Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right All the free museums days in NYC you should know about

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Photograph: Ron Amstutz

All the free museums days in NYC you should know about

From uptown to downtown and Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens, we’ve got all the free museum days in New York City

By Howard Halle
Advertising

Say it's a beautiful day (or maybe even a miserable one), and you say to yourself, I want to go see some art. Maybe it’s a specific exhibition that everyone you know is raving about at one of your favorite museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum Of Art or MoMA or the Guggenheim. Or maybe you just want to stroll through their respective collections. It’s one of the benefits of living in or visiting New York City that these institutions (and many more) are at your beck-and-call. They are, after all, among the finest in the world. There’s just one hitch: They’re pricey to get into. Unlike cities such as London or Washington, D.C., New York isn’t big on publicly funded museums, which is too bad, especially if you actually live here and have to pay most of your wages on food and rent. Most NYC museums expect you to shell out $25 bucks or more to get in, and while that doesn’t seem like a lot compared to a ticket for a Broadway show, it adds up if you’re a regular museum goer. Granted, there are senior and student discounts, and memberships that let you get in gratis—if you’re willing to pop for the annual fee. But except for New York State residents headed for The Met, where a driver's license or other ID allows you pay whatever you wish, you pretty much have to pony up to get in there, or at The Modern, the Gugg and just about every other museum in town. There is one alternative though: Most museums offer free hours or days. You just have to know where and when they are. If you don’t, no worries! We’ve got the info you need in our guide to all the free museums days in NYC you should know about.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best museums in NYC

Free museum days

Photograph: Courtesy the American Folk Art Museum

1. American Folk Art Museum

Museums Art and design Upper West Side

AFAM has the best collection of folk, visionary and outsider art in the country. The best part? Getting in is free.

Always free

2. Asia Society

Museums Special interest Lenox Hill

With the exception of summer months when you have to pay admission, visiting the Asia Society on it’s free day is a great way to kick off the weekend.

Friday, 6–9pm, Labor Day through June

Advertising

3. Bronx Museum of the Arts

Museums Art and design The Bronx

One of NYC’s more underrated institutions, the Bronx Museum is worth a visit not only because it’s free, but also because it’s located on the borough’s historic Grand Concourse.

Always free

first friday
first friday
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

4. Brooklyn Museum

Art

The Brooklyn Museum's free First Saturdays isn’t just for looking at art. It’s also a evening of food, drinks, performances, music and dancing.

First Saturday of every month, 5–11pm

Advertising

6. El Museo del Barrio

Museums Special interest East Harlem

From pre-Colombian artifacts to contemporary installations, El Museo covers the waterfront on Latino and Hispanic art. Taking advantage of its free day only makes a visit that much better.

Pay what you wish, third Saturday of every month, all day

Advertising
Frick Museum
Frick Museum
2010 Getty Images, Neilson Barnard

7. The Frick Collection

Museums Art and design Lenox Hill

The Frick Collection’s free night is a relatively recent policy, so by all means, jump at the chance to see NYC’s greatest collection of Old Masters next to the Met’s.

First Friday of every month, 6–9pm

Photograph: David Heald, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2017

8. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Museums Art and design Upper East Side

There’s nothing quite like seeing an exhibition in the Guggenheim’s breathaking rotunda designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Check out his handiwork, and all the great art in at on a evening when admission is discounted at a rate of your choosing.

Pay what you wish, Saturday, 5:45-7:45pm

Advertising
Photograph: Courtesy The Hispanic Society of America

9. The Hispanic Society of America

Museums Art and design Washington Heights

The Hispanic Society's holdings in antiquities and Old Master paintings rivals The Met, only you don't have to pay to see them.

Always free

10. The Jewish Museum

Museums History Central Park

The Jewish Museum is free on Shabbos during regular hours! Go see its exhibits of contemporary art and its collection of Judaica.

Saturday, free all day

Advertising
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

11. The Met Breuer

Art Lenox Hill

Okay, The Met Breuer is a great place to visit for contemporary and modern art, but unless you’re a New York State resident you’re out of when it comes to getting in at a discount. The same applies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And even if you are a New York State resident, you’ll still need to show one of the following as proof:

-New York State driver’s license
-New York State identification card
-IDNYC
-Current bill or statement with a New York State address
-Student ID
-New York library card

Other than that, have a great time. 

Pay what you wish at ticket counter for New York State residents

Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

12. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museums Art and design Central Park

Like it's branch The Met Breuer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s pay what you wish policy applies to New York State residents only. But hey, it's the greatest museum in the world, right? Remember, even if if you live in New York State, you’ll need one of the following as proof:

-New York State driver’s license
-New York State identification card
-IDNYC
-Current bill or statement with a New York State address
-Student ID
-New York library card

Pay what you wish at ticket counter for New York State residents

Advertising

13. The Morgan Library & Museum

Museums History Murray Hill

Famous drawings—by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Picasso—and famous manuscripts—by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck—are all part of the Morgan’s collection. Why not go see it for free?

Friday, 7–9pm

14. Museum of Arts & Design

Museums Art and design Hell's Kitchen

Couple your night taking in the latest and coolest offerings in contemprary craft and design with dining or shopping at the nearby Time Warner Center. Or just take a stroll around Columbus Circle after leaving the museum.

Pay what you wish, Thursday, 6pm–9pm

Advertising
MoMA Sculpture garden and design rooms
MoMA Sculpture garden and design rooms
Photograph: Michael Kirby

15. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Museums Art and design Midtown West

MoMA offers not only the greatest collection of modern and contemporary art on the globe, but also a very narrow window to get in for free. So arrive early because there’s always a line. 

Friday, 5:30pm–9pm

Advertising

17. National Museum of the American Indian

Museums Natural history Financial District

This museum is offically a branch of the NMAI in Washington D.C. and thus offically an extension of the Smithsonian Institute—which is why it’s free (well, not entirely; your taxes pay for it). If you’re down in FiDi, check out its superb holdings of Native American artifacts.

Always free

Neue Galerie
Neue Galerie
Photograph: Courtesy Hulya Kolabas

18. Neue Galerie New York

Art

Klimt’s dazzling gold-flecked 1907 portrait is known as the “Viennese Mona Lisa” and is reason enough to visit the Neue Galerie, especially for free. It’s also worth the wait on line, which, unfortunately, is unavoidable

First Friday of every month, 6–8pm

Advertising
Advertising

21. Queens Museum

Museums Art and design Queens

Unlike The Met, the Queens Museum is still pay what you wish for everyone, everyday. Even so, it’s suggested donation—$8, seniors and students $4—is pretty damn cheap. So go: The Panorama of the City Of New York awaits you.

Everyday is pay what you wish

22. The Rubin Museum of Art

Museums Art and design Chelsea

Just because you're broke doesn't mean you have to miss out on the Rubin's trove of artistic treasures from Tibet and India.

Friday, 6–10pm

 

Advertising
Photograph: Courtesy Adjaye Associates/Cooper, Robertson & Partners

23. Studio Museum in Harlem

Museums Art and design Harlem

For the next several years, the Studio Museum's regular location will be shuttered while it builds a fantastic new home for itself. In the meantime, you can check out the latest in African-American art at this temporary space without paying a cent.

Always free until 2021 at the Studio Museum in Harlem's temporary location, 429 West 127th St between Amsterdam and Convent Aves 

 

Looking for more museums in NYC?

Leisure Pass NYC Widget

Save money with The New York Pass
Save up to 60% on New York top attractions including Empire State Building Observatory, Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour and more
Enjoy free entry to 100+ New York attractions - learn more
Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising