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Photograph: David Willems

The best art walks for gallery hopping in NYC

Take in some amazing art at top art galleries with these art walks in NYC

Written by
Howard Halle
Omnia Saed

NYC is a top destination for viewing visual art, from world class art museums—including The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—that display some of the best artists spanning centuries to mind-blowing outdoor art and sculpture. To catch a glimpse of the current and cutting edge in the art world, New York’s legendary art galleries are not to be missed. Though there are well over 1,000 art galleries in the city, they’re concentrated in areas like Chelsea and the Lower East Side, making it easy to get your fill by tackling these recommended art walks in NYC.

The best art walks in NYC will take you to iconic galleries that showcase major artists as well as up-and-comers making their mark in the world of art and design. View works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama and Richard Serra as well as artists who are bound to be big names too. These galleries feature painting, sculpture and installations that are sure to impress. And while you may not be able to make a purchase, these galleries are free to visit. So lace up your shoes, get moving and check out these amazing NYC art walks.

Best art walks in NYC

Lower East Side Bowery
Photograph: Robert Vinas Jr.

1. Lower East Side Bowery

New York City has gone through huge changes in the past several decades, nowhere more so, perhaps, than on the fabled Bowery. Just a generation ago, it was Manhattan’s Skid Row; today, it’s home to pricey condo towers and art venues that include two major museums.

For this tour, take the B, D to Grand Street and walk one block west to the corner of Bowery, where you’ll find Simone Subal Gallery (131 Bowery, 917-409-0612, This second-floor space specializes in emerging and mid-career artists, many of them from Europe. Expect conceptual-oriented work with a refined aesthetic vibe.

Next, head north three blocks north until you reach Andrew Edlin Gallery (212 Bowery, 212-206-9723,, one of New York’s premier showcases for Outsider and Visionary art. Walk one more block in the same direction until you arrive at the New Museum (235 Bowery, 212-219-1222,, the most cutting edge museum of contemporary art in the city. It boasts a ground floor project space, three main gallery levels, a theater, a café and roof terraces.

Head down the street, where you’ll find Sperone Westwater (257 Bowery, 212-999-7337,, which originally opened in Soho in 1975. Today, it sits in an eight-story, purpose-built showcase designed by starchitects Foster + Partners. One innovative feature of the place: a moving exhibition hall—actually a 12-by-20-by-13-foot elevator that can be connected to any one of the floors to extend the viewing space.

Finally, keep heading north until you’re above Houston to check out The Hole (312 Bowery, 212-466-1100,, a scrappy gallery that often goes for funky and outré work.

Lower East Side Grand Street

2. Lower East Side Grand Street

If you’re looking for galleries with a funkier, edgier vibe, look no further than the spaces on the Lower East Side specializing in young and emerging artists. Grand Street is one of the scene’s major thoroughfares with many of the area’s must-see galleries. Take the B, D to Grand Street, and start heading east.

Your first stop is 291 Grand St at the corner of Eldridge Street, a multi-story building that houses several cutting-edge galleries. Among you’ll find 47 Canal (646-415-7712,, a leading showcase of smart, risk-taking work, and the Nathalie Karg Gallery (212-563-7821, which specializes in veteran artists.

Keep heading east and drop by Marc Strauss Gallery (299 Grand St between between Eldridge and Allen Streets, 212-510-7646, and Shin Gallery (322 Grand Street, 212-375-1735,, both of which serve up a solid menu of contemporary art.

Chelsea West 21st Street
Photograph: David N. Regen

3. Chelsea West 21st Street

Chelsea’s row of galleries along West 21st Street between Tenth and Eleventh includes some of the most respected names in the NYC gallery world. To get there, hop the C, E to 23rd Street and head west to Tenth Avenue, before turning south to 21st Street.

Start with Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (521 W 21st St, 212-414-4144, a elegant, bi-level Chelsea space that has included previous powerhouse names on its roster like Uta Barth, Ernesto Neto and New York City Waterfalls maestro Olafur Eliasson.

Head a few doors in the direction of Eleventh Avenue to find Paula Cooper Gallery (521, 529 West 21st, One of the original galleries to open in Soho (1969!) and later in Chelsea, Cooper has built an impressive art temple. (She has also has a second space, across the street.) The gallery is known for Minimalist and Conceptual work by artists that has included Christian Marclay, Carl Andre, Walid Raad and Bing Wright.

Next, stop into Gladstone Gallery (530 W 21st St, 212-206-7606,, a cavernous skylighted space that is strictly blue-chip. The gallery represents such Conceptualist and daring talents as Robert Bechtle, Latoya Ruby Frazier, Rachel Rose and Anish Kapoor.

Finally, as you near Eleventh Avenue, you’ll come across 303 Gallery (555 W 21st St, 212-255-1121, A mainstay of Chelsea (and before that the Soho and East Village scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s), 303 gallery got its start in the Park Avenue South apartment of principal Lisa Spellman (hence the name; it’s her old address). Over the years, 303 has fostered the careers of critically acclaimed artists working in a variety of media—among them Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Esteban Jefferson, Sam Falls and Kim Gordon. 

Chelsea West 24th Street
Photograph: Courtesy Lisson Gallery

4. Chelsea West 24th Street

The block of West 24th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Chelsea is the main drag for gallery-hopping, featuring a murderers row of New York’s biggest venues. Hop the C, E to 23rd Street and head west to Tenth Avenue, before turning north to 24th Street.

Start with Marianne Boesky (507–509 W 24th St, 212-680-9889,, where you’ll find an eclectic roster of talent that self-taught artist Jammie Holmes and mixed-media artist Ghada Amer.

Keep heading west until you get to the middle of the block where big-name galleries Lisson Gallery (504 West 24th St, 212-505-6431, lissongallery.comand Luhring Augustine (531 W 24th St, 212-206-9100, stand cheek-by-jowl.

Wrap up your tour at the end of the block with that gigantic Chelsea staple, Gagosian Gallery (555 W 24th St, 212-741-1717,, home to such art-world major-leaguers as Damien Hirst and Theaster Gates.

Photograph: Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery

5. Midtown

This midtown corridor has an art scene for a lot longer than Chelsea and the Lower East Side, and the galleries here are among New York’s most venerable, offering exhibits of Modern and contemporary art that are well worth a trip. To get started, hop off the F at 57th Street and begin walking east.

First up: Marian Goodman Gallery (24 W 57th Street between Fifth Ave and Sixth Avenues, 212-977-7160,, which represents some of the biggest artists in the world—among them, the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone.

Then, keep heading south to 55th St between Fifth and Madison Aves where you'll find Anton Kern Gallery (pictured; 16 E 55th St, 212-367-9663,, a contemporary space helmed by the son of artist Georg Baselitz. Kern represents youngish and midcareer artists, including Ellen Berkenblit, Nicole Eisenman, Mark Grotjahn and Jonas Wood among others.

Fifth Ave/Museum Mile
Photograph: David M. Heald

6. Fifth Ave/Museum Mile

Museum mile is named for the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th Streets that serves as the home for seven iconic New York institutions: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Museum Of The City Of New York and El Museo Del Barrio. It’s a lot to take in, but do try to visit them all.

First, take the 4, 5, 6 to 86th St and start with The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave, 212-535-7710, on 82nd a Fifth. One of the biggest museums in the world, The Met displays art from pre-history all the way up to today.

Next, head up to Neue Galerie New York (1048 Fifth Ave, 212-628-6200,, which is devoted entirely to late-19th- and early-20th-century German and Austrian fine and decorative arts. Gustav Klimt’s iconic portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I.

Keep heading north to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (pictured; 1071 Fifth Ave, 212-423-3500,, which of course was famously designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The spiraling rotunda he created for its interior is a must-see.

Speaking of design, make sure to check out the Cooper Hewitt (2 E 91st St, 212-849-8400,, which is dedicated to design (both historic and modern), and is the only Smithsonian Museum in NYC.

Next stop: The Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave, 212-423-3200,, which, in addition to celebrating Jewish culture, mounts important exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.

As its name suggests, the Museum Of The City Of New York (1220 Fifth Ave, 212-534-1672,, isn’t an art museum per se. Rather it’s focused on Gotham and its history. But it’s worth a visit because its exhibitions often include examples of fine art and photography.

Your final destination is El Museo Del Barrio (1230 Fifth Ave, 212-831-7272,, which showcases the work of Latino artists from the U.S. and Latin America.

Upper East Side Madison Avenue
Photograph: Courtesy Petzel Gallery

7. Upper East Side Madison Avenue

The Upper East Side is New York’s oldest gallery neighborhood and its charms are many. The spaces are usually located in elegant townhouses built at a time when being rich didn’t mean having to show off. Hence the rooms are intimately scaled, permitting you to get close up and personal with the work in a way that makes you feel like you are living with it. Quality and chic are the operative terms here. Most of the galleries are located in the East Sixties and Seventies just off Madison Avenue in either direction.

To start, take the 6 to Hunter College–68th Street and head to Petzel Gallery (pictured; 35 E 67th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, 212-680-9467,, the uptown branch of long-time Chelsea dealer who reps such well regarded contemporary figures like Yael Bartana, Joyce Pensato and Malcolm Morley. Next, head north to Hauser & Wirth (32 E 69th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues, 212-794-4970,, the powerhouse Swiss dealer who also has a space in Chelsea. And while you're at it, next door you'll find the UES outpost of another big Chelsea player, David Zwirner (34 East 69th Street, 212-201-0240,

Your next stop is Michael Werner Gallery (4 E 77th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, 212-988-1623,, which in the past has exhibited works from artists Peter Doig, Sigmar Polke and Peter Saul.

Your tour ends with that most Upper East Side-ish of Upper East Side spaces, Acquavella Galleries (18 E 79th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, 212-734-6300, A family owned concern since the 1920s, Acquavella trades mainly in 19th and 20th-century heavyweights (Degas, Pissaro, Picasso, Bacon), but there are some contemporary artists (Miquel Barceló, Damien Loeb) surprisingly sprinkled into the mix. Every visit is a true New York art-viewing experience.

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