You Can Do Better Than Blair Waldorf: Other Museums Besides The Met That Are Amazing
I have been blessed to grow up in a city that’s as cultured as New York. I couldn’t imagine not having boutiques, museums, and unique cuisine at my disposal every day. Art is something that I have always loved whether it be the performing or studio arts. Whenever I go visit a new city, it is always on my list to see at least one museum. Lucky for me, there are tons of museums in New York. In my time living here I have been to so many of them, and at least a few times each. For tourists or people who don’t know New York that well, I know it can probably be overwhelming to choose where to go in a limited time frame so I want to make this easier. Some museums are opening back up and if you’ve been missing your intake of art, I suggest you see which of these are open. Here is a list of my favorite museums in New York. Some are the big named ones, others you might have never heard of but check them out because there is more art to explore than just The Met.
1. Museum of Sex
Wha are you, a prude? Don’t let the name scare you away, The Museum of Sex is one of the most fun museums to go to. Their exhibits feature history on topics surrounding sex that you probably have never learned about. There is always some hot nudity but also humourus pictures, but it’s more than just a joke. The Museum of Sex does a great job of normalizing something that is so taboo, and that I’ll still never understand, considering sex is literally the reason that you are here reading my blog right now. They also have the iconic boob playpen you can buy a separate ticket for which is a lot of fun to do and a must if you’re there already.
2. New Museum
The New Museum located on the Lower East Side is a museum that very much fits its neighborhood vibe. It’s chic, lowkey, and very creative. There is always a cool exhibit there that definitely draws in the young, LES artist crowd. Right before quarantine, I went to see the Peter Saul exhibit and the other projects that were up which was amazing. Going to the New Museum for an art-filled morning and then going to fill yourself up with mimosas at brunch somewhere on Bowery is honestly one heck of an afternoon!
Fotografiska is a new museum that just opened up last winter not too long before quarantine and I was lucky enough to go before Covid-19. It’s a photography museum started in Sweden that is the hub for everything photo related. When I went I got to see the Ellen von Unwerth and Helene Schmitz exhibits which were really fantastic. They also have a gorgeous restaurant inside and café where you can grab Fika, the Swedish word for an afternoon snack.
4. NY Transit museum
The transit museum has been one of my favorite museums since I was a little girl. Here you can explore real old train cars and sketches of the subway system. If you’re a native New Yorker and have never seen how the trains work or how the subway system was first created, you need to go and see for yourself. Something we take everyday and take for granted has such science and history behind it. The museum literally is inside of an old uncommissioned train stop in Cobble Hill so not only is it the real deal but so beautiful.
5. Moma Ps1
Everyone knows the MoMa but do you know her cooler little sister, Ps1? Located in Queens, it’s a contemporary art museum. The art that’s at Ps1 is described as experimental and cutting edge. Some of the best shows I’ve seen in New York have been at Ps1. They also have really great performance art and evernts using their outdoor space such as DJ sets and dance performances. Once things are safer in New York, I don’t doubt they will be throwing a dance party to celebrate!
6. Brooklyn Museum
When you go visit the Brooklyn Museum, you don’t feel as though you’re in New York. The colossal building is out of this world and sits right on the edge of Prospect Park. Something I love about the Brooklyn Museum is that they honor artists and work from Brooklyn, creating a deep connection between the museum and the neighborhood. I am actually scheduled to go see the Studio 54 exhibit this week and I am so psyched about it! This is another underrated one that you should definitely go visit over some stuffy old art museum.
7. The Whitney
I don think this museum needs any introduction. Used to be uptown but now in the hot Meatpacking District, The Whitney is one of the most popular art museums in New York. It’s 5 floors of beautiful, breathtaking art. Not only is the art amazing, but the architecture of the building is also very cool which is why a lot of people like it as well. I love the outdoor deck sections that give you a great view of downtown but also let you break up your museum trip with some fresh air. Their collection has over 25,000 pieces so I promise you you’ll leave with at least a few pieces resonating with you. One thing that I love about the Whitney is that they’re super proactive about art education. They have programs for children of all ages and families to come learn about art, make art, and more.
8. Museum of Chinese in America
In Chinatown, there is a small Museum called MoCA that celebrates and honors Chinese culture in America. For my 5th grade curriculum we studied China and Chinese culture and that was my first time going to MoCA. They technically only have one exhibit up at a time, this one that has been up since 2009 is going to be closing at the end of the year. Titled “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America”, this show displays the relationship between China and America, how Chinese people and culture are perceived in the U.S., and how Chinese culture plays a role in American life. It’s an easy museum to walk through so if you’re every downtown I highly recommend it.
9. Natural History Museum
SUCH a classic. Like really the OG. The Natural History Museum might be an overrated pick but it’s a place that means so much to me. When I was a young girl, the Natural History Museum was a magical place. All of the different rooms, dinosaur bones, taxidermy figures, it was one of my favorite museums to go to. I also had my first kiss there so that’s another reason why it is so special to me lmfao!! No matter if you’re 6 of 60, I think you could have an amazing time sitting under the blue whale or Moai. I mean cmon, doesn’t the Night at The Museum make it look like the coolest place ever?
10. Museum of Food and Drink
Usually you can’t eat in a museum but at the Museum of Food and Drink that isn’t the case! MoFAD is located in Williamsburg and is an organization that is passionate about showing the art and history of food and drink as we know it. It’s around to preserve a love and appreciation for the culinary arts. If you or anyone you know is interesting in cooking and food, this is definitely the museum for them. They have an exhibit called “African American” that explores the true creation of food by African Americans and how it’s more than just stereotypical Soul food dishes. MoFAD is all of your senses, not just your eyes like most museums.
11. Morgan Library and Museum
The Morgan Library is a research library and museum. If you’re ever looking for a rare book or drawing, I bet you that you can find it here. Located in Murray Hill, this building is so stunning that you’ll actually want to grab a book and sit down to read. Right now they have some great exhibits I know I definitely will be going to see such as one from David Hockney.
12. Cooper Hewitt
Cooper Hewitt uptown is known for having interactive work and exhibits. They include a lot of graphic design art and fashion, something that we don’t get to admire a lot. Currently there’s an exhibit on Artificial Intelligence, Bauhaus, and Muslim Fashion. This is definitely a museum better suited for people with a creative thumb.