New York City is home to an incredible number of internationally renowned museums, spanning many cultures and genres and attracting millions of visitors from around the nation and the world every year. Although selecting which institutions to visit can be difficult, a good place to start is on the so-called Museum Mile, a stretch of Fifth Avenue that runs from East 82nd to East 105th Streets and host to eight distinct types of museums: El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design (currently closed until 2014), the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, the Goethe House German Cultural Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The last is possibly the most famous in the selection, especially the striking Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and curving interior staircase, not to mention its impressive collection of art.
Other notable museums are within walking distance of the Mile, like the Whitney Museum of American Art that features works by 2,000 artists, including 20th-century Americans such as Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe. Take your own daytime tour of the American Museum of Natural History and see the fantastic collection of scientific curiosities and specimens showcased in the film Night at the Museum, and gaze into the cosmos at the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. For fans of the most contemporary artwork, the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Midtown’s MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) are not to be missed, especially the MoMA’s sculpture garden featuring pieces by Rodin and Picasso.
The Frick Collection is Henry Clay Frick’s majestic compilation of European masterpieces, and is housed in his Fifth Avenue mansion, opened to the public in 1935 and a work of art in itself. Harlem’s Studio Museum is a culmination of works by national and international artists of African descent and for works inspired and influenced by black culture. The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in northern Manhattan, dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, presented in a unique structure built to represent secular and religious sites from Europe. A journey of just 30 minutes by subway is well worth it for the Brooklyn Museum, a 560,000 square-foot Beaux-Arts building that houses world-class, culturally diverse collections from ancient Egypt through to modern times. The Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, is part of a complex of 19th century parks and gardens that includes Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Prospect Park Zoo.