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best museums in NYC

7 Of The Best Museums In NYC

If there’s one city that’s a cultural hub through and through, it’s New York. The sheer amount of museums in NYC can be baffling – there’s iconic art museums, history, photography and everything in between.

There’s unique museums all over the city, as well as the famous seven-mile stretch of ‘Museum Mile. Take a stroll between 82nd and 105th streets to explore world-class collections of art, history, design and culture.

To narrow things down a little (hey, you’re here to explore, not spend hours researching!), here’s our pick of the very best museums in New York.

The Best Museums in NYCHow do these rankings work?

1. The Metropolitan

The Met in NYC, has more than 2 million works of art and is the cherry on top of Museum Mile. Discover the popular American Wing, Impressionist paintings and the Egyptian section’s Temple of Dendur. It’s NYC’s most-visited attraction, and for good reason!

The Metropolitan Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world.

Image: Marley White

2. MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 in Long Island City in Queens is one of the best contemporary art institutions in New York, and has an exciting rotation of colourful exhibits and installations. There’s countless works of art and the museum is always looking for new emerging artists, genres and adventurous new works.

Image: Pablo Enriquez

3. Museum of Natural History 

The American Museum of Natural History NYC is a New York icon! Fun for all ages, there’s exhibitions representing people and animals throughout the ages and a planetarium. The dinosaur wing is a must-see. If you have time, lie down under the life-size model of a blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life.

4. Museum of the City of New York

This historical museum is dedicated to all the things that give New York City its personality—its people, cultures, neighbourhoods, buildings, parks, streets, sights and styles. Most exhibitions are historical.

A highlight here is “Timescapes,” a 22-minute multimedia history of New York City narrated by Stanley Tucci.

best museums in NYC
Image: Marley White

5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Works from the likes of Picasso, Kandinsky and Miró fill the galleries in this Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building. View the art as you walk along a huge ramp that spirals up around the inside of the cylindrical building.

The Guggenheim always has interesting and innovative exhibitions and is a must-visit for modern art lovers. Spare at least a few hours for this, as there’s lots to see.

best museums in NYC

6. The Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum tells one of America’s most important stories: how immigrants became American, and how America became a nation. You’ll tour the museum’s two restored historic tenement buildings. Explore the Lower East Side then and now, sample immigrant cuisine, and “meet” the residents.

It’s a fascinating look at what it means to be a new American and is one of the top museums in NYC.

best museums in NYC

7. SPYSCAPE 

The famous Spy Museum in NYC is one of the best things to do in New York. This contemporary museum will unleash your inner spy. Learn all about espionage with stories of double agents, code breakers and social justice hackers.

You can test your own spy skills in decoding, surveillance, lie-detection and you can navigate a laser tunnel secret-agent style. James Bond fan? Discover the original “Q” who inspired the James Bond character, and see some of his rare spy gadgets.

Image: Scott Frances
Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder and global head of content of Big 7 Travel, 26-year-old Sarah created the company through her passion for discovering the world's best food and travel experiences. Formerly based in Dublin, Ireland, she now travels the world sharing her finds with our readers - a community that loves travel just as much as we do.

Contact [email protected]

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