Museums & Galleries in NYC: Best Inside Tips – When to Go & Free Days

Looking to learn a lot about the best museums and galleries in NYC? From the best times to visit and fun exhibits you don’t want to miss, to the days when museums and galleries offer free entry and discounts, here’s all you need for your visit to MOMA, the Museum of Natural History, and more.

Tour the American Museum of Natural History

Elephants, a T-rex and a whale, oh my! For an exciting tour for all age groups, head to the American Museum of Natural History.

Best Exhibits, Times and Prices

Located at 79th Street at Central Park West, the museum has a lot to offer. Visitors suggest exploring the Hayden Planetarium. You won’t want to miss the life-size model of the Big Blue Whale or the largest dinosaur discovered, the Tyrannosaurus rex. Be on the lookout for the wooly mammoth and save time for the Dark Universe exhibit.

Allow for about three hours to visit all the exhibits. If you have a little extra time, allow for four hours so you can enjoy the Amazon 3D show. Ticket prices are $23 for adults, $13 for children, and $18 for seniors.

Entrance Museum of Natural History musuems galleries in nyc

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Tour Information and Traveler Tips

Museum Tour: You can book a 75-minute VIP tour for $120 that starts promptly at 9:00 a.m. Arranged through the museum website, it’s a great way to tour the museum before it opens to the general public. Travelers suggest visiting the website in advance for specific exhibits you would like to view.

Babylon Tours: Tours through Babylon Tours of New York include private guides for $75 per person. Tour times are 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and last for 2.5 hours.

Renegade Tours: Tours through Renegade Tours are $26 per person and last for two hours. Tour times start at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. These are fast-paced tours that immerse you in all the museum has to offer. View the 1.6 million-square-foot space and wear comfortable walking shoes. This is for people 18 years of age or older. It’s recommended for solo travelers and those with high energy to keep up with the tour.

Travelers state that while food can be overpriced at the museum, nearby restaurants include Storico, Calle Ocho, Shake Shack and Uno Pizzeria (yum!).

Ocean Hall Museum Natural History museums galleries in nyc

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Take a Tour of the Gulliver’s Gate Gallery

It’s a small world after all! For a huge experience in a tiny world, visit the Gulliver’s Gate exhibits. It’s an interactive gallery with tiny replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square. You’ll feel like a giant overlooking replicas of Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower (mais oui!).

Gallery Highlights

Located at 216 West 44th Street, travelers enjoy the exhibits and lack of huge NYC crowds. Guests often like the Panama Canal and airport exhibits. Look for the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls. Then visit Stonehenge and New York’s graffiti-filled streets. Kids will love viewing King Kong climbing the Empire State Building.

Prices and Discounts

The gift shop doesn’t have a lot to offer and travelers state ticket prices are high. The upside is the gallery offers a delightful installation that can be enjoyed by all age groups. The gallery also provides guides for group tours.

Gulliver’s Gate is rated 4.5 stars. The gallery is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Prices are $36 for anyone over age 13, $27 for children and $27 for seniors. For children 3 and under, admission is free. Book tickets directly on the Gulliver’s Gate website for $5 off each ticket. Tip: Travelers have found tickets elsewhere online for $25.

While you’re in the area, eat at nearby restaurants like Hale & Hearty or Bryant Park Pizza Parlor. And then visit nearby Bryant Park.

Visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Want the best MoMA tour? The Museum of Modern Art offers the largest collection of contemporary art and modern art.

The outside of the Moma Museum museums galleries in nyc

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Best Exhibits, Times and Prices

Located at 11 West 53rd Street, MoMA is home to Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” exhibit. You can view Andy Warhol’s “Gold Marilyn Monroe” and works by Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns. Travelers suggest visiting the sculpture garden. It’s a wonderful place on the ground floor where you can sit and watch passersby. To avoid crowds, visit during the week and avoid Saturdays.

Check the MoMA website before visiting. On some dates, the museum may be closed to the public if a school is visiting. General tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for seniors and $14 for students with ID. Children under 16 years of age receive free admission.

Tour Information and Traveler Tips

Museum Admission to Skip-the-Lines: While not a tour, the museum allows admission tickets for $25. Called Skip-the-Line access, you can bypass the lines at the entrance.

Viator VIP Tour: For a Viator VIP Tour, you pay $79 for a morning tour of MOMA. This one-hour tour is limited to 25 people and is rated 5 stars. Tour times start at 8:30 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. Travelers state it’s the best way to avoid the crowds.

New York City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: You can book the Top of the Rock and MOMA tour for $69.00. This 3.5-star tour is hosted by Gray Line New York Sightseeing. You have 24-hours to hop-on and hop-off tour buses at various landmark NYC locations including MoMA.

After visiting the museum, explore Central Park. For a bite to eat, try The Modern, MoMA’s Café 2, The Halal Guys, or Il Corso.

Spend the Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art includes exhibits and artwork spanning 5,000 years of art from all over the world. Set aside a few hours to leisurely explore this vast museum.

Best Exhibits, Times and Prices

Located at 1000 5th Avenue, the museum has a lot to offer. Tourists have enjoyed the Egyptian exhibit, the Temple of Dendur and the European paintings. Explore highlights like Canova’s “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” and Vincent Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field with Cypresses.” Travelers suggest wearing comfy shoes and signing up for a tour.

General admission is $25 for adults. Senior tickets are $17. Student tickets with a valid ID are $12. Children under the age of 12 receive free admission. Travelers noted that with your ticket purchase you can visit the Cloisters for free within three days.

MoMa NYC museums galleries in nyc

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Tour Information and Traveler Tips

Museum Tours: Tours include a Skip-the-Line tour priced at $42 for a two-hour tour, and $52 for a three-hour tour. These start at 10:45 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays or Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. Travelers rate this 5 stars. You can walk through the museum with a history professor and learn about artifacts and various works of art.

Viator Tours: Viator VIP has a full tour when the museum is closed, priced at $175. They offer tours of the museum with English- or French-speaking guides. This is a preferred tour to visit when the museum is empty, as the museum gets about 6 million visitors annually.

For nearby restaurants try Kodama Sushi, The Dining Room, Dean & Deluca, or Giovanni Venti Cinque Restaurant.

However, you decide to visit a New York City museum or gallery, use traveler tips to help you enjoy your time.

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