New York City is home to an incredible array of museums that are known all over the world for their arts and exhibitions. The good thing is that some of these museums are totally free while others offer free admission on certain days. Let's see what Museums we can visit for free:
Museums that are ALWAYS Free
American Folk Art Museum - #2 Lincoln Square, NYC
The Bronx Museum of the Arts - 040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York bronxmuseum.org
Goethe Institut - 72 Spring Street, 11th floor, NYC
Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology - Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, NYC
National Museum of the American Indian - 1 Bowling Green, George Gustave Heye Center
Queens Botanical Garden (From November to March = Free Admission) - 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NYC
Socrates Sculpture Park - 32-01 Vernon Boulevard at Broadway, Long Island City (Queens), NY 11106
Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art - 495 Broadway 3rd Floor
The Hispanic Society of America - 13 W 155th St, New York
The New York Public Library - Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York Transit Museum Annex & Store - Grand Central Terminal
The Federal Reserve Bank - 33 Liberty St, New York, NY - Free admssion for the Tour but you must book online one month before your choosen date on the Official Website
Metropolitan Museum - MET
American Museum of Natural History New York
Museums with Suggested Admission Prices
In New York, some Museums offer the possibility to pay the full admission ticket, or a portion, at your own discretion. It is called Suggested Admission Ticket. It's always recommended to pay the full price but you are free to offer as much, or as little, as you want when you go to the box office. These kinds of offers are not available online, and sometimes, they might just be available to locals and NYC residents. Clearly, the Museum considers the suggested price as a fair rate for the visit and the museum does rely on the majority of patrons paying the full price to be able to keep up with the museum expenses and so on. Since many museums offer completely free admission and many others offer free admission once a week, we suggest that you respect the recommended price as much as possible to help the Museums fronting overhead costs and providing the great exhibitions.
American Museum of Natural History - Central Park West at West 79th Street
Neue Galerie - 1048 Fifth Avenue - Every 1st Friday of the month
International Center for Photography - 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd St. - Pay As you wish from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
New York Hall of Science - 47-01 111th Street Queens, NY - Free from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
New-York Historical Society - 170 Central Park West (76th/77th Street) - Pay As You Wish from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Whitney Museum of American Art - 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street - Pay As You Wish from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Guggenheim Museum and MoMA Museum
Free Admissions on Saturdays
Brooklyn Botanical Garden - 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn - Free Entry from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Guggenheim Museum - 1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street - Pay as You Wish during the evening
New York Botanical Garden - Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road, Bronx - You can enter the gardens for free every Wednesday (all day) and Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am
The Jewish Museum - 1109 Fifth Avenue (92nd Street) The museum is free every Saturday and Thursday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Free Admissions on Sundays
The Frick Collection - 1 East 70th Street - Pay As You Wish from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Museum of the City of New York from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
VIDEO - Museums of New York
Discounts for All New York Museums
Now that we have seen all the possibilities to visit popular museums for free, or paying as we wish, we will check one more option to save both time and money -- the discounted PASSes.
Although it is true, as we have just seen, that all major Museums offer free or donation-based admissions to allow everybody to experience their exhibitions, we need to keep in mind that during those days the lines are extremely long and the exhibition halls quite crowded. Those offers cannot be booked online so you will have to stand on line to get the ticket and then to be admitted into the Museum. Depending on the days and seasons, it could mean to wait up to an hour or more to get in. But again, those admissions are completely free, so it's inevitable that they gather a crowd.
However, if waiting on line and/or large crowds are not your thing, there stil might be a good option for you to save some money on the full-price individual tickets.
All New York PASSes include the main museums as well as all major attractions with a guarantee discount of up to 40% on individual admissions.
Also, with these PASSes, sometimes you get to skip the very long ticket lines (remember that security lines cannot be skipped.)
There are different kinds of PASSes. Some are based on the number of activities you want to do/things to visit others on the time-validity of the Pass. New York CityPASS, for example, has six fixed attractions and it's valid 9 days while with New York City Explorer PASS, you can choose from over 63 attractions and museums and you can decide what to see when you are in New York depending on the weather and what you want to see on that day.
Our Tips and Recommandations
Before committing to anything, we always recommend to check the operating hours, special offers, exhibitions for the days you want to have visit the museums. Check the Official Website of each Museum, because there may be some last-minute variations/news/changes. Also, keep in mind that some museums, such as the Metropolitan, the Natural History Museum, the MoMA are very large and can hardly be visited in one single time.
Try to plan your visit to the Museum by choosing first the one that most interests you, inquire if there are audio guides in your language, and make a good note of the things you want to see first on the museum map that is given to you with the ticket.
During your stay check the weather often to choose the coldest or rainiest days, leaving the sunny days open for visiting the city or outdoor attractions.
New York PASS with Adsmission to Museums and Attractions