A New York City outing can quickly break the bank between starting your day off with a much-needed coffee, doing some shopping, and enjoying some al fresco dining. The good thing is some of the best things in life actually are free. Whether it’s free admission every day or a once-a-month sort of deal, you can view some amazing art at these 20 free museums in NYC.
1. The MoMA, first Friday of every month
Thanks to clothing store UNIQLO, the MoMA offers free admission the first Friday of every month to New Yorkers with their UNIQLO NYC Nights. Their stores and café will also be open, too, so you can grab a bite and do some light shopping after exploring the exhibits. Tickets must be reserved in advance and are released one week in advance. Head here to sign up for reminders to get first dibs.
Where: 11 W 53rd St.
When: First Friday of every month, 4p.m. – 8p.m. (Only for New York residents)
2. MoMA PS1, everyday
Located in Long Island City is the MoMA’s sister museum, MoMA PS1. And, unlike the MoMA, the MoMA PS1 offers free admission to New York residents everyday thanks to The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Where: 22-25 Jackson Ave.
When: Everyday, Sunday-Monday 12p.m. – 6p.m., Thursday-Friday 12p.m. – 6p.m., Saturday 12p.m. – 8p.m. (Only for New York residents)
3. The Bronx Museum of the Arts, everyday
This museum is known for its innovative contemporary art exhibitions and is home to over 2,000 works of art. They regularly host in person and virtual events and the best part is admission is free everyday! Head here to check out their upcoming events and to register! (Temporarily closed until April 6th).
Where: 1040 Grand Concourse
When: Everyday, Wednesday-Sunday 1p.m. – 6p.m.
4. Brooklyn Museum, first Saturday of every month
The Brooklyn Museum has been hosing First Saturdays for over twenty-one years where visitors can get free admission to the museum. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged, however, as admission is subject to their capacity limits. Also note that ticket holders will have priority entry. (While this was paused for a few months, it will start back up again April 2nd).
Where: 200 Eastern Parkway
When: First Saturday of every month, 5p.m. – 11p.m.
5. Noguchi Museum, first Friday of every month
The Noguchi Museum has many interesting sculptural works and performance art pieces you can view, and you can do so for free on the first Friday of each month. Tickets are released two weeks before each date at 12 p.m., and you can snag some through their website.
Where: 9-01 33rd Rd.
When: First Friday of every month, 11a.m. – 6p.m.
6. Queens County Farm Museum, everyday
Hangout with farm animals, hop on a hayride, or learn about the grounds on a historic farmhouse tour. Whichever activity you choose, you can do it for free every day at Queens County Farm Museum!
Where: 73-50 Little Neck Parkway
When: Everyday, Monday-Sunday 10a.m. – 5p.m. (Except on special ticketed event days)
7. Neue Gallerie, first Friday of every month
On the first Friday of every month, the Neue Gallerie stays open late and offers free admission from 4p.m. to 7 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the perfect museum to head to for a more specialty European cultural experience, as it features German and Austrian art created between 1890 and 1940. Please note that children under 12 are not admitted during First Fridays.
Where: 1048 Fifth Ave.
When: First Friday of every month, 4p.m. – 7p.m.
8. National Museum of the American Indian, everyday
The National Museum of the American Indian features an endless amount of Native American art and artifacts, some of which date back to 12,000 years ago. As an extension of the Smithsonian Institute admission to this museum is free everyday.
Where: 1 Bowling Green
When: Everyday, Monday-Friday 10a.m. – 5p.m.
9. The Rubin Museum of Art, every Friday
This six-story museum presents art that traverses Asia’s diverse cultures, regions, and narratives and is home to a ton of large-scale temporary exhibitions. Every Friday night museum admission is free with a ticket reservation.
Where: 150 West 17th St.
When: Every Friday, 6p.m. – 10p.m. (You must reserve a ticket in advance which you can do here)
10. The Morgan Library & Museum, every Friday
This Morgan Library & Museum began just as the private library of financier J. Pierpont Morgan. Today, the museum is his gift to the city. The museum is home to drawings by Michelangelo, manuscripts by Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain, sheet music handwritten by Beethoven, and much more.
Where: 225 Madison Ave.
When: Every Friday, 5p.m. – 7p.m. (Reservations are required and can be made here)
11. The Jewish Museum, every Saturday
Founded in 1904, the Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Head here to discover a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years.
Where: 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St.
When: Every Saturday, as well as select Jewish holidays including Passover and Shavuot, 11a.m. – 6p.m. (Must get a timed ticket, which you can do here)
12. American Folk Art Museum, everyday
The American Folk Art Museum emphasizes self-taught artists. Its collection includes more than 8,000 works of art from four centuries and nearly every continent—from compelling portraits to dazzling quilts and art made from a variety of mediums.
Where: 2 Lincoln Square
When: Everyday, Wednesday-Sunday 11:30a.m. – 6p.m. (Getting a ticket in advance is encouraged, which you can do here)
13. Socrates Sculpture Park, everyday
Socrates Sculpture Park is a community engaged waterfront park dedicated to supporting artists in the production and presentation of public art. It has presented more than 1,000 artists and it offers a wide variety of free activities and events such as sound baths.
Where: 32-01 Vernon Blvd., Astoria
When: Everyday, 9a.m. – Sundown
14. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, everyday
Snug Harbor is made up of 28 buildings, 14 botanical gardens, a 2-acre urban farm, wetlands, and park land. Though you can only make it to the grounds and botanical garden for free, there’s no shortage of things to see, such as their rose garden, healing garden, perennial garden, and Chinese scholar’s garden.
Where: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
When: Everyday, Dawn – Dusk (Grounds and botanical garden only)
15. The Museum at FIT, everyday
Best known for its innovation and award-winning exhibitions, the Museum at FIT has a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating back to the eighteenth century. They run special programs that include exhibition talk and tours, fashion conversations with leading designers, and lectures.
Where: 227 West 27th St.
When: Everyday, Wednesday-Friday 12p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
16. Staten Island Museum, everyday
Founded in 1881, making it one of the oldest cultural organizations in New York City, The Staten Island Museum is dedicated to the heritage of Staten Island. The art collection dates back to 1905 exploring the ancient to contemporary periods, and the natural science collection contains a vast array of entomological, plant, geological, shell, and archaeological specimens.
Where: 75 Stuyvesant Place
When: Everyday, Monday-Friday 11a.m. – 5p.m., Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m., Sunday 12p.m. – 5p.m.
17. Wave Hill, every Thursday
At Wave Hill you can explore 28 acres of multiple gardens and woodlands, participate in environmental programs and hands-on workshops, and view art exhibitions and cutting-edge performing arts presentations.
Where: 4900 Independence Ave., Bronx
When: Every Thursday, 10a.m. – 5:30p.m.
18. Queens Museum, everyday
The Queens Museum is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens. It showcases the uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural, and international community of Queens.
Where: Flushing Meadows Corona Park Building
When: Everyday, Wednesday-Sunday 11a.m. – 5p.m. (You must get a timed entry ticket, which can be done here)
19. Sculpture Center, everyday
Founded in 1928, Sculpture Center leads the conversation regarding contemporary art by highlighting sculpture’s specific potential to change the way we engage with the world.They present exhibitions, commission new work, and generate scholarship.
Where: 44–19 Purves St., Long Island City
When: Everyday, Thursday-Monday 12p.m. – 6p.m. (Reservations must be made, which can be done here)
20. Free Museums using Culture Pass
Cardholders at the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn Public Libraries can go online and download day-long Culture Passes for free entry into 67 cultural institutions. From the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Flushing Town Hall to Kaufman Music Center and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum this opportunity is available to anyone with a library card. Learn more here.