The Metropolitan Museum of Art — or “the Met,” as it’s lovingly been nicknamed — is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New York. This expansive art museum, located on the city’s Upper East Side, is a haven for anyone who loves art, history or culture. The Museum is an incredible sight to behold and attraction to experience, but it can also be overwhelming, due to its sheer size and popularity.
However, if you do some work to get to know the attraction yourself before you go (including what’s housed there, how to get there, when to go and much more), you can ensure that you cover all of the best stuff– and that you have a fun and stress-free time during your visit.
Planning Your Visit
Going to the Met is simple, since it’s close to public transportation and hard to miss. However, it can help to strategize when you go. The Met offers pay-what-you-wish admission to residents of New York state, but it has mandatory admission if you come from out of state. Luckily, this admission gets you into other Met museums, and your ticket is good for three days, so you can use it during the length of your stay.
From experience, if you want to make the most of your day at the Met, go early. If you can get there first thing in the morning, you can beat the crowds of tourists. Not only does this mean that you can get a close look at all of the art you want to see without feeling overwhelmed, it also means that you’ll have plenty of hours to explore the whole museum, without feeling rushed or hurried.
Sections and Works to Visit
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The Met is huge — it’s one of the reasons it’s considered to be one of the top art collections in the world! However, the museum can be overwhelming, so it can help to choose which parts of it you want to explore before you go there. That way, you can head directly to the sections you want to take in, and skip the ones that are less interesting to you. Here are some of the best parts of the museum that I’ve explored:
The Impressionist Galleries
The Impressionists, as a group, are outstandingly talented and impressive. The gallery that features their work at the Met is one of the best in the world. The collection of Impressionist works at the Met includes paintings by many of the world’s most beloved painters, including Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Picasso and many, many more. Head to the Impressionist Gallery to see some of the museum’s most famous pieces.
The Temple of Dendur
The Temple of Dendur, in the Egyptian collection, is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to see at the museum. That’s because it’s one of the coolest. It’s a complete Egyptian temple transferred to the museum, which you can tour through and look at in close detail. One thing that makes the Temple of Dendur particularly special is that it’s housed in one of the museum’s most beautiful rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows.
European Paintings, 1250-1800
The Met has a giant collection of European paintings dating from the Renaissance to the 19th century. These paintings include some of the world’s most famous works, including those by Rembrandt, Botticelli and more. This collection also includes a host of paintings by Vermeer, and it’s one of the museum’s largest — and most outstanding. While the collection is extensive and is housed in many galleries, it’s worth spending a significant amount of time wandering through. If you want to see the best of what the museum has to offer, then this is one of those parts of the museum that you don’t want to miss.
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Your Unique Met Experience
Everybody’s trip to the Met is different — particularly because it can take weeks to take in all the art. Therefore, every person will wander through the museum at their own pace and experience their own selection of the works that are there. However, if you want to make sure you have a truly unique, unforgettable experience, don’t miss the Rooftop Terrace. The terrace offers stunning views of the Upper East Side around the museum, as well as New York’s Central Park nearby. The rooftop also offers snacks and drinks, so it’s a good place to stop if you need to recharge for more exploring.
Finally, if you want to take in a part of the Met
that a lot of people miss out on, go to the Medieval Hall. While the art there is historic and interesting, it’s a great chance to see the outside of the original Met building (which has since been expanded many times). The new parts of the museum were built around the old museum, but the exterior was left intact — so you can see and touch a piece of New York history in real life.