An Essential Guide to New York City’s Museums

When in New York, one simply cannot miss out on visiting its museums and imbibing the rich historical and aesthetic vibe of the city. With the sheer number of options available, however, the task of creating a realistic yet worthwhile itinerary can prove to be a little more challenging than expected – especially for a first-time tourist.

And so we listed down some of our most favorite museums all around New York. You can use this as a guide to can help you determine which places to visit and what to expect from them when you embark on the Go New York Tours for a visit. We also added some tips that might be useful while exploring these museums. Shall we begin?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

the grandiose Met buildingIf museums have blockbuster awards, there can be no doubt that The Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET, as people fondly call it – will bag that award.

With over six million visitors annually, The MET Museum is arguably one of the most famous museums in all of America, and it is easy to see why. MET features about two million pieces of art objects spanning more than five millenniums of different cultural and historical perspectives.

The highlight of the museum’s extensive collection is arguably the “Temple of Dendur”, an Ancient Egyptian temple commissioned by Emperor Augustus of Rome at around 15 B.C. The temple, gifted by the Egyptian government to the United States in 1965, is displayed in a huge, sunlit atrium surrounded by a pool of water that meant to represent its original location near the River Nile. The museum also features a number of Ancient Egyptian artifacts that you might find remarkable including several papyrus pages from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, real Egyptian tombs, a few sarcophagi decorated with hieroglyphics.

TIP: MET’s special exhibits often draw a lot of press and relatively large crowds – if you visit late (especially around the exhibition’s closing) you may find yourself stuck in line and battling hordes of people to get a decent view of the exhibits. If you’re keen on getting the best experience, consider arriving earlier in the day. You can also drop by during weekdays as opposed to weekends.

American Museum of Natural History

AMNH dinosaur exhibit leave visitors in aweIf it’s your first time in New York City, be sure head over to the biggest museum of Natural History in the world – the American Museum of Natural History. This magnificently enormous structure is made up of four city blocks and boasts of 45 permanent exhibit halls (in addition to several seasonal exhibits that are regularly featured in the museum). Inside these halls are around 32 million specimens, ranging from plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, humans, and selected cultural artifacts.

With its extensive collection, AMNH can definitely offer something to everybody. For Dinosaur lovers, AMNH offers the largest collection of dinosaur bones in the whole world. The AMNH also features the Hayden Planetarium for those who’ve had their sights set on all things galactic and planetary. Aside from hosting various exhibits, AMNH is also committed to sharing knowledge to the public by presenting lectures, IMAX screenings, and space shows.

TIP: The AMNH has a free app that is downloadable for Apple phones and tablets. Use this to navigate your way through the museum, find exhibits quickly, and participate in the museum’s special events and promos!

Museum of the Moving Image

old film cameras on exhibit at the Museum of Moving ImageFor film lovers and cineastes out there, here’s one for you! The Museum of Moving Image, located in Astoria, Queens in New York is a unique museum that is exclusively dedicated to everything film, TV, and digital entertainment. The 160,000 square feet building, enlarged and refurbished in 2011 by Leeser Architecture, houses a permanent collection made up of around 13,000 items that aim to tell the wildly incredible history of American Cinema.

The main exhibit is located on the first floor. Aptly titled, “Behind the Scenes,” the exhibit illustrates the different processes of creation and production of films, TV series, and multimedia productions through the years. The second floor, on the other hand, houses different costumes, set designs, and even tributes to the various actors and directors. The evolution of film and production equipment are housed on the third floor of the museum. One can also see the different animatronics and special effects that were used in memorable films such as “Star Wars” and “The Exorcist”.

TIP: Make sure to catch the special film and animation screenings that are regularly held in the museum’s theater hall! Admission is free for ticket holders.

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

facade of Cooper-HewittIf you are in New York City, chances are you’d love to visit the rich, artistic history of this magnificent city. And while there are plenty of museums where you can get your art fix on, we highly recommend you visit the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in the Upper East Side part of New York. It is the only museum in the whole of America that is exclusively devoted to design – both historical and contemporary.

Imagine: more than 210,000 featured design objects that span more than 30 centuries of history, all gathered under one roof. The museum’s collections present an eclectic mix of ancient objects and modern design icons, some of them curated by featured artists.

TIP: If you are an aspiring designer, make sure to check Cooper-Hewitt’s collection of digital resources for students and educators. The museum also regularly holds events and talks on topics related to art and design.

In New York, there is something for everyone, and if you are a big fan of museums, you’ll be glad to know that you won’t run out of places to go to or exhibits to explore. So go on ahead – bust out your maps, pick your most sensible pair of shoes, and take a trip down the history of the world and the achievements of civilization.

Where to Go for Art, Culture, Architecture and Great Chicken Wings in Buffalo NY

Buffalo, New York, has become famous as a great destination for food lovers and cross-border shoppers, but the city has a lot more to offer than just wings and shopping.

Quaint boutiques, great malls, good restaurants and stunning architecture make Buffalo a good choice for a fun weekend getaway.

464 art galleryPublic Transportation and Accommodation in Buffalo

Thanks to an excellent public transit system, traveling to Buffalo and getting around the city couldn’t be easier.

  • Megabus: take a cheap, quick, comfortable ride on the Megabus from New York City or Toronto. (Canadians: bring your passports, and be ready to show them to your driver and at the border crossing, right outside of Buffalo.)
  • Doubletree Hotel: this small hotel, part of the Hilton chain, is quiet, centrally located and close to public transportation.
  • Local Metro and Busses: the local NFTA transit system will take you everywhere you want to go. Invest in a day pass, and travel by train on the metro, or hop on bus no. 32 to go directly to the Walden Galleria.

Retail Outlets and Shopping Malls Near Buffalo

Buffalo offers many shopping options, from dirt cheap outlet malls, to a middle of the road stores, to high-end boutiques.

  • Walden Galleria: the main shopping mall in Buffalo houses everything from J. Crew and Coach to Frederick’s of Hollywood, Victoria’s Secret, and Sephora.
  • Antique Shops: lovers of antiques and knickknacks will be delighted by the boutiques lining Allen Street.
  • Outlet Malls: those in search of real bargains can catch a bus to the Falls for a day of shopping at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

Buffalo Architecture, Cultural Events, and Art Galleries

Buffalo offers a lot more than rampant consumerism, and travelers in search of art and culture will not be disappointed.

  • Art Gallery: you will find a great collection of modern and contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Fans of photographer Cindy Sherman will also want to visit the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.
  • Film Festival: BIFF, the Buffalo International Film Festival, caters to film buffs with screenings of new works by contemporary directors, as well as classics from the golden age of cinema.
  • Darwin Martin House Complex: be sure to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s five-building Prairie Style masterpiece, currently being restored to its original glory. Architecture lovers will also want to see the Art Deco city hall, the splendid Buffalo Savings Bank, and the Ellicott Square Building.

Great Chicken Wings, Pubs, and Restaurants in Buffalo

buffalo wingsThe city may not be a culinary mecca, but its legendary chicken wings have become world-famous, with reason.

  • Anchor Bar: home of the original Buffalo Wings, the Anchor Bar buzzes with activity as it entertains hundreds of hungry patrons every night with plates overflowing with delicious pub food.
  • Beef on Weck: this Buffalo specialty is sadly not as easy to find as one would hope. Head over to Charlie the Butcher’s in the historic Ellicott Square Building for a taste of the sandwich but arrive early – the express restaurant adheres to a 10 to 5 schedule.
  • Gabriel’s Gate: many quaint restaurants, cafés, and bars can be found in Elmwood Village and Allentown, and Gabriel’s Gate is one of the funkiest. The décor is a blend of Gothic Manor and Hunting Lodge, and the menu is an equally original twist on comfort food and pub favorites.

While Buffalo may seem drab and lackluster at first, a little exploration quickly reveals a few hidden gems. Art and architecture, not your thing? Hop on the metro and head over to the Buffalo Zoo; stroll along the Chippewa strip; catch a game at Coca Cola Field; or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the city’s laid-back, friendly atmosphere.