9 Best Art Museums In Manhattan, New York - Updated 2024

| 6 min read

For all its urban city life and towering skyscrapers from business districts and corporates, Manhattan, New York, is the epicenter of all things artistic and creative, with its unique museum architecture standing out amidst the office buildings and residential areas. For many years, Manhattan has sought to develop its art scene and move with the times, paying homage to art from various backgrounds- from post-war to Medieval to art from the contemporary times. After all, it is these works of art that represent the state’s history and at the same time, continue to propel budding artists to pave the way for the future of art in New York City. Keep reading below to learn about the best art museums in Manhattan, New York.

1. Whitney Museum of American Art (from USD 30.0)

If you aren’t already a fan of pop art paintings or the all-too-common repetitive paintings of Campbell soup cans, the Whitney Museum of American Art entices visitors by bringing back renowned Andy Warhol’s artworks to the public’s eye. Consisting of over 25,000 works of art, the museum displays works from a myriad of well-known artists. The Whitney Museum of American Art is known for its multitudes of modern and contemporary art exhibitions, along with its noted architecture and spacious interior. This means that you will never have to worry about jostling through huge crowds just to catch a mere glimpse of the artwork, making your museum experience a stress-free one. Not to forget, the Whitney Museum of American Art has an outdoor rooftop restaurant named the Studio Bar, allowing museum visitors to get a quick and affordable bite while admiring the scenery.

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The Whitney Museum of American Art Admission Ticket

2. New Museum

New Museum, New York
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Moritz Schmaltz used under CC BY-SA 2.0

With over 60,000 square feet (5600 sq m), the New Museum is known for displaying works of artists that are less recognized but most certainly deserve the credit. This allows museum visitors to catch a glimpse of never-before-seen artworks, but ones that are captivating nevertheless. Even from the outside, the distinct look of the museum cannot be missed. Designed by two Japanese architects, the museum’s angular composition juts out amidst buildings in New York city in plain sight, mirroring boxes that are stacked on top of one another, making it great for a photoshoot from the outside. For those who love a little thrill, do be sure to head down as unlike most museums, the New Museum features contemporary art that is largely intriguing and slightly bizarre.

New Museum

Address: 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002, United States

Website: New Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Wed & Fri - Sun : 11am - 6pm; Thu: 11am - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 18 USD

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3. The Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art New York 2005-04-28
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

With collections spanning from age-old artifacts to current-day contemporary art, the Museum of Modern Art showcases the progress and influences that have shaped art to what it is today, compelling many to ponder on their definition of art. The Museum of Modern Art makes the museum experience a thought-provoking one, through exploring a range of different art forms, from impressionism to abstract expressionism to cubism and many more. Not to mention, the Museum of Modern Art features artworks from the paragons of the art scene- Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse to name a few, which means you most definitely do not wish to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to admire some of history’s most famous pieces of work.

The Museum of Modern Art

Address: 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan

Website: The Museum of Modern Art

Opening hours: 10:30am - 5:30pm (daily)

Price: 25 USD

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4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum- New York City
Source: Photo by user Sam valadi used under CC BY 2.0

Also known as The Guggenheim, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is not solely an art exhibition but rather a learning institution as well, seeking to engage its visitors by stimulating them with hands-on activities. For starters, The Guggenheim offers lectures, performances and film screenings led by their very own museum curators as well as actual artists themselves, offering critical insights into contemporary art itself. Art lovers will be sure to find these lessons largely enriching and even learn a thing or two from it. Not to mention, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is constantly moving with the times, featuring displays of art from the 20th century and beyond, making it extremely interesting for those who enjoy modern and contemporary art.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Address: 1071 5th ave, New York, NY between 88th & 89th st.

Website: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Opening hours: Sun, Mon & Wed - Fri: 10am - 5:30pm; Tue & Sat: 10am - 8pm

Price: 25 USD

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5. Museum of Arts and Design

Museum of Arts and Design
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Beyond My Ken used under CC BY-SA 4.0

For art lovers who prefer museums that specialize in design arts, the Museum of Arts and Designs specializes in textiles, fashion, jewelry, and even interior designs to name a few categories. Over the years, the museum has featured the archive works of a number of renowned designers, from runway, cosmetics and jewelry collections by Anna Sui to works by Vera Neumann. The Museum of Arts and Designs caters to those who enjoy fashion pieces and other forms of contemporary creative art. The museum documents the evolution of fashion and creative styles from the past to now, allowing visitors to witness the progressive nature of art forms and how the notion of creativity has changed over the years.

Museum of Arts and Design

Address: 2 Columbus Circle New York, NY 10019

Website: Museum of Arts and Design

Opening hours: Tue - Wed & Fri - Sun: 10am - 6pm; Thu: 10am - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 18 USD

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6. American Folk Art Museum

American Folk Art Museum (48047410506)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ajay Suresh used under CC BY 2.0

The American Folk Art Museum develops in others an appreciation for traditional folk art, allowing visitors to delve into the creative expressions of self-taught artists. Featuring collections from the 18th century, the museum preserves the intrinsic value of folk art collections, especially since with its diminishing value in today’s society. Apart from regular painting displays, the American Folk Art Museum consists of quilts, hunting decoys, decorative pottery and boxes which significantly reflect the expressions of peasants, craftsmen and working-class folks of the past. The museum itself upholds the quality of American folk art, designed with the use of stone-like material and molten metal to accurately mimic the atmosphere of the early 1700s-1800s.

American Folk Art Museum

Address: 2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023, United States

Website: American Folk Art Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Thu & Sat: 11:30am - 7pm; Fri: 12pm - 7:30pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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7. The Met Cloisters

The Cloisters - The MET Cloisters - Joy of Museums - 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joyofmuseums used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, is devoted to exhibiting Medieval art and architecture. The building itself incorporates elements from medieval cloisters such as tapestries, stained-glass windows and even the infrastructure of the museum itself is made from sections of the French medieval monasteries, mirroring an early gothic look. Located within the Met Cloisters itself are gardens that replicate the authentic herbs and flowers of the Medieval era. In fact, there are a total of three gardens for visitors who wish to see the plants for themselves. Some of the most popular displays of the Met Cloisters include various unicorn tapestries, olden-day books and manuscripts and even the only complete set of medieval trading cards in the world, so be sure to check out the Met Cloisters and travel back in time!

The Met Cloisters

Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, United States

Website: The Met Cloisters

Opening hours: Mar - Oct: 10am - 5:15pm; Nov - Feb: 10am - 4:45pm (daily)

Price: 25 USD

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8. The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT (48206542922)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ajay Suresh used under CC BY 2.0

If you consider yourself a lover of all things chic and fashionable, the Museum at FIT certainly fits you as it explores the role of textiles and accessories in the fashion industry. Amongst the 50,000 collections of clothing in the museum, prominent designer brands like Chanel, Saint Laurent and Dior are included for their significant contribution to the industry. The museum features rotating exhibits so accommodate as many side-by-side fashion collections together, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the many mannequins donning elegant couture labels. The exhibits allow museum-goers to get up close and personal with the works of fashion, which means one can observe the intricacies that go into the creation of each and every fashion piece, down to the finest details.

The Museum at FIT

Address: 227 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001, United States

Website: The Museum at FIT

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 12pm - 8pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

Price: Free

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9. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (from USD 25.0)

art museums in manhattan | the metropolitan museum of art

Commonly known as “The Met”, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of New York’s must-go spots. “The Met” is home to artworks from diverse cultural backgrounds, ranging from Medieval and Egyptian art to art from the modern and contemporary era, even inclusive of European sculptures and decorative art. There is something that caters to the liking of everyone, and the extensive number of exhibits attest to that. In fact, many past visitors have claimed that a full three days is needed to fully delve into the rich history of the various artworks, making it a fulfilling museum experience. Adorned with tapestries and with marble sculptures situated all around, the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself exudes creativity. Even in galleries without exhibits, visitors can stroll around and take in the tranquility and beauty of the museum space.

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NYC: Metropolitan Museum of Art Entry Ticket

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Art in Manhattan

Just like its nickname ‘the Big Apple’, New York City and its vast expanse caters to the liking of each and every one. For those who indulge in museum hopping and delving into the backstory behind every piece of art, Manhattan is just the right place. With its bevy of renowned museums, museums in Manhattan are home to some of the world’s oldest and most well-known art collections, so wait no longer and head down to the Big Apple.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Explorer by day, writer by night. In my waking hours I roam both the city streets and the rural areas in search of new thrills, every nook and cranny of this world a wonder waiting to be...Read more

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