The 10 best museums in New York City

You can’t visit New York City without checking out its wide array of museums. No matter what your interests are, you can surely find at least one museum that captures your attention.

Here are 10 of the best museums the city has to offer. Don’t miss out during your next trip to NYC.

1. The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, nicknamed the Met, is located along the edge of Central Park and is the largest art museum in the United States. Its collection consists of more than two million works of art, spanning 5,000 years from prehistoric art to contemporary works and incorporating art from all over the globe. In addition to artwork, it contains encyclopedic collections of antique weapons, costumes, accessories and musical instruments.

2. Met Breuer

The Met Breuer is essentially an extension of the Met that was set up in the Whitney Museum’s former location in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It expands the Met’s modern and contemporary art collection. If you’re mainly interested in fresh, new art styles and don’t want to get lost in the vastness of the Met, the Met Breuer is for you.

3. MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art, commonly called MoMA, is considered one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, offering a comprehensive overview of contemporary art. It contains a wide variety of works, ranging from the typical paintings, drawings and sculptures you normally find in art museums to architecture, photography, illustrated books and film.

4. The Guggenheim

The Guggenheim Museum, with its jaw-dropping seashell-shaped building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is a stunning work of art in itself. As if that wasn’t enough, it is also home to many famous and timeless works of art created by prestigious artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky. The Guggenheim focuses primarily on impressionistic, post-impressionistic, early modern and contemporary art. 

5. American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History, located across from Central Park, is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. In addition to its 45 permanent exhibition halls, which display over 33 million specimens of animal and plant fossils, rocks and minerals, meteorites, human remains and human cultural artifacts, the museum also has a planetarium and a library. If you’re more scientifically than artistically inclined, this museum is certainly worth checking out.

6. Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is the third largest museum in NYC, with a collection of about 1.5 million works of art. It is organized in an encyclopedic style very similar to that of the Met, with period rooms and artworks ranging from ancient times to more modern periods. It is well-known for its antiquities exhibits, most notably its ancient Egypt collection spanning over 3,000 years. American art, going as far back as the Colonial Period, is also highlighted.

7. Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American art. It exhibits all kinds of works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos, films and artifacts of new media. Its permanent collection consists of more than 23,000 items by more than 3,400 artists. It places special emphasis on displaying the works of living artists, making this an ideal choice if you like to keep your finger on the pulse of the current art scene.

8. Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image focuses specifically on film, television and digital media, displaying artifacts that illustrate the evolution of film over the years. It contains a top-quality 267-seat movie theater as well as behind-the-scenes exhibits that examine the filmmaking process. This museum is a must-see for film fanatics.

9. The Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx Museum of the Arts primarily features contemporary and 20th-century American art, but it also hosts exhibitions including Latin American, African and Asian art, and aims to draw attention to local artists. Its permanent collection features more than 800 paintings, sculptures and photos.

10. The International Center of Photography

The International Center of Photography, as its name suggests, is the perfect option for photography buffs. It has presented over 500 exhibitions, displaying the work of over 3,000 photographers. It also contains a photography school that provides classes and workshops for students, which is something you might want to look into if you’ll be in the area for more than just a few days.

AIRE Ancient Baths New York

After a long day of pounding the pavement and touring these exciting museums in the hustle and bustle of NYC, you’ll certainly want to unwind and relax a little bit. Fortunately, AIRE Ancient Baths New York, is right in the neighborhood. AIRE offers a deep relaxation experience that goes beyond the kind that you’ll find at a typical spa. With its thermal baths in restored historical buildings, AIRE evokes the holistic mind-body healing experience of the ancient Greco-Roman tradition. Here, you’ll be able to get a massage, taste their selection of the finest teas and wines, and balance the excitement of NYC with a little peace and tranquility.