New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s most prestigious art collections and cultural hubs. Five million annual visitors stroll the Met’s 17 acres (6.9 hectares) of gallery space, gazing upon pieces representing 5,000 years of art and human history. From Egyptian tombs to American abstract expressionist paintings, the museum’s permanent collection has more than 2 million objects, so expect to stay awhile.
Valid for three consecutive days, basic Met tickets include access exhibits at the museum’s three branches: the Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Breuer, and the Met Cloisters. Visit on a hop-on hop-off bus tour and peruse the Met’s vast collection on your own, or see the highlights on a private tour with an expert guide. Skip-the-line tickets and VIP after-hours admission are also available for visitors who want to save time and escape the crowds. Similarly, travelers can choose an EmptyMet tour to visit before the museum opens and partner up with an art expert to enjoy an intimate view of the collection’s most famous exhibits.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fee-based audio tours are available in several languages.
- Food and drink, other than water in plastic bottles, are not allowed into the museum.
- There are eight onsite dining options, ranging from casual cafés and cafeterias to fine dining spots.
- Flash photography and video cameras are not permitted inside the museum.
- Luggage, carry-on bags, musical instruments, oversize backpacks, and other large items are not allowed in the museum and cannot be stored at the coat check.
How to Get There
Set back from Fifth Avenue on the eastern edge of Central Park in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the star attraction of Museum Mile. To get there, catch a Fifth Avenue bus or take the subway to 86th Street (4, 5, or 6 train); from the Upper West Side, take the M86 bus across the park and get off at Fifth Avenue.
When to Get There
The Met is open year-round and daily from 10am to 5:30pm, with extended hours until 9pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Summer visitors can enjoy incredible views of Central Park from the rooftop café and bar, open May through October. In winter, the museum can be a cozy retreat from chilly weather. Weekends are the busiest time to visit, so visit on a weekday if you want to avoid crowds. For a sophisticated evening treat, visit on Friday or Saturday night, when the Met serves cocktails and snacks with live music on the Great Hall Balcony Bar.
Met Museum Highlights
Since the Met opened to the public in 1880, its footprint has expanded to cover more than 2 million square feet (186,000 square meters). While there is something for everyone here, highlights include the collections of European paintings, classical antiquities, medieval armor, Islamic art and artifacts, and American decorative arts. Don’t miss masterpieces such as Canova’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Monet’s The Water Lily Pond, and Vincent van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses. The roof garden showcases a different temporary installation each year.