Best museum hacks in NYC
For first-time visitors looking to cover the most ground in a short amount of time, an all-access pass is the most cost-efficient and comprehensive option. The New York City Explorer Pass grants you access to your choice of 3-10 attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and museums like the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (skip-the-line entry), Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Sex.
Aside from those museums that are always free, a sizable list of museums in New York have designated free days with a suggested, pay-what-you-wish policy (we encourage donating when you can!). Highlights include the MoMA on Friday from 4-8pm and the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday from 5-11pm.
Most museums offer free and reduced rates with a valid student ID. From the Museum of Modern Art to the New Museum, here’s your reward for all the late nights at the library. For students of New York City universities like NYU and Columbia, certain museums are totally free: check out NYU’s list and Columbia’s list.
This one admittedly won’t save you any money at all, but we think it’s pretty cool. Head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 8:30am (and pony up $125) for an intimate, one-of-a-kind EmptyMet tour. You’ll be experiencing 5,000 years of history all to yourself—the tour caps at 25 people—before it opens to the public for the day. What better way to start your morning than having some one-on-one time with a bunch of ancient art? As a bonus, the Met’s ticket also grants you same-day access to its contemporary art offshoot, the Met Breuer, and its charming medieval wing uptown, the Met Cloisters.
Late museum hours often mean free admission, though admittedly, not always. Still, they give you a chance to see shows after work, and in some cases, a respite from huge crowds.
Not a hack so much as tips on which museums to visit if you're into hands-on experiences.
Looking for the best museums to visit?
Check out our full guide to the best museums in NYC