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Is the Met Free?

5 Ways to Get Free Tickets to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Updated: November 10, 2023

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a history of offering their visitors admission on a donation basis, but in recent years they have changed their policies. 

This post will provide details about whether or not you can still get into the Met for free, including tips on various opportunities to get into the legendary museum without paying a dime.


Is the Met Still Free?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on fifth avenue is arguably one of the top five greatest cultural institutions in the world and inarguably one of the Big Apple's best attractions.

Since January of 2018, this iconic museum (which also includes the spectacular Met Cloisters in the Inwood section of NYC) has a new admission policy. 

In order to offset a significant deficit in ticket revenue and limited government support, some patrons are now required to pay an admission fee. This new policy is a bit more restrictive, but there are still several free options.

The Metropolitan Museum at dusk. Image source: Pixabay user anielbaez0.
The Metropolitan Museum at dusk. Image source: Pixabay user anielbaez0.

How to Get Free Met Tickets

Although it's no longer very easy to get into the Met for free, there are several opportunities to get Metropolitan Museum of Art tickets without having to pay a dime.

Admission for New Yorkers -- that is, all New York State residents, not just locals in NYC -- still follows a pay-what-you-wish policy. Tickets are also free for students with a student ID  in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. For any child under 12 from anywhere in the world, there is no admission price.

Ugolino and his Sons, a sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux located at the Met. Image source: Pixabay user anielbaez0.
Ugolino and his Sons, a sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux located at the Met. Image source: Pixabay user anielbaez0.

Because the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a Blue Star Museum, there is no admission fee for members of the military and up to five family members from the middle of May to Labor Day. Additionally, members of the military, veterans, and first responders in New York are included in the pay-what-you-wish policy.  

The Museums On Us program gives Bank of America members free admission on the first full weekend of every month. Certain days and nights have free admission as well. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art participates in two programs which offer free admission: The first is the Museum Mile Festival, which takes place in June and has free admission in the evening. Other museums along Fifth Avenue also take part in this festival. The second program is Teens Take The Met where there is no admission price for teenagers ages 13-18.

Sadly, they do not currently offer free admission for seniors, but senior citizens are eligible for a discounted price of $22 per ticket.


1. Locals

New Yorkers can pay-what-they-wish with a valid ID.  Accepted forms of residency verification include:

  • New York State driver’s license
  • New York State identification card
  • Current bill or statement with a New York State address
  • New York library card
  • Student ID
  • IDNYC

No advance reservations required. Just head to the admission desk upon entry.


2. Students

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students can pay-what-they-wish.

Students of the following schools get complimentary admission: 

  • Bard Graduate Center
  • Barnard College
  • Columbia University
  • Macaulay Honors College – CUNY
  • New York City High School students
  • NYU Institute of Fine Arts
  • NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

No advance reservations required.


3. Military

  • Free Admission with United States Military ID (Mid-May – Labor Day) Blue Star Museum information here.
  • Pay-What-You-Wish policy for military, veterans and New York first responders. 
A partial bust of Alexander the Great at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Pixabay user Sushuti.
A partial bust of Alexander the Great at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Pixabay user Sushuti.

4. Bank of America Card

(first full weekend of every month as part of the Museums On Us Program)

  • Museums on Us is available to Bank of America, Bank of America or Merrill Private Bank (U.S. Trust) credit or debit cardholders on first full weekend of every month. 
  • individual cardholder is eligible for free general admission. 
  • Does not include ticketed or special exhibitions or fundraising events.

5. Festivals and Special Events

Museum Mile Festival

  • Free admission on a night in June, 6-9PM.
  • Eight museums including the Met along historic 5th Avenue are included.
  • Streets closed to traffic.
  • Other attractions such as food vendors, art-related activities for children, and street musicians along 23 blocks of Fifth  Avenue.

Teens Take The Met 

  • Free and open to all teens 13-18 with a middle or high school ID.  
  • Buy tickets in advance or just show up.
  • Music, performances, art making are some of the activities that take place.
  • The event will be filmed, photographed, and/or recorded. 
  • Attendance gives consent to the filming,  photography, and use of your voice and image.

BONUS: Free Guided Tours

It's also worth noting that the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers free guided tours for all visitors!

Explore highlights of the collection through a variety of tours with Museum-trained volunteers. Engaging, hour-long tours are given in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Learn more on our post covering Metropolitan Museum of Art Tours.


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About The Author

Lori Pickhardt

Updated: November 10th, 2023
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