If you enjoy admiring fine art, then there is good news if you plan to visit New York. That’s because There is no shortage of popular art museums in this bustling city!
The Big Apple is home to some of the most famous museums in the world, and as a result, you can admire some of the best-known artworks here as well.
With collections that range from prehistoric artifacts to modern paintings and sculptures, you can discover any type of art imaginable.
With dozens of popular museums at your disposal, it might be a bit complicated to choose which ones to visit, isn’t it?
I made it a bit easier for you because this article features a list of the best art museums in New York City for you to visit so you can make the right decisions.
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is commonly referred to as the “MET” and is in my opinion one of the greatest museums in the world. The collection exceeds two million objects, a number that is simply phenomenal. The quality of the artwork on display is second to none as well.
The location of the largest art museum in the Americas adds an extra dimension to it. It’s situated at the eastern edge of Central Park on the Upper East Side of Manhatten. The museum opened its doors in 1870 and the beautiful main building was completed in 1880.
Official website: MET
Discover more on Art Facts: Paintings at the MET
2. Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art or “MoMA” is another world-famous museum in New York City that is located in Midtown Manhattan. As the name suggests, it focuses on modern and contemporary and is sometimes referred to as the most important museum of its kind in the world.
The museum has a wide range of art on display, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and illustrations. It was the 15th-most visited art museum in the world in the early 2020s and that’s because it houses some of the most famous modern artworks ever produced.
Official website: MoMA
Discover more on Art Facts: Paintings at the MoMA
3. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is commonly referred to as “The Guggenheim” and is another museum that focuses on modern art. Its fast-growing collection ranges from Impressionist paintings of the 19th century to contemporary art of the 21st century.
The museum was established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939 and was renamed in the 1950s to its current name following the death of its founder Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949). The museum is housed in a modern building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019.
Official website: Guggenheim
Discover most on Art Facts: Paintings at the Guggenheim
4. Frick Collection
The Frick Collection is a museum that was established following the donation of American industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919). He bequeathed his entire art collection and it formed the base of the collection of this popular art museum in New York City when it was established in 1935.
The collection is nowhere near as large as some of the biggest museums in the city but it’s certainly very impressive. The collection of Old Master paintings features artworks painted by some of the greatest artists in history. It’s one of the most notable small art museums in the United States.
Official website: Frick Collection
Discover more on Art Facts: Paintings at the Frick Collection
5. Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art is commonly referred to as “The Whitney” and is located in the West Village neighborhood of Manhatten. It was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942) in 1930, a famous wealthy socialite who was both a sculptor and art patron.
The museum features one of the most impressive collections of American 20th and 21st-century art in the country. The collection size has grown to over 25,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs. The museum is housed in an impressive building that was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano (yes, the guy who designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris).
Official website: Whitney Museum
Discover more on Art Facts: Artworks at the Whitney Museum
6. Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters is a fascinating museum that can be found in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, more specifically, on the grounds of Fort Tryon Park. Its name refers to the fact that it’s a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was established in 1938.
The museum is housed in 4 Romanesque Revival buildings that house an impressive collection of Romanesque and Gothic artworks. This is by far the best place in New York City to admire medieval art. The setting resembles exactly where these artworks were hung originally, especially French monasteries and abbeys.
Official website: Met Cloisters
7. Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the few famous art museums in New York City that isn’t located in Manhattan. This makes it all the more remarkable that it’s the second-largest museum in the city with a floor space of 52,000 square meters (560,000 square feet) and a collection size that exceeds 1.5 million objects.
The museum was established in 1895 and is housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building. The collection ranges from ancient Egyptian antiquities to American and modern art. Yes, this is definitely a museum that you can spend the entire day at when you visit Brooklyn.
Official website: Brooklyn Museum
Discover more on Art Facts: Paintings at the Brooklyn Museum
8. Neue Galerie New York
The Neue Galerie New York is a relatively new art museum in New York City because it was established in 2001. That’s why the name “Neue Galerie” was chosen as it translates from German to “New Gallery.” It’s housed in a beautiful mansion called the William Starr Miller House at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The museum is dedicated to early 20th-century German and Austrian art and houses some of the most famous German and Austrian paintings created during this period. The highlight of the collection is the “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” by Gustav Klimt. The museum reportedly paid $135 million for this work.
Official website: Neue Galerie
9. The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum is a building in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhatten that houses both a library and a museum. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful library buildings in the world, even though the exterior certainly doesn’t make it look that way.
The complex was established in 1906 to house the collection of American banker J.P. Morgan and was transformed into a public library in 1924. The museum features a collection of over 350,000 items, including many famous prints and drawings.
Official website: The Morgan
10. New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New Museum of Contemporary Art is commonly referred to as the “New Museum” and is another museum in NYC that focuses on modern and contemporary art. It was established by American art historian and critic Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) in 1977 and has been housed in multiple different locations.
The New Museum moved to its current location at 235 Bowery, between Stanton and Rivington Streets, on December 1, 2007. The construction of the remarkable building cost $50 million and houses both the museum’s permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
Official website: New Museum