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.
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.
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.
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
The Gugg’s new iteration of its old First Friday 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.
The Bronx Museum’s free First Friday 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.
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.
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.
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.