NYC Museums on a Budget

Because of its expensive Upper East Side reputation, New York easily becomes an intimidating destination for budget travelers. Home to world-famous museums, one just can’t visit NYC without visiting some of them. Good thing there is a way to visit every famous museum and not starve afterwards. Just check out this list:

American Museum of Natural History

From its name, and as seen from the movie Night at the Museum, this museum houses historical exhibits including the Egyptian relics, stages of human civilizations, and a statue of Theodore Roosevelt on a horse. Remember the movie now?

Visits to the museum is always pay-as-you-wish and they don’t judge. So just give them how much you are willing to ‘donate’ and they will let you in. However, online tickets automatically charge you the ‘suggested donation’. Pay-as-you-wish tickets are only available at the museum’s ticket counters. So I recommend coming here the moment they open because the lines can go crazy even just a couple hours after. Museum opens at 10am daily.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Oh, the Met Steps from Gossip Girl… And the countless art inside including Van Goghs, sculptures, fashion exhibits, and parts of Egyptian temples. Many would stay visiting The Met is a must when in New York.

Entry to the museum is also pay-as-you-wish, and each ticket includes free admission to The Cloisters, which is a branch of the museum that showcases art, architecture, and gardens of Medieval Europe. However, like the American Museum of Natural History, the pay-as-you-wish is not applicable when purchasing online. So better come early and line up at the museum’s ticket booth. Museum opens at 10am daily.

The Guggenheim Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous spiral museum. Just seeing the architecture from the inside is reason enough to enter. If that doesn’t convince you yet, maybe the paintings by Manet and Picasso will…

Museum admission is pay-as-you-wish on Saturdays, from 5:45pm until 7:45pm. Line starts at 5:15, but let me warn you in advance that the queue goes around the museum block when we arrived around 6pm. So be there reeeaally early to get in for free. To get around the exhibits, you can use the museum’s WiFi to download the free Guggenheim app, or borrow a free device from the Multimedia Guide desk.

Museum of Modern Art

The home of Van Gogh’s famous The Starry Night and Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. Need I say more? Oh, there’s one more: Thanks to UNIQLO Free Friday Nights, admission is free on Fridays, 4-8pm. But beware, it’s going to be really crowded during this time.

9/11 Memorial Museum

After the tragic incident in 2001, a memorial museum has been built in memory of the victims, in honor of the people who helped, and to show the damage the incident has done.

Museum admission is free on Tuesdays, 5-8pm. You just have to reserve your slots (maximum 4 tickets) a day before your intended visit thru their website or line up at the museum entrance starting 4pm. Slots are limited and the queue becomes really long so I recommend reserving them online. To have a better understanding of the exhibits, you can download their free app — 911 Museum Audio Guide — on the App Store and on Google Play.

Even the sophisticated NYC Museums can be explored on a budget. What’s stopping you now?

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