Best museum parties

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Brooklyn Museum

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 200 Eastern Pkwy, (at Washington Ave)
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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

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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.

  1. 11 W 53rd St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
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American Museum of Natural History

  • Price band: 2/4
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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.

  1. Central Park West, (at 79th St)
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MoMA PS1

  • Price band: 2/4

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

  1. 22-25 Jackson Ave, (at 46th Ave)
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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 1071 Fifth Ave, (at 89th St)
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Bronx Museum of the Arts

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  • Free

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.

  1. 1040 Grand Concourse, (at 165th St)
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Studio Museum in Harlem

  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 144 W 125th St , (between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave))
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New Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 235 Bowery, (at Prince St)
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Rubin Museum of Art

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 150 W 17th St, (at Seventh Ave)
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