New York City Museums and Galleries
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St., Upper West Side
This interactive museum touches on everything from the science of sleep to jazz. During warmer months, there’s also an outside water park, where kids can sail boats and study erosion through sand. With 38,000 square feet, there’s plenty to keep little ones occupied.
Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St., West Village
CMA is one of those spots that doesn’t hold any punches: Here, kids are introduced to heady tropes in contemporary art from portraiture, to process, to language, through kid-accessible exhibits featuring works by Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, and more. In addition, their classes and after school programs are some of the best in the city. Check the website for the day's activity, as many are free and offsite.
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.
555 W. 24th St., Chelsea
The jewel of Larry Gagosian's gallery empire is a gargantuan, museum-standard center in Chelsea: The space alone is worth a visit for its sheer monumentality. And fittingly, the stable of artists displayed there consists of the art world's heavyweights from Ed Ruscha, to Taryn Simon and Jeff Koons. There are multiple outposts in the city (including a second location on 21st street) along with galleries around the world.
101 Spring St., Soho
Donald Judd moved into 101 Spring Street in the then derelict Soho in 1968, and over the course of twenty-five years, renovated each of the five floors in the building according to his singular aesthetic. The result is a space that is as much a home as it is a piece of art. The Judd Foundation opened up the space to docent-led tours, where visitors get to see his custom-made furniture, and the art and objects he acquired over the years. It’s a wonderful window into Judd’s entire sensibility.
531 W. 24th St., Chelsea
Founded in 1985 by co-owners Lawrence R. Luhring and Roland J. Augustine, this Chelsea gallery focuses on representing an international group of contemporary painters, sculptors, photographers, and multimedia artists. The roster is a roll-call for some of the world's most celebrated artists from Larry Clark to Joel Sternfeld, Pipilotti Rist, Janine Antoni, and more. There's also a location in Bushwick for larger scale projects.
Matthew Marks Gallery
523 W. 24th St., Chelsea
With a stable of some of our favorite contemporary artists and photographers—Luigi Ghiri, Nan Goldin and Terry Winters—gallerist Matthew Marks has made a name for himself for his offbeat, yet totally on-point exhibitions. There are three outposts in Chelsea.
11 W. 53rd St., Midtown
Despite its popularity, which translates into lines around the block on any given day, MoMA is still one of our favorite places in the city. Whenever we come to visit, whether to walk the permanent collection or to check out a new, contemporary exhibition, we always spend some time in the white marble-clad sculpture garden, a rare respite in the middle of bustling midtown. The MoMA has plans to expand into what was previously the Folk Art Museum next door: Headed up by architectural practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro, it will certainly be as artfully conceived as the famous 2002-2004 revamp.
22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
Housed in a renovated public school, PS1 has been a beacon for contemporary art lovers since the 60s, though it officially only became part of MoMA in 2000. With the unerringly avant-garde Klaus Biesenbach as its director, PS1 has presented many groundbreaking shows including Francis Alÿs, Ari Marcopoulos, and Confetti System, a timely Mike Kelley retrospective shortly after his death, and the “Greater New York” series. In the summer, the Warm Up series—where great DJs play in the museum’s courtyard—draws a fun crowd. There's also an on-site cafeteria, M. Wells Dinette.
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 Café Sabarsky, where you dine surrounded by Adolf Loos furniture.
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