5 Must-See Museums in New York City You Never Heard Of

New York City has over 100 museums. While the really famous ones, like the Met, MoMA, the Natural History Museum tend to get all the attention, today I’m gonna be sharing with you some of New York’s best museums that you’ve never heard of.

The Color Factory

For all of you Instagram-obsessed people out there, you’re gonna love The Color Factory Museum and interactive art exhibit. It’s only running until mid May possibly later, so make sure to check this out. Admission is $38 and must be purchased online before going, but trust me if you want a really fun experience, it’s worth it. The place had a Willy Wonka type vibe. While we didn’t see any Oompa Loompas, we did get plenty of food samples throughout the 16 different exhibits.

It’s quite interactive. You’ll get to draw your partner, play instruments and just have a generally good time. There are cameras everywhere, so if you don’t want to take your own photos, Color Factory will email you some of the best moments from your trip. These didn’t come out half bad. The absolute best part of the museum is the ball pit. Plan to spend up to two hours here. This is the perfect place for families or even a date.

Fraunces Tavern Museum

This is the front of Fraunces Tavern which is the oldest bar in New York City built before the Revolutionary War. Upstairs is a museum that’s a history lover’s dream. You can tell a place is old if George Washington himself used to drink there. While the bar is worth a trip as well, I’m gonna tell you about the lesser-known museum located upstairs. Adult admission is just seven dollars and you’ll learn so much about the history of New York City. I highly recommend asking for tour guide; ours was super knowledgeable.

This place is most famous for when George Washington delivered his farewell speech to the Continental Army in 1783 and the room hasn’t changed much since then. The other exhibits were equally as fascinating to a history buff like me, from amazing portraits, to a Martha Washington shoe, to a map of how New York City looked in the beginning. Prepare to be impressed! I love the room showcasing the evolution of the American flag. There’s even an interactive exhibit where you can put on old wig and hat. Give the museum at least one hour.

New York Historical Society Museum

The New York Historical Society has a very famous neighbor in the Museum of Natural History, but don’t count this spot out. For one, it’s New York’s first museum founded in 1804. Adult admission is $21 and you could spend hours wandering here. Although the focus is American history, one of the surprise exhibits is a room filled with one of the world’s largest collections of Tiffany lamps. These are absolutely beautiful. Some of the designs are really breathtaking.

You can learn a lot just wandering the halls here; from the many portraits, to old cartoons from The New Yorker paper. There’s a 15-minute video about the formation of New York City that is really informative. I recommend giving this place a chance, even with it’s very famous neighboring museum nearby.

City Reliquary Museum

This is City Reliquary Museum and if you’re a fan of quirky, unique stuff and just a
little bit weird this is the museum for you. A Museum of New York City relics; that it is. The smallest museum on the list and with a price tag of only $7 for admission. I dedicate 30 to 45 minutes here. In one word, this place is quirky. They have a lot of old New York City memorabilia like Seltzer bottles and displays from bygone eras.

Any one of the friendly staff there will happily take you on an included tour if you ask. I listen to old music playing from an antique telephone speakers; have a listen
yourself. There’s an old belly dancer exhibit that was pretty neat. Even the bathroom was a shrine to the quirky and strange. If you get a chance, make your way to the backyard for an unusual shrine to the Statue of Liberty. Overall, if you like weird stuff like I do, you’ll be right at home at the City Reliquary.

New York Transit Museum

Of all the museums on this list, the New York Transit Museum is by far my favorite because living in New York, you’re going to be taking public transportation all the time. Going down those stairs is gonna give you an insight into what it was like to live in New York and ride around the city. You can tell it’s going to be a fun experience when you walk down the stairs and feel like you’re entering a subway station because Transit Museum is actually housed in an old one, underground. Admission is an affordable $10. Plan to spend at least one hour weaving your way around New York transit history.

You’ll start your self-guided tour finding out how the subway system was built. Make sure to bring your camera because on the lower level is the crown jewel of the museum: the old subway cars. If you saw a vintage 1930 subway ride video from December, these might look familiar because they actually originated here. It feels like a movie set. I imagine riding subway cars that were from 1917 to 1963 filled with original ads, notices, and of course the seats. If that’s not enough, the exhibit blending comics with New York transportation was very interesting, if not downright creepy. You’ll also see streetcars, buses and even signs from other country’s subways. As I said before, this is my favorite Museum on the list and an absolute must-visit in Brooklyn.

That’s it guys. Make sure to tell me down below in the comments which one of these museums is your favorite; I’m curious. See you in the next post.