6 Best Places for an Art-Oriented Tour of New York City
By some estimates, New York City has a staggering 1,500 galleries scattered across its five boroughs. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how the city is the birthplace of many major art and cultural movements in America. It’s also hyper-saturated with creative talent, making it an ideal destination if you’re a budding artist, creative professional, or just someone who appreciates art.
In this short guide, we’ll fill you in on some of the best places to see in NYC if you’re into visual arts.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A collection of more than 5,000 years’ worth of art from all over the world is what awaits you in one of the largest museums in the world, “the Met.” The main building of the museum, which is located on Fifth Avenue and less than 15 minutes away from New York’s Westgate Hotel, is a destination that’s too expansive to fully appreciate in one visit.
Among the permanent attractions you’ll find here are well-preserved weapons, armor, and accessories from as far back as 1st-century Rome, as well as works of art from old Egypt and from popular figures such as Newton and Galileo.
One smaller branch of the Met, The Met Cloisters, is located in Fort Tyron Park and mainly houses art pieces and architectural wonders from medieval Europe. There’s also The Met Breuer, another branch that regularly exhibits more contemporary collections.
You can get tickets online that are valid at all three locations for three consecutive days, giving you plenty of time to soak up all the art your heart can take.
2. The Museum of Modern Art
One museum that has recently undergone a massive renovation and redrawing the attention of the art community is the Museum of Modern Art or MoMA. The permanent galleries feature multicultural installations from African-American, Indian, and Chinese artists that speak for themselves.
Each gallery has a short thematic title, enough for visitors to piece together the room’s theme for themselves, and it’s quite an experience if you’re into minimalist and old-school creative displays.
3. Frick Collection
Located inside the beautiful Frick mansion is a wonderful, albeit relatively small, collection of artworks and outstanding architecture that you can enjoy minus the large crowds.
The steel tycoon Henry Clay Frick certainly did the world a favor by opening this spectacular display to the public. Here, you’ll find various works from the old masters such as Turner, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Because the location is significantly more low-key than MoMA or the Met, you have all the time you need to really take in all the art. Plus, there’s an audio guide that gives a short description of the rooms, paintings, and other displays.
4. Whitney Museum of American Art
Colloquially known as “the Whitney,” this museum is one of the world’s top destinations for lovers of contemporary and 20th-century works of art. It’s refreshing to have a museum showcasing the works of living artists, which is the primary focus of these exhibits located in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
Some of the paintings you’ll see here were even made by artists living just a few blocks away from the Whitney, which means there’s a good chance you could be interacting with a few of the creators behind the creation while you’re in the neighborhood.
5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The next stop in your art-oriented tour should be the Guggenheim Museum. The architecture is enough reason to put this destination on your list, although you’ll find considerably fewer works of art here and even fewer people compared to other art destinations in NYC.
The buildings’ lauded spiral staircase is great for just meandering with your thoughts, plus the featured abstract and contemporary paintings from Picasso and Degas are also on display as part of the museum’s permanent exhibits. You can check their website for the schedules of other exhibits.
6. Neue Galerie
Conveniently located across the street from the Met is Neue Galerie, a landmark building with a small but worthy collection of European works of art. Each floor delivers a good amount of history, and you can even go for some coffee and a Snitzel in the downstairs cafe. One painting that should not be missed on your visit is “Woman in Gold,” a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt — an artwork that’s captured a lot of historical intrigue due to it being stolen during World War II.
The Galleries in NYC Cover All Periods of Art
Whether you’re looking for the crème de la crème of art exhibits or want to see the latest creations of Chelsea’s budding artists, you’ll get more than the recommended dose of art here in The Big Apple.
Want to get the full experience? Check the schedule of exhibits in advance, order your tickets online, and get a hotel that’s close to your target galleries and museums. You don’t want to be stuck in traffic, especially when there’s so much to see in New York City.