We created this list of New York City museums with free admission in 2013. We update this at least twice a year so you’ll always have the most up-to-date information on free New York City museums.
Excuse me, do you realize the name of this website is JERSEY Family Fun?
I do! I really do.
But it would be wrong to not look across the Hudson for activities from time to time. Especially since some of us are so close to it. New York has a reputation of being expensive (it can be), congested (it is), and generally hard to navigate with children. But I’m here to convince you that it can be a quick getaway and totally appropriate to go with the family and not spend an arm and a leg. Jersey Family Fun plans to get you into New York City on the cheap – starting with this list of New York City museums with FREE Admission! These New York City attractions are great things to do in New York City.
Some of these New York City museums have FREE admission, some have a suggested admission. That suggested admission is just that; a way of getting a set donation from everyone that comes through the door. You will often hear it called Pay What You Wish. It is your decision as to what to give for entry. Some also offer days when admission is completely free. Keep reading and start making an itinerary of free things to do in NYC!
New York City Museums with FREE Admission Everyday or Pay What You Wish:
American Folk Art Museum
The premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the present. You can visit the American Folk Art Museum website at folkartmuseum.org.
American Museum of Natural History (pay what you wish)
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. You can visit the American Museum of Natural History website at www.amnh.org.
Bronx Museum of Arts
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is an internationally recognized cultural destination that presents innovative contemporary art exhibitions and education programs and is committed to promoting cross-cultural dialogues for diverse audiences. You can visit the Bronx Museum of Arts website at www.bronxmuseum.org.
The Cloisters (pay what you wish)
The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that largely date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. You can visit The Cloisters website at www.metmuseum.org.
El Museo del Barrio (pay what you wish)
El Museo del Barrio’s purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the art and artifacts of Caribbean and Latin American cultures for posterity.To enhance the sense of identity, self-esteem and self-knowledge of the Caribbean and Latin American peoples by educating them in their artistic heritage and bringing art and artists into their communities.To provide an educational forum that promotes an appreciation and understanding of Caribbean and Latin American art and culture and its rich contribution to North America. You can visit the El Museo del Barrio website at www.elmuseo.org.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay what you wish)
Perhaps no word describes the Met as well as “encyclopedic.” With nearly 3,000,000 works in its vaults that span 5,000 years, the museum can display only a fraction at a time. Several of the collections are described below. You can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art website at www.metmuseum.org.
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
The Museum at FIT is the only museum in New York City solely dedicated to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum also has a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present, with particular strength in 20th-century designer fashion. You can visit the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology website at www.fitnyc.edu/museum.
National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution
The National Museum of the American Indian–New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, is located within the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions—as well as a range of public programs, including music and dance performances, films, and symposia—explore the diversity of the Native people of the Americas. You can visit the National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution website at www.nmai.si.edu.
P.S.1 MoMA (pay what you wish)
MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. An exhibition space rather than a collecting institution, MoMA PS1 devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world. A catalyst and an advocate for new ideas, discourses, and trends in contemporary art, MoMA PS1 actively pursues emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous new work by recognized artists in an effort to support innovation in contemporary art. You can visit the P.S.1 MoMA website at www.momaps1.org.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is the only site in the New York Metropolitan area specifically dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in a unique outdoor environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public. The park’s existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment. You can visit the Socrates Sculpture Park website at socratessculpturepark.org.
Staten Island Museum (pay what you wish)
New York City’s only general interest museum, engages visitors with interdisciplinary exhibitions and educational programs that explore the dynamic connections between natural science, art and history based on its diverse collections. The Museum is dedicated to making its current and future collections broadly accessible for educators, students, researchers and the general public by providing authentic experiences in the field and at the Museum. You can visit the Staten Island Museum website at www.statenislandmuseum.org.
Studio Museum in Harlem (pay what you wish)
The nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. It is a site for the dynamic exchange of ideas about art and society. – You can visit the Studio Museum in Harlem website at http://www.studiomuseum.org.
New York City Museums with FREE Admission days or hours:
New York City Museums with FREE Admission during select hours every month
- Brooklyn Museum (First Saturday, 5-11 pm)
- Neue Galerie (First Friday, 6-8 pm)
- Noguchi Museum (First Friday)
- Museum of the Chinese in America, (First Thursday)
- Children’s Museum of Manhattan (First Friday night)
- The Frick Collection (First Friday)
New York City Museums with FREE Admission weekly by day or hours
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on MONDAYS
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on TUESDAYS
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on WEDNESDAYS
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on THURSDAYS
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on FRIDAYS
- Morgan Library & Museum ~ 7 – 9 pm
- Museum of Modern Art ~ 4 – 8 pm
- New York Historical Society ~ 6 – 8 pm (pay what you wish)
- New York Aquarium ~ (pay what you wish hours vary by season
- New York Hall of Science ~ 2 – 5 pm
- Rubin Museum of Art ~ 6 – 10 pm
- Whitney Museum of American Art ~ 7 – 9:30 pm (pay what you wish)
- Yeshiva University Museum ~ 11 – 2:30 pm
- Historic Richmond Town ~ all day
- Museum of the Moving Image ~ 4 – 8 pm
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on SATURDAYS
New York City Museums with FREE Admission on SUNDAYS
Didn’t see what you were looking for? Don’t give up yet – visit your library! Many NJ libraries offer free museum passes and we have a listing of the ones that do!
Click over to see the rest of our Family Travel to New York City series.
To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun publisher.