The Museum of Modern Art is one of the most important attractions in New York and is a must see for art lovers. Its collection is unparalleled, there is talk of 200.000 works including paintings, sculptures, photographs and multimedia art.
Opened to the public in November 1929, a few days after the Wall Street crash, MoMA is a creature born of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr), who along with two other Ladies - as they were nicknamed - wished to give life to one space entirely dedicated to modern art. The museum was initially in Manhattan's Heckscher Building, later it has often changed location and has been renovated and enlarged several times but has kept the main collection intact over the years.
- How to visit MoMA
- Audio guides and use of the camera
- Can the works be photographed?
- How to get to MoMA?
- Ticket prices, entrance times and other useful information
- Ticket prices
- Entrance times
- Pass with ticket included
- The most famous works of MoMA
- Photo gallery of the most important works
- What to see at MoMA: the route I suggest
- Shopping al MoMA
- Shop hours:
- Where to eat or have a snack
- Accommodations near MoMA
- What is MoMA Ps1?
- How to get to MoMa Ps1?
How to visit MoMA
The building is structured on five floors and is very large, so I recommend you to get an idea of what to see according to your personal tastes to avoid wandering around empty and getting lost among the hordes of tourists.
- First floor: at the entrance you will immediately find the queue: on one side the tourists have a coffee at the bar, on the other they leave their bags (obligatorily!) at the cloakroom.
- Second floor: there are drawings and prints in charcoal and ink, works made with traditional and advanced techniques. The collection brings together works that date back to 1880 to the present day.
- Third floor: the floor is dedicated to photography, there are more than 25.000 works exhibited not only by famous artists but also by journalists, scientists, entrepreneurs and amateurs. There are photos from World War II, the history of American sport and a collection of works by Alfred Stieglitz, a pioneer of photography at the beginning of the twentieth century and inventor of the artistic portrait. There is also a section dedicated to design.
- Fourth floor: works of art ranging from 1940 to 1980 and embracing artistic movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. You will find artists such as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Duchamp, as well as the Sculpture Garden.
- Fifth floor: here are the masterpieces, all the works of Picasso, Monet, Cézanne, Chagall, Degas, Duchamp, Magritte, Miró are exhibited. The fifth floor houses the most precious paintings and for this reason it is the most visited and almost always crowded floor.
Audio guides and use of the camera
The audio guide is included in the ticket price, to request it, simply present an identification document. It goes without saying that with this tool you can visit the museum with more involvement, moreover, you can choose the tour for you: available in all languages there is the audio of the entire collection, the one specially created for children, the audio guide for those who only have an hour of time and the tour focuses on the visual description.
Can the works be photographed?
It is possible to take pictures with the camera but ALWAYS and ONLY without flash if you don't want to risk making an unforgettable figure in front of the whole museum as I did when she found herself in front of two two-meter-tall supervisors (or maybe it was me who became small) that they wanted to take out not only the camera, judging by the look. Ok to the photos then but not in all the galleries: in some it is forbidden, so watch out for the directions. Videos are not allowed, as is the use of a tripod or the use of the pole for the camera and video camera.
How to get to MoMA?
We are in the heart of Manhattan, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, at 11 W 53rd street. The metro lines you need to take are the M and E: both will drop you off on 5Av at the corner of 53rd St (the closest stop); metro E also stops on 7 ave. Between these two stops is the museum, so you will have to walk a few steps and you will find yourself in front of it.
Don't forget to read our guide to using the New York subway.
Ticket prices, entrance times and other useful information
- Adults: $ 25
- Anziani over 65: 18 $
- Students: $ 14
- Children and teenagers up to 16 years: free admission
Free admission on Fridays was suspended due to anti covid regulations.
In order to enter the museum, all visitors over 12 years of age must present one proof of vaccination.
The ticket also includes a free visit to MoMA Ps1. By purchasing your ticket online you can skip the queue at the entrance. All tickets must indicate the day and time of the visit.
Skip-the-line tickets to MoMA
The museum is open tutti i giorni from 10.30 to 17.30, on Saturdays the closing is postponed to 19:00. Closing days are for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Note: on Monday mornings from 10:30 to 13:00 admission is reserved for MoMA members only.
All visitors over 2 years old must wear the mask inside the museum.
Pass with ticket included
Consider the endless attractions of New York, to avoid getting hysterical but also not to have your wallet empty, there is a solution that will simplify your life: they are the pass, that plan to purchase a tour or attraction package at a cheaper price than a single purchase. Among the various New York passes there are some that have the MoMA ticket inside, they are:
- New York Pass
- Go City New York Explorer Pass
- Sightseeing Pass Flex e Day
The most famous works of MoMA
The main works of the collection are listed below:
- Bather, 1885
- Still Life with Apples, 1895-1898
Vincent van Gogh:
- Starry Night, 1889
- Honfleur, one evening, mouth of the Seine, 1886
- Picture with archer, 1909
- Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-1906
- The young ladies of Avignon, 1907
- Woman with Pears, 1909
- My Pretty, 1911
- Guitar, 1914
- Green still life, 1914
- I tre musici, 1921
- The Goat, 1950
- The Japanese Bridge, 1920-22
- Me and the village, 1911
- The persistence of memory, 1931
- Unique forms of continuity in space, 1913
- The House by the Railroad, 1925
Among the works there are also those of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Cherman and other American artists.
For more details on the works of the museum you can take a look at the virtual google tour.
In the museum you can also find historical films, such as Orson Welles' Fourth Power and Alfred Hitchcock's The Woman Who Lived Twice as well as a collection of art photographs.
Photo gallery of the most important works
What to see at MoMA: the route I suggest
My advice is to start your tour from the fifth floor because that's where the masterpieces are. Starting with the main works will allow you to give more time and energy to what interests you, stopping as long as you like in front of Van Gogh's Starry Night or Picasso's Still Life in total contemplation.
And then Cézanne, Monet, Chagall… you will be surprised by the silence of the tourists in front of those immortal canvases, making you feel almost inside a sacred place. The fourth and fifth floors house the most prestigious works, practically from the fifth floor you just need to go down and follow a chronological and "important" path of the collection. So, by the time your mind fogs up and your knees start to give way, you will already be visiting the lighter part of the collection (such as the prints and photographs) and you can have a coffee in the delightful sculpture garden.
Shopping al MoMA
The MoMA shop is located in the museum entrance. The shop really offers everything: from the prints of the works on display to unique objects, such as Lichtenstein's umbrella or Basquiat's skateboard and then cups, magnets, jewels designed by young artists, books, games for children connected to art ... The shop collects the most originals by designers from all over the world, many tourists even visit the museum shop first (I don't recommend it: only at the end of your tour will you know what struck you the most and therefore what to buy).
- From Saturday to Thursday: from 9:30 to 18.30
- Friday: from 9.30 to 21.00
- Tuesday: closed
From 29 May 2017 the shop has closed for a renovation of the premises, the renovation project will last until 2019. However there are other shops in the museum: just across the street is the MoMA Design Store, which has just reopened its doors after a restyling and follows the same opening hours as the main store.
On the second floor of the museum there is also the library, a silent place of meditation where you can browse art catalogs and biographies of contemporary artists. There is also a MoMA shop in Soho (81 Spring Street, between Crosby and Broadway), open Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 20.00pm and Sunday from 11.00am to 19.00pm.
Where to eat or have a snack
To eat, you have two alternatives: either stay inside the museum and go to SetteMoma (it's a bit expensive and you have to book), or go out.
Inside you will find three rooms: on the second floor there is the Cafe 2 which has recently reopened after being refurbished; here you can eat Spanish food and drink a good coffee made in Italy. At Terrace 5, next to the sculpture gallery, there is the Carrol and Milton Petrie Café, a sophisticated place overlooking the Sculpture Garden.
Also The Modern it overlooks the Sculpture Garden but here you will find nothing a little bit less than a starred chef preparing dinner (or lunch): this is Abram Bissell, a young chef much loved in the States, who has been at the helm of the Modern since 2014.
If you go out, well, you are in the heart of Manhattan and you are spoiled for choice. In the immediate vicinity you will find The Good Soup, a renowned French restaurant (48 W 55th Street); if you are looking for a bar, the closest it is Johnny Utah’s (25 W 51 Street).
Do you fancy Chinese? You are close to Joe's Shanghai (24 W 56th Street), if you hear the call of the burger instead, you are just a few steps from the Mc Donald's of Times Square. And for a coffee, on the Sixth, in 1290, there is Starbucks!
If none of these places whet your appetite, read our guide on where to eat in New York and find the restaurant that's right for you.
(PS: If you go to Mc Donald's know that you cannot stop for more than 20 minutes, then they ask you to leave.)
Accommodations near MoMA
The streets between Fifth and Sixth are teeming with hotels, if you are looking for accommodation near MoMA you just have to figure out how much you want to spend.
True, the accommodations in Midtown they are not cheap but if you choose comfort, preferring to spend a little more but enjoying the surrounding skyscrapers, take a look at the accommodations recommended by Booking.
Instead, if you consider the idea of move away from the center, there are solutions at a good price from which you can easily move by metro. Not only hotels but also cheaper Bed & Breakfasts, with the possibility of being hosted by real New Yorkers. For an overview of the various areas, read our article on where to sleep in New York.
What is MoMA Ps1?
The MoMA Ps1 is one branch office of the museum, is located on Long Island in the borough of Queens (22-25 Jackson Avenue) ed it can be visited using the MoMA entrance ticket if you go there within fourteen days of purchase.
The structure was a former elementary school and is a meeting point for citizens. The café is renowned, the museum is very lively and hosts music, installations and entertainment, as well as a space dedicated to auteur cinema.
Opening hours: From 12 to 00 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
How to get to MoMa Ps1?
From Fifth Avenue, take the E and M subway lines and get off at Court Sqare 23 Street Station.
What else to say? Enjoy your visit, take your time and enjoy the masterpieces!