13 fantastic museums to visit in New York City, USA

New York spoils you for choice when it comes to fantastic museums. From exhibitions exploring American history, to innovative new galleries showcasing the best emerging artists, make sure you pack a few of these big hitters into your Big Apple itinerary.

Fantastic museums to visit in New York City, USA
Fantastic museums to visit in New York City, USA © Prayitno Hadinata - Wikimedia CC BY 2.0

1. American Museum of Natural History

If you're excited by science, nature and er, T-Rexes, the American Museum of Natural History should be your first point of call. Get up close to some of the world's most fascinating butterflies in The Butterfly Conservatory. You can also enjoy a space show at the Hayden Planetarium, snap photos from the rooftop and take a self-guided tour behind the scenes of hit film Night at the Museum.

Address: Central Park West at 79th Street, NY 10024-5192

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso, Museum of Modern Art, New York © Phil Roeder - Flickr CC BY 2.0

2. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

If you like a museum that's interactive and pushes the boundaries, head to MoMA, a favourite on the New York arts scene. Prepare to get philosophical as you pass eccentric exhibits and works that present everyday objects in a new light - it's sure to ignite the imagination.

Address: 11 W. 53rd St. Manhattan, NY 10019

3. Whitney Museum of American Art

Head to the foot of the Highline - NYC's freight rail 'sky garden' - and you'll find the recently opened Whitney Museum of American Art, an exciting collection of 20th century and contemporary art. It mostly celebrates living artists and provokes many a debate amongst visitors. Don't miss the signature Whitney Biennial, featuring both established and emerging artists.

Address: 99 Gansevoort St. Manhattan, NY 10014

4. Statue of Liberty Museum

You'll have to wait until 2019 to visit The Statue of Liberty Museum. But when it opens, the $70 million project will feature interactive displays, museum galleries and an immersive theatre illustrating America's immigration history. Its roof garden will also be a great place to take some snaps of Lady Liberty herself.

Address: Liberty Island, NY 10004

The Met 5th Avenue, New York
The Met 5th Avenue, New York © Christopher Postlewaite - NYC & Company

5. The Met Fifth Avenue

The Met first opened its doors in Central Park in 1880 and houses 5,000 years' worth of art from all corners and cultures of the world. It's not just paintings - discover everything from Chinese Opera costumes to Byzantine textiles. Check out sister site The Met Breuer for contemporary art, then swing by the Met Cloisters for its European gardens and architecture.

Address: Fifth Ave. at 82nd St. Manhattan, NY 10028

6. The Frick Collection

Not only does it boast a pretty location - in the Fifth Avenue Garden - The Frick Collection is one of New York's lesser-known museums for fine art. Founded by American industrialist Henry Frick, it presents more than 1,100 Renaissance and late 19th century paintings. Concerts and lectures feature too.

Address: 1 East 70th Street, Manhattan, NY 10021

7. Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling

If you're travelling with little ones, why not visit the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling - the first of its kind in Harlem. With storytelling sessions, art workshops and vibrant installations, it aims to nurture curiosity and creativity amongst little ones.

Address: 898 St Nicholas Ave, Harlem, NY 10032

8. New York Hall of Science

With children's workshops, a 3D theatre and even museum sleepovers, the NY Hall of Science is another great family attraction. With a focus on technology, engineering, maths and of course science, it features 45 permanent exhibits, educational events and scientific demos.

Address: 47-01 111th Street, Corona, Queens, NY 11368

Guggenheim Museum, New York City
Guggenheim Museum, New York City © Fatboo - Flickr CC BY 2.0

9. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

This cylindrical building is one of New York's most impressive modern art museums. It's worth a visit for its spiral layout alone. Discover America's largest selection of Kandinsky paintings and works from the likes of Picasso and Miró. There's plenty in the way of quirky and avant-garde exhibits here.

Address: 1071 Fifth Ave, Manhattan, NY 10128

10. The Bronx Museum of the Arts

If you fancy going beyond the tourist trail, why not head to The Bronx Museum of the Arts in one of New York's most diverse neighbourhoods? African, Asian and African-American artists all feature in its collection. You'll find artists' workshops, film festivals and open mic events too.

Address: 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456

11. The Bronx Children's Museum

The Bronx Children's Museum has been running mobile for some time now. But when it gains walls in the Bronx's historic POWERHOUSE building in 2018, it will offer a host of exhibitions and educational programs across themes such as community, natural resources, culture and art. It's close to the Yankee Stadium too if you fancy watching NY's famous baseball team.

Address: 1 E 150th Street, Bronx, NY 10451

Staten Island ferry passing the Statue of Liberty
Staten Island ferry passing the Statue of Liberty © dpa picture alliance - Alamy Stock Photo

12. Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor

If you fancy a trip to New York's southernmost borough, check out The Staten Island Museum, which recently opened a second location at Snug Harbor. The museum spans collections of art, natural science and history. So expect to find plenty of fossils and taxidermy, Paleo-Indian artefacts and interestingly, the largest cicada collection in the world.

Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301

13. Queens Museum of Art

Not only does it have a vibrant location in Flushing Meadows, The Queens Museum of Art also has a colourful history too. This art museum and education centre was originally constructed for the 1939 World's Fair and occupied by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Highlights today include historical photographs, a collection of Tiffany glass and a huge 3D map of New York.

Address: New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368

Whether you're into the arts, architecture, history or children's adventures, New York City is crammed full of fantastic museums, and nycgo.com is the online resource for planning how best to spend your time.

Plus see what the weather in New York is like throughout the year, and when we think is the best time to go.

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Lucy McGuire

Lucy McGuire

Posted on Tuesday 21st March 2017 in: City Culture North America

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