New York City has it all. Nightclubs that cater to any genre of dance and music, bars with awesome happy hours and unique cocktails, foodie experiences, sandy beaches and large parks that make you forget that you’re in the middle of the country’s largest city — the list goes on.
It’s also packed with museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern History, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art get a lot of attention, but NYC is home to over 80 museums. There’s something for everyone, regardless of age, interest, or income level.
Some museums are free every single day of the week, while others have special days or events where history, art, and science buffs get to visit free of charge and learn about cultures, religions, modes of transportation, and more. It’s also worth noting that anyone with a City University of New York ID or an NYC ID card can get into many museums for a discount or for free.
We’ve compiled a few of our favorites, but if the museums below don’t exactly appeal to you, there are plenty of other low-cost options to explore around the city!
This museum, located at the very bottom of Manhattan, is dedicated to Natives inthe Americas and their artistic and historic contributions to this part of the world pre- and post-colonialism. It aims to highlight the diversity found within Native groups and educate people on Native history. They offer a range of collections, educational tools, and seasonal exhibits.
Like seeing art, but don’t want to spend all day indoors? Then this is the best spot to spend a breezy afternoon. It’s a park right on the East River and looks out onto the Manhattan skyline. There are rotating exhibits and events at the park, and lots of fun installations for kids and adults alike to explore. This is the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day while still soaking in some culture.
To a lot of visitors and even longtime New Yorkers, the Bronx is known for attractions like Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo. But it has so much more to offer in terms of art, entertainment, and culture in general. This museum holds events like spoken word performances and fancy evenings, and has a constant string of interesting exhibits. Open until September is “Iran: Women Only”, a collection of photos of Iranian women throughout the country’s many transitions.
Yes, there are working farms within the five boroughs. This one in particular dates back to the end of the 1600s and is currently the longest farmed parcel of land in all of New York State. It focuses on animals and sustainable agriculture and is amazingly scenic, making it easy to have a relaxing and educational day without having to leave the confines of the city.
This locale, the preserved home of Alexander Hamilton, is perfect for American history buffs, political enthusiasts, or fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical Hamilton. It is well worth seeing how a prominent member of this city’s and country’s history lived. The Grange is also situated in a nice park, so it’s a great place to hang out after you explore the house.
Kind of Free
This site is a memorial for all those who lost their lives during the 2001 attack. It’s also a show of hope for the city as it began to rebuild from the rubble of the World Trade Center. The outside part includes two beautiful reflecting pools of cascading water where the Twin Towers once stood, and the names of every person who passed away. It’s free to the public on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to closing time.
Want to feel like you’re far away without having to leave the city? Head to this historic Bronx museum. The 1700s mansion is the oldest structure in the borough and is also inside of the lush Van Cortlandt Park. It used to be owned by a prominent family and contains relics from the Revolutionary War.
If you’re interested in learning about science in an interactive way, you will adore this Queens establishment. There are over 400 exhibits to explore and get all up on (and even inside of!). It’s free to enter on Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m. — a great way to start the weekend for kids, solo trips, and cute dates.
Kids aren’t exactly the best museum-goers when they’re forced to be quiet and stay on their feet all day long. But this museum encourages children to explore and be themselves while learning new things. If you’re an adult who likes hands-on fun and wants to use the child in your life as an excuse to play, no one here is going to judge. Plus, it’s free every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m!