New York City is home to many world renowned museums, offering you more than 100 cultural institutions. Whether the family wants to explore nature and outer space, or you and a date want to see Monet paintings, you'll find something for everyone.
Part of New York’s famous Museum Mile (Fifth Ave. btw. 82nd & 105th Sts.), the Guggenheim Museum is not only located in one of the 20th century’s most important architectural landmarks (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) but is home to one of the world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary art, including works by artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Pollock. Current and upcoming exhibits include: Kandinsky Before Abstraction, 1901-1911; ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s (opening 10/10); and Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe (through 9/1). The Guggenheim is closed Thursdays. 1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St., 212-423-3500; guggenheim.org.
Other museums on Museum Mile include: the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.,212-535-7710; metmuseum.org); The Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd St., 212-423-3200; thejewishmuseum.org); the Museum of the City of New York (Fifth Ave. & 103rd St., 212-534-1672; mcny.org); and El Museo Del Barrio (1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St., 212-831-7272; elmuseo.org). Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum reopens to the public following a big renovation on December 12, 2014.
The Museum Mile Festival — a big, free family favorite — takes place every June.
The Upper West Side’s American Museum of Natural History is one of the greatest natural history museums in the world, with over 40 exhibition halls, highlighted by the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Current exhibitions include Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs (through 1/5) and Spiders Alive!.
Downtown’s Museum of Jewish Heritage honors those who perished during the Holocaust by celebrating their lives, traditions that they embraced, and examining their achievements and faith. Current exhibitions include: A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community.
In addition to a vast collection of American paintings, photographs, works by Tiffany, and more, the New-York Historical Society offers terrific temporary exhibitions. Currently on view: Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage and A Brief History of New York: Selections from A History of New York in 101 Objects.
If you’re traveling without children and feeling a bit frisky, explore the Museum of Sex. Committed to addressing a wide range of topics and material from different cultures, time periods and media — from ancient artifacts, drawings and paintings to photographs, film and video. Adults (18+) only.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s rich and varied collection constitutes one of the world’s most comprehensive and panoramic views into modern art, and has grown to include over 135,000 paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, sculptures, films, and design objects.
Just minutes away by car or subway, NYC’s outer boroughs also offer some great museums. Film buffs of all ages can travel to Astoria, Queens to the Museum of the Moving Image. Nearby Silvercup and Kaufman Studios, it recently underwent a multi-million dollar expansion and remains the country's only museum dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms. There is a sprawling permanent collection of tv and film equipment, film set pieces, costumes, and numerous interactive media displays (play vintage video games, do your own voiceover for My Fair Lady and other films). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Brooklyn Museum’s world-renowned permanent collections range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, and represent a wide range of cultures. Only a 30-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan, with its own newly renovated subway station, the Museum is part of a complex of nineteenth-century parks and gardens that also includes Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Prospect Park Zoo. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.