A cruise to New York offers more than your everyday American experience. It offers high-rise buildings with historic paths, iconic restaurants and breathtaking views worthy of any Instagram page. A cruise stopover in this gigantic city will leave you spellbound and there really is something for everyone to enjoy. A trip to the top of the Rockefeller Center, a visit to the site of the twin towers or a trip to one of the thousands of museums that line the city streets. Head to the Upper East Side and walk along Museum Mile, home to nine of the cities best museums ranging from modern art to natural history. Keep on reading to find out a little more about these magnificent attractions.
Must-see New York museums
American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History is the perfect place for discovery, interpretation and education. Home to scientific collections, human cultures and displays of the natural world. “The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding, the museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education and exhibition,” quotes the museum.
Much like the sister museum in London, the building is home to ancient animals from years gone by, unrecognisable species and rare finds that only those visiting will ever get to witness. If you want to find out more about the world we live in, then the American Museum of Natural History is the perfect place.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Statue of Liberty National Monument
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to the Statue of Liberty on your next cruise, then you’d be silly to turn up the opportunity to step inside the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Located inside the same building that used to house the former immigration station complex, this moving tribute to immigrants who attempted to make the move to New York hundreds of years ago. “The museum is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex. The French Renaissance Revival structure, restored to its 1918 - 1924 appearance, tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people,” says the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on their website.
A self-guided tour will allow you to learn about the tails of these immigrants who travelled to the station and how their lives altered as they settled into life in America, their struggles and their tribulations.
1071 5th Avenue
One of four museums across the globe named the Guggenheim Museum, the New York branch is a feat of modern architecture and is named one of the architectural icons of the 20th century. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959, the building is now home to exhibitions of modern and contemporary art by lecturers, artists and art critics.
The Guggenheim Museum describes itself a little more on its website, “Visitors can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings, classes for teens and adults and daily tours of the galleries led by museum educators. Founded on a collection of early modern masterpieces, the Guggenheim Museum today is an ever-evolving institution devoted to the art of the 20th century and beyond.”
Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
“While the Met and the Natural History Museum will always rank among our favourite New York City museums, for something a bit more off the beaten path when exploring New York, we love the Morgan Library & Museum,” Kate from Our Escape Clause explained.
“Bibliophiles will love this private library, originally built for Pierpont Morgan, which is stunning and deserves to be photographed from every angle. Based on Italian Renaissance-era villas, each room of the library seems more interesting than the last and still holds much of the collection of rare books and manuscripts it was built for. Interesting exhibitions also pass through the museum regularly, ensuring there’s always something new to check out.”
The Morgan Library & Museum is situated in Manhattan. It not only houses ancient books but it is also New York’s ultimate research library and serves as a museum and scholarly research centre. Originally built to house the private book collections of J.P. Morgan, it was made a public institution in 1924 by the benefactor’s son. Wander through the vast collections and take a sneak peek into the private collections that have stood the test of time in the walls of the magnificent building.
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Founded by three women with a passion for modern art in 1928, The Museum of Modern Art is a radical museum that exhibits contemporary artwork from across the globe. Celebrating creativity, openness and tolerance, the museum aims to be inclusive of art of all media types both on-site and online. The museum is home to thought-provoking and contemporary art that explores the issues of our world over the last 100 years. Home to Van Gogh, Apple and Picasso, you’re not short of famous names and faces across the huge site.
New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
Also known as New York’s first museum after its establishment in 1804, the New York Historical Society is an American history museum and library that presents exhibitions, programmes and research for the people of the city. “As the older museum in New York City - predating even the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by nearly 70 years - our museum is home to some of the city’s and nation’s beloved artworks, including those by Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart, as well as all 435 of John James Audubon’s extant preparatory watercolours for Birds of America,” says the Historical Society.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum
180 Greenwich Street
A museum and location of respect and tranquillity, the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a place of commemoration for those who lost their lives in the attacks of 11th September 2001 and 26th February 1993. The non-profit memorial honours the lives of the 2,983 people who were killed on the site and those who risked their lives to help with the aftermath. Walk around the base of the buildings which have been lovingly turned into water fountains, featuring the names of those lost etched into the perimeter of the memorial. The museum goes into more detail about the history of the site and the attacks themselves, exploring the architecture and the unforgettable encounter that many had to witness. A wander around this remarkable and moving sight is a must for anyone visiting the city who would like to pay their respects.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Avenue
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the place to see some of the very best art in the world. Home to over 5,000 years of art history displayed across three beautiful sites, The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters. Founded in 1870, the museum has been displaying its artistic gems to the public for over 140 years and aspires to be ‘more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects.”
We chatted to Ben from Two Wandering Soles, he told us “Even though we had a short time in NYC, we made sure to visit the Met. With more than 2 million works of art in its permanent collection, you can see something new every time you go. The Met is probably one of the best and most diverse museums in the world. Whether you’re an art lover or not, this museum is a must-see while on a cruise to New York.”
The Tenement Museum
103 Orchard Street
A crucial element in the history of America and New York, The Tenement Museum brings enduring stories of immigrants and their experiences as they settled in the big city and a city of little diversity over 100 years ago.
“The Tenement Museum is my favourite museum to visit in New York because it showcases the experiences of life as an immigrant living on the Lower East Side in an informative and interactive way,” Jennifer from World On a Whim told us. “The museum has multiple tours to choose from which highlight the story of immigrants from multiple countries, so you can choose a tour based on your family lineage. My personal favourite is the Hard Times tour, in which you hear the story of two immigrant families who came from Prussia and Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries.”