New York City Museums with FREE Admission & Pay What You Wish Days

Posted on: February 15th, 2018 by


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 museums in New York City. Which free museums in NYC will you visit with your kids?


New York City museums with free admission free museums in NYC


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 near by. 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 free 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 select 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:

There are over 10 free museums in NYC for free places to go in New York City.


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


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


Gum gum for Dum Dum at the American Museum of Natural History one of the free museums in NYC

Gum gum for Dum Dum at the American Museum of Natural History

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


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


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


Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay what you wish until March 1)

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


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


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


MoMA PS1 (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


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


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


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


Yeshiva University Museum

Visit their website at

New York City Museums with FREE Admission days or hours:

Bronx Zoo has suggested admission days! Count this as one of your free places to go in NYC

Bronx Zoo has suggested admission days!


New York City Museums with FREE Admission during select hours every month


New York City Museums with FREE Admission weekly by day or hours

Staten Island Chuck at the Staten Island Zoo

Staten Island Chuck at the Staten Island Zoo



Surfin USA at NY Hall of Science

Surfin USA at NY Hall of Science


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.

Family Travel to New York City Series


Grab one of these New York City maps or travel guides before your next trip into NYC.

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To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun publisher.

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