My [Slightly] Off-the-Beaten Path Guide to NYC – Vol. 2

CSIS NYC guideLet’s talk museums….you could literally visit a new museum everyday for probably a month in New York. There are big names, like the Met and MOMA, and smaller obscure museums like the Elevator Museum (yes, it’s a thing).

Here are my two favorites! I only picked two because there is SO much to do in New York that spending all your time in museums is a shame. One is a well-known, household name and the other is lesser known, but quite the gem.

American Museum of Natural History (Cost: Suggested ticket price is $22)

Normally, I tend to shy away from big touristy stops when I’m on vacation, but the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is worth dealing battling the crowds (pro tip: avoid weekends). No matter what the interests of your group or family, AMNH has something interesting for everyone. For the animal lovers, they have halls and halls full of dioramas of animals from all over the world. They even have some pretty impressive dinosaur fossils if you’re more into the prehistoric side of nature.

amnh dinosaurSelfies with dinos are obligatory.

If animals aren’t really your thing, the museum also houses a planetarium and artifacts from countless different Native American, Polynesian, and African cultures. Since AMNH is huge, they also run tours all day of both the museum and specific halls. I do actually really enjoy a guided tour of a museum or hall–I always find you get information you’d never otherwise know just walking through, even if it’s just fun stories about how an exhibit came together. AMNH also puts together great special exhibits. Even though they do cost an extra admission fee, it gives you a chance to see and learn something new and different! We attended the recent exhibit on natural disasters, which has many interactive stations. I learned quite a bit! If you haven’t been, I highly recommend! It’s perfect for a rainy day.

amnh elephants

The Frick Collection (Admission: $20)

If The Frick Collection were located in any other city, I think it would get so much more buzz than it does in NYC. It is unfortunately overshadowed by the bigger name art museums, like MOMA and Guggenheim. The Frick Collection is a smaller art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side, which in and of itself is gorgeous enough to warrant a visit. Henry Frick amassed an impressive collection of art in his home, which was then converted to a public museum in the 1930s after his widow died. Inside, you will find art by Rembrandt, Renoir, and The Greco, just to name a few, inside rooms whose decor is spectacular. You’ll also find rotating special exhibits. Admission includes an audio guide, available in many different languages. I love that they allow you to learn about the art as you go through the rooms at your own pace. If you’d like a more guided live tour, they also offer docent talks in the afternoons. This museum is a perfect break from the hustle of the city. If the price is too far out of your range, you can attend for free on Sundays from 11-1 pm, but as always with free museum times, expect more crowds.


Also, here is a link that I’ve found handy in the past for a guide to free museum times. You can use this to get in free or to avoid times when these museums will definitely be more crowded 🙂

 What are your favorite museums in New York?