MET New York Guide

If you want to travel back in time and discover the treasures of ancient Egypt, Rome, Africa and much more, enjoy the largest museum in the U.S. You will travel around the world in one day!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

10 min read

MET New York Guide

Entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City | ©Patxi Moraleda

The MET is undoubtedly one of the best museums in New York: you will travel through five continents in a single day. It's easy to be transported back in time with its collection of artworks from over 5,000 years of history, spanning all cultures and eras.

You'll be immersed in ancient Egypt through the Egyptian temple of Dendur, commissioned by Emperor Augustus and dating back to 15 B.C. It's the oldest building in New York! You can also see a collection of costumes from different eras and take a selfie from its spectacular terrace, overlooking Central Park and the skyscrapers of the city.

In this article I explain how to get discounted tickets, the best works inside the museum and all the tricks you should know to make the most of your visit and not miss anything along the way. Read on!

The best option

NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) Tour

Discover one of the most important museums in New York with an expert guide.

Learn about the works of Van Gogh or Velazquez or take a tour of ancient Egypt on a 3-hour tour that will give you a better appreciation of the art housed in this must-see museum.

Duration: 3 hours

To make a journey through the history of art from around the world over more than 5,000 years old is not always possible. That's why, if you've already decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, you don't want to leave your visit to one of the most important museums in the world halfway and miss out on the details of the great works it houses by going on your own.

The best option to discover the MET is to take a guided tour that will show you the details, the historical context and the legends behind each work of art by the hand of an expert guide.

Recommended if you... You are one of those who are not satisfied with "strolling" through museums, but prefer to delve into and learn about the history of their works.

How is the guided tour of the MET

View from inside the MET Cloister| ©Bill Melville-Rea
View from inside the MET Cloister| ©Bill Melville-Rea

In a small group of a maximum of 15 people, this guided tour of the MET ensures a 3-hour tour of all the rooms of the museum. The expert guide in art history will show you the best of this unique museum in the world that houses from an Egyptian temple moved intact to works by Picasso or Rembrandt.

This tour is designed to go from the most ancient civilizations to modernity in a journey through all the cultures of the world. Plus, at the end of the tour you will have exclusive access to the museum's VIP rooftop terraces, where you can relax with breathtaking views of Central Park!

Book a guided tour of the MET

Pre-book your tour for the MET Museum

Inside the MET| ©Raul Alejandro Rodriguez
Inside the MET| ©Raul Alejandro Rodriguez

Currently, the MET requires all visitors to book online before arriving at the museum. So to avoid unnecessary hassles and queues, I suggest that it is best to buy your tickets in advance. With the guided tour to the MET in Hellotickets you ensure a place in the group by booking the day that best suits you.

The wisest thing to do is to buy the ticket online and in advance, due to the high demand that has this temple of art. It is one of the most visited places in the Big Apple along with the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, so you could run out of it for the day you want.

Instead, if you prefer to do the visit at your own pace you can buy individual tickets for a price starting at 30 euros for adults. You can do it on their official website.

Book a guided tour of the MET

The other two MET museums: the one on Fifth Avenue and the Cloister

You can visit for three consecutive days the three sites that make up the MET Museum: the main one, The Met on Fifth Avenue; The MET Breuer, specializing in modern and contemporary art although it is currently closed, and The Met Cloisters, my favorite.

The latter, housed in a medieval-style monastery, specializes in European medieval art and architecture, and it's magical! Did you know that it was built between 1934 and 1938 by transporting stone by stone six French abbeys and a monastery in a village in Segovia?

A curiosity! Look at the orchards and gardens: the plants and trees are the same as those you would have found in a medieval abbey. Here everything is cared for in detail. In addition, it is located in Fort Tryon Park, a wonderful green lung full of trails overlooking the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge, which is still an undiscovered corner of New York.

Nuria's Traveller Tip

The Cloisters is ideal for spring, summer and fall strolls surrounded by peace and quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of New York City - you'll find some very naughty squirrels!

Access the MET and save with New York Sightseeing Cards

New York CityPASS Tourist Card| ©USA Welcome
New York CityPASS Tourist Card| ©USA Welcome

The MET Museum is a must-see in New York and is therefore included in the New York CityPASS, New York Pass, Explorer Pass and New York Sightseeing Pass. These are passes that allow you to choose a la carte the attractions you want to visit with a fixed price.

Are you thinking about purchasing one of these options for the MET? In this article I tell you everything you need to know to choose the best tourist card in New York.

Book the best sightseeing passes

How to get tickets for the MET Museum at the box office

Purchase method to get tickets to the MET| ©Christin Hume
Purchase method to get tickets to the MET| ©Christin Hume

Don't forget that the MET Museum does not currently allow for box office purchases. All visitors must make an online reservation for the guided tour before arriving at the institution. Hurry because they sell out easily!

Box Office Pricing

Museum prices for tourists and visitors from outside New York State:

  • Adults: 21,70
  • Seniors over 65 years old: 14,70€.
  • Students: €10
  • Members and sponsors: free admission
  • Children under 12: free admission

Book a guided tour at the MET

Opening hours of the MET Museum in New York

View of the mezzanine floor and ceiling of the lobby of the MET in New York City| ©Albyn Davis
View of the mezzanine floor and ceiling of the lobby of the MET in New York City| ©Albyn Davis

The guided tour of the MET, highly recommended to understand all the history of the important works housed in the museum, has a fixed schedule at 11:00 am and almost every day except on the closing days listed below:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 am to 21 pm
  • Wednesday: closed
  • Like all other New York museums, it is closed on December 25, January 1 and Thanksgiving Day.

Winter Hours

If you visit New York in winter, the Metropolitan Museum of New York closes quite early during the week (at 5 pm). So my advice is to get up early and take advantage of the day to get lost in its many rooms and, if you have time to spare, in the green lung of the Big Apple, Central Park.

Nuria's Traveller Tip

Pay attention in the Great Hall of the MET to the flowers that decorate it. The museum is a pioneer in floral art and has Dutch expert Remco Van Vliet, who creates five floral arrangements every week. Pure life!

How to get to the MET Museum

New York Subway| ©Jean-Marc Vernier
New York Subway| ©Jean-Marc Vernier

In New York the subway will be your best ally. Here are the basic tips to get oriented and make the most of the fastest transportation in the Big Apple

From the east side of Manhattan: you can reach the MET by subwaylines 4, 5 or 6 to the 86th Street station, then walk three blocks west to Fifth Avenue. It's about a half-mile walk, which will take you about 10 minutes.

To get there by bus, take the M1, M2, M3 or M4 along Fifth Avenue (from the north side of the city) to 82nd Street or along Madison Avenue (from the south side of the city) to 83rd Street.

From the west side of Manhattan: take the 1 subway line to 86th Street station and upon exiting, board the M86 bus which crosses Central Park to Fifth Avenue; or take the C subway line, on the local track, to 81st Street station and upon exiting, board the M79 bus, which also crosses Central Park, to Fifth Avenue.

  • Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

Book a guided tour of the MET

Major works of art you can't miss at the MET Museum

Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. Vincent Van Gogh. Metropolitan Museum of New York.| ©Daniel Rozo
Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. Vincent Van Gogh. Metropolitan Museum of New York.| ©Daniel Rozo

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the best museums in the world and by far the largest in the U.S. To give you an idea of its immensity, I will tell you that only the permanent collection occupies seventeen departments.

Here is a list of the 10 must-see works of art at the MET so you don't die trying to visit everything:

    1. Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (1887), by Vincent van Gogh.
    1. The Death of Socrates (1787), by Jacques-Louis David
    1. Cow Skull: Red, White and Blue (1931), by Georgia O'Keeffe
    1. Sphinx of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1479-1458 B.C.)
    1. The Pond of Nympheas (1899), by Claude Monet
    1. Madonna and Child Enthroned and Saints (1504), by Raphael
    1. Portrait of Madame X (1883-1884),by John Singer Sargent
    1. Autumn Rhythm (1950), by Jackson Pollock
    1. Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (1653), by Rembrandt van Rijn
    1. The Dancing Class (1874), by Edgar Degas

The MET Museum houses the oldest piano in the world, dating from 1720, which you can discover in its large collection of instruments with more than 5,000 objects!

Book a guided tour of the MET

The MET Gala: the biggest fashion event in New York City

Metropolitan Museum of Art| ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art| ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The most important annual event organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1948 is the MET Gala, the most elegant celebration of fashion in New York and that welcomes the most important celebrities of the scene. So much so that tickets can cost from 30,000 euros per person to 200,000 euros for a full table.

Although more than a gala is a charity party, since all the money raised goes to the Costume Institute, which is located within the museum. This department of the MET has more than eight thousand costumes from all eras, including spectacular dresses that have marked the history of such reputable houses as Versace and Chanel.

Can I see the MET Museum with children and will they get bored?

Egyptian Temple at the MET| ©Francisco Lozano Romero
Egyptian Temple at the MET| ©Francisco Lozano Romero

The MET Museum has created an original guide with the 10 favorite works of art for children and for visiting the art center as a family.

What do the little ones prefer to see? So many people have asked this question that the institution has gone straight to the source and asked dozens of children their opinion. Based on their answers and choices, they have put together this wonderful handbook with the works they like the most.

In the top one, as expected, is the Egyptian temple, built by the Roman Emperor Augustus about two thousand years ago, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Children also love the knight's armor decorated with engravings of the sun, animals and mythological beings; as well as a garden recreated from the courtyard of a scholar in China, with its rocks, water and seasonal plants and the statue of the Elephant god, a Hindu god, among others.

So you know, if you visit New York with children this is a great option for a family day out while the little ones also have fun.

Book a guided tour of the MET

Where to eat and drink near the MET

Views from Central Park| ©Steve Lange
Views from Central Park| ©Steve Lange

If the weather is warm and you want to feel like a real New Yorker, you can go for a picnic in Central Park- you'll feel like you're in an American movie! But where to buy food? Don't worry because you will find numerous cafes and supermarkets, such as the Whole Foods Market, located at 10 Columbus Circle, which has a large buffet of salads, ready meals, burgers and, above all, delicious juices!

On the other hand, if you want to give yourself a gastronomic tribute after so much walking around the museum, my advice is to dine outdoors at the Trie Café at the Met Cloisters museum (remember that this gallery is also included with your ticket) where you will feel like a prince surrounded by quiet gardens and medieval architecture. Their menu offers salads, sandwiches and desserts, which you can pair with a glass of wine - the atmosphere is most romantic and ideal for couples!

  • Location: At 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park.
  • Open from: April to October

Other museums you must visit in New York

Guggenheim Museum in New York| ©Aglez the city guy
Guggenheim Museum in New York| ©Aglez the city guy

If after visiting the MET you are left wanting more, don't worry, because art lovers in New York can spend weeks touring its museums. Some of them are very interesting. Here are some tips to make sure you don't miss any of them:

Nuria's Traveller Tip

At The Cloister Museum they sometimes organize concerts and special events at night. Imagine a dinner surrounded by nature, lights and music in a medieval setting!