Free Museum Hours

Want some (air-conditioned!) culture on the cheap? Some ideas: * Check out the museum pay-as-you-wish and free hours below * Learn about  the new Culture Pass program, available to anyone with a NY library card and IDNYC cultural memberships * See our family programs guide – many programs include free admission for the family * Explore public art, gallery & library exhibits and free storytimes * Check our weekly events listing and neighborhood-based weekend agendas for lots of free and low-cost indoor/outdoor options.

Museum Pay-As-You-Wish Hours


Always Free


American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street) ~ Upper West Side
Tuesday–Thursday & Saturday 11:30 am – 7 pm
Friday 12 pm – 7:30 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
The cozy, always free American Folk Art Museum features rotating family-friendly exhibits featuring Americana art that often includes engaging colors, patterns and animals.

National Museum of the American Indian - New York

One Bowling Green ~ Lower Manhattan
Daily 10 am – 5 pm
Open Thursday until 8 pm
All ages can learn about the culture and contributions of Native Americans at the engaging New York branch of this DC museum. Lots of opportunities for hands-on exploration in multiple rooms. Touch a buffalo hide, match animal drawings, learn about Mayan math, play in a teepee and more. Pick up …


Always Pay-As-You-Wish


American Museum of Natural History

West 81st Street & Central Park West ~ Upper West Side
Daily 10 am - 5:45 pm

NYC kids are the envy of world-wide lovers of dinosaurs, sea creatures, outer space and Ben Stiller for their access to the giant (45 fascinating halls) American Museum of Natural History. The museum's extensive collection is matched by an array of programs for budding explorers.
More info on American Museum of Natural History

Metropolitan Museum Of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street ~ Upper East Side
Sunday–Thursday 10 am – 5:30 pm
Friday & Saturday 10 am – 9 pm

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 …
More info on Metropolitan Museum Of Art

The Cloisters

99 Margaret Corbin Drive ~ Harlem & Upper Manhattan

We love exploring this castle-like museum overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. A branch of the Met dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe has secret passages, peaceful gardens, golden treasure, and fabulous family programs on select weekends.
More info on The Cloisters

The Met Breuer

945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street ~ Upper East Side
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday & Friday 10 am – 9 pm

The Met's outpost in a striking Marcel Breuer building explores the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with expansive exhibitions that incorporate all centuries. Gorgeous open space with diverse art that appeals to all.
More info on The Met Breuer


Upcoming Pay-As-You-Wish Hours



Wednesday, December 12


Bronx Zoo Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

2300 Southern Blvd ~ Bronx
10:00 am–5:00 pm
See tigers, bears, gorillas and over 650 other species of awesome animals at the largest metropolitan zoo in the US.
More info on The Bronx Zoo

New York Botanical Garden Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

2900 Southern Boulevard ~ Bronx
10:00 am–6:00 pm
The Holiday Train Show is an annual must, the Orchid show dazzles every spring, and the sprawling grounds of this 124-year-old Bronx institution are a gorgeous respite from urban living all year round.
More info on New York Botanical Garden

Jewish Museum Pay-What-You-Wish Hours

1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street ~ Upper East Side
5:00 pm–8:00 pm
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.
More info on The Jewish Museum


Thursday, December 13


Rubin Museum Free Hours

150 West 17 Street ~ Chelsea/Meatpacking
1:00 pm–4:00 pm
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).
More info on Rubin Museum of Art

New York Hall of Science Free Hours

Flushing Meadow-Corona Park ~ Queens
2:00 pm–5:00 pm
Founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair, this center for interactive science features lots of fun hands-on learning opportunities, intriguing exhibits, awesome 4D films, an engineering-themed outdoor playground and interesting family programs that make it worth the trip to Queens.
More info on New York Hall of Science

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

102 Charlton Street ~ Soho/Tribeca/LES
4:00 pm–6:00 pm
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.
More info on Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA)

Museum of the Moving Image Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

36-01 35 Avenue at 37 Street ~ Queens
4:00 pm–8:00 pm
Explore film, TV and video games from nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art with lots of hand-on exhibits in a spacious, modern building.
More info on Museum of the Moving Image

New Museum Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

102 Charlton Street ~ Soho/Tribeca/LES
7:00 pm–9:00 pm
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.
More info on Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA)

Whitney Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

99 Gansevoort Street ~ Chelsea/Meatpacking
7:00 pm–10:00 pm
See bold, often interactive modern contemporary art in a gorgeous modern building with a stunning view of the Hudson River.
More info on Whitney Museum of American Art


Friday, December 14


Museum of Modern Art Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

4 West 53rd Street ~ Midtown West
4:00 pm–8:00 pm
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.
More info on Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Cooper Hewitt Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

2 East 91st Street ~ Upper East Side
6:00 pm–9:00 pm
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.  
More info on Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

New-York Historical Society Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

70 Central Park West at 77th Street ~ Upper West Side
6:00 pm–8:00 pm
This fascinating museum features an entire floor to interactive exhibits especially for kids (though accompanying grown-ups will probably learn something too). Weekly and special occasion family learning programs range from weekly storytimes to historical chocolate tastings, with frequent visits from living historians portraying Americans of the past.
More info on New-York Historical Society


Saturday, December 15


New York Hall of Science Free Hours

Flushing Meadow-Corona Park ~ Queens
10:00 am–11:00 am
Founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair, this center for interactive science features lots of fun hands-on learning opportunities, intriguing exhibits, awesome 4D films, an engineering-themed outdoor playground and interesting family programs that make it worth the trip to Queens.
More info on New York Hall of Science

Guggenheim Free Hours

1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street ~ Upper East Side
5:45 pm–7:45 pm
The striking Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda is reason enough to visit this landmark museum, and exciting, well-designed exhibits and kids' programs make this a family-friendly setting for contemporary and modern art.
More info on Guggenheim


Sunday, December 16


Rubin Family Sundays: Treasured Terma

150 West 17 Street ~ Chelsea/Meatpacking
1:00 pm–4:00 pm
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).
More info on Rubin Museum of Art


Wednesday, December 19


Bronx Zoo Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

2300 Southern Blvd ~ Bronx
10:00 am–5:00 pm
See tigers, bears, gorillas and over 650 other species of awesome animals at the largest metropolitan zoo in the US.
More info on The Bronx Zoo

New York Botanical Garden Pay-As-You-Wish Hours

2900 Southern Boulevard ~ Bronx
10:00 am–6:00 pm
The Holiday Train Show is an annual must, the Orchid show dazzles every spring, and the sprawling grounds of this 124-year-old Bronx institution are a gorgeous respite from urban living all year round.
More info on New York Botanical Garden

Jewish Museum Pay-What-You-Wish Hours

1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street ~ Upper East Side
5:00 pm–8:00 pm
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.
More info on The Jewish Museum


Pay-As-You-Wish Hours By Museum


American Museum of Natural History

West 81st Street & Central Park West (Upper West Side)
** Admission always pay-what-you-wish, no tickets needed after 5pm. **

NYC kids are the envy of world-wide lovers of dinosaurs, sea creatures, outer space and Ben Stiller for their access to the giant (45 fascinating halls) American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s extensive collection is matched by an array of programs for budding explorers.

More info on American Museum of Natural History

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway (Brooklyn)
** First Saturday of the month 5–11 pm. **

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).

More info on Brooklyn Museum

Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam (Upper West Side)
** First Friday of each month 5-8pm. **

The enchanting Children’s Museum of Manhattan has interactive, educational exhibits and lots of kids programming and performances.

More info on Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

Children's Museum of the Arts (CMA)

102 Charlton Street (Soho/Tribeca/LES)
** Thursdays 4-6pm **

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.

More info on Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA)

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street (Upper East Side)
** Saturdays 6 –9 pm **

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.

 

More info on Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Guggenheim

1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street (Upper East Side)
** Saturday 5:45 - 7:45 pm **

The striking Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda is reason enough to visit this landmark museum, and exciting, well-designed exhibits and kids’ programs make this a family-friendly setting for contemporary and modern art.

More info on Guggenheim

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

2 Columbus Circle (Midtown West)
** Thursdays 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm **

Explore contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design in a lovely setting overlooking Central Park.

More info on Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

4 West 53rd Street (Midtown West)
** Friday from 4 - 8 pm, line is often around the block. Up to two adults get in free with kids participating in the weekend Family Gallery Talks. Always free admission to the sculpture garden and Art Lab. **

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.

More info on Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Museum of the Moving Image

36-01 35 Avenue at 37 Street (Queens)
** Friday 4–6 pm **

Explore film, TV and video games from nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art with lots of hand-on exhibits in a spacious, modern building.

More info on Museum of the Moving Image

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Boulevard (Bronx)
** Wednesdays all day, Saturday 9 - 10 am. Does not include the Conservatory, Special Exhibitions, Everett Children's Adventure Garden, or Tram Tour. **

The Holiday Train Show is an annual must, the Orchid show dazzles every spring,
and the sprawling grounds of this 124-year-old Bronx institution are a gorgeous respite from urban living all year round.

More info on New York Botanical Garden

New York Hall of Science

Flushing Meadow-Corona Park (Queens)
** Friday 2:00 –5:00 pm & Sundays 10:00 –11:00 am. **

Founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair, this center for interactive science features lots of fun hands-on learning opportunities, intriguing exhibits, awesome 4D films, an engineering-themed outdoor playground and interesting family programs that make it worth the trip to Queens.

More info on New York Hall of Science

New-York Historical Society

70 Central Park West at 77th Street (Upper West Side)
** Fridays 6-8 pm **

This fascinating museum features an entire floor to interactive exhibits especially for kids (though accompanying grown-ups will probably learn something too). Weekly and special occasion family learning programs range from weekly storytimes to historical chocolate tastings, with frequent visits from living historians portraying Americans of the past.

More info on New-York Historical Society

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17 Street (Chelsea/Meatpacking)
** Friday 6 - 10 pm **

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).

More info on Rubin Museum of Art

The Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street (Upper East Side)
** Thursdays 5-8 pm **

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.

More info on The Jewish Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street (Midtown East)
** Friday 7 - 9 pm **

Explore the gorgeous former private library of Gilded Age financier Pierpont Morgan and see illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books (including some children’s favorites), and old master drawings and prints.

More info on The Morgan Library & Museum

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street (Chelsea/Meatpacking)
** Friday 7-10 pm **

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

More info on Whitney Museum of American Art


museum guide | museum family programs | public art | culture pass | all events this week