Our Pick for the Top 5 museums in New York City
The sheer number of arts and historical facilities in New York is mind-boggling—the city not only boasts world-class museums covering districts from the East End to the Outskirts, but it also has whole areas devoted to smaller galleries, such as Chelsea. There is plenty to do there for everyone, from Asian, Latin, and Judaic artwork to portraiture, natural history, and cutting-edge modern art. All you have to do is figure out what that is. With this list of the greatest museums in New York City, we’ve got you sorted no matter your interests.
PS1 at the Museum of Modern Art
The MoMA’s sibling institution isn’t your typical art museum. The location of MoMA PS1, which is housed in a stunning Renaissance Revival old public school facility in Long Island City, Queens, is as intriguing as its collection. With a collection of over 200,000 works, the museum showcases cutting-edge contemporary art from artists such as James Turrell and Ai Weiwei. As talented people from all over the city flock here to generate ideas, people-watching may be just as enjoyable as the art.
Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea area, is devoted to Himalayan and Indian art. The Rubin’s collection, which spans 1,500 years and 38,000 items, is a thorough, unrivaled deep dive into Himalayan art, consisting of statues, murals, displays (that exhibit traditions such as Nepalese wax metal casting), and copies of paintings from Tibet’s Lukhang Temple. Photographer Henri Cartier-record Bresson’s of mid-century India, for instance, or the rituals, agrarian celebrations, and natural surroundings of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley are among the noteworthy temporary displays.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Thanks to forward-thinking shows and a vast permanent archive, the Met has been the artistic core of New York City for over a century and a half. The building is a joy to behold, with its Gothic-Revival-style structure, famous tiered stairs, and Central Park position. Stand within the Great Hall, though, and you’ll experience the enormous feeling of potential and revelation that lies ahead, while a never-ending stream of museumgoers moves in and out. Begin with the Temple of Dendur, a 2,000-year-old towering Egyptian monument, if you have little time or companions with low attention spans.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
A trip here is worthwhile both for the collections and for the property itself, that is one of the best former Gilded Age mansions still intact, located in a 1902 Georgian townhouse on the Upper East Side. From furnishings and metalworking to sculpture, musical equipment, and ceramics, the collection spans ages and contains everything linked to design (almost 200,000 items). It’s also less well-known than its larger neighbors, such as the Guggenheim and the Met, so crowds aren’t as bad.
Despite the fact that the New Museum was created in 1977, it re-emerged in 2007 with the unveiling of its Bowery location—a seven-story structure that resembles blocks piled on top of each other. The museum features current and postmodern art in various forms, with a focus on lesser-known artists. Exhibitions may be considered good or bad, and appreciation for them is very opinionated, but that’s exactly what has made the museum so alive, fascinating, and eclectic.