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. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • 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. Thu Dec 18 - 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. Thu Dec 18 - Thu Jan 1
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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. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Metropolitan Museum Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The city’s most elegant tree is an exhibit unto itself, hung with more than 200 18th-century hand-sculpted Neapolitan crèche figures, which are wearing jeweled and embroidered costumes. Many of the ornaments are arranged in pairs, including an angel gesturing to a shepherd.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Tue Jan 6
More info

"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

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. Thu Dec 18 - Tue Jun 30
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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. Thu Dec 18 - Wed Dec 31
More info

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. Thu Dec 18 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion

  • Critics choice

This exhibit investigates the elaborate backstory of trade and immigration between China and the United States starting from the late 18th century to present. "Exclusion/Inclusion" delves into Chinese-American history from all over the country and will include less-publicized narratives like the

  1. The New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, at 77th St, 10024
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Apr 19
More info
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