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 USA. You'll travel around the world in one day!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

10 min read

MET New York Guide

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

The MET is undoubtedly one of the best museums in New York: you'll travel across five continents in a single day. It's easy to be transported back in time with its collection of art 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 BC, 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 city's skyscrapers.

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

The best option

NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) Tour

Discover one of New York's most important museums with an expert guide.

Learn about the works of Van Gogh or Velázquez 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

Taking 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 way to discover the MET is to take a guided tour that shows you the details, the historical context and the legends behind each work of art with an expert guide.

Recommended if... You are one of those who are not satisfied with just "strolling" through museums, but prefer to delve into the history of the works of art and get to know them in depth.

What is the guided tour of the MET like?

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 in New York 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 and Rembrandt.

This tour is designed to take you from the most ancient civilisations to modern times in a journey through all the cultures of the world. Plus, at the end of the tour you'll have exclusive access to the museum's VIP rooftop terraces, where you'll be able to enjoy 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 hassle and queues, I suggest you buy your tickets in advance. With the guided tour of the MET in Hellotickets you will 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 tickets for the day you want.

However, if you prefer to visit at your own pace, you can buy individual tickets for a price starting at 30 euros for adults. You can do so on the 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 the three sites that make up the MET Museum for three consecutive days: the main one, The Met on Fifth Avenue; The MET Breuer, which specialises in modern and contemporary art, although it is currently closed, and The Met Cloisters, my favourite.

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

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 down to the last detail. It is also located in Fort Tryon Park, a wonderful green lung full of paths 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 autumn strolls surrounded by peace and quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of New York - you'll find 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 passes allow you to choose a la carte the attractions you want to visit at a fixed price.

Are you thinking of buying one of these options for the MET? In this article I'll tell you everything you need to know to choose the best New York sightseeing pass.

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 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!

Ticket prices

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

  • Adults: 21,70
  • Seniors 65+: 14,70€.
  • Students: €10
  • Members and patrons: free admission
  • Children under 12: free admission

Book a guided tour of 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.| ©Albyn Davis
View of the mezzanine floor and ceiling of the lobby of the MET in New York.| ©Albyn Davis

The guided tour of the MET, highly recommended to understand the full history of the important works housed in the museum, has a fixed opening time of 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 25th, January 1st and Thanksgiving Day.

Winter opening hours

If you visit New York in winter, the Metropolitan Museum of New York closes quite early on weekdays (5pm). So my advice is to get up early and take advantage of the day to get lost in its countless halls and, if you have time to spare, in the Big Apple's green lung, Central Park.

Nuria's Traveller Tip

Pay attention to the flowers that decorate the Great Hall of the MET. 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 underground will be your best ally. Here are some basic tips to help you find your way around and get the most out of the Big Apple's fastest form of transport

From the east side of Manhattan: you can get to the MET by undergroundon the 4, 5 or 6 lines 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 underground line to 86th Street station and board the M86 bus across Central Park to Fifth Avenue; or take the C underground line on the local track to 81st Street station and board the M79 bus, which also crosses Central Park, to Fifth Avenue.

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

Book a guided tour of the MET

Top artworks not to be missed at the MET Museum

Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. Vincent Van Gogh. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.| ©Daniel Rozo
Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. Vincent Van Gogh. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 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 USA. To give you an idea of its immensity, the permanent collection alone occupies seventeen departments.

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

    1. Self-Portrait with a 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 BC)
    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. Rhythm of Autumn (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 organised by the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1948 is the MET Gala, the most elegant celebration of fashion in New York, which hosts the most important celebrities on 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 it is a charity event, as all the money raised goes to the Costume Institute, which is located inside 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 renowned 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 favourite works of art for children and for visiting the art centre 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 for their opinion. Based on their answers and choices, they have put together this wonderful handbook with the films they like best.

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. Kids will also love the knight's armour decorated with engravings of the sun, animals and mythological beings; as well as a garden recreated from a scholar's courtyard in China, with its rocks, water and seasonal plants and the statue of the Elephant God, a Hindu god, among others.

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

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'll find numerous cafés and supermarkets, such as the Whole Foods Market, located at 10 Columbus Circle, which has a large buffet of salads, ready meals, hamburgers and, above all, delicious juices!

On the other hand, if you want a gastronomic treat after all that walking around the museum, my advice is to dine al fresco at the Met Cloisters ' Trie Café (remember that this gallery is also included with your ticket) where you'll feel like a prince surrounded by tranquil gardens and medieval architecture. On their menu they offer salads, sandwiches and desserts, which can be accompanied 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 to visit in New York

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

If after visiting the MET you're 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 a few tips to make sure you don't miss any of them:

Nuria's Traveller Tip

The Cloister Museum sometimes hosts concerts and special events in the evening - imagine dinner surrounded by nature, lights and music in a medieval setting!