10 Best New York City Museums

Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum
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    Which Museum Should I Visit in NYC?

    With hundreds of cultural institutions and historic sites in New York City, it can be difficult to narrow down which ones to include on your itinerary. Use this list New York City's most popular museums to help you decide which one to include on your vacation itinerary. There are options for everyone, whether you want to see exhibits dedicated to art and design or history and science.

    It is recommended that you plan to visit no more than two museums in one day -- and really one museum is usually more than enough daily. It's hard to really absorb what the museum has to offer if you're rushed or have reached saturation. Personally, I think it's ideal to visit one museum in the morning (this is when museums tend to be less crowded and I tend to be freshest) and then choose a neighborhood to explore, a walking tour, bus tour or a sightseeing cruise to round out the day. Of course, it's totally up to you how you plan your days!

    Need To Stretch Your Budget? Free &...MORE Pay-What-You-Wish Days at NYC Museums

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    American Museum of Natural History

    New York, American Museum Of Natural History
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    Since opening to the public in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has evolved and grown. In addition to the Rose Center planetarium and regular exhibits, the museum hosts a revolving series of exhibits, so there is always something new to see. AMNH is a wonderful destination for visitors of all ages, with wonderfully engaging experiences for just about everyone.

    More: AMNH Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Upper West Side

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    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

    USA, New York State, New York City, Facade of Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan
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    This is the only US museum exclusively dedicated to historic and contemporary design. The exhibits at the Cooper-Hewitt offer visitors a chance to explore the nature and impact of design ​in their lives.

    Neighborhood: Upper East Side

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    Ellis Island Immigration Museum

    USA, Upper New York Bay, Aerial photograph of Ellis Island
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    Located in the New York Harbor, approximately 12 million steerage and third class steamship passengers were processed on Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. Immigrants who entered the United States through the port of New York were legally and medically inspected there. In 1990 Ellis Island was renovated and transformed into a museum dedicated to educating visitors about the immigrant experience.

    More: Ellis Island Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan (technically in the New York Harbor!)

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    Guggenheim Museum

    USA, New York, exterior view Guggenheim museum
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    The Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is best known for its spiral structure and unique museum layout. The permanent collection and temporary exhibitions at the Guggenheim highlight modern paintings, sculpture and film.

    More: Guggenheim Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Upper East Side

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    Lower East Side Tenement Museum

    Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side.
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    Accessible only by guided tour, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum offers visitors the opportunity to see into the immigrant past of the Lower East Side while visiting the actual apartments where immigrants lived and hearing stories about their lives. They also offer tours in Spanish and American Sign Language.

    More: Tenement Museum Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Lower East Side

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    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue, NYC
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    Over 2 million works of art from around the world and throughout history are housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You could easily spend years exploring the Met's extensive collections, but even if you only have an afternoon to visit, you'll be impressed by the vast array of art on display.

    More: Metropolitan Museum of Art Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Upper East Side

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    Museum of Modern Art

    The Museum Of Modern Art also known as MOMA
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    Founded in 1929 as the first museum dedicated entirely to contemporary art, MoMA is host to an impressive collection of modern artistic efforts in a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, design and even film. They even offer special events and activities for families with children as young as four, making it a very family-friendly choice as well!

    More: MoMA Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Midtown East

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    Museum of the Moving Image

    USA, New York State, New York City, Museum of the Moving Image
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    The Museum of the Moving Image focuses on film, television and digital media, and its impact on culture and society. Located in Astoria, Queens, the museum is easily accessible by subway, just a short ride from Manhattan, and is a great destination for film buffs and families alike.

    Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens

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    New York Historical Society

    Carriage and silver collection, Henry Luce III Center for Study of American Cultures, New-York Historical Society, New York, NY
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    On West 77th Street at Central Park West, the New York Historical Society offers visitors an opportunity to see a collection that reveals much of New York's history. The collection includes Tiffany lamps, decorative objects, paintings, and furniture, and there are frequent special exhibits as well as the Dimenna Children's History Museum.

    More: New York Historical Society Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Upper West Side

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    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Manhattan, Meatpacking District, High Line Elevated Park and Whitney Museum of American Art (architect Renzo Piano) on the background
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    Boasting the most complete overview of twentieth-century American art of any museum in the world, the Whitney permanent collection consists of over 12,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs.

    More: Whitney Museum of American Art Visitors Guide
    Neighborhood: Meatpacking District

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