Free Museums with Culture Pass

If you have a NYC library card (and you should; for starters you can reserve any book online to be delivered to your local branch and stream free movies online), now you can get free admission to dozens of NYC cultural institutions. Here’s how:

* Go to and click on “Reserve a Pass”
* Available for New York Public Library, Brooklyn and Queens library card holders (suburbans can get a NYPL card if someone in the family works in NYC)

* Limited passes by date released three months in advance on the first of every month and run out quickly

* Search by date if you want something sooner
* Only one free visit per museum per year & no more than two reservations allowed at once
* Retrieve your pass via print or mobile before you show up at the museum; cancellations allowed until you retrieve your pass

* IDNYC cardholders get free membership to some museums and cultural institutions.

* See our guide to pay-as-you-wish museum hours for no-reservations-needed free admission.

Some family-friendly museums available:

Brooklyn Children's Museum

145 Brooklyn Ave (Brooklyn)
Admission for 2 people

The world’s first children’s museum, founded in 1899, has tons of hands-on exploration and engaging programming in visual arts, music and performance, natural science, and world cultures.

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway (Brooklyn)
Admission for 2 people, free/ages 19 & under

A slightly hipper version of the Met features a huge, diverse permanent collection categorized by culture, as well as thoughtful visiting exhibitions from all over the world. On the edge of Prospect Park and next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden ($25 combo passes available).

Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam (Upper West Side)
Admission for up to 4 people

The enchanting Children’s Museum of Manhattan has interactive, educational exhibits, from soft, enclosed areas for babies and crawlers, a whole floor for Dora & Diego lovers, and multicultural explorations for older kids. Admission includes tons of programming and performances.

Children's Museum of the Arts (CMA)

102 Charlton Street (Soho/Tribeca/LES)
Admission for up to 4 people

This delightful, inviting space features self guided art exploration for ages 10 months-15 years. Experiment with sculpture, paints, textiles, sound design, animation, and clay in daily open workshops led by teaching artists and explore rotating exhibitions by established and emerging contemporary artist.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street (Upper East Side)
Admission for 2 adults; free ages/18 & under

This collection of historic and contemporary design is a high-tech, interactive dream for all ages. Explore innovative design through the centuries, play designer on high resolution touchscreen tables with very cool electronic ‘pens,’ and rock around in the Spun chairs in the basement.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street (Upper East Side)
Admission for 2 adults; free ages/18 & under

NYC’s largest museum is also one of the most welcoming to young visitors. Explore a vast collection that spans millennia and continents. You might get lost searching for iconic favorites in the grand halls and you’ll definitely discover fascinating art that appeals all ages. Check out the awesome family guides & maps.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

4 West 53rd Street (Midtown West)
Admission for 2 adults; free ages/18 & under

Always exciting and decidedly kid-friendly, MoMA has spacious galleries and elevators, engaging interactive exhibits, occasional performance art and awesome kids programs and hands-on creative spaces.

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 105th Street (Upper East Side)
Admission for up to 4 people; free ages/19 & under

Become an informed New Yorker at this small museum with a big collection of theater artifacts, furniture, toys, paintings, sculpture and photos arranged into exhibits that entertain and educate all ages.

New York Transit Museum

Corner of Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn)
Admission for 2 people

Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, this toddler’s dream hosts a working platform level spanning a full city block and a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Board vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, step through a time tunnel of turnstiles, and explore changing exhibits that highlight the cultural, social and technological history – and future – of mass transit.

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17 Street (Chelsea/Meatpacking)
Admission for 2 adults; free ages/12 & under

This serene museum connects the arts and cultures of the Himalayas to contemporary life, exploring universal themes like happiness, consciousness, and the cosmos. Lots of vivid paintings and statues of animals and interesting demons (and maybe your kid will pick up some zen vibes).

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling

898 St. Nicholas Ave at 155th street (Harlem/Upper Manhattan)
Admission for up to 4 people; free ages/8 & under

This welcominf museum, part of a community revitalization project merging housing, education and art, offers art exhibitions, storytelling series, workshops, performances, and other interactive programs specifically designed to nurture the curiosity, creativity and cognition of children ages 3 to 8. The artists, art and stories found are rooted in the rich cultural heritage of the surrounding communities.

The Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street (Upper East Side)
Admission for 2 adults; free ages/18 & under

Explore the global Jewish experience through works of fine art, Judaica, antiquities, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media intelligently organized in gorgeous galleries and play in the small but engaging Archaeology Zone.

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street (Chelsea/Meatpacking)
Admission for 2 people, free/ages 17 & under

See bold, often interactive modern contemporary art in a gorgeous modern building with a stunning view of the Hudson River.

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