The Metropolitan Museum. Photo by Ariel Min

The Metropolitan Museum. Photo by Ariel Min

New York is known as an expensive city, but you can count the ways it is generous to New Yorkers and tourists. Many of the city’s premier attractions, museums, galleries and performances offer free entry or pay-what-you-wish options, be it for a select day of the month or evening hours every week. Those seeking a bargain can use the no-cost or low-cost admittance to take a chance on the unknown or to return to a favorite art work, exhibit or gallery again and again. Below is a just a selection; there are other free places, such as the galleries and museums of area colleges and universities.

ALWAYS FREE (or pay what you wish):
American Folk Art Museum
American Museum of Natural History (pay what you wish)
Bronx Museum (pay what you wish)
Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcafé live events
Brooklyn Museum (pay what you wish)
The Cloisters (pay what you wish)
El Museo del Barrio (pay what you wish)
Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College
Green-Wood Cemetery
International Print Center
Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay what you wish)
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution
New York City Police Museum (pay what you wish)
P.S.1 MoMA (pay what you wish)
Queens Botanical Garden (free Nov-March)
Queens Museum of Art
(pay what you wish)
SculptureCenter (pay what you wish)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Staten Island Museum (pay what you wish)
Storefront for Art & Architecture
Studio Museum in Harlem (pay what you wish)
Waterfront Museum

Bronx Museum (First Friday, 6-10 pm)
Brooklyn Children’s Museum (Second Weekend, before 11 am)
Brooklyn Museum (First Saturday, 5-11 pm)
El Museo del Barrio (Third Saturday, 11 am-8 pm)
Neue Gallerie (First Friday, 6-8 pm)
Noguchi Museum (First Friday, pay what you wish)


Museum at Eldridge Street
Yeshiva University Museum

9/11 Memorial Museum 5-8 pm
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Staten Island Museum 12-2 pm
Wave Hill 9 am-noon

Bronx Zoo (pay what you wish)
Museum of Jewish Heritage 4-8 pm
New York Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden April-October, 3-6 pm
Van Cortlandt House Museum
Yeshiva University Museum
5-8 pm

Brooklyn Children’s Museum 3-5 pm
China Institute 6-8 pm
International Center of Photography 6-9 pm (pay what you wish)
Museum of Arts and Design 6-9 pm (pay what you wish)
Museum of Chinese in America
New Museum 7-9 pm
Trinity Church: Concerts at One 1-2 pm (September through May)

Japan Society 6-9 pm
Morgan Library & Museum 7-9 pm
Museum of Modern Art 4-8 pm
Neue Galerie 6-8 pm
New-York Historical Society 6-8 pm (pay what you wish)
New York Aquarium
3 pm-closing (pay what you wish)
New York Hall of Science 2-5 pm (September through June)
Rubin Museum of Art 7-10 pm
Staten Island Museum 12-2 pm
Whitney Museum of American Art 7-9:30 pm
Yeshiva University Museum

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 10 am-noon
Jewish Museum
New York Botanical Garden 10 am-noon
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 5:45-7:45 pm (pay what you wish)
Wave Hill 9 am-noon

Frick Collection 11 am-1 pm (pay what you wish)
New York Hall of Science 10-11 am (September through June)
Queens Botanical Garden April-October, 4-6 pm
Studio Museum in Harlem


    9/11 Memorial Museum

    9/11 Memorial Museum

    An educational and historical institution honoring the victims and examining 9/11 and its continued global significance.