How to Visit new York City Museums for Free

A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a visit to the city’s top museums. Favorites include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Unfortunately, a visit to one of these museums can easily set you back by more than $20 per person. But the good news is there are ways to visit the treasures housed in these museums and more without spending a dime.

Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art for free

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of New York’s finest museums. Located on the section of 5th Avenue that’s affectionately dubbed “Museum Mile”, the Met Museum, as it is popularly known, charges $25 per adult, $17 for seniors and $12 for students. However, the best part about these prices is that they are recommended prices only. Visitors are encouraged to pay the full fare to contribute towards the upkeep of the museum and the cost of the special exhibitions. However, you could technically enter the museum for free. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, Met members get free unlimited admission. However, membership starts from $60 for Associate members.

Visiting the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for free

Admission to the MoMA costs $22.50 per adult, $16 for seniors, and $12 for full-time students with ID. However, you can save your money if you plan your visit to coincide with Target Fridays. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday, Target hosts free admission Fridays at the MoMA. But be sure to turn up early as the queues can be very long.

Suggested Admission museums

Like the Met Museum, some New York City museums only offer suggestions on admission fees. Visitors can choose to pay less than the recommended price if they wish. These museums include the American Museum of Natural History and Tibet House.

Daily Deals

To encourage visitors, many New York City museums offer discounted or even free admission on selected days. The most popular is Target Fridays at the MoMA but other notable museums worth a visit include the Children’s Museum of the Arts (free on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), the Whitney Museum of American Art (pay what you wish on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and the Guggenheim Museum (pay what you wish on Saturdays from 5.45 p.m. to 7.45 p.m.).

Museum Mile Festival

The annual Museum Mile Festival in June is a special occasion where for one day only, museums along the mile on 5th Avenue between 82nd and 105th street offer free admission. The event is celebrated with live bands, art activities in the street for children, and more entertainment. Held from 6pm to 9pm, it’s the biggest block party in town. Participating museums include the Museum for African Art, El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum, the Neue Galerie New York, the Met, the Guggenheim, and more.