Manhattan is a great borough in New York to explore and one of the reasons for that is that there are incredible art museums in Manhattan.
Whether you want to see contemporary art or older works, there are many great places to go to in Manhattan. When traveling, going to an art museum is one of my favorite things to do. And because Manhattan has so much to offer, I made this guide to help you decide where to go if you want to see art.
I included a large variety of Manhattan art museums in this guide. For example, I also included a fun interactive art museum where you can find very photogenic art installations. Because of this large variety, I’m sure there’s a museum in this guide you’ll love!
Best Art Museums in Manhattan
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art, or The Whitney in short, is one of the best art museums that you can visit in Manhattan.
At the Whitney, you can find an amazing permanent collection of American Art that is from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Also, a part of the collection consists of older works from the end of the 19th century.
What’s more, the collection of the museum is very diverse in the art mediums. For example, you can find a lot of sculptures, drawings, prints, paintings, and many other types of objects at the museum.
Furthermore, there are often temporary exhibitions that take place here. For example, there are exhibitions that focus on works by famous artists as well as exhibitions that focus on lesser-known artists.
Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the most iconic and well-known museums in this part of the city of NYC is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met.
The museum belongs to a list of the most-visited art museums in the world and it is one of the most-visited museums in the United States.
What’s amazing is that the collection of the museum is very extensive.
For example, you can find a lot of art here from Medieval Europe, ancient Egypt, and many other historic parts of history. Besides that, you can also find a lot of very modern works at the Met, including American modern art.
Besides that, the museum also has a very large collection of antique weapons, armor, costumes, and many other types of objects.
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art, abbreviated as MoMA is another very famous art museum that you can find in Midtown Manhattan.
The museum has one of the largest collections of modern art in the world, and a large part of the collection also consists of contemporary art.
Moreover, you can see paintings, designs, sculptures, prints, books, and much more on display at the museum.
It belongs to the most-visited art museums in the world as well.
Some highlights of the museum are The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh and View of Notre-Dame by Henri Matisse.
Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
Looking for a place where you can learn about photography? Then, I recommend going to Fotografiska, the Museum of Photography in Manhattan.
At this museum, there are rotating exhibitions of the best photography from all around the world. Each exhibition is at the museum for a period of a couple of months. Moreover, each exhibition focuses on a particular societal theme.
You can find the museum at the Church Missions House, which is a historic Renaissance Revival building that you can find in Gramercy Park.
Address: 281 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim is another very iconic place where you can go to see a collection of amazing art.
This is one of the best Manhattan art museums and it has a great collection of both modern and contemporary art. And you can find the museum on 5th Avenue.
The collection of the museum comprises about 9,000 works and a part of this collection can be found at sister museums of the Solomon R. Guggenheim. For example, there is a sister museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Also, what’s interesting is that the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the building of the museum. This makes going to the museum an even better experience.
Some of the artists whose work is featured at the museum are Paul Cézanne and Franz Marc.
Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128
The Drawing Center
The Drawing Center is another must-visit when looking for the best art museums in Manhattan.
This museum completely focuses on exhibition drawings.
You can go to the Drawing Center to see great exhibitions of drawings. This includes both historic as well as more modern drawings.
But that’s not all that you can find at the Drawing Center!
You can also go to the Drawing Center for talks by artists, readings, performances, film screenings, and much more. You can check out the museum’s website to see the calendar of events. That way, you can attend an event whenever you are in NYC.
What’s great is that what’s on display at the center often changes as the exhibitions are at the museum for a limited amount of time. Because of that, you can often something new when you go here.
Address: 35 Wooster St, New York, NY 10013
Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum of Art is a wonderful museum where you can learn about different cultures from Eurasia.
For example, you can learn a lot about the cultures of the Himalayas at the Rubin Museum of Art.
The museum has a permanent collection of art that consists of more than 2000 different works. The permanent collection focuses in particular on Himalayan art, and it consists of photography and various other forms of art.
Besides that, you can attend temporary art exhibitions that are at the museum for several months of the year. These rotating exhibitions focus on particular themes. For example, there is one exhibition that focuses on art that relates to “death”.
Also, you can do workshops at the museum and there are other programs as well.
Address: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011
Hall des Lumières
The Hall des Lumières is a museum that you can find in the Beaux-Arts building in Manhattan. You can find it very close to City Hall Park.
At The Hall des Lumières, you can attend amazing immersive exhibitions of art.
These exhibitions are very special as the floor and walls project beautiful pieces of art. That way, you can look around you and be amazed by what you see wherever you look. This makes you feel part of the works.
There are various exhibitions that take place at the Hall throughout the year. For example, there was an exhibition that focused on the universe. Also, you can sometimes see exhibitions here with immersive versions of works by very famous artists.
Address: 49 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007
The New Museum is one of the best art museums in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
What’s special about this museum is that it completely focuses on contemporary art.
You can see contemporary art exhibitions that showcase art from all around the world. For example, in the past, it was possible to see works here by artists from the UK, South Africa, India, Chile, and many other places in the world.
What I find interesting about this museum is that it focuses on new things. And because of that, you can often discover new forms of art at the museum.
Want to see the best that contemporary art has to offer? Then, you have to check out the New Museum whenever you are visiting Manhattan.
Address: 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
One of the most interactive and immersive art museums is INTER_. This is an interactive art museum in Manhattan that you can find in Soho.
At this museum, you can see very modern art installations that use the newest technology to offer you an interactive and immersive experience.
Moreover, there are art installations at this museum that are all around you projected on the walls.
The colors and shapes of the works are incredible to see! And you’ll leave this place with a whole different perspective for sure.
Also, what’s great is that there are different rooms that all showcase different digital art.
Address: 415 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Color Factory is another very interactive art museum that you can find in Manhattan, NYC.
The museum focuses on the “joy of color” and creates experiences that will make you happy.
At Color Factory New York City, you can find a variety of art installations that are very beautiful and immersive, and you’ll like them for sure.
For example, there is one art installation with a lot of colorful confetti.
Also, there is an art installation with a lot of balls in a beautiful shade of light blue.
Yet another art installation has a lot of glitters and is amazing to see as well.
Each art installation makes you part of the art. And what’s nice as well is that each art installation is very photogenic as well. So if you like photography, you have to check out Color Factory too.
Address: 251 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
Grey Art Gallery
You can find this next one of the art museums in Greenwich Village.
The Grey Art Gallery is the fine arts museum of New York University.
At this museum, you can see amazing works of art and also learn about the art and its impact, which is very interesting.
What’s great is that you can see all kinds of different types of art at the museum. For example, you can go here to see sculptures, drawings, photographs, and much more.
Moreover, there are both original arty exhibitions at the museum, as well as traveling art exhibitions from other places in the world.
Besides art exhibitions, there’s more to discover at the museum, as there are also lectures, panel discussions, and other types of events that can be great to attend.
Address: 100 Washington Square E, New York, NY 10003
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
The Leslie-Loham Museum of Art is a wonderful art museum that you can find in Soho in Lower Manhattan.
This museum showcases art by LGBTQ artists and art that focuses on themes related to the LGBTQ community.
The museum has a collection of more than 25,000 objects that consists of paintings, prints, sculptures, drawings, and many other objects.
Some artists whose work was featured at the museum include Berenice Abbott, David Wojnarowicz, and Paul Thek.
Throughout the year, it is possible to see 1 exhibition per 2 months on average.
Also, what’s interesting is that you can do workshops here and attend a variety of other activities. For example, you can go here to attend talks, see lectures, and do much more.
Address: 26 Wooster St, New York, NY 10013
Center for Italian Modern Art
The Center for Italian Modern Art focuses on modern and contemporary Italian art in the United States.
You can find this art museum in the Soho district of Manhattan and it is possible to visit the museum on Fridays and Saturdays.
There is an annual exhibition that you can see at the center. And besides that, there are other activities and events that take place at the museum. For example, sometimes there are artist talks at the museum.
You are free to see the art of the art exhibition on your own during the opening hours, but it is also possible to do a guided tour during some times of the week. Through these, you can learn even more about the art, which can be very interesting.
Address: 421 Broome St 4th floor, New York, NY 10013
International Center of Photography
Here’s another one of the best museums for art in Manhattan if you like photography. You can go to the International Center of Photography at Essex Street.
This is a museum that completely focuses on photography and visual culture, and throughout the year, you can see a variety of exhibitions at the museum. Each year, there are up to 6 different exhibitions at the museum.
Also, the exhibitions that you can see here vary as some focus on one artist in particular, while others focus on multiple artists.
Besides being a museum, the International Center of Photography is also a school.
Address: 79 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
Banksy in New York
Banksy in New York is a special exhibit that you can see for a limited amount of time in Manhattan.
The exhibit showcases original pieces from a private collection of Banksy works.
You can see the works at a gallery at 378 Broadway.
What’s great is that you can see some of the most iconic Banksy artists at this special exhibit. For example, you can see Girl with Balloon at this exhibit and Love is in the Air.
Also, what’s nice about this exhibit is that there is a free audio guide. Through this guide, you can learn a lot about the artist’s works, which is very interesting.
Keep in mind that if you want to visit this exhibit, you have to be quick, as it is only in NYC for a limited amount of time.
Address: 378 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
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Manhattan Art Museums Tips
Some of the Manhattan art museums have temporary exhibitions that you might want to attend. I recommend consulting the websites of the museums in this part of NYC to see if there’s an exhibition you want to attend.
Furthermore, some of the museums have special events during which you can experience other things besides just the museum’s collection. You can check out if there’s a special event at a museum that you plan on visiting to have an even better experience.
Thanks for reading my guide to the best art museums in Manhattan. I hope I helped you find a museum you want to visit!