Upper East Side Museums and Galleries
1048 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side
Walking into this Upper East Side townhouse is a quick time warp into the golden age of Vienna, before the First World War. The permanent collection, displayed almost as if it were in an elegant home, includes works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele and many design pieces from Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, and Werner Werkstatte. We never tire of visiting the galleries and then heading downstairs for a tea and Linzer torte at the perfectly achieved turn-of-the-century-style Cafe Sabarsky, where you dine surrounded by Adolf Loos furniture.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side
This beloved institution—reigning supreme on NYC’s Upper East Side—has been shepherding millions through its halls since 1880. You’ll find some of the art world’s most iconic pieces, as well as important artifacts from ancient to modern times. It’s also home to the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, which dates back to 15 BC.
1071 5th Ave., Upper East Side
Aside from being one of the most significant buildings of the 20th-century, and the apex of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career, the Guggenheim is a world-class art museum and cultural center, too. No matter the show—usually solid retrospectives—it’s worth the entrance fee just to wind your way through the snail-like building and look down from the top at the mesmerizing view below.
The Frick Collection
1 E. 70th St., Upper East Side
Housed in a classic early 20th-century mansion commissioned by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the collection boasts iconic works from the Renaissance to the early 19th-century, including pieces by El Greco, Goya, and Rembrandt. We especially love the absolutely over-the-top rococo room with wall-to-wall frescoes by Honoré Fragonard.
2 E. 91st St., Upper East Side
Housed in Andrew Carnegie’s former Georgian mansion, the Cooper Hewitt still maintains the original dark wood-lined interiors and imposing staircase. After closing for three years for a major upgrade on the design galleries at the hands of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Cooper Hewitt had a grand re-opening at the end of 2014 with an expanded exhibition space. There's also an interactive Process Lab where visitors learn about the design process, and an Immersion Room highlighting the museum's expansive wall-covering collection. The museum was already one of the best in the world for design—both contemporary and ancient—so it's no surprise that it's better than ever. Don’t miss their shop, which is incredibly well done.
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