Top 10 New York Museums

Visiting some of New York's many world-class museums is a great way to enhance any NYC vacation. These museums offer the best of art, history, education, and culture in a city bursting at the seams with all of these things. So although these museums are a great place to spend a rainy day, don't wait for the rain to discover New York's finest exhibits.

1. American Museum of Natural History

Explore a world-famous collection of dinosaur fossils at one of the biggest museums in the world. The American Museum of Natural History boasts more than 32 million specimens that make up 45 permanent halls, including the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life that houses the museum's beloved 94-foot-long model of a blue whale. You'll discover the world's largest virtual realty simulator in the Hayden Planetarium and venture through the 90-foot-long diorama of the Dzanga-Sangha rain forest in the Hall of Biodiversity. Unique temporary exhibits will add to your educational and interactive experience as well. The diversity and quality of the museum's displays will leave you enchanted.

2. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hands down, The Met is an absolute must-see for any NYC trip. The Met's 2 million-piece art collection from around the world has something for everyone, art-lover or not. Even if you've already been, it's worth another visit because you can't possibly see it ALL in one trip. In addition to comprehensive collections from every region of the world, The Met houses unique niche collections like The Costume Institute, Musical Instruments, and Arms & Armor. Find exactly what you're interested in with temporary exhibitions like "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York" or "Anthony Caro on the Roof." While in NYC, you'll also want to check out The Cloisters, a branch of the Met devoted to the architecture and art of medieval Europe.

3. Museum of Modern Art (The MoMA)

The MoMA has been called the most influential modern art museum in the world, and its contemporary space and design make it seem like an artist's sanctuary. It is home to famous masterpieces like Monet's Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond and Andy Warhol's Cambell's Soup Cans and also boasts works by "rebel" artists like Jackson Pollack, Salvador Dali, and Dorothea Lange. You'll enjoy ever-changing temporary exhibitions and film screenings that will leave you inspired and ready to create something yourself! After a day of artistic fulfillment, fill your stomach with fresh foods from one of the MoMA's three cafés or stop by the Book & Design Store to pick up a print of one of your favorite pieces.

4. Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Feel the immigration experience come to life as the past unfolds at one of the nation's most popular historic sites. The museum, which is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex, is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. It shares the inspirational tale of 12 million immigrants who entered America through Ellis Island through artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, oral histories, and more. Discover your own family's immigration history at the new research facility, the American Family Immigration History Center. Then catch a show at the Ellis Island Living Theater or watch the award-winning documentary, "Island of Hope, Island of Tears." This museum rich in culture and history completes any New York trip.

5. Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Take a tour of apartments that recreate immigrant life in the 19th and 20th century at this unique history museum. Located in an old tenement apartment building at 97 Orchard Street that was home to nearly 7000 immigrants, this museum shares personal stories of working class challenges. You can choose from seven guided tours in which you will explore the life of a specific immigrant experience. Journey through one of the six restored apartments in "The Moores: An Irish Family in America" or explore the Lower East Side neighborhood in "Immigrant Soles: A Neighborhood Walking Tour." You'll leave the Tenement Museum with a much greater understanding of the immigrant experiences of the present as well as the past.

6. Guggenheim Museum

It's perhaps the most unique art museum in New York, and it's worth the trip just to see the building itself-designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Inside, the museum is an art lover's paradise with works from artists like CÚzanne, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, and Renoir. This international art house features permanent collections like The Thannhauser Collection and The Bohen Foundation Gift as well as educational temporary exhibits. Another unique aspect of the Guggenheim is that it arranges its art in a way that makes sense historically and holistically, rather than by genre. Whether you have a pre-existing love of art or not, you'll enjoy the magnificent colors, textures, and designs that compose this world-famous art institution.

7. Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage is a living memorial to those who died during the Holocaust. The museum honors those victims by celebrating their lives through commemoration of Jewish traditions, examination of their achievements and faith, and affirmation of the vibrant worldwide Jewish community alive today. In the Core Exhibition, a 25,000-piece rotating collection of artifacts, photographs, and documentaries, you'll learn about the Holocaust in the larger context of Jewish history through the perspective of those who lived it. Other special exhibitions share individual stories of courage, injustice, and sorrow from Holocaust survivors, refugees, and leaders in service. The Museum of Jewish Heritage provides a somber yet meaningful and inspirational experience that is unforgettable.

8. Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

This educational, renowned tourist attraction brings twentieth-century history to life. The USS Intrepid is the centerpiece of this museum that houses 30 restored aircraft, a submarine, and a British Airways Concorde Jet. Having served in World War II, The Vietnam War, the Cold War's anti-submarine patrols, and NASA recovery missions, this aircraft carrier offers a multi-dimensional account of the conflicted 20th century. Explore the top-secret missile command center, torpedo rooms, the attack center, and even the crew's mess hall. And don't leave before checking out one of the Intrepid's high-tech simulators where you can experience what it's like to fly a jet plane or journey through outer space.

9. Ground Zero Museum Workshop

This important museum is thought-provoking and emotional, making it a must-see for every New York visitor. Although nothing compares to the emotional impact of seeing Ground Zero itself, the Ground Zero Museum Workshop is the perfect supplement to the main memorial. The museum, located just minutes from the former World Trade Center, focuses mainly on the events that followed the 9/11 attacks. Images of firefighters, photographs by the official ground zero photographer, and several artifacts are arranged sensitively to provoke reflection and connectivity. You'll see things like a shattered make-up case and a photograph of a desk calendar lying in the rubble. This museum provides the opportunity to remember the tragic day and those who were lost in a beautiful way.

10. Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Explore one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country when you visit the Brooklyn Museum. It houses world-renowned permanent collections from all of the world's cultures, including pieces from ancient times to the most contemporary works. Dynamic exhibitions fill the museum's halls, including displays like "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera" and "Body Parts: Ancient Egyptian Fragments and Amulets." Outside the museum, you'll find the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden, home to 52-acres of botanical treasures. Walk through the Cherry Esplanade to see spectacular cherry blossoms or stop to reflect at the Lily Pool Terrace. These two New York landmarks complement each other wonderfully and should not be missed.


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