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This post is about how to visit the Tenement Museum in New York City, including getting tickets, directions, what you will see at the museum and analysis of reviews.
The museum is housed in actual tenement buildings built in 1863.
The building served as a residence for approximately 7,000 immigrants from the time it was built all the way into the 1930s.
The only way to visit the museum (housed in historic tenement buildings) is by taking a tour or guided experience.
The museum offers many tours each day, but tours do sell out. If you are flexible about what day and time you can go, your chances of getting tickets increases.
It can’t hurt to be spontaneous so you can always call at the last minute and see if tickets are available.
The Tenement Museum is at 103 Orchard Street at the corner of Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. (map)
You can use this Google Map to get exact directions from your point of departure to the Museum.
If you are new to New York, you may find the following posts regarding the NYC subway helpful.
M15 North and South Bound. There is a bus stop at the corner of Grand and Allen Streets.
By Car: Click here for directions and parking information.
TIP: Many sightseeing bus tours have stops in the Lower East Side within walking distance of the Tenement Museum.
If you are thinking of taking a bus tour, see our post about which New York bus tour is best?
The Visitor Center and Museum Shop are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days.
As stated above, you can only visit the Musem buy taking one of their tours. They offer many different tours each with its own theme.
Tours vary in duration so this is something to keep in mind. Also, some building tours require you to walk a few flights of stairs.
These old buildings can get hot in the summer, just like they did 100 years ago!
Below we list the types of tours they offer.
The museum offers many variations on the tours below, far too many to explain here. You can see more detail on their website.
Note that tours are not recommended for children below the age of 6.
On these tours, you visit the apartments homes of former residents of the building.
They have been designed to look as they did more than a century ago.
Your guide will discuss life in that era and help you imagine the experience of the families that lived in 97 Orchard.
These tours are led by guides who show you around the neighborhood while explaining different aspects of the neighborhood.
Tours include topics like how locals spent time outside of their homes a hundred years ago.
Another topic is about how the neighborhood has changed over the decades.
These tours have the added bonus of having a ‘resident’ (a costumed performer) of the building show you around their apartment.
These tours are especially good for families with children.
Note: These tours are on a limited number of Sundays and book up fast.
The Museum has special events, including panels discussing the themes of immigration, food history, music, health, and politics.
Also, every Thursday evening, the Tenement Museum hosts events and programs that are not offered any other time.
Some of these events are free and some require a ticket. See the schedule here.
This unique museum can sometimes sell out of tickets. We highly recommend that you buy your tickets in advance. The museum posts its tour schedule online 6 weeks in advance.
Walking Tour Tickets:
You can purchase tickets on their website, in-person inside the gift shop or by phone 877-975-3786.
The Tenement Museum has a very good 4.5 star TripAdvisor rating. Overall, guests have been very pleased with their experiences.
Many reviews point out how fascinating and interesting the inside of the 97 Orchard tenement apartment building is.
Guests have been mostly pleased by the guides and the content of all the tours.
There are some, but not many, negative reviews. The most frequent complaint is that the tours are too expensive.
Guests love the gift shop, which offers a great selection of books and many other New York City related items.
The Lower East Side is one of NYC’s most vibrant neighborhoods. That is why we created our pay-what-you-wish Lower East Side Food Tour.
You can take this tour before or after visiting the Tenement Museum, or instead of the museum tour which is somewhat expensive!
Our guides tell you about the history of immigration in the neighborhood, including what life was like in the tenements.
You’ll also learn about the area’s well-known art scene. And of course, you’ll be tasting some of the best and cheapest treats the neighborhood has to offer.
Be sure to take a look at our full lineup of New York food tours.