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Top 10 To-Do's
A Visitors Guide to
Museum Mile NYC
Museum Mile Highlights,
Dining, Hotels, Discounts & Map
Museum Mile is located in the Carnegie Hill
neighborhood on the Upper East Side, and is named for a concentrated group of
museums along Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 105th Street (soon to be extended
to 110th Street). The area has a pleasant atmosphere, as Central Park
lines one side of the street and artist street vendors are scattered about.
Before you visit Museum Mile, you'll certainly want to do a bit of research to
prioritize your itinerary. You may spend a couple hours at the smaller
museums or the entire day at the larger ones, such as the Guggenheim or the Met.
Our brief descriptions will get you started; we will tell you generally about
each museum's type of collections. For details on rotating exhibits, as
well as hours and admission fees, check the museum's website. We've
included a Museum Mile Map at the bottom of this article; our museum
descriptions are ordered from north to south.
Museo del Barrio (104th Street). This museum showcases Caribbean,
Latino and Latin America cultures. It first opened in 1969 and moved into
its present location in 1977. Its permanent collections include 6,500
pieces of work in the areas of modern and contemporary art, graphics,
archeological objects and a category of "popular traditions", including wood
carvings and masks. El Museo del Barrio is closed Mondays and some
of the City of New York (103rd Street). This museum, dating back to
1923, is all about the art and history of New York City. Housed in an
elegant building, the MCNY features an extensive collection of paintings,
photographs and artifacts illustrating the history of the city, a whole floor of
recreated furnished rooms from the John D. Rockefeller home, an exhibit
dedicated to the city's status as a seaport, exhibits for the New York police
and fire departments and much more. On Wednesdays at 2pm, you can
participate in a docent-led tour. The Museum of the City of New York is
open everyday except select holidays.
(92nd Street). Housed in the Warburg mansion, the Jewish Museum has grown
from 26 objects in 1904 to more than 27,000 objects today, ranging from
archaeological finds to moderns works of art. The exhibits are focused on
Jewish art and culture, including paintings, sculptures, installation and
decorative arts, media and more. The Museum offers several theme-based
docent-led tours; each about 45 minutes in duration. Audio guides are also
offered at no charge. The Jewish Museum is open every day except select
holidays. Saturdays are free, but you will be limited to current and
permanent exhibits (the store, cafe, interactive exhibits and children's
exhibits are not open).
Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design (91st Street).
Cooper-Hewitt is located in the former home
of Andrew Carnegie, which is itself a New York City and National Historic Landmark.
It is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to historic and
contemporary design. Founded in 1897, the international collection now
consists of 250,000 objects in four categories: Drawings, Prints & Graphic
Design; Product Design and Decorative Arts; Textiles and Wallcoverings.
is part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (89th Street). The National
Academy, founded in 1825, combines a museum, art school and association of
artists and architects. It is is housed in a Fifth Avenue mansion and
features a collection of more than 7,000 works of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century
American art, as well as rotating special exhibits. Docent-led tours are
offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30pm. The Museum is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and select holidays.
Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum (88th Street). The Guggenheim is an
internationally acclaimed art museum with exhibitions of modern and contemporary
art, particularly from the 20th and 21st centuries. Today's extensive
collection is comprised of significant gifts and purchases by a number of
individuals and their foundations. Approximately 600 artworks were gifted
to the museum by Solomon Guggenheim himself, including works by Kandinsky,
Chagall, Picasso and many more. The museum building, a designated
landmark, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; it is of
architectural importance. You're sure to have seen the recognizable spiral ramp in
various movies, including Bye Bye Birdie, Manhattan, Men in Black, The
International, When in Rome and Mr. Popper's Penguins. Both self-guided
audio tours and docent-led tours are available. The Museum is closed Thursdays.
Neue Galerie New York (86th Street).
The Neue Galerie New York museum features 20th century German and Austrian art and
design. Docent-led tours are offered Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at
2pm. Audio tours are also offered. The Museum is closed Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and select holidays.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd - 86th Street).
The founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dates back to 1866; this location
on Fifth Avenue opened in 1880. At that time, the museum was much smaller,
but expansions have created what we have today, a colossal museum on 4 city
blocks consisting of 2 million square feet and over 2 million objects (though
not all on view at the same time!). These works are grouped in several
distinct departments, including the American Wing; Ancient Near Eastern Art;
Arms & Armor; Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas; Asian Art; the Costume
Institute; Drawings & Prints; Egyptian Art; European Paintings; European
Sculpture & Decorative Arts; Greek & Roman Art; Islamic Art; the Robert Lehman
Collection; Medieval Art & the Cloisters; Modern & Contemporary Art; Musical
Instruments; and Photographs. Check out the Met website for ideas for
kids, teens and students visiting the Met. The Museum is closed Mondays
and a few holidays.
Museum for African Art (110th
Street). The Museum for African Art first opened in 1984, its 90,000 square-foot facility on Museum Mile
opened in the Fall 2012. The Museum is
dedicated to the arts and cultures of Africa and Africans throughout the world,
exhibiting historical and contemporary African Art. Their permanent
collection is small, as they focus on traveling exhibitions. To date, the
Museum has organized nearly 70 such traveling exhibitions. Be sure to
check their website for the projected opening date.
Since 1979, once a year in early June Fifth Avenue
closes to traffic for one evening to accommodate the
Museum Mile Festival,
a highly attended and esteemed annual event. The museums are open with no
charge, there are interactive activities, entertainment, art demonstrations,
special kids' activities and food vendors.
Map & Schedule of the Museum Mile Festival.
Dining In/Around the Museums
Since you're likely to spend the entire day on Museum
Mile, at some point you'll need to stop for a bite. Nearly all of the
museums offer dining opportunities, from a fast sandwich to an elegant meal,
even ethnic specialties. Some also offer breakfast/pastry items.
Cafe 3 at the Guggenheim features a great view of Central Park and the Roof
Garden Cafe and Martini Bar provides panoramic views of Manhattan. Within
a block or so east of Museum Mile, you will find several restaurant options,
from fast-food to elegant dining, as well as Starbucks at 96th Street and
Madison Avenue, which may be just what you need to start the long day ahead.
Make the Most of Your Visit
As you can imagine, Museum Mile is an incredible
concentration of art and culture, sure to overload the senses. But with a little
planning of priorities, you can make the most of your time, whether a few hours
or a few days. Do you have a certain ethnic interest? Is modern art
your fascination? Perhaps you want a dose of pure New York history.
You'll find it all on Museum Mile.
Attractions Discount Passes
Check out the New York CityPass Attractions Card to save
on a selection of NYC attractions and skip the long ticket
lines. As many as four of the Museum Mile's museums are included in the
various New York attractions discount cards.
includes Guggenheim Museum &
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
includes the Metropolitan Museum
The New York Pass,
includes Guggenheim Museum,
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Museum of City of NY & El Museo del Barrio.
Check out the
the Museum Mile.
of the Museum Mile Festival