One of the most popular things to do on the Upper West Side is to visit our many world-class museums. There are many iconic museums of the Upper West Side, displaying the widest range of eye-candy imaginable. Feed your intellectual curiosity and visit these NYC gems today!
American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square
The American Folk Art Museum offers a window into some of the country’s earliest examples of art. The museum opened its doors in 1962 and features a collection of over seven thousand original works. Each piece of art here comes in a different shape, size, and form. Most of them date back from the eighteenth century to the present. There are works made with the help of wood and stone carvings, figureheads, ceramic artifacts, and even carousel animals. All of them were produced by self-taught artists who didn’t receive a formal education in the arts. The AFAM is also home to the largest number of illustrations by Henry Darger. Before leaving, make sure stop by the gift shop to check out some its one-of-a-kind items. You’re bound to find a hidden treasure or two!
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
The New-York Historical Society was founded in 1804 and is the oldest standing museum on the Upper West Side – and the entire city! This cultural institution is housed inside an elegant pre-war mansion. Visitors can explore a display of over 300 artifacts that tell a story of the most pivotal moments in American history. The 800 sculptures dating back from the colonial era to the present are also worth a look. The interactive kiosk stands and the seasonal exhibits round out the museum’s must-dos. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes NYC such a special place at the New-York Historical Society.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is an innovative educational experience for the little ones. They’ll get to have fun while learning by participating in various workshops, exhibits, and classes. In fact, the museum’s staff schedules over 80 events per week. The instructors are professional and attentive to the needs of each and every child. It’s their mission to ensure everyone is having a blast from start to finish. The exhibits are a place designed for discovery. Children will be able to do such things as explore the digestive system by sliding through a gigantic tongue. The CMOM promises hours of fun to its visitors and many of them won’t want to leave until well past closing time.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
This cultural institution is best known for being the site of filming for “Night at the Museum” starring Ben Stiller. The world-renowned American Museum of Natural History offers visitors tons of things to do and see. The permanent exhibit The Titanosaur features a new species of dinosaur that has yet to receive a name by paleontologists. However, they do know that they belonged to a group of giant herbivore dinosaurs called titonsaurs. They could weigh up to 70 tons and roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous period. The 3D short film, “Humpback Whales”, shows a close look at the ocean’s most unique mammals. The film was taped in the states of Hawaii and Alaska and explores the way whales communicate to each other. We recommend getting to the museum early so you can check out all of the exhibits.
Central Park West at 79th St.
The Hayden Planetarium is part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s regarded as one of the best planetariums in the world. A show called “Dark Universe” narrated by none other than Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells the story of the beginnings of the cosmos. It features top-notch special effects that transports viewers right to the vast depths of the galaxies. The staff of the planetarium has written over hundreds of books on space-related topics in the past few decades. They often host lectures by some of the most recognized leaders in astrophysics research and astronomy.
The Nicholas Roerich Museum
West 107th between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue
Riverside Drive’s Nicholas Roerich Museum is home to a beautiful collection of paintings by the talented Russian artist. His work depicts the beauty of the Himalayan mountain range as well as other wonders of nature with color and a touch of spirituality. In fact, his paintings have got quite a mystical quality to them. Many venture to the Upper West Side to see Roerich’s masterful strokes in this former townhouse-turned-museum. It’s also located on one of my favorite NYC streets!
Museum of Art and Design
2 Columbus Circle
Founded in 1956, this Columbus Circle museum “collects, displays, and interprets objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design.” The Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives.