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NYC Museums Open Late

Updated: May 3, 2024

In the city that never sleeps, those of us who live and work here are grateful for the chance to enjoy some art and culture in the evenings.

Another perk of going late is that some museums offer free admission during those hours.

Below I share with you which museums in NYC have late hours and which are free to visit at those times.

Looking to save on museums during the day? Read our post on Free Museums in New York City.

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on Fifth Avenue adjacent to Central Park on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The Met has nearly two million artworks, objects, and artifacts in its collection. It's hard not to be impressed by this outstanding museum.

This world-class museum is open late Friday and Saturday nights until 9 pm.

There's something magical about seeing ancient artifacts when it's dark outside. I can detach from my daily busy life and step into a world from thousands of years ago.

Have an advance peek at some of the highlights of the Met collection.

Though The Met does not offer free admission at any time, you can get free admission with most NYC tourist passes.

Admission is practically free for New York State residents and students in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut with ID. You must pay something, but it is up to you how much. I give a $1.

TIP: On Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy live music, drink specials and light fare in the gorgeous settings of the American Wing Cafe and the Petrie Court Cafe. Food and beverages must be purchased).

Also, head up to the Cantor Rooftop for fantastic views of the New York City skyline.

2. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is perhaps the most impressive modern art museum in the world. 

In my opinion, this is one museum not to be missed when in NYC. The art and the space itself are breathtaking.

See masterworks by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Warhol, Dali, and so many more artists.

NYC Museums

On the first Friday of every month, the museum is open until 8 pm as part of a special program called First Fridays,

Find out more information about MoMA and how to get free admission here.

3. National September 11th Museum

Located in Lower Manhattan, the September 11 Museum is open from Wednesday to Monday until 7 pm, with the last entrance at 5:30 pm.

Here, you'll learn about each victim as well as the history of the World Trade Center location before, during, and after 9/11.

The events of 9/11 are covered with historical artifacts and multimedia displays, as well as personal effects of those who lost their lives that day.

This museum is very moving, though it can be emotionally challenging. Still, I highly recommend it

The September 11 Museum is free on Mondays from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.

Read more here about the museum and free and reduced admission.

4. Museum of Broadway

The Museum of Broadway is one of the most exciting museums to visit after dark in NYC. It’s open until 8 pm on Saturday nights.

The masterminds behind this museum include internationally renowned artists, designers, and theatre historians.

The museum provides an immersive experience as it explores the history of Broadway shows from the 1700s to some of the best Broadway shows playing now.

Broadway show fans will not be disappointed!

It's located in Times Square so after the museum, you have lots of things to do in the area. Check out our post, Things to Do at Night in Times Square.

5. Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney is a contemporary American art museum known worldwide for its prestigious Biennial Exhibit.

The Whitney is open until 10 pm on Fridays and starting at 5 pm the museum has a Pay-What-You-Wish policy.

Note that advance tickets for free hours are required and capacity is limited.

Edward Hopper painting

The Whitney has one of the best collections of modern American art anywhere in the world, with works by Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Edward Hopper, to name a few.

When I am at the Whitney, I always take a stroll along the High Line, which is where the entrance to the museum is located.

Since the High Line is a public park, it is open quite late. Read our post to find out open hours.

6. New-York Historical Society

Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this is the oldest museum in New York City. It’s also one of the most interesting museums in NYC with late hours.

It’s open until 8 pm on Fridays and starting at 5 pm, admission is pay-as-you-wish, meaning you can make a donation but it isn't required. 

This museum is included for free with most tourist passes.

The museum aims to educate visitors about the city’s fascinating history through its excellent collection of artifacts and objects, some as old as four centuries.

7. New Museum

*Note that the museum is closed for renovations and it is anticipated to reopen in early 2025.

This is Manhattan’s only museum dedicated entirely to cutting-edge new contemporary art. It’s open until 9 pm every Thursday. 

From 7 pm to 9 pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish, though timed tickets are required.

It’s located on the Lower East Side, a fun neighborhood to go out in after your time at the museum.

8. Brooklyn Museum

Of the NYC museums with late-night hours, the Brooklyn Museum is one of the most fun to visit during its First Saturdays program. 

On the first Saturday of every month from February to August and October, the museum is open until 10 pm. There's live music and dancing and a bar as well.

the Brooklyn Museum

Admission is free starting at 5 pm. Advance registration is required.

Be warned - this is an extremely popular event in all of New York City. More than once, I have not been able to get in, so get there early!

The Brooklyn Museum has a collection of nearly 1.5 million works of art, objects, and antiquities. Its Egyptian and African art collections are among the best around.

While you are in Brooklyn, enjoy more that this borough has to offer. See our post about things to do in Brooklyn.

9. Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin is a one-of-a-kind museum in NYC that is open late. It’s solely dedicated to Himalayan art and artifacts. 

On Friday evenings until 10 pm, the Rubin hosts an event, K2 Friday Nights. 

I think it's a pretty cool way to spend an evening out since the art is not typical of other museums in the city.

Rubin Museum

On K2 Nights, you can explore all the galleries for free. The museum cafe is turned into a lounge with a DJ and a cocktail menu.

Museum admission is free with a ticket reservation every Friday night from 6-10 pm.

Hurry to enjoy the Rubin as it is closing on October 6, 2024.

10. Morgan Library & Museum

Housed in one of the finest examples of Neoclassical buildings in America is the personal collection from J. Pierpont Morgan.

It is open until 7 pm on Fridays. Entry is free on Fridays between 5 pm and 7 pm. Reservations are required.

In the sumptuous rooms, you can see his exceptional collection of rare manuscripts, drawings, and artifacts.

I have to confess that for many years living in NYC, I didn't know about the Morgan. But now that I do, I tell everyone I know!

11. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum 

Housed on a former aircraft carrier, this one-of-a-kind museum focuses on outer space, maritime and aeronautical history, and technology.

On select Fridays from April through September, the Intrepid is open until 9 pm. Entry is free starting at 5 pm.

While this museum is popular with visitors of all ages, it's an awesome place to bring the kids!

12. Neue Galerie 

This museum is dedicated exclusively to Austrian and German art and design including paintings, sculpture, furniture, photography, and more.

Lady in Gold

On the First Friday of every month, it is open until 8 pm, with free admission starting at 5 pm.

Admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you haven't seen the Lady n Gold (above), you must. She is stunning in person.

13. Fotografiska

This is the New York branch of the esteemed Stockholm-based Fotografiska. It is devoted to showcasing world-class photography.

It is open until 9 pm Sunday to Thursday and 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. Last entry is one hour before closing.

This museum hosts rotation exhibitions with works by both renowned and emerging photographers.

The museum is housed in a gorgeous landmarked building from 1894. There’s also a bar to check out as well.

I'm a huge photography fan, so Fotografiska hits the spot when I go!

Fotografiska is included for free with a New York Pass, one of several NYC tourist passes.

14. Poster House

As the name implies, this unique museum in Chelsea is dedicated to the history of poster design.

It’s the first museum in the U.S. that examines this overlooked medium and its global history.

It is open late on Fridays until 9 pm, and admission is free all day and night on Fridays.

Poster House has a collection of more than 7,000 posters from more than 100 countries so you can expect a diverse array of posters.

From vintage to modern, from aesthetically pleasing to powerfully communicating social issues, Poster House will not disappoint.

If you don't think posters are art, you will be surprised at Poster House.

Fortunately for me, the reproductions of the vintage travel posters are under $15!

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About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker in love with the city’s history, culture and food. She's a world travel as well and enjoys sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined Free Tours by Foot in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She still leads tours on a part-time basis. READ MORE...
Updated: May 3rd, 2024
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