt in the pretend bodega, or the assembling toppings in the makeup pizzeria. There is also a splash zone, which rug rats will never want to leave. The museum has a sandpit and a vegetable garden made from tiny crumbs of rubber. Tickets are $11, infants under 1 enter for free, and pay-as-you-wish Sundays and Thursdays are available between 4 pm to 7 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm respectively.
11. NYC Transit Museum – Downtown Brooklyn
This amazing collection of fares, signage, and scale trolley models is available for the fans of transportation. Even if you hate the commute part of your day, NYC has one of the biggest metro maps in the world, so do not miss the opportunity to witness the transport system of the city through the ages. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children over 2 years of age.
12. NYC Fire Museum – Hudson Square
Lights, sirens, and shiny red trucks are everywhere in this building. The NYCFM will keep anyone entertained for the duration of the tour. Fans of trucks should also visit the museum, as should those who respect emergency services. Adults pay $10 and kids under 2 pay $5.
13. Whitney Museum of American Art – Meatpacking District
The Whitney is worth a trip just simply to experience both the Meatpacking District and the Hudson River from the multiple levels of patios of the building. The focus of the museum is on homegrown talent, including the masterpieces by Edward Hopper and Alexander Calder. If you are able to, try the Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again exhibit. Tickets to the museum run for $25 for adults and are free for under 18s. From 7pm on Fridays, there is a pay-what-you-wish option.
14. National September 11 Memorial & Museum – Financial District
The moving recollection of the devastating 2001 tragedy is located here. It presents a terrifying selection of salvaged artifacts, as well as a sensitive narrative of the tragic events. The 9/11 Tribute Museum tells its visitors the story of this day from the perspective of those who experienced it. Volunteers often offer talks. Adult tickets are $26 and youth tickets, teens pay $20, and those between 7 and 12 pay $15.
15. Guggenheim – Upper East Side
Picasso, Kandinsky, and others have their works stored here, in a stunning setting of the Guggenheim, the iconic seashell building that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. The permanent collections of this museum include a room of abstract forms by Constantin Brancusi, which are the usual crowd-pleasers. Make sure to read the prospect about what they are showing, as they change the exhibitions. For example, Robert Mapplethorpe works are on view through July. Regular tickets are $25, students pay $18, while those under 12 enter free of charge.
16. Brooklyn Museum – Prospect Heights
Although the Met is the star and nothing is close, this one is a true runner-up. The second largest museum in NYC is spread on 560,000 square feet, and it is home to around 1.5 million works. Some of these are paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Singer Sargent. Moreover, the establishment houses one of the greatest collections of Egyptian art in the world. If you manage, go on the first Saturday of the month because the entrance is free, and the street food market and cash bars open till late in the night. Otherwise, it is $16 for adults and frees for under 19.
17. New Museum – Lower East Side
If you want something less mainstream, the showcase on Bowery holds works by less famous contemporary artists. Although the outside of the building might look like something a 2-year-old assembled with Lego, the seven floors of the avant-garde art are anything but. There is a lot of different forms of art here, so go with an open mind and your horizons will be wider afterward. The ticket prices are $16 for adults and free for under 14s. There is a pay-what-you-wish on Thursday evenings.
18. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration – Depart from the Battery
The American dream started here for more than 12 million immigrants between the years 1892 and 1954. Today, one in every three US citizens trace their ancestry to somebody who left a ship at this very dock after a long and tedious transatlantic voyage. In this museum, you can hear and learn the stories of the tired, poor, and huddled souls who came here to start new lives, as well as the few who did not pass this life test. Entrance into the museum is free.
19. The Cloisters – Washington Heights
This sprawling museum focuses on medieval art and architecture, and it is named for its atmospheric setting. The building is located around an arched courtyard garden in the Fort Tryon Park, which is on the banks of the Hudson in northern Manhattan. If you love fantasy like Game of Thrones, what they keep inside will amaze you. Adult tickets run for $25, student tickets are $12, and children younger than 12 go for free.
20. Skyscraper Museum – Battery Park
Do you like buildings? This museum is all about the biggest buildings, and although it has a name like the Skyscraper Museum, it is actually surprisingly small. Nevertheless, make your way here to learn about these structures through miniature models of Manhattan, and listen to stories about architectural principles while. Tickets are only $5 for adults and half that for the students.