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The best free museums in New York

Do you like to visit museums on your travels? In New York there are countless museums for all tastes.

There are many museums in New York that do not have a fixed price for admission. All of them are publicly owned and, to make culture available to everyone, they have this “pay what you wish” system. They usually recommend donating a certain amount, but it is not required. You have to go to the ticket office to collect the tickets and there they will ask you how much you want to pay. Don't worry, if you decide to donate less than what is recommended, or even nothing, nobody will tell you anything.

In this post I tell you about museums that always have free access and about other museums that you can access without paying anything, only on specific days of the week.

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The Cloisters

The first museum on the list, The Cloisters, is a subsidiary of the Metropolitan, so you can visit both museums on the same day with a single ticket. This place stands out for its architecture from Medieval Europe in the heart of New York City. Between 1934 and 1938 parts of various cloisters were disassembled to send them to the Big Apple. Among them are that of Sant Miquel de Cuixà and part of the Fuentidueña chapel.

American Museum of Natural History

This museum is one of the most essential to visit in New York, and perhaps you will remember it from the movie "Night at the Museum".

In it you can enjoy its galleries, where it deals with various aspects of the animal world and science.

It is a good option if you are traveling with children, who will surely love it.

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Bronx Museum

The Bronx Museum focuses on works of art created by American artists during the 20th century. It has a permanent collection of more than 800 paintings, sculptures, and photos. But it also hosts exhibitions of Latin American, African and Asian art and design.

I have told you about it in the post about 10 great plans to visit in the Bronx, and if you visit this district, the visit to the museum will not take you more than 40 or 60 minutes.

Brooklyn museum

It is the second largest museum in the city. It opened at the end of the 19th century and was one of the first art institutions in the world. It has a very wide collection that goes from works of Ancient Egypt and African art to paintings of contemporary art and local painters.

I include this museum in the essential visits to do in Brooklyn.

You can continue reading more information about Brooklyn in the post: What to see and do in Brooklyn


This sub-site of MoMa is in Queens and is also dedicated to contemporary art. It was created in the 70s, when many abandoned buildings were rehabilitated into galleries or artists' workshops.

Currently this museum makes exhibitions based on innovation and experimentation.

You can continue reading more information about Queens in the post: 10 essential things to do in Queens

Staten Island Museum

If you are going to visit Staten Island I recommend you visit this museum. It is devoted primarily to the Staten Island region and has a very diverse collection: paintings, a collection of insects, and geology.

You can see more information about Staten Island in the post: What to see in Staten Island in one day.


To increase visits and attract more travelers and locals, many museums open their doors on a specific day a week or month. In cases of great influx, such as the MoMa or the 9/11 Memorial, they only allow free admission for a few hours a week.

Free museums in New York on Mondays

Museum at Eldridge Street

The location of the museum alone is worth visiting. In a spectacular synagogue from the 19th century and that one, they exhibit objects related to Jewish immigration to the Lower East Side and they also do informative tours about the history of American Jews.

Free Museums in New York on Tuesdays

9/11 Memorial Museum

It is the most recent museum in New York, it opened 13 years after the attack on the Twin Towers to honor its victims. In it you can find photographs, stories and personal belongings of the victims and their families. You can also see some parts of the towers that were not destroyed, such as the stairs where many people fled, or a fire truck that helped that day.

It is free on Tuesdays from 5:00 p.m., but they start distributing tickets at 4:00 p.m. and there is usually quite a queue, so arrive early.

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Free Museums in New York on Wednesdays

Museum of Jewish Heritage

This museum is a tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust. In it you will find the history and Jewish culture of the 19th and 20th centuries with several exhibitions inside a building that resembles a pagoda.

It is free from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Free museums in New York on Thursdays

Brooklyn Children's Museum

It is the first in the United States to be aimed exclusively at children, but it is also very interesting for adults because it explains the changes in education throughout the 20th century.

It is free from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Free museums in New York on Fridays


MoMA is one of the best modern art museums in the world. And it doesn't need much explanation. It is an essential stop to make in New York. You cannot leave this city without visiting MoMa.

Admission is free on Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. entering through the 54th Street door.

The museum recommends going after 6:00 p.m. to avoid queues and crowds.

I have always gone a little before 4pm. And I have not found many queues, I imagine that August must be horrible the queue. Try to go as soon as possible, you always have the option of visiting places near MoMa and coming back later to see if there is more luck.

Free museums in New York on Saturdays

Guggenheim Museum

This museum has a famous collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern art. What is most striking is the building, designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

You set the price for the ticket on Saturdays from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Free museums in New York on Sundays

Frick Collection

It is a small museum, it has 16 galleries inside an old mansion next to Central Park. It has a collection made up of European painting, ceramics of all kinds and some stately furniture and rugs.

On Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., you choose how much to pay for the ticket.

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I hope you enjoy your trip to New York a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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