NYtick: Cavernous museums in a hurry (and coping with expensive tickets)

New York’s roster of museums include more ‘must-sees’ that travelers put on their itineraries than they can reasonably accommodate in short visits. Most try to see the Met and MoMA (or at least their gift shops) whether or not interested in art, and perhaps throw in the Guggenheim for its architecture. Art aficionados layer on the Frick and Whitney and more, quickly building a Jenga tower of an itinerary. The American Museum of Natural History has gotten even more popular with its iconic Hayden Planetarium featured in movies like Spider-Man 2, and is The Rapid Traveler’s great favorite. Every time he visited NYC as a child, The Rapid Traveler pulled Grandfather of Rapid Traveler to the AMNH and made a beeline for the Hall of Ocean Life for its blue whale, and giant squid vs sperm whale diorama.

the squid and the whale

Photo by chanicey

Time Out New York comes to the rescue with a helpful museum ‘must-sees’ series covering many of NYC’s museums. The older ones, such as for the Met and MoMA do not give detailed locations, but they have improved over time, and are kept updated for museums like the Whitney that are dominated by temporary exhibitions. With these in hand, a casual visitor can quickly track down experts’ picks of the best, and then opportunistically catch what interests them while in transit.

All this sightseeing can hit the wallet hard, so it is important to know that a number of these sky-high ticket prices are suggested donations. Paying the full suggested donation or not is up to each individual to decide. The core mission of these museums is (or should be) to provide access to the public, so if cost is a burden, it seems justifiable to pay whatever amount is reasonable. This excellent article on Cheap in the City, a great site, provides info on several of the biggies and strategies for handling the matter. It also provides details on MoMA’s Target Free Friday Night (4 – 8 pm).

Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

Photo by Dano

CityPass is another way to see the main ones relatively economically and skip the lines.

Happy museum running and don’t leave out the blue whale!

Readers, what are your NYC museum highlights?

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