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Free Museum Days NYC

Let’s be honest, New York isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s probably one of the most expensive cities in the world. I should know, I lived there for 15 years.

However, there are many things you can do for free in New York. As a local you learn that most museums, botanical gardens, and zoos have a free or pay what you wish day.

I took great advantage of these days when I learned of them as a college student and continued to during visits after moving abroad.

Don’t forget to also check out my list of Free Days at NYC Zoo and Botanical Gardens and how to tour New York on a Budget.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met does not currently offer a free day or night but participate in the annual Museum Mile Festival which provides free entrance. However, for New York State residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students, admission is pay as you wish.

Also, any full-priced admissions ticket is valid for three consecutive days at The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. So, you’re basically getting three museums for the price of one.

The Guggenheim

Every Saturday, from 5 – 8 pm, you can pay what you wish for admission (cash only). Suggested admission is $10 and the last ticket is issued at 7:30 pm. Also, admission is always free for visitors under the age of 12.

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History has a suggested admission price. This pay-what-you-wish option is only available at the ticket counters.

9/11 Memorial Museum

The 9/11 Memorial is free and open to the public daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and always to children under the age of 7. It is also always free to 9/11 Family Members and 9/11 Rescue and Recovery Workers with reservations and Active/Retired U.S. Military at any time.

The museum is free on Tuesdays when tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Museum starting at 4 p.m. I’d avoid this if possible.

The Morgan Library & Museum

Admission is free on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and always to members and children 12 and under (however they must be accompanied by an adult).

Admission to J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library only (Mr. Morgan’s Library, Study, Rotunda, and Librarian’s Office) is free during the following times:

Tuesday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, 4 p.m to 6 p.m.

American Folk Art Musuem

Admission is always free. The museum is closed Mondays.

National Museum of the American Indian

Admission is always free.

The Museum of Modern Art

Admission to MoMA is free for all visitors every Friday evening, 5:30–9:00 p.m and during UNIQLO Free Friday Nights. The museum is always for children 16 and under as well as all CUNY and SUNY sudents.

Tickets include free admission to MoMA PS1.

The Jewish Museum

In observance of the Sabbath, admission is free on Saturdays, as well as on select Jewish holidays. Admission is always free for active duty personnel members and their families and children 18 and under. Free admission also available for visitors with Federal Disability identification.

The museum is closed on Wednesdays.

The Frick

First Friday evening of the month 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (except September and January) is free.

Every Wednesday 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. is pay what you wish. The line forms outside the museum and you are guaranteed admission if you join the line before 5:00 p.m. and the last tickets are sold at 5:30 p.m.

The Museum is closed Mondays.

The Cloisters

The Met does not currently offer a free day or night but participate in the annual Museum Mile Festival which provides free admission. However, for New York State residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students, admission is pay as you wish.

Also, any full-priced admissions ticket is valid for three consecutive days at The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. So, you’re basically getting three museums for the price of one.

Whitney Museum of American Art

Pay-What-You-Wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays, 7–9:30 pm. Admission is free to children age 18 and under.

The Museum is closed Tuesdays.

Brooklyn Museum

Admission prices are a suggested contribution i.e. pay what you wish. Ages 19 and under are free and free for all 5 to 11 pm on the first Saturday of every month (except January and September) and from 5 to 10 pm on Thursdays.

Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum

Museum is always free to U.S. military and veterans. The Museum also offers free admission for electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cardholders and up to three guests.

Bank of America customers and employees now enjoy free general admission to the Museum the first full weekend of every month. Double check this is still in effect before going.

The Museum at FIT

Admission is free. Museum is closed Sunday and Monday.

Museum of Chinese In America

Free gallery admission first Thursday of each month except on major holidays.

The museum is closed Mondays.

The African Center

Admission is Free, except for ticketed programs and events.

Museum is closed Mondays.

Museum of New York City

Pay what you wish Thursday 7 p.m.–9 p.m. with a suggested minimum of $2.

Museum is always free to military service members and their families.

Admission is free to children 18 and under (children 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult).

The museum is closed Mondays.

Breuer

The Met does not currently offer a free day or night but participate in the annual Museum Mile Festival which provides free admission. However, for New York State residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students, admission is pay as you wish.

Also, any full-priced admissions ticket is valid for three consecutive days at The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. So, you’re basically getting three museums for the price of one.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Free admission to Smithsonian Institution Members and children under age 12.

National Academy Museum

Free on Fridays during the Annual Exhibition. Free admission is always offered to children under 6.

Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Neue Galerie New York

On the First Friday of every month, the museum is open late and offers free admission from 5 to 8 p.m.

Museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Museum of the City of New York

Admission is free under the age 20. The museum may be a pay what you wish museum if tickets are bought at the counter. I haven’t been so I can’t say for sure.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage

Admission is free on Wednesday 4 – 9 PM. There is also always free admission to children age 12 and under, Holocaust survivors, active members of the military and first responders, and NYC public and charter school students and educators (with valid school-issued ID).

Museum is closed on Saturdays.

Rubin Museum

Admission is free every Friday 6:00–10:00 p.m. and always to children age 12 and under.

Museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

New York City Fire Museum

Free admission for active and retired FDNY, NYPD, DSNY, PANYNJ, as well as active and retired US Military service members and Merchant Marine.

Queens Museum

Admission is Free for children 18 and under, students of New York colleges and universities with current ID Free, and for all NYC Department Of Education employees with ID.

Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Admission is Pay What You Wish on Mondays. Admission is free for children under 5, active duty military personnel and their families, and federally disabled.

Museum is closed Saturdays, Jewish Holidays, and Federal holidays.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Admission is pay as you wish on Thursdays from 2pm to 6pm, and on Sundays from 4pm to 7pm.

Museum is closed on Mondays.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Admission is free. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Museum of Moving Image

Free admission on Fridays 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and always to children under age 3.

Museum closed Monday and Tuesday.

The Noguchi Museum

Free admission on the First Friday of every month.

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

NYSCI

Free admission on Fridays from 2 to 5 pm and Sundays from 10 to 11 am.

Fraunces Tavern Museum

Free admission to active military and children under age 5.

Skyscraper Museum

Free admission for children under 12, members of the military, police, fire departments, veterans, and for visitors who are disabled and their caregivers.

The New Museum

Free admission year-round for military service members and their families. Children 18 and under also receive free admission however children 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Museum is closed Mondays.

New York Historical society Museum and Library

Pay as you wish from 6-8 pm on Fridays. Free admission for children age 4 and under.

Museum is closed Mondays.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Free admission for Blue Star families.

Closed Mondays except for on holidays.

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