If you are planning a weekend in New York, visiting at least some museums should be a must. However, it can be expensive, but luckily, a lot of institutions offer free museum days and hours where you will only be required to pay-what-you wish. If you don’t know when and how where to take advantage of this offer then you will end up being some expensive museums. Therefore, the trick is to find those free museums NYC and take advantage of the offers.

Here are some of the free museums New York City and their discount hours. Actually NYC has the highest concentration of museums in the world.


1. Bronx Museum of the Arts

Bronx Arts Museum Poste
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This one was founded in 1971 and features more than 100 works of and is actually one the multicultural and best free museums NYC. Bronx Museum is always free and has a spotlight on the 20th and 21st century artists of either the Bronx-based or of African, Asian or Latino ancestry.

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2. The Frick Collection

At the Frick Collection
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This was originally built by an industrialist known as Henry Clay Frick. It an amazing residence that has a private collection of great masters all from the 14th through the 19th centuries. In 1914 the structure was designed by the company of Carrere and Hastings in an 18th century European style. The company incorporated a beautiful interior court and reflecting pool. The Frick collection houses permanent collections including World-class paintings, sculpture and furniture.

3. Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art -- New York, NY
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This is certainly one of the best free museums NYC Friday and stays open every Friday until 8 pm where it gives free tickets to anyone who enters the museum after 4 pm. During Fridays you will find very long queues of people receiving the tickets thus, it would be important to arrive at around 4:30pm in order to avoid the long queue. The museum houses rotating special exhibitions on the top floor, paintings, sculptures, technology-infused media collection and occasional interactive exhibits of the like of Roman Ondak’s Measuring the universe which has visitors names written on the wall to mark their height.

4. The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is housed in the 1908 Warburg Mansion and houses a collection of very fascinating works that are more than 28,000 which include art, artefact and media installations. The Jewish Museum is a permanent exhibition of culture and continuity of the Jewish Journey that examines how Judaism has thrived and explores the various different Jewish identities throughout the history. Also, there are is a permanent exhibit specifically for children known as The Café Weiss man serves contemporary kosher fare. It one of the best free museums New York City which is usually free all day on Saturday.

5. Neue Galerie New York

This is one of the most elegant and best free museums NYC which is located in the William Star Miler House at E 86th St and Fifth Avenue. It was founded as an institution initially devoted to early 20th century German and Austrian Art and design. Neue Galerie was first filled with personal collection by a cosmetic heir Ronald S. Lauder. In the museum you will find examples of decorative art and furniture which were created by the likes of Wiener Werkstatte Luminaries. The collection also features an amazing Klimt’s gold-flecked 1907 portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I which was bought by Lauder from auction in 2006 at a then record price of $135 million. The museum offers visitors a luxurious opportunity to see art and a space for quiet contemplation. It is usually free every first Friday of every month from 6-8pm.

6. New York Botanical Garden

Cornus florida, New York Botanical Garden
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New York Botanical Garden is neighbor to Bronx Zoo. This is simply a wonderland for everything that grows. It is 250 acres and on this expansive land there is a more than a million plants. This Botanical Garden is a nice place for study and research and offers a very nice opportunity for exploration and enchantment. You can choose to take a seasonal walk or explore the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which is home to A World of Plants, in which you will be able to see the Garden’s living collections in lush tropical rainforests, displays of palms from all over the world, cactus filled deserts, aquatic and carnivorous plants and many others.

Read also: How to save $200 on New York attractions

7. Museum of Jewish Heritage

Museum of Jewish Heritage
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The Museum of Jewish Heritage does not only provide a resemblance of the past, but also gives the promise of a better future. It gives the story of the holocaust through the experiences of those who lived and died, thus it serves as a memorial and tribute to the Jewish heritage and provides a lesson to be learned from the tragedy. Being a resemblance of history, the museum gives a message about the terrible consequences of discrimination and social injustice, which are both important up-to-date.

8. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

9/11 Memorial
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The 9/11 Memorial Museum tends to tell the story of the events of 9/11 through the monumental and authentic artefacts, multimedia displays as well as the first-person accounts. “Rendering the Unthinkable” was the museums first special exhibition where artists respond to 9/11 has artwork by 13 artists who used their craft to understand 9/11. The 9/11 memorial has two large reflecting pools both set in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The names of those who died in the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks are written in bronze around the pools. This memorial is usually open daily and is free all the time.

9. Wave Hill

Wave Hill
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Wave Hill is a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx. Besides the traditional gardens that one expects, Wave Hill has amazing surprises, like the paths that wind across the wild flowers in springtime and a pool that has water lilies and lotus flowers through the summer and fall. It features historic sites and landmarks, parks and gardens.

10. Asian society and Museum

The Asian Society was founded by john Davidson 3rd in 1956 as an institution to promote understanding between Americans and Asians. Also, the museum features the society’s sweet art collection which allows visitors to see the aesthetic and technical accomplishments achieved in Asia between 1,000 B.C.E and the 1800s. Rockefeller and his wife have the most of the 300 works in the museum.

11. The Morgan Library and Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum
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The Morgan Library and Museum houses a large collection of rare books and manuscripts as well as drawings and other very rare pieces. The collection in the museum started as a labor of love and by J.P Morgan who was the financier and has continued to grow over the years. The museum has undergone some renovations and now features some special additions including the large performance hall where concerts are held.

12. The New-York Historical Society

Lincoln: New York Historical Society Museum steps
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The New York Historical Society is the oldest museum in New York City. At the museum there are four centuries of history, heroes, legends, artefacts and art which all tell America’s story from a very local perspective. Visitors can explore the New York’s amazing past by going through the massive collection, changing exhibits, talks and tours. Visitors have the opportunity to buy special gifts at the Unique gift shop which all have some history to tell.

13. Rubin Museum of Art

Buddha Shakyamuni
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Sometimes you will come across people referring to Rubin Museum of Art as the New York City arts oasis and cultural hub. This museum inspires visitors to create connections between art, ideas and contemporary life. There is a wide array of exhibition and programs that will surely provoke your thoughts. Additionally, there are themes from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions which are all meant to provide immersive experiences that encourage connections between cultures and personal discoveries.

14. Children’s Museum of Manhattan

 The Children's Museum of Manhattan. Upper West Side. NYC
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Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a great place for kids. It focuses on early childhood education, health, creativity and world cultures. There are interactive exhibitions, classes, workshops, performances and Museum-sponsored festivals which are all designed to allow children have fun and while at the same time they are getting inspired to learn about the world around them. Parents also benefit for accompanying their kids to the museum since they will have a better opportunity to understand how children learn. NYC – can be a perfect place to spend time with kids.

15. Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn Children's Museum
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The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a place for children of all ages. There are fun activities and educational exhibits that teach children about the all the cultures of the world, history, science and nature. There is also a collection of 30,000 historical artefacts that are all enjoyed by both parents and kids. Children below the age of five have a special place for them only where they are engaged in activities that geared to them and how they learn.

16. Museum of Arts and Design

Museum of Arts and Design FEB2012 window
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Museum of Art and Design houses art and design through a craft lens. This museum is more geared to artists with wide ranging rotating exhibitions which present an emphasis on the process and materials wide programming features available for all ages. The museum also has a store for handmade objects and a restaurant.

17. Studio Museum in Harlem

Studio museum was opened in 1968 and was the first black fine-arts museum in the country. This museum has all insights for African-American art as well as the art of the African diaspora. It is one of the best free museums NYC which has exciting showcase for the African-American artists. It is usually free first Sunday of every month all day.

18. Queens Botanical Garden

The Queens Botanical Garden is a fascinating landscape with wide range of plants. It is on a 40 acres piece of land with small gardens that consists of plants of a particular significance to a certain culture in the world. The garden is very beautiful and tranquil thus it is a great place to relax and appreciate nature while teaching your children to do the same.

19. The Hispanic Society of America

The Hispanic Society of America is actually a museum and library that is dedicated to Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American culture and art. The Hispanic Society’s collection is actually among the finest outside Spain and has paintings, sculptures, textiles, archaeological finds and other historical relics. The surrounding neighborhood is characterised with authentic Spanish and Latin American cuisine. It is free all days.

20. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art presents a different perspective to art, where viewers are able to get insights of artists as individuals. Its location shows that this museum is actually an integral part of the world of art. Its mission is to exhibit and preserve the museum’s art and support the artists that create that kind of art. The LGBTQ community is creative thus the museum itself intends to embrace their rich creative history while at the same time informing, inspiring and entertaining the visitors.

21. Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

This is one of the best free museums New York City only one that is dedicated to the art of fashion. It features innovative and award-winning exhibitions. The museum has a special culture of programs that run throughout the year including exhibition talk and tours, fashion conversation that involve leading designers, lectures and book signing. Entry to the museum is always free.

22. National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)

National Museum of the American Indian
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The National Museum of the American Indian is highly focused in sharing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere in terms of their past, present and future by partnering with Native people. The museum works to ensure the full support of the continuance of culture, traditional values and transitions in the native life. The museum also hosts special events and public programs to enrich people with more knowledge about the native culture.

23. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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The New York Public Library was first opened in 1965. It houses one of the widest combinations of circulating, referencing and rare archival collections in its field of performing arts. Visitors can access these materials free of charge and are of wide range of special programs including exhibitions, seminars and performances.

24. Queens County Farm Museum

This museum is situated on the large remaining tract of farmland in the Big Apple and has very historic farm buildings, greenhouses, farm machinery, an orchard ad herb garden, goats, pigs and other animals. It is a good place for kids during weekends and also special events such as the wreath-making workshops, auto shows and annual Queens County Fair are held here.

25. Harbour Defense Museum

Harbour Defense Museum presents the history and evolution of NYC’s coastal defense systems. It is actually the only army museum in NYC which has a fine collection of military artefacts from the revolutionary War to the Second World War.

There are many free museums in NYC where you can visit and explore and learn a lot of culture and history without paying anything. These free museums house a lot knowledge which will give you a better understanding of cultures and history all around the world. ☝


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Top 25 free museums New York

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