The Met: Guide to the Iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

Whether it’s the annual MET Gala hosted by fashion-conscious Anna Wintour, the museum’s cameos in critically acclaimed TV shows (Project Runway2004 and Gossip Girl, 2007-2012), or the fact that it is the holy grail for students of art and history, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has seamlessly seeped into bucket lists of individuals from all walks of life. And even if you’ve only just heard of it, we’re here to convince you why the sprawling Metropolitan Museum deserves to be on your New York itinerary.

From prolific works of the French Impressionists to the well-represented European sculptures, here’s everything you need to know about the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A Parisian Dream: Brief History of The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image credits: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

The origins of the world-famous museum go back to a visionary idea born in Paris in 1866. A group of Americans, including attorney Jon Jay, proposed creating a “national institution and art gallery” to bring art education to the United States. Upon returning home to the US, Jon Jay took on the project with great zeal. Under his leadership, the Union League Club of New York brought together businessmen, artists, civic leaders, art collectors and philanthropists to support this ambitious cause.

Their efforts resulted in the grand opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 13, 1870, housed in the Dodworth Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A few months later, on November 20, the museum acquired its first piece: a Roman sarcophagus. As the collection grew, so did the museum in size and scope, eventually moving to its current location at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street.

Today, this encyclopedic institution is the largest art museum in America and the fourth largest in the world. The Met greets visitors at two iconic locations: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. People can also witness the splendor of the museum online through The Met Experience.

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Things to do at The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image credits: Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

View the collection areas within the museum

The museum features a wide range of collections, including fashion, art and armor. The full list of collection areas to explore at the Metropolitan Museum includes African Art in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, Arms and Armor, The Costume Institute, European Paintings, Islamic Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Photographs, the American Wing, Ancient American Art in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, Drawings and Prints, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Robert Lehman Collection, Musical Instruments, Ancient Near Eastern Art, Asian Art, Egyptian Art, Greek and Roman Art, Medieval Art and the monasteries, En. Oceanic Art in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing.

Visit the museum’s official website for detailed information about each collection.

Visit The Dutch Masters

The museum has a special collection of paintings by 16th-17th century Dutch painters such as Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. Ardent art lovers will be pleased to know that The Met houses five Vermeer paintings as part of its European Paintings collection, more than any other museum in the world.

The Temple of Dendur

This Roman-era Egyptian temple, gifted to the US by Egypt, is decorated with intricate carvings of gods, royal figures and lotus blossoms. Housed in a bright room on the first floor gallery, this temple is a sight to behold.

Register for the workshops and activities

Attend one of the many workshops and sessions held regularly at The Met, such as Storytime at The Met – Threads of Friendship and Ikebana Demonstration. Visit their online calendar to view upcoming workshops and activities. You can also attend lectures and arts programs, or visit the Racial Justice Library.

The Met: times, tickets and admission

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image credits: Susanne Pommer/Shutterstock

The Met Fifth Avenue is open Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum remains open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed on Wednesdays.

The Met Cloisters is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed every Wednesday.

For tourists, general admission tickets cost USD 30 (RM 142) for adults, USD 22 (RM 104) for seniors and USD 17 (RM 80) for students. Admission is free for members, patrons, children under 12 years of age and caregivers accompanying people with disabilities.

The ticket gives access to both museum locations and any exhibitions organized by them for the date stated on the ticket.

Click here to buy the tickets

Location and how to reach

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image credits:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in Central Park in New York City, on Fifth Avenue (from 80th to 84th Street). The Met Cloisters is located on Margaret Corbin Drive.

How to get to The Met Fifth Avenue?

Are you planning to take the bus/metro? If you are from the East side of ManhattanTake the 4, 5 or 6 train to 86th Street. You can also take the M1, M2, M3 or M4 bus along Fifth Avenue to 82nd Street or along Madison Avenue to 83rd Street.

Which come from the West side of Manhattan Take the 1 train to 86th Street, followed by Crosstown bus M86 to Fifth Avenue. Alternatively, you can take the C train to 81st Street, followed by crosstown bus M79 to Fifth Avenue.

If you are from the Penn stationTake the M4 bus to 83rd Street and Madison Avenue. You can also take the local train C to 81st Street, followed by crosstown bus M79 to Fifth Avenue.

Finally, if you are traveling from The Met MonasteriesTake the direct M4 bus to 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Alternatively, you can take the A train to 125th Street, transfer to the B or C local train, get off at 81st Street and take the M79 crosstown bus to Fifth Avenue.

How to get to The Met Cloisters?

The best way to reach The Met Cloisters is to take the A train to 190th Street and then walk along Margaret Corbin Drive for about 10 minutes. When leaving the station you can also take the M4 bus and head north instead of walking.

If you are traveling from The Met Fifth Avenue, take the M4 bus directly from Madison Avenue at 83rd Street.

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Around the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Nearby attractions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Fifth Avenue | Image credits: Xackery Irving/Shutterstock

While the Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to plenty of art and inspiration for a fun day, its convenient location means there’s plenty to explore nearby if you finish early.

Attractions near The Met Fifth Avenue: Central Park (1.28 km), Neue Galerie (about 640 m), Café Sabarsky (about 640 m), Gagosian Gallery (about 6.76 km), Park Avenue Christian Church (about 640 m) and The Met Cloisters ( 12.5 km).

Things to See near The Met Cloisters: Fort Tryon Park (480 m), Inwood Hill Park (1.77 km), Edgar Allan Poe Cottage (4.82 km), Dyckman Farmhouse Museum (1.93 km) and George Washington Bridge (about 4 km)

Prepare for a feast: the best restaurants near the iconic museums

Metropolitan Museum Gift Shop | Image credits: a katz/Shutterstock

Whether you plan to enjoy a hearty breakfast before visiting the museum or relax with some sizzling cocktails and specialty dishes after a day of art and culture at the museum, there are plenty of dining options nearby for you to enjoy. can count.

Bars and restaurants near The Met Fifth Avenue: Harry Cipriani (1.93 km), ILILI (about 4.35 km), Aquavit (2.57 km), Astor Court at the St. Regis Hotel (2.57 km) and BG Restaurant in Bergdof Goodman (1.93 km).

Bars and restaurants near The Met Cloisters: Tryon Public House (2.09 km), The Hudson (1.6 km), The Uptown Garrison (2.09 km), Bocaditos Bistro (1.77 km) and Sistina (14.6 km).

(Feature Image Credit: Spiroview Inc/Shutterstock)

All currency conversions have been completed at the time of writing.

Related: An overview of the most anticipated museum openings and expansions of 2024