If you’re into art–even just a little bit–the Met is a must-see in NYC. You absolutely need to visit this place at least once in your life. It is one of the few structures in New York City that feels large and spacious. There are over 2 million artifacts, including art by some of the most famous artists in history. Find out how much time to spend here, what to skip, and alternative ways to visit.
Why You Should Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Iconic: The largest art museum in the United States, the Met features pieces by famous artists, such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet.
Photographic: The Beaux Arts exterior and Ruskin Gothic, contemporary, and colonial interiors are worth visiting for a few photos. The Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian section is also a great photo opportunity.
Architectural: The original Ruskin Gothic mansion that was the original home to the Met still stands inside the Beaux Arts addition. Famed architect Kevin Roche designed the contemporary addition that houses the Temple of Dendur.
Historic: The museum was originally founded in the 1870s by a lawyer named John Jay. Since then, the museum has expanded to include works from artists from all over the world, including some of New York City’s most talented painters and sculptors.
Kid Friendly: The Met offers programs for schools, tours for kids, and scavenger hunts to ensure even the smallest visitors get excited about art.
Musical: Check out one of the largest collections of musical instruments from around the world here. You can also listen to live piano music on Friday evenings in the Great Hall. Sometimes the museum also hosts special live music events.
Shopping/Fashion: The museum is known for its annual costume gala. Visitors can see the exhibit anytime after the gala in May.
Artsy: The Met is the largest art museum in the United States. They have over 2 million pieces of art, three floors, and seven curatorial departments.
Religious: The museum has plenty of religious artifacts, including an oil lamp that was once believed to be the Holy Grail. Head up to the Cloisters to check out the Met’s medieval art collection.
Literary: The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a children’s book about two kids who run away from home and hide out in the Met. The Goldfinch also utilizes the Met as a major setting in the story.
Celebrity: Though I don’t see a lot of celebrities roaming the halls of the Met, I have seen Tim Gunn here once. I also do happen to know that man celebrities do often visit the Met. Though I don’t recommend a visit for celebrity sightings only.
Cinematic: Tons of movies and TV shows have been filmed here, including When Harry Met Sally, Gossip Girl, and National Treasure. Check out a complete list.
Like a Local: Even locals love the Met and often head over to roam the halls a few times a year.
How Much Does the Metropolitan Museum of Art Cost?/Money Savers:
How Much Time Should I Spend at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?/Time Savers:
- I don’t recommend spending more than 90 minutes in the Met. I was an art history major in college, and I still have a firm threshold of a 90-minute cut-off.
- Take a tour to glean even more information about the art in less time.
- Buy VIP tickets to visit the Met before they open.
- Don’t be shy: ask guards to help you find exhibits.
Fly-By: 45 minutes
In-Depth: 90-120 minutes
Need to Know:
The Met is freakin’ huge. It’s not a bad idea to go in with a game plan of the exhibits you want to see. Don’t expect to see the entire museum in one trip!
Why You Should Skip:
If you’re not a “museum” person or are planning on visiting one of the other art museums in the city. I recommend seeing at least the Met, MoMA, or Whitney if you only want to visit one museum.
When to Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
- 30 minutes after the museum opens or during lunchtime
- The Met is also open until 8 PM on Fridays and is usually pretty quiet between 4 PM and 8 PM
How to Get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Subway: Take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to 86th Street. Walk west toward Central Park. Take a left when you hit the park, and head down to 82nd Street (the museum is a 10-minute walk from the subway).
Taxi/Car: If you’re heading to the Met from the west side of Manhattan, take a cab across the 82nd Street Transverse. This is an easy way to get from the Museum of Natural History to the Met.
Bus: If you’re heading to the Met form the west side of Manhattan, you can also take the SBS 79 to the west side of Central Park through the 82nd Street Transverse. This is an easy way to get from the Museum of Natural History to the Met.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
- If you don’t want to spend all of your time visiting art museums in NYC, you can head to one of the other museums, too. The Whitney and MoMA are both great options, too.
- The Met has two other art museums in Manhattan, Met Breuer (contemporary art) and The Cloisters (medieval art).
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!