The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide: Tips, Exhibits & More

The Met, short for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a renowned art museum that houses an exceptional assortment of art pieces spanning from ancient to contemporary times. Its permanent collection is always open to visitors, who can journey through time by strolling through the impressive architectural rooms.

Located in the picturesque surroundings of Central Park, the Met is both easily accessible and awe-inspiring. We offer a useful guide for those planning to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring helpful tips, nearby dining options, and ways to save on other popular area attractions.

Metropolitan Museum Masterclass: Essential Tips for Your Visit

Tips for Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Make a plan: Navigating The Met’s vast galleries can be overwhelming, so it’s important to plan your visit. If you want to explore the entire museum in one day, start with one of the side wings, such as the Greco-Roman or Egyptian exhibits, which will take you through a historical timeline of cultural production from around the world.

Stick around: The Met offers plenty of resting spots throughout the galleries, so take advantage of them to rest your feet and absorb the surrounding atmosphere. With over 2 million works of art, plan on spending 3-5 hours to see the permanent collection.

Download the app: To avoid getting lost or constantly referring to a map, download The Met’s app or access the free audio guide on your smartphone from the museum’s website. Rental devices are also available at the museum.

See the Cloisters: Located uptown, The Cloisters feature Medieval European art and architecture. Your ticket to The Met also grants you admission to The Cloisters on the same day.

Children under 12 receive free admission.

Save at the store: If you’re looking to save on souvenirs, show your Explorer Pass to receive a $10 discount on purchases over $50 at The Met Store and $1 off the Audio Tour.

Timing is Everything: Choosing the Perfect Moment to Visit the Met

Visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Best Time to Go and Special Events

When to visit: To avoid crowds, plan your visit to The Met during the weekdays. Weekends are typically busier, so expect larger crowds.

Special events: For a unique experience, head to the Great Hall Balcony Bar on Friday and Saturday evenings to enjoy cocktails, light snacks, and live music while overlooking the majestic lobby entrance.

Rooftop exhibit: Every year, The Met installs a new work by a contemporary artist on the rooftop, providing visitors with breathtaking views of Central Park, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan. During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy a rooftop café and bar with these stunning views.

The Met Checklist: What to Pack for an Artful Adventure

What to Bring (and What Not to Bring) When Visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Camera: The Met houses some of the most famous artworks in the world, from ancient times to modern masters, offering plenty of opportunities for memorable photos. However, the use of selfie sticks is not allowed, so consider bringing a friend to help document your trip in portraits.

A bottle of water: While outside food and drinks are not permitted, visitors are allowed to bring bottles of water. With so much to see, you’ll appreciate not having to hunt down a water fountain.

A sketch pad: For the artistically inclined, sketching the artwork in one of the galleries can be a unique way to remember your trip. The Met asks visitors to use pencil and paper only, as materials that can make a mess or potentially harm the artwork (such as pens) are not permitted.

Not much else: Due to security procedures, visitors are not allowed to bring in large bags or backpacks and will be required to check them. Purses are allowed, but it’s best to leave larger items at home to avoid long bag check lines.

Unveiling the Met: Must-See Exhibits and Hidden Treasures

As previously mentioned, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an incredibly large institution with a vast collection of artworks. With so much to see, it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring the galleries. To help you plan your visit, we’ve identified some of the most famous and noteworthy exhibits to consider seeing.

Timeless Beauty: Greek and Roman Art at the Met

Greek and Roman Art

In this exhibition hall, visitors can admire a stunning collection of ancient Greek and Roman pottery, sculptures, jewelry, and furniture. With over 17,000 works on display, this exhibition hall showcases art dating from the Neolithic Era (4500 B.C.) to the time of Constantine’s Roman Empire (312 A.D.). As you explore the exhibits, you’ll be able to follow a historical timeline and gain a unique perspective on the past through these expertly-preserved artifacts.

Unraveling Mysteries: Egyptian Art and Its Fascinating Legacy

Egyptian Art MET

The Egyptian wing boasts an impressive collection of over 26,000 artifacts and artworks. Alongside ancient Egyptian paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, the Met proudly presents the Temple of Dendur, an architectural wonder that dates back to 10 BC. The Temple now finds its new home in the Sackler Wing, a remarkable space that features an indoor river, lush green trees, and other related elements that create a truly immersive experience. It’s no wonder why this exhibit is considered one of the museum’s best, with its stunning floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of the bustling streets of the city.

Diverse Masterpieces: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Diverse Masterpieces: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

The tribal cultures section showcases a rich and extensive history from around the world. Visitors can immerse themselves in ancient artifacts such as masks, ritual accessories, and a significant amount of textile work that shed light on the customs and traditions of different cultures. With a staggering collection of over 11,000 pieces, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture of ancient South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Nigeria, and beyond.

A Journey East: Exploring Asian Art at the Met

Exploring Asian Art at the Met

The Asian art section of the museum is a vast and impressive area that showcases artwork from all over Asia, including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, spanning back to ancient times. The oldest artifact on display dates back to the 3rd millennium B.C., making it an incredibly significant piece of history. With a vast collection of artwork, it’s one of the most comprehensive and largest collections of Asian art in the Western Hemisphere.

You can also read: Interesting facts about the metropolitan museum of art

Glimpses of the Past: Discovering Medieval Art

Glimpses of the Past: Discovering Medieval Art

The Met’s collection boasts a vast array of medieval art, featuring both religious and secular pieces. For visitors seeking a more immersive experience of this era, a trip to the Met’s uptown Cloisters is a must-visit destination that will surely leave a lasting impression on history enthusiasts.

An Artistic Tour of Europe: Unmissable Exhibits at the Met

The Art of Form: Sculpture and Decorative Art at the Met

The Renaissance sculpture wing features renowned sculptors like Rodin and Bernini, offering visitors classic examples of this artistic movement. Additionally, visitors can immerse themselves in rooms dedicated to specific periods and styles, fully furnished in their original manner for a truly authentic experience.

A Golden Age: European Paintings from 1250-1800

Regardless of whether you consider yourself an art enthusiast, the Met’s European paintings wing is a must-see destination that boasts some of the world’s most iconic artworks and artists from history. The beautifully designed rooms feature works by renowned painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Botticelli, and others, making it an unforgettable experience.

Evolving Styles: 19th-20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture

The journey through Europe’s art history continues in this area, featuring works by more recent masters such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, and Matisse, among others. Visitors can also explore galleries dedicated to the most renowned artists, including Monet and Cézanne, for a solo presentation of their exceptional artworks.

Celebrating America: The Met’s American Wing

The Met's American Wing

The American art wing pays tribute to artwork, design, and architecture from the 17th century to the early 20th century. Visitors can explore staged rooms, halls of sculptures, and significant examples of domestic art created by both past and present artists.

Pushing Boundaries: Modern and Contemporary Art at the Met

In addition to its extensive collection of historical artwork, the Met also boasts a wing dedicated to modern and contemporary works. This exhibit hall houses an impressive collection of 12,000 paintings dating from 1900 to the present day, featuring masterpieces by renowned artists such as Dalí, Pollock, and Warhol, as well as works by contemporary artists like Kiki Smith and George Condo that showcase the evolution of art over time.

Sky High: The Met’s Rooftop Oasis

During the summer, a visit to the Met’s rooftop is a must for stunning views of the park and a rotating installation featuring works by contemporary artists. The rooftop is the perfect spot to grab a drink, enjoy a quick bite, or simply take in the breathtaking view.

Fashion Forward: Exploring The Costume Institute

The Met’s highly anticipated annual gala is a star-studded event that supports the Costume Institute, offering a glimpse into some of the world’s most significant historical and contemporary fashion through its temporary exhibits. Moreover, the museum’s permanent collection boasts fashion pieces dating as far back as the 15th century, which are displayed throughout the year. For fashion enthusiasts, this event is an absolute must-attend.

The Met’s Marvels: Current Special Exhibits

The aforementioned exhibits are just a glimpse of the Met’s vast collection of permanent exhibits. What’s more, the museum also features a series of rotating special exhibitions throughout the year that delve deep into specific mediums or artists. In the past, visitors have been treated to incredible exhibits such as “Jewelry: The Body Transformed,” “ARMENIA!,” “Dutch Masterpieces of the Met,” and “Delacroix.” Make sure to check the museum’s website before your visit to stay up-to-date with the latest special exhibitions and plan your visit accordingly.

Nearby Wonders: Attractions Around the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Uptown Manhattan boasts some of the city’s most renowned cultural destinations, with easy access to a variety of nearby attractions. Visitors can indulge in the area’s rich cultural offerings without having to travel far, making it a convenient and fulfilling experience.

The Met’s Contemporary Cousin: Introducing the Met Breuer

If you’re looking for even more art after exploring the main building of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, make your way to the Met Breuer, a satellite location just a few blocks away. This impressive museum showcases a diverse range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, and prints, providing visitors with an extensive and well-rounded artistic experience.

Wonders of Nature: A Guide to the American Museum of Natural History

For those craving even more historical knowledge, a stroll through Central Park will lead you to the American Museum of Natural History, one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. This museum, which is one of the largest of its kind, features a diverse array of exhibits, including its world-renowned collection of dinosaur fossils and the mesmerizing Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

From the awe-inspiring 563-carat Star of India sapphire to the fascinating planet-eating dinosaur that roamed the earth 65 million years ago, the American Museum of Natural History offers an unparalleled experience that will leave you spellbound.

A Spiral of Art: The Guggenheim Museum Experience

If the Metropolitan Museum of Art hasn’t quenched your thirst for art, consider a visit to the nearby Guggenheim Museum for a completely different experience. This museum, housed in a striking architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, showcases a stunning collection of contemporary art.

As you stroll along the museum’s iconic circular path, you’ll be treated to a diverse range of contemporary works that will inspire and challenge your artistic sensibilities. The Guggenheim is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique and unforgettable art experience.

Pedal Through Paradise: Central Park Bike Rentals

While you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to explore Central Park. Rent a bike and discover all the paths, trails, and beautiful green spaces that make up the largest public city park with Central Park Full Day Bike Rentals. With the freedom and flexibility of biking, you can cover more ground and see more of the park’s stunning natural beauty. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the outdoors in the heart of New York City.

Satisfying Cravings: Top Dining Spots Near the Met

With three dining areas within the museum itself and a seasonal café on the rooftop during the summer, visitors can indulge in a range of dining options at the Met. However, for those seeking a meal outside of the museum, there are also plenty of local eateries to choose from.

Grazie (Italian) located at 26 East 84th Street is a favorite for locals seeking a sit-down meal. Don’t miss their delicious brunch, which is considered one of the Upper East Side’s best.

For a more casual dining option, head to Nectar Café (Diner) at 1090 Madison Ave. This classic New York diner offers a wide selection of breakfast and lunch options.

If you’re in the mood for a light snack or coffee, Le Pain Quotidien (Café) at 1131 Madison Ave is the perfect place. With an array of pastries, salads, and sandwiches, visitors can choose to dine in or take their food to go.

Everything You Need to Know

Opening Times: Navigating the Met’s Main Building Hours

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 AM to 5:30 PM and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 AM to 9 PM. Visitors are advised that galleries are cleared 15 minutes prior to closing time.

The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the first Monday in May.

Getting There: The Met’s Address and Directions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10024.

Please note that the following driving directions are for the Shedd Aquarium and are not applicable to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

To reach The Metropolitan Museum of Art by public transportation, visitors can take subway lines 4, 5, or 6 to the 86th Street station and walk two blocks west to the museum.

For those driving to the museum, there are several parking garages nearby. Visitors can enter the museum’s address into their GPS for directions to the nearest parking garage. However, be advised that traffic and parking can be challenging in this area, and public transportation is often the most efficient way to reach the museum.

All Aboard: Finding the Right Subway Stop for the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is easily accessible by public transportation. The closest subway stop is 86th Street, and visitors can take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to this station and walk three blocks west to Fifth Avenue.

From the West Side, visitors can take the 1, B, or C trains to 86th Street and then transfer to the M86 crosstown bus, which crosses Central Park and stops at Fifth Avenue.

Using public transportation is often the most efficient and convenient way to reach the museum, as traffic and parking can be challenging in this area.

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