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    Metropolitan Museum of Art: what to see? The works of art of the New York Met

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    Joel Fulleda

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    The Met is the largest museum in New York, its collection is unparalleled: we are talking about almost five hundred thousand works of art and historical documents spread over 180.000 square meters. It is the temple of art of the Big Apple and is absolutely worth a visit. It would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum!


    • How to visit the Met
    • Suggested route
      • Where to start?
      • Audioguide, photo and video
      • Audio guide prices
      • Audioguida per Smartphone
    • How to get to the Met?
    • Prices, tickets, entrance time and other info
      • Cost of tickets
    • Met Pass: in which ones is the ticket included?
    • What to see at the Met? The most famous works of the collection
      • Image gallery
    • Shopping al Met
    • Where to eat in and around the museum
    • Accommodations around the Met
    • The branch offices of the Metropolitan Museum
      • The Cloisters
      • Come arrivare a The Cloisters?
      • The met breuer
    • Met Gala: the coolest event in New York
    • Detail of the collections of the Met
      • Egyptian art
      • Ancient Middle Eastern art
      • asian art
      • Greek and Roman art
      • European art
      • European sculpture and decorative arts
      • African, Oceanic, American art
      • Islamic art
      • Medieval art
      • American painting and sculpture
      • Decorative and American arts
      • Robert Lehman's collection
      • Drawings and prints
      • Weapons and armor.
      • Modern Art
      • Musical instruments
      • Costumes and clothing
      • Photography

    How to visit the Met

    The building has four floors but the last three houses the collection, in the first you will find the hall where you can buy tickets and get a map of the museum (take it, please: it is very clear and it will help you). The works of art are divided into 19 sections, each of these edited by professionals and scholars.

    Suggested route

    Finding your way around all this good things may not be easy, especially if you don't have much time available ...

    Where to start?

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is colossal, literally. So it's impossible to see it all at once. There is a risk of getting lost inside if you don't plan your visit at a minimum.

    You will have to choose according to your personal tastes whereas to see a couple of sections (for example I chose Egyptian and modern European art) it takes about three hours. I recommend that you opt for two sectors and keep one as a spare.

    You can also choose to stay inside the museum all day trying to see as much as possible but I don't know in the evening, at the exit, in what conditions the guards might find you. Of course, if it's raining outside you can decide to spend a whole day at the Met and take it easy.

    My advice: Orient yourself first with the map that you find on the site and that you can ask for at the Hall. For example, if you are interested in medieval art, just go straight from the Hall and you will meet the galleries that host Byzantine art. These will lead you to the medieval art collection which is right in the center of the museum. From here you can continue to the contemporary art department to admire the works of Matisse, Miró and Picasso.

    You will have to pass the section dedicated to European sculpture which is very large (if you already need a stop you can catch your breath at the Petrie Court Café). The museum's “lightest” collection is in the east wing so you can keep a stock of the weapons department or the clothing department here.

    Audioguide, photo and video

    You can't make videos in the museum or use a flash. There are no written directions for non-flash photography but the controls inside the museum are quite strict so be careful.

    The audio guide is a useful tool for visiting a large museum like the Metropolitan because there is a risk of getting lost. They can be rented at the museum entrance and, if you intend to visit the other two locations of the Met (The Cloisters and The Breuer), just show the receipt and you can reuse them. There are ten languages ​​available including the Spanish.

    You can choose different tours with audio guides:

    • Tour boys (6-12)
    • Sculpture tour
    • Architecture tour
    • Tour of the main works

    Audio guide prices

    • Normal $ 7
    • Museum members $ 6
    • Children under 12 $ 5
    • Groups up to 14 people $ 6
    • Groups over 15 people $ 4

    The audio guides are free for blind or deaf visitors and for those who enter after 17pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Audioguida per Smartphone

    You can take advantage of the wi-fi and the free web app of the MET to listen to the guide conveniently from your mobile phone. The option is currently not available for PCs and tablets.

    How to get to the Met?

    Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue a Manhattan – Upper East Side

    Metro: the nearest underground stop is in 86th street and you can reach it using lines 4, 5 and 6. Once you get off, just walk for about 10 minutes and you will be there.

    Prices, tickets, entrance time and other info

    Opening time:

    These are the MET opening hours:

    • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00
    • Friday and Saturday from 10: 00 to 21: 00

    Closed on Wednesday.

    The other closing days during the year are: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and the first Monday of May.

    To access the museum, anyone over the age of 12 must provide proof of vaccination. In addition, all those over 2 years old will have to wear the mask within the premises.

    Cost of tickets

    Tickets can currently only be purchased online. The cost of the ticket for an adult is $ 25. These are the prices in detail:

    • Adults $ 25
    • Students $ 12
    • Seniors (over 65) $ 17
    • children up to 12 years: free

    Book your ticket

    Met Pass: in which ones is the ticket included?

    A tip to skip the line and to save money (especially if you plan to visit other attractions in the city) are the New York Passes, which combine the main attractions, tours or activities at a reduced price compared to the single purchase.

    Here are the passes that include the MET:

    • Sightseeing Pass: Read our reviews:
      • Sightseeing Day Pass
      • Sightseeing Flex Pass
    • New York Pass: read our review
    • New York CityPASS: Read our review
    • Go City New York Explorer Pass: Read our review

    If you have any difficulty in choosing the product that best suits your needs, I recommend our guide on which pass to choose for New York.

    What to see at the Met? The most famous works of the collection

    Although there are thousands of works, we decided to make our selection of the most famous works that you can admire by visiting the MET.

    Image gallery

    Andrea del Sarto, Holy Borgherini family
    Andrea Mantegna, Adoration of the Shepherds
    Arnold Böcklin, The Isle of the Dead
    Sandro Botticelli, Communion of St. Jerome
    Filippino Lippi, Madonna and Child
    Paul Gauguin, Hail Mary
    Giotto, Adoration of the Magi
    Edward Hopper, The Lighthouse of Two Lights
    Claude Monet, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies
    Claude Monet, The terrace at Sainte-Adresse
    Claude Monet, Poppy Field, Argenteuil
    Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Seated Dora Maar
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Harvest
    Raphael, Oration in the Garden (Pala Colonna)
    Jan Vermeer, Young Woman with Pitcher and Basin
    Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Straw Hat
    Vincent van Gogh, I primi passi (da Millet)
    Vincent van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses

    Shopping al Met

    The Met Store is a kind of land of toys where you can find everything, from the most common things such as books and objects for the home to games for children related to art and jewelry. But also prints of the canvases exhibited at the museum and sculptures, faithful reproductions of the original works on display. There is even a department dedicated to clothing with bags, jackets and T-shirts, accessories of various kinds such as Egyptian collars or umbrellas with Klimt and Van Gogh prints.

    Where to eat in and around the museum

    Inside the museum there is a wide choice of restaurants and cafes that will satisfy the tastes of most people. Here's where you can eat without leaving the MET.

    • The Petrie Court Café: first floor. There is a large window overlooking Central Park even if the place is not very big and at peak times it can get a bit chaotic.
    • The American Wing Café: first floor. Here you can relax surrounded by sculptures by American artists.
    • The Great Hall Balcony Bar & Café: second floor. Located under the vaults of the Great Hall, in the area dedicated to the bar you can taste homemade ice cream while at the café on Friday and Saturday evenings you can enjoy live music.
    • Cantor Roof Garden Bar: fifth floor. As you can guess from the name, its strong point is to offer beautiful views of Central Park and the nearby Manhattan skyline. It could therefore be classified as a real Rooftop Bar typical of the city of New York.
    • The Bookstore Café: first floor. This is the dining area of ​​the museum shop.
    • Cafeteria: ground floor. Located on the ground floor, it offers a range of self service menus.
    • The Dining Room: fourth floor. The real museum restaurant. Sophisticated and gourmet dishes with a beautiful view of Central Park. Don't think about spending little though.

    If you are looking for a place to have a snack outside the museum you will surely have noticed how many restaurants there are near Fifth Avenue. But which one is really worth it?

    In the immediate vicinity of the Met you will find many Italian restaurants, the first one I recommend is Four Cats Campaign (205 E 81st St) which enjoys a good reputation: for an intimate and relaxing dinner it is certainly a good choice. The other is Sandro (306 E 81st St). Both are excellent and are also equal in price.

    For a pizza there is Serafina Fabulous Pizza (1022 Madison Ave) and if you want to feel like a real New Yorker, go to Burger Joint, 119 W 56th St: Their burgers are considered some of the best in New York and the place is original and familiar.

    In the surrounding area there are many clubs but some of them are absolutely not deserving due to the poor service and food therefore caution! Read our culinary tips on New York to get some tips and choose the best place for you.

    Accommodations around the Met

    A good place to sleep near the museum is the Wellington Hotel (871 7th Avenue), a three-star hotel in a very strategic location (and you are also close to the metro). Have you also considered the idea of ​​New York Bed & Breakfasts? L'Ivy Terrace (East 58th Street) is a welcoming property in the heart of Midtown, otherwise the Franklin Hotel (164 E 87th St) is a good compromise: the rooms are small and outdated but coffee is always offered and the prices are affordable (compared to the average of course).

    Staying overnight in Manhattan is certainly not cheap, it is true, but if you agree to move away from the center you will find excellent solutions at lower prices. For further information, I refer you to our article on the best neighborhoods to sleep in New York.

    The branch offices of the Metropolitan Museum

    So big that it doesn't fit into a single (huge) building, the Met has two branch offices.

    The Cloisters

    The name The Cloisters (the cloisters) derives from five French and Spanish medieval cloisters, which have been reconstructed using original pieces. The museum houses exclusively a collection of medieval art, about 3.000 pieces dating from the XNUMXth century to the XNUMXth.

    If you have bought a ticket for the MET you will have the option to access for free also at the Cloister but only and only in the same day.

    Come arrivare a The Cloisters?

    Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr. In Fort Tyron Park, NYC 10040

    Meter: take the metro A, get off at station 190 st. and walk north to Margaret Corbin Drive for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you prefer not to walk, you can take the M4 bus always heading north for one stop.


    The office is open from Thursday to Tuesday from 10:00 to 17:00. The closing day is therefore Wednesday in addition to Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and January XNUMXst.

    The met breuer

    Please note:: this branch of the MET has closed permanently in 2020

    This branch was inaugurated on March 18, 2016 and hosts exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. The Met Breuer is located at 945 Madison Avenue and follows the same logic as the Fort Tryon venue ticket.


    • 10: 00-17: 30 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
    • 10: 00-21: 00 Friday and Saturday
    • Closed on Mondays

    Met Gala: the coolest event in New York

    Every year, for almost 70 years, on the first Monday of May there is an unmissable event in New York. No, it is not for us mere mortals that we can limit ourselves to seeing it on TV, but for the celebrities who converge at the Met as benefactors to finance the activities of the Art Costume Institute. Anna Wintour, the director of the event, has invited over the years the most famous personalities such as Karl Lagerfel and Lady Diana as well as young designers (even if they cannot afford the entrance ticket which starts at $ 30.000 this year).

    Each year a theme is chosen that celebrates a piece of fashion history and singers, actors, producers, artists, in short, all the creams of the Star System participate by exhibiting the dress on the subject and making their donation to the Museum. I seem to have told you enough, have a nice visit to the most important museum in New York!

    Detail of the collections of the Met

    Here is a concise overview of the Met's collections

    Collections of the Met at a glance

    Egyptian art


    The Egyptian art department is one of the most popular also because the collection includes more than 36.000 pieces ranging from the Paleolithic to the Roman Empire, many of which were found during archaeological excavations conducted by the museum between 1906 and 1941. The works are permanently exhibited in 40 galleries that house the great Egyptian collection and it is certainly a sector to visit if only to see one of the Met's most loved attractions, the Tempio di Dendur rebuilt in 1978 in the Sackler Wing.

    Ancient Middle Eastern art

    In this section there are cuneiform tablets, seals and objects of various kinds ranging from the Neolithic to late antiquity, with many works dating back to the Bronze Age.

    asian art

    The Met's Asian art section is perhaps the largest in the West. Beyond 60.000 works between painting, sculpture prints, objects of common use. Renowned is the collection of Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese paintings. The "Shining White Night", the painting made by Han Gan (742-756) during the Tang dynasty, is one of the most famous works, you can find it in the section "Masterpieces of Chinese painting". Don't miss the gallery dedicated to the Qing dynasty.

    In addition to the graphic arts, the reconstruction of the Chinese garden of the Ming dynasty,

    Greek and Roman art

    The Greek and Roman collection houses 35.000 works dating back to the third millennium BC. Among the main ones we point out the Etruscan chariot of Monteleone: the chariot was found in 1902 in Monteleone di Spoleto by a farmer who, by pure chance, had discovered a XNUMXth century tomb. The wagon was first taken to Paris, then it was definitively transferred to the Metropolitan in New York. It is a work of great historical importance: in addition to the fine manufacture (scenes from classical mythology are depicted in the panels), the chariot accompanied the high-ranking owner to the tomb.

    European art

    Here we find the masterpieces known and loved all over the world: there are 37 canvases by Monet, 21 by Cézanne, 18 by Rembranbdt, then Van Gogh and Jacques-Louis David. The collection that is part of the Italian scuola which collects paintings by Caravaggio, Filippo Lippi, Ghirlandaio, Andrea Mantegna and many others. Recent is the purchase by the museum of the Madonna with child of Duccio di Buoninsegna which due to its small size has been nicknamed the "Mona Lisa of the Met".

    European sculpture and decorative arts

    Over 50.000 works ranging from the fifteenth to the twentieth, you can find ceramics, tapestries, fabrics, jewels but the real protagonist of the section is Renaissance sculpture. Among the main works, Bernini's Bacchanal and Rodin's Citizens of Calais.

    African, Oceanic, American art

    This section came to life in 1969, when Nelson A. Rockefeller he donated his private collection to the Met, which included some 3.000 pieces. Now the museum houses more than 10.000 and they are right in the wing dedicated to the great American philanthropist. Here you can find Aboriginal painted rocks, precious metals and memorial poles carved by the Asmat of New Guinea.

    Islamic art

    The department dedicated to Islamic art really includes everything from religious objects to those of common use such as tapestries, miniatures, ceramics and pieces of furniture. The most prestigious part of the collection concerns a collection of miniatures coming from Iran and from the Mughal Indian Empire.

    Medieval art

    The collection runs from the XNUMXth century to the XNUMXth and is divided between the Met and the branch office, "The Cloisters". The works are mainly of a religious nature, such as statues and tapestries and funerary works but there are also jewels and reliquaries.

    American painting and sculpture

    Among the collection are paintings of great historical importance for American culture, such as the portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart and works by John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins and Jackson Pollock.

    Decorative and American arts

    This gallery is divided into 25 different rooms that recreate a particular historical period complete with furniture and decorations. The Met boasts a large collection of windows which also includes works created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

    Robert Lehman's collection

    Robert Lehman's collection might seem like something apart, a small museum within a large museum.These are galleries dedicated to the famous American banker who had chosen to donate, after his death in 1969, all his private collection at the Met. The wing, which takes his name, was set up according to the interior of his home. The works do not have a precise order, there are the masterpieces of Botticelli and the Venetian, Matisse and Chagall.

    Drawings and prints

    The drawings and prints section began with the more than 600 drawings donated by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1880, now the collection gathers more than 12.000 works including drawings by Michelangelo, Degas, Leonardo and Rembrandt.

    Weapons and armor.

    This department is among the most visited in the Met even by people less interested in art because the reconstructions are so spectacular that they fascinate everyone. The most loved is certainly the "Parade" of the knights in armor which is on the first floor. The collection spans many historical periods and populations, from Greece to Egypt passing through Rome and the Middle East.

    Modern Art

    Displayed in the modern art section are masterpieces such as Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, Pollock's Autumn Rhythm and ben 40 canvases by Paul Klee which span the artist's entire career. If you are a lover of modern art you can continue your visit to the Met Breuer.

    Musical instruments

    This is, in my opinion, an area to visit absolutely. There are specimens of extreme value, such as the collection of violins by Stradivari and the oldest existing piano in the world. The collection is not divided only according to the type of instrument but also for the technique and culture to which it belongs, a real encyclopedia of music.

    Costumes and clothing

    Here you will find a number of dresses that are icons of the history of fashion; it is not a permanent collection, the clothes cannot be left permanently at the museum because they would suffer wear but every year at the Met two different fashion houses parade following a specific theme.


    The museum collects approx 20.000 fotografie divided into 5 collections. In recent years, the museum has made major purchases, such as the photos of Alfred Stieglitz, those of Edward Steichen and Walker Evans.

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