American Museum of Natural History

Every Free Museum in New York City in 2019

In New York, North America, Tips & Tricks, United States by Sheena4 Comments

There are over 70 free museums in New York City – see our updated list of every free & Pay What You Wish day, with all the info & times you need to know.

Free Museums in New York City

Many museums in NYC offer Free or Pay What You Wish admission days. We’ve created the ultimate list to help you decide which museums to visit and when.   

Our guide is divided into museums that are Always Free or Pay What You Wish and those that are only free/PWYW on certain days or times. 

We’ve briefly described each museum – click on the links to go directly to the museum website.  

For Pay What You Wish museums we’ve included the suggested admission price listed on the museum’s website. 

For all museums we’ve listed the regular admission price so you can see how much you can save! 

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, there are free NYC museums for everyone. So scroll through the list below and check out all the free or almost-free history, culture & art to soak up in New York City.

You can also check out our next post to see the cheapest way to visit the best museums – and attractions – in the Big Apple in 1 week… 

7 Day NYC Itinerary

Follow our New York itinerary & find out how to visit all the major attractions & museums in the Big Apple in 1 week for under $75!

Read more
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Don’t pay $25 for The Met, Pay What You Wish!

Always Free

  • African Burial Ground – the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans
  • American Folk Art Museum – devoted to the appreciation of traditional folk art by self-taught artists from the United States and abroad
  • BRIC House – a non-profit arts organization with free cultural programming such as community TV and art exhibitions
  • Bronx Museum – presents contemporary art exhibitions that promote cross-cultural dialogues for diverse audiences
  • Federal Hall – a museum and memorial where George Washington took the oath of office as the first US President in 1789
  • Federal Reserve Bank – free guided tours of the museum and gold vault. Reservations open 30 days prior
  • General Grant – the largest mausoleum in North America and final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia
  • Green-Wood Cemetery – founded in 1838 as one of the first rural cemeteries in America and now a National Historic Landmark
  • Hamilton Grange – preserves the Harlem estate and home of US founding father Alexander Hamilton
  • Irish Hunger Memorial – an abandoned stone cottage in Battery Park that’s a metaphor for the Great Irish Famine
  • Soldiers & Sailors Monument – commemorates Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the American Civil War, located in Riverside Park
  • Waterfront Museum – seeks to educate about maritime history & expand waterfront access in the metro area
Federal Hall in Wall Street
Visit Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated as the first presented of the US

Always Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Museum – 3rd largest museum in NYC with an impressive Egyptian antiquities collection. Suggested admission $16
  • El Museo del Barrio – specializes in Latin American and Caribbean art, with an emphasis on works from Puerto Rico. Suggested admission $9
  • MoMA PS1 – explores the art, ideas, and issues of our time through thought-provoking contemporary art. Suggested admission $10
  • Queens Museum – features contemporary works designed to enrich appreciation of the fine arts through changing exhibitions. Suggested admission $8
  • Sculpture Center – contemporary art museum in Long Island City,  dedicated to experimental and innovative developments in contemporary sculpture. Suggested admission $10
  • Staten Island Museum – has collections in Natural Sciences, Fine Art, and History Archives. Suggested admission $8
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Pay What You Wish admission to The Met gets you entrance to The Cloisters & The Breuer too!

Monday: Free / Pay What You Wish

Free or Pay What You Wish museums on Monday only are:

Museum at Eldridge Street
Entrance to the Museum at Eldridge Street includes a free tour of the synagogue. Credit: Museum at Eldridge Street

Tuesday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden – urban botanic garden situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn. Free, regular admission $15. Also free on Wednesday to Friday between December to February; and Friday mornings before noon between March to November
  • Morgan Library & Museum – world’s foremost collection of manuscripts, rare books, and music. Manuscripts and master drawings. Free (Morgan’s Library only) 3-5pm, regular admission $22. Also free on Friday 7-9pm and Sunday 4-6pm
  • Wave Hill – non-profit cultural institution in the Bronx with gardens and greenhouses. Free 9am-12noon, regular admission $10. Also free on Saturday 9am-12noon
National September 11 Memorial
Pay your respects at the National September 11 Memorial

Wednesday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Bronx Zoo – largest urban zoo in the US with over 6,000 animals. Pay What You Wish, regular admission $39.95
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden – urban botanic garden situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn. Free, regular admission $15. Also free on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between December to February; and Friday mornings before noon between March to November
  • New York Aquarium – oldest continually operating aquarium in the US. Pay What You Wish after 3pm, regular admission $24.95-29.95 
  • Queens Botanical Garden – a 39-acre oasis in bustling Flushing, Queens. Free 3-6pm, regular admission $6. Also free Sunday 9-11am and everyday between November to March
  • Staten Island Zoo – kid-friendly suburban zoo. Free 2-4:45pm, regular admission $10
Bronx Zoo Free on Wednesday
Get out of the Big Apple & back to nature at Bronx Zoo

Thursday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden – urban botanic garden situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn. Free, regular admission $15. Also free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between December to February; and Friday mornings before noon between March to November
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum –  founded in 1899, it is the first children’s museum in the US. Pay What You Wish 2-6pm, regular admission $11. Also Pay What You Wish Sunday 4-7pm
  • China Institute Gallery – oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China. Free 5-8pm, regular admission $10
  • Museum of Arts & Design – document scontemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design. Pay What You Wish 6-9pm, (regular admission $16 
  • New Museum – dedicated to new art and new ideas. Pay What You Wish (suggested donation $2) 7-9pm, regular admission $18

First Thursday of the Month

  • Museum of Chinese in America – dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage and culture of people of Chinese descent in the US. Free, regular admission $12
Jewish Museum New York
Visit the Jewish Museum

Friday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden – urban botanic garden situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn. Free before noon between March to November, regular admission $15. Also free on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between December to February
  • Historic Richmond Town – authentic town and farm museum complex in Staten Island. Pay What You Wish, regular admission $8.00
  • Morgan Library & Museum – world’s foremost collection of manuscripts, rare books, and music. Manuscripts and master drawings. Free (Morgan’s Library only) 3-5pm, regular admission $22. Also free on Friday 7-9pm and Sunday 4-6pm
  • Museum of Modern Art – one of the world’s largest and most influential modern art museums. Free 4-8pm, regular admission $25
  • Museum of the Moving Image – only museum in the US dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms. Free 4-8pm, regular admission $15
  • New York Hall of Science – hands-on, family-friendly science center.  Free 2-5pm, regular admission $16. Also free Sunday 10-11am
  • Rubin Museum of Art –  dedicated to the collection of the art and cultures of the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions. Free 6-10pm, regular admission $19

First Friday of the Month

  • Neue Galerie – museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design. Free 6-9pm, regular admission $22
  • Noguchi Museum – 13 galleries and an outdoor sculpture garden are the settings for the wide collection of art work by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Free, regular admission $10
Monet Water Lillies at MOMA
Get up-close & personal with Monet’s “Water Lillies” at MOMA

Saturday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Brewery –  microbrewery with tastings & tours. Free tours 1-5pm, regular tours $18 
  • Jewish Museum – exhibitions that explore Jewish art and culture from ancient to modern times. Free 5-8pm, regular admission $18 
  • New York Botanical Garden – showplace of nature in the Bronx. Free 9-10am, regular admission $23-28. Also free on Wednesday
  • Wave Hill – non-profit cultural institution in the Bronx with gardens and greenhouses. Free 9am-12noon, regular admission $10. Also free on Tuesday 9am-12noon
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – the circular Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is as much of a draw as the museum’s collection of modern art. Pay What You Wish 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm, regular admission $25. Currently not listed on website; call to confirm
Guggenheim Museum
Admire art & architecture at the Guggenheim

Sunday: Free / Pay What You Wish

  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum –  founded in 1899, it is the first children’s museum in the US. Pay What You Wish 4-7pm, regular admission $11. Also Pay What You Wish Thursday 2-6pm
  • Morgan Library & Museum – world’s foremost collection of manuscripts, rare books, and music. Manuscripts and master drawings. Free (Morgan’s Library only) 3-5pm, regular admission $22. Also free on Friday 7-9pm and Sunday 4-6pm
  • New York Hall of Science – hands-on, family-friendly science center.  Free 10-11am, regular admission $16. Also free Friday 2-5pm
  • Queens Botanical Garden – a 39-acre oasis in bustling Flushing, Queens. Free 3-6pm, regular admission $6. Also free Wednesday 3-6pm and everyday between November to March.
  • Studio Museum in Harlem – art museum devoted to the work of artists of African descent. Free, Pay As You Wish on other days (suggested donation $7) 
  • Frick Collection – Henry Frick once resided in this 18th-century French-style mansion; now its the home of his impressive art collection. Pay What You Wish 2-5pm, regular admission $22 
Frick Collection Itinerary
Visit the Frick Collection

Planning Your NYC Trip

Now that you know all the free museums in New York City, let’s take a quick look at Broadway… did you know that you can see most Broadway productions for around $30-40? Want to know how? Look no further than our post on how to score Cheap Tickets on Broadway Rush.

We also recommend Lonely Planet’s NYC guidebook to help you plan your trip.

Although the U.S. is a relatively safe country for travel, medical costs are high. If you’re an international visitor we recommend purchasing travel insurance before any trip. We’ve been using World Nomads through 80+ countries over the past 12 years and have been really happy with their coverage and services.

For more details check out our World Nomads review here.

Did you enjoy reading our list of Free New York City Museums?!

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Pinterest image of Guggenheim roof
Guggenheim museum

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you.

Updated in May 2019

Comments

  1. Plenty of museums and that too free entry. I am not very crazy of museums unless it is specifically famous for something.But during rains museums are my favorite place to be. 🙂

  2. This is the list I was always looking for when I lived in NYC. It’s perfect, thanks for putting it together!

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