Best museum exhibitions in NYC

Find listings and reviews for the best New York museum shows, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

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A New York museum trip shouldn't be saved for a rainy day: With specialties ranging from modern art to mathematics, sex to outer space, there a New York museum for every aesthetic and intellectual curiosity. To help you find the exact stimulation you seek, our critics have rounded up the very best museum exhibitions in New York City right now.

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to classic yuletide tunes. You’ll be so moved, you

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

[Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera and Jeff Takacs.) Nutcracker Rouge. Minetta Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). Directed and

  1. 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $65–$175
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sat Jan 31
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Henri Bendel holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Henri Bendel window displays are inspired by vintage landscaping this year. In one window you'll find Louise the Elephant, a plush green fellow made of shrubbery and covered in oversize silver ornaments. Other windows will feature fountains, cobblestones, scattered camellias and all-around holiday

  1. Henri Bendel 712 Fifth Ave, at 56th St
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Thu Jan 1
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"The Art of Mourning"

  • Critics choice

Not for the faint of heart, this macabre exhibit definitely doesn’t shy away from the issue of death and dying. Guests get a cultural look at how the inevitable fate was handled from the 18th to 20th centuries. Channel ghosts at the spirit photo booth and gawk at surreal grieving paraphernalia

  1. Morbid Anatomy Museum 424A Third Ave, at 7th St, 11215
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Thu Dec 4
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Radio City Stage Door Tour

  • Critics choice

This hour-long tour of the Art Deco theater includes a look at the Roxy Suite—created for vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel "Roxy" Rothafel when the stage opened in 1931—a meet-and-greet with a Rockette and a glimpse at the VIP-signed guest book. Attendees can even pose in a digitally

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Tue Jun 30
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"Mac Conner: A New York Life"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The career of illustrator McCauley (“Mac”) Conner helped to define the look of midcentury America. One of the original Mad Men, Conner's style was crisp and refined and very urban; life in the big city was a frequent theme. His work, which was published in such magazines as Redbook and

  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Wed Sep 10 - Mon Jan 19
More info

Origami Holiday Tree

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Festooned with more than 500 meticulously hand-folded paper ornaments, this year’s tree is inspired by the museum’s new “The Power of Poison” exhibit, meaning you’ll spot toxic mushrooms, poison ivy, spiders, snails and jellyfish. In addition to the venomous flora and fauna, the

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Jan 11
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Space Shuttle Enterprise

  • Critics choice

In 1977, NASA conducted a series of tests on a new type of craft: the Space Shuttle. Now that prototype resides on the deck of the Intrepid in a specially designed pavilion. Visitors can walk close to and under the 180-foot-long, six-story Shuttle, the wingspan of which is more than 70 feet.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St, 10036
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Wed Dec 31
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"Behind the Screen"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

At the museum’s core exhibit (which was completely updated during renovations), you can put sound effects into film scenes, insert your voice into a part of The Wizard of Oz, or even make a short animated film and e-mail it to yourself. Learn about live video editing in the TV control room, where

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Wed Dec 31
More info

"Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin”

  • Critics choice

With all due respect to Les Paul, few names loom larger in American luthier lore than Christian Frederick Martin. The German immigrant crossed the Atlantic in the 1830s and began fashioning six-strings in the Spanish style (figure-eights with super pretty rosewood inlays), but with sturdier and

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 7
More info
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