Manhattan’s museums are as lively, diverse and distinctive as the steel sentinels towering over the city’s streets. Within this lone New York borough, you’ll discover an entire world of art, history and culture. Few could argue that visits to the Guggenheim, MoMA or the Museum of the City of New York aren’t worth your time; and even then there are dozens more like the Morgan Library that vie for the top spot of local favorites. To explore further, these museums in Manhattan showcase the relics of yesterday and the emerging talent of today and will show you countless sides of New York City.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is the museum in Manhattan for art lovers. More than 5,000 years of culture await behind these doors. It’s been a Central Park fixture since 1870 and only grows by the day as European masterpieces by Vermeer join Bronze Age artifacts from China and the finest Islamic art. The Met is a commanding presence, stretching along Fifth Avenue from 80th to 84th, making it well-deserving of your entire day.
Museum of Chinese in America
If you’re dining out in Chinatown, amplify your experience beyond the cuisine with a visit to the Museum of Chinese in America. Here, the Chinese-American diaspora is documented in more than 85,000 artifacts, including recordings and oral histories from the early 1900s. These archives do more than tell the story of the Chinese communities in New York; they help redefine the narrative on what it means to be Chinese-American.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Get to the soul of Harlem at the National Jazz Museum. Collections include hundreds of hours of live radio broadcasts, featuring Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz legends in their prime. The fluid nature of the music itself is reflected in the museum’s diverse experiences that seek to make jazz accessible to the world. Free in-person educational programs for students and live performances are available in the museum and online, allowing fans to tune in to the genre.
New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex
While others rush through Grand Central Terminal, you’ll have no qualms about missing your train to visit the petite New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex. It’s incredible to wonder how drastically different NYC would be without the mass public transit – the photographs, maps and artifacts show just how vital the subway system is to everyday life in New York. Vintage subway cars and public buses are also on display at the museum proper in Brooklyn as well.
New York City Fire Museum
Show your support for the FDNY of the present by learning about its past at the New York City Fire Museum. Set in a century-old firehouse in the Hudson Square district, this museum traces the FDNY from the days of the bucket brigades. View the evolution of tools, uniforms and even fire trucks across two floors. It’s a fascinating museum for kids to learn more about their heroes, as well as a sobering experience where the Ground Zero firefighters are memorialized for their sacrifice.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Not to be confused with the Jewish Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a living memorial to the Holocaust. The extensive collection of more than 30,000 items includes toys, musical instruments, memoirs, diaries and testimonies – all painting intimate pictures of those who lived and lost their lives. Nazi propaganda and rhetoric are also represented; their messages only add to the sorrow one feels when walking through this important, impactful museum.
The East Village is no stranger to emerging artists, and, while not a museum, Half Gallery showcases contemporary art as vividly as possible. If you don’t have the time (or inclination) to trail around the Met or MoMA, this compact space is like a cultural espresso shot, enlivening your senses and getting straight to the point via a roster of rotating collections and artist-led discussions. It’s right by the four-floor Brant Foundation with its landscaped roof terrace and Swiss Institute for experimental art, in case you decide to make a day of it.
The Skyscraper Museum
Discover the history of this concrete jungle and other modern metropolises at the Skyscraper Museum. Right on the South Cove of Lower Manhattan, the Big Apple backdrop is perfect for this sleek museum. Get a bird’s-eye view of Midtown thanks to mini-models. See just how architects pushed the limits of design in the first skyscrapers and skylines. A special exhibit featuring the original World Trade Center and the rebuilding at Ground Zero gives a closer look into the history of this iconic landmark.
Hauser & Wirth
It may not be a museum, but Hauser & Wirth is a unique fixture among the other galleries in the Chelsea Arts District, near the High Line park. The building itself was designed from the ground up to act as a crucible for art and artists alike. Permanent site-specific works join rotating exhibitions of contemporary pieces in a variety of mediums, including unfired clay, full walls and organic textiles. Look out for the gallery’s program of talks, screenings and workshops, too.
Museum of Sex
For an uncensored look at the evolution, history and cultural significance of human sexuality, the Museum of Sex bares all. Over 200,000 pieces of art, clothing, film and other historical ephemera are kept on permanent exhibition, granting an extended life to objects that would have been disregarded elsewhere for their sexual content. Visit their interactive exhibit, Superfunland, and just like that, you can write you own version of Sex and the City.
This is an updated article originally written by Graham Fuller.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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