New York City is home to 83 museums, and Manhattan has some of the best of them. The best thing about these museums is that you can find exhibits about anything or any topic that interests you, whether it is music, film, or animals.
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11 Best Museums in Manhattan
Whether you are an art buff who wants to discover some cool art or want to learn more about the world, these museums in Manhattan will show you all the different sides of NYC:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as ‘The Met”, is one of the best museums in New York City. It is also the largest art museum in the country, the fifth largest in the world, and the most visited in NYC, with an average of 6 million visitors per year. Its location at Central Park also gives the museum a commanding presence that attracts people from all around the world.
The Met museum was founded in 1870 and currently features more than 2 million art pieces spanning 5000+ years which visitors can explore through the 17 departments. You will find great pieces of work like the Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait, Washington’s Crossing the Delaware’, and Bronze Age artifacts from China. Visitors will also find works of various famous artists, including Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe.
New York Transit Museum
New York Transit Museum is one of the most famous museums in New York. It documents the robust transportation and subway station of NYC, and visitors will find displays of cars dating back to 1903 and photographs documenting the evolution of the subway system. Visitors can also walk through the subway, get on the vintage trains, and sit inside an old NYC bus.
Tenement Museum documents the history of working-class immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries. This museum also preserves the tenement buildings, the small buildings that housed different immigrant families (almost 15 thousand people from 20 nations) on the Lower East Side. Visitors to the Tenement Museum can tour the building to learn more about the lives and conditions of the immigrants who lived there between the 1860s and 1980s. This museum offers an eye-opening experience because you can not tour the cramped living spaces and view the personal belongings of past immigrants without getting a glimpse of their life.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space museum offers a view into the military and maritime history of the United States. This museum is considered one of the best aviation museums in the world and features machines, engines, weapons, and other military vessels of the sea and sky. A guided tour will take you through the extensive collection of military equipment like WW11 fighter planes, NASA space shuttle Enterprise, and supersonic jets.
The Museum of the City of New York
Located on the Upper East Side, this museum documents New York’s history and people through different exhibits and curated collections. The Museum of the City of New York has over 1.5 million pieces of furniture, decorative objects, cultural artifacts, photographs, paintings, and manuscripts. You will learn about a wide range of topics related to New York, including food, politics, history, and culture of the beautiful city through the artwork in the museum.
The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is considered one of the best art museums not only in New York but also in the entire world. You will find different works of art, including contemporary American art featuring paintings, photography, electronic media, sculpture, and exceptional designs. Some of the most iconic masterpieces in this gallery include Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”, and Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans. You will also find works of other modern artists like Picasso, Rousseau, and Frida Kahlo.
Asides from the beautiful work of art, MoMa also offers opportunities for fun in summer with art parties, exclusive art installations, and outdoor music. If you are here in summer, we recommend you attend the party for beautiful musical performances. You can also grab a book or souvenir at the gift shop.
American Museum of Natural History
One of the top museums in New York is the American Museum of Natural History, featuring exhibits that showcase the history and progression of the natural world. You will find more than 30 million scientific collections, including fossils, minerals, animals, meteorites, and rocks. The museum features a permanent collection of different types of art, including interactive exhibits, dioramas, and impressive installations.
Visitors will find the massive dinosaur bones, the 94-foot-long blue whale, and over 5000 minerals from 98 countries interesting. It’s a perfect museum for anyone, especially kids, to learn more about our amazing planet and world.
Whitney Museum of American Art
This museum is dedicated to Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and focuses on modern and contemporary works like paintings, sculptures, and photographs by renowned American artists. The Whitney Museum boasts over 25,000 art pieces from over 3700 artists, including Edward Hopper, Mickalene Thomas, and Willem de Kooning. Aside from the amazing collection of works, the Whitney Museum of American Art offers fantastic views of the Hudson River and the Meatpacking District. The museum is also very gorgeous with its one-of-a-kind architecture, outside patios, and the handful of terraces where you can take in the epic views of New York.
The Frick Museum
The Frick museum currently at Madison Avenue is one of the best NYC museums to learn about European art history. This museum was founded by Henry Clay Frick in 1835 and features work from famous European artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, Titian, and Goya. The Frick collection also features the Old Master paintings and delightful European decorative arts..
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum sits on the West Side of Upper Manhattan, and it’s majorly known for its rotating collections and temporary exhibits. Visitors to this museum will enjoy the special exhibitions of artists like Marina Abramovic, Jean Michel Basquiat, Kandinsky, and Camille Pissarro.
One of the most amazing things about this museum is its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, a spiral shape design that allows visitors to view the artworks in a continuous loop until they reach the top. Visitors can also view from the top and make their way down in spiral paths to view the sculptures, paintings, and photographs. While you are here, you can swing by the Wright Cafe for a hearty meal and drink.
Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of Moving Image features arts and exhibits documenting the history, technique, and technology in film, television, and digital media. This museum features about 130,000 old Hollywood relics, including the earliest projectors used in the film industry. Visitors will also find exhibitions devoted to legends like Barry Jenkins and film screenings that show occasionally.
A visit to a good museum is always a great way to spend your day; luckily, Manhattan has a handful of really good museums. One of the best ways to explore the great museums in Manhattan is by hitting several museums in one day!