Guggenheim Museum

How to get into museums for free in NYC

She might not be the most respected performer out there today, but there are many days when I feel exactly what Azealia Banks meant when she released her album titled Broke with Expensive Taste.

Here’s a list of how you can sneak into a bunch of museums in New York without paying a cent. It’s time to feel classy and refined.

Note: some of the free admissions days might not apply during special festivals, screenings, or events. I always recommend going to their website or giving them a call gasp to double check so you don’t look silly when you get there.

Art Museums

The Met

Little do many people know that the Met is actually a suggested donation entry fee. That means you pay-what-you-can-or-want. If you are really broke and can stand a dirty look from the attendant, you are perfectly free to donate a dime. Then take that money you saved and spend it on a $9 cheesecake or a set of cat painting magnets like I do.


The Museum of Modern Art is free to all visitors every Friday from 4 pm – 8 pm. I’ve seen the lines stretch around the block for this beforehand, but if you wait until a little after they open for free, like 4:45 or after, you will be able to see the museum and skip the crazy line.


Pay what you wish on Saturday evenings from 5:45 – 7:45pm.

Whitney Museum of American Art

Free on Fridays 7–9:30pm.

Brooklyn Museum

Every first Saturday of the month from 5–11 pm, the Brooklyn Museum is free to enter. There’s also a ton of free music, events, readings, showings, and other stuff. First Saturdays are awesome!

Queens Museum of Art

Pay what you wish.

Bronx Museum

Always free.

Museum of Arts and Design

Pay-what-you-wish 6–9pm on Thursdays.

Frick Collection

Pay-what-you-wish 11am–1pm on Sundays.

The Cloisters

The Met’s medieval art branch uptown. Also pay what you wish.


This Long Island City postmodern offshoot of MoMA is free to NYC residents with proof of residency until October 15, 2017 during regular museum hours, excluding concerts, fundraisers, and ticketed events. It’s also suggested donation for everyone else, so pay-what-you-want.

Museum of the Moving Image

Free admission on Fridays from 5–8pm.

American Folk Art Museum

Always free.

Noguchi Museum

First Fridays, pay what you wish.

New Museum

Free Thursday 7–9pm.

Rubin Museum of Art

Free Friday 7–10pm.

Neue Galerie

Free first Friday of the month, 6–8pm.

Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design

Pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays from 6–9pm.

Gardens and Zoos

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Free on Tuesdays all day, and Saturdays 10-noon excepting festival dates.

Bronx Zoo

Pay what you wish on Wednesdays.

New York Botanical Garden

Free Wednesdays.

Queens Botanical Garden

Free Nov-March. Free on Sundays 4–6pm April – October.

New York Aquarium

Pay-what-you-wish Fridays 3pm – closing.


9/11 Memorial Museum

Free Tuesdays from 5–8 pm.

American Museum of Natural History

Suggested donation. I suggest you donate enough to help keep programs open for children who are interested in science, but if you are a broke student like I once was, don’t feel too bad. They’ll make up the money on giant groups of tourists.

Save 43% on NYC’s top 6 attractions with a CityPASS ›

Museum of the City of New York

Pay what you wish.

New York City Police Museum

Pay what you wish.

Coney Island Museum

Always free.

Waterfront Museum

Always free.

El Museo del Barrio

Pay what you wish.

Museum of Chinese in America

Free Thursday.

China Institute

Free Thursday 6–8pm.

Japan Society

Free Fridays 6–9pm.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

Free Wednesday 4–8pm

Jewish Museum

Free Saturday.

Morgan Library & Museum

Free Fridays 7–9pm.

New York Historical Society

Free Fridays 6–8pm.


And, if you are a NYC resident, it goes without saying that if you want maximum freebies you should apply for the IDNYC. You’ll never have a reason to be bored again and you won’t have to shove through the throngs of people trying to get in free on designated days. Win-win.

Post contains affiliate links


Artist with a passion for travel.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.