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Best museum parties

Brooklyn Museum

Critics' pick

Sample a smorgasbord of culture at the Brooklyn Museum free Target First Saturdays. The monthly bash includes lectures, live music, dance performances and DJs. Each party takes inspiration from the exhibits on view or, on occasion, neighborhood events—expect one prompted by Crown Heights’ annual West Indian–American Day Carnival in August.

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Prospect Park

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Critics' pick

MoMA and MoMA PS1’s PopRally bashes are often pegged to something on display, and has welcomed such trendsetters as Patti Smith (to celebrate Georges Seurat’s birthday) and Spike Jonze (who presented a selection of skate videos). The evening includes wine and beer, as well as extended gallery hours.

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Midtown West

American Museum of Natural History

Critics' pick

Big-ticket artists (Kanye and Animal Collective are among the past performers) are the main draw for One Step Beyond. But the otherworldly wingding's setting doesn’t hurt—how cool is it to dance in a planetarium? Don’t miss the museum’s multimedia installations and screenings while you're there.

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Upper West Side

MoMA PS1

One of longest-running (and most popular) museum-curated music series. Warm Up manages to remain fresh every year, due in no small part to its eclectic lineups of globetrotting DJs. While you’re there, gawk at the installation that annually takes over the courtyard as as part of the museum’s Young Architects Program

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Long Island City

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Critics' pick

The Gugg’s new iteration of its old First Fridays affairs, now rebranded as Art After Dark,  gives celebrants the opportunity to have the famous spiral building all to themselves. Background music is provided via an iPod playlist created by an artist or a curator.

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Upper East Side

Bronx Museum of the Arts

Critics' pick

The Bronx Museum’s free First Fridays programs are perfect for culture hounds looking for an intimate gathering with top-notch performers—past guests have included the Charlie Porter Jazz Quartet, pianist Valerie Capers and hip-hop pioneer DJ Ralph McDaniels.

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The Bronx Free

Studio Museum in Harlem

Get down uptown at Uptown Fridays, a popular free fete, where dancing in the museum’s courtyard is encouraged. Take a break from the dance floor with guided tours, which happen all night long.

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Harlem

New Museum of Contemporary Art

Critics' pick

Do as instructed at the period Get Weird series and let your freaky side reign. The avant-garde events have showcased MEN and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner’s first-ever solo show solo show.

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Lower East Side

Rubin Museum of Art

Critics' pick

The Rubin has a particular knack for meshing contemporary pop culture with Buddhist principles in its K2 Friday nights. The museum’s sleek café morphs into a lounge, offering a special menu of Pan-Asian tapas to kick off an evening of live or deejayed music. A screening of a classic film usually follows.

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Chelsea

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