While it’s true visiting New York City with kids can get expensive, there are also a ton of free museums so you can make the most of your time in the city on a budget. From free days at museums to free museums for students, this list will help you get into some of the best free museums New York City has to offer. Read on for our list of the best places to gain free entrance to museums in New York.
Free Museums in Manhattan
The Hispanic Society of America
Founded in 1904, this museum features the art and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines. The museum is currently closed for renovations; however, for a limited time, the museum's Joaquín Sorolla: Vision of Spain Gallery will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by appointment only. Book a guided tour by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting hispanicsociety.org.
613 W 155th St, New York, NY 10032
The Hispanic Society of America website: hispanicsociety.org/
The Hispanic Society of America hours: Tues. - Sat., 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost of admission to The Hispanic Society of America: Free
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is actually part of the Smithsonian family of museums, which grant free entrance to museums. It houses the world's most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and more.
1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
National Museum of the American Indian website: americanindian.si.edu/visit/newyork
National Museum of the American Indian hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, Thursdays to 8 p.m.
Cost of admission to the National Museum of the American Indian: Free
Studio Museum in Harlem
Next on our list of free museums in NYC is the Studio Museum in Harlem. The museum features artists of African descent locally, nationally, and internationally, and work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture.
429 W 127th St, New York, NY 10027
Studio Museum in Harlem website: studiomuseum.org
Studio Museum in Harlem hours: Thurs. – Sun., noon to 6 p.m.
Cost of admission to the Studio Museum in Harlem: Free
Tibet House US is dedicated to preserving Tibet’s unique culture at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1987.
22 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
Tibet House website: tibethouse.us
Tibet House hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost of admission to the Tibet House: Free
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
The mission of the Museum is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, programs and publications. The museum also features student and faculty exhibitions, including the Art and Design Graduating Student Exhibition every May.
227 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology website: fitnyc.edu/museum
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology hours: Tues. – Fri., noon – 8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology: Free
American Folk Art Museum
The next free museum in NYC is the American Folk Art Museum. Since 1961 the American Folk Art Museum has been showcasing self-taught artists through its exhibitions, publications, and educational programs.
2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
American Folk Art Museum website: folkartmuseum.org
American Folk Art Museum hours: Tues. –Thurs., 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri., noon –7:30 p.m., Sat., 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sun., noon – 6 p.m.
Cost of admission to the American Folk Art Museum: Free
El Museo del Barrio
El Museo was founded nearly 50 years ago, and is dedicated to preserving the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans. Tiny visitors can join the Coqui Club, a bilingual program offered monthly.
1230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
El Museo del Barrio website: elmuseo.org
El Museo del Barrio hours: Wed. - Sat., 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun., noon - 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to El Museo del Barrio: Free
Fans of the musical Hamilton can see first-hand where Alexander Hamilton lived with his family Uptown. Not only can you gain free entrance to this museum, but kids can also become Junior Rangers, since this site is part of the National Park Service.
414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031
Hamilton Grange website: nps.gov/hagr/index.htm
Hamilton Grange hours: Wed. – Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to Hamilton Grange: Free
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
This National Historic Site is a recreated brownstone that depicts life as it was when our 26th President was a child. The first U.S. President to be born in NYC, visitors will learn about what his life was like, including how he overcame serious health issues.
28 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace website: nps.gov/thrb/index.htm
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace hours: Wed. – Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace: Free
The Houdini Museum of New York has several hundred of the rarest and most important pieces that was used and personally belonged to Harry Houdini on display. Their mission is to inspire visitors that when one sets their mind to something, anything is possible. Cool artifacts AND a solid life lesson? Count us in.
213 W 35th St Suit 401, New York, NY 10001
Houdini Museum website: houdinimuseumny.com
Houdini Museum hours: Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. – Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to the Houdini Museum: Free
Free Museums in Brooklyn
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center
One of the coolest buildings in Williamsburg, the Kings County Savings Bank building built in 1867, is the home of the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center. Besides ongoing music, dance, theatrical productions, poetry and stage readings, symposia and lectures, the WAH Center created annual festivals such as the Williamsburg Film Festival, the Williamsburg Dance Festival, and more.
135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center website: wahcenter.net
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center hours: Fri. - Sun., noon - 6 p.m.
Cost of admission to Williamsburg Art & Historical Center: Free
BRIC features a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio, and artist work spaces. They are also behind the popular BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival that happens annually in Prospect Park.
647 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
BRIC website: bricartsmedia.org
BRIC Hours: Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sat. - Sun., 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Cost of admission to BRIC: Free
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This urban botanic garden connects people to the world of plants through events, workshops, and of course, their beautiful 52-acres of lush plants and flowers. In the off season, admission to the garden is free.
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Brooklyn Botanic Garden website: bbg.org/
Brooklyn Botanic Garden hours: Tues.–Fri., 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. – Sun., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost of admission to Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Free seasonally from December to February, Tuesday through Friday
Free Museums in Queens
The next one on the free museums in NYC list is super popular. MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest contemporary art museums in the country. Families can enjoy tours, art workshops, films and more.
22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
MoMA PS1 website: momaps1.org
MoMA PS1 hours: Thurs. – Mon., noon–6 p.m.
Cost of admission to MoMA PS1: Free for NYC residents, suggested donation of $4-$8 for non NYC residents
Queens Botanical Garden
The garden is 39-acres of mature plants, trees, and flowers. They often host kid-friendly workshops, activities, and events.
43-50 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355
Queens Botanical Garden website: queensbotanical.org
Queens Botanical Garden hours: Tues. – Sun., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost of admission to Queens Botanical Garden: Free seasonally from November to March, Tuesday through Sunday
Located on the Queens College campus, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum features gallery talks, workshops, films, concerts, and tours. It is the only comprehensive collection of art and artifacts in the borough.
Klapper Hall, Queens College, Flushing, NY 11367
Godwin-Ternbach Museum website: gtmuseum.org
Godwin-Ternbach Museum hours: Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost of admission to Godwin-Ternbach Museum: Free
Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is an outdoor museum and public park featuring sculptures and multimedia installations. Families can enjoy outdoor movies, weekly sculpture workshops for kids, and much more at this free museum in NYC’s trendy LIC neighborhood.
32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11106
Socrates Sculpture Park website: socratessculpturepark.org/
Socrates Sculpture Park hours: 9 a.m. – sunset daily
Cost of admission to Socrates Sculpture Park: Free
Free Museums in the Bronx
Bronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA)
The museum’s goal is to make art accessible to the entire community and connecting with local schools, artists, teens, and families.
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456
Bronx Museum of the Arts website: bronxmuseum.org/smartpower/index.php/
Bronx Museum of the Arts hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost of admission to the Bronx Museum of the Arts: Free
Free Museums on Staten Island
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
The cultural center and garden are part of 23 historical buildings, nine botanical gardens and 10 acres of wetlands—set on 83-acres. Visitors can experience history, theater, dance, music and so much more.
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden website: snug-harbor.org
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden hours: Dawn – Dusk daily
Cost of admission to Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden: Free
- Many museums offer pay-what-you-wish admission. Check before you head out!
- Active duty military can show ID to receive free admission to many attractions around NYC.
- Check the museum’s stroller policy before you head out. You don’t want to get there to find out they don’t allow strollers in their galleries, or that they don’t have a stroller check in.
—– Jesseca Stenson
Featured image: iStock