If you're a lover of modern art, one of the must-see stops on your visit to New York is the Whitney Museum, home to the world's finest collection of 20th-century American art.
But what's so special about it? Inside, you'll find many of the iconic paintings by the great realist painter Edward Hopper (1882-1968). So, if you haven't already done so, I suggest you put this cultural gem on your list of must-sees in Manhattan.
This museum, which has been able to captivate even Michelle Obama herself, who attended the inauguration of the new building in 2015, will surprise you. In this article I explain how to get tickets at a very affordable price, the best days of the week to visit, which works you can't miss inside and everything you need to know to make the most of your visit. Read on!
Avoid the queues and get your priority entrance to the Whitney Museum
Perfect if you want to visit this museum without having to waste time at the ticket office and enjoy the guided tour that is included in the price.
With this low-cost option, where you only pay a little extra to get your priority access to the Whitney Museum, you'll get to see unique works of art without having to wait in the long, long lines that form every day. Believe me, this can be exhausting. Besides, we all know that "time is money, and when travelling, even more so"!
With priority admission, you'll have the opportunity and time to discover the most comprehensive collection of American art ever. One fact: this museum places special emphasis on the works of living artists, which proves that the premise that "any time in the past was a better time" is not always true.
What does priority admission include?
- Direct access to the exhibitions, with no queues or unnecessary waiting.
- A daily guided tour to get to know all the secrets of this museum in depth and not leave any questions unanswered.
- Free cancellation if your trip is changed at the last minute.
Recommended if... you want to avoid the crowds and queues that form every day at the Whitney Museum ticket office.
How much do tickets to the Whitney Museum cost?
If you buy your tickets to the Whitney Museum of New York online in advance you will pay only 23 euros on the Hellotickets website. However, if you are travelling with children, a family or have access to a special discount, you may be able to get better prices.
Ticket prices at the box office
It is also a very valid option to buy the tickets at the ticket office and the price you will get will be very similar (21.50 euros), although as I said before, you will lose the advantages of buying the priority ticket (preferential access, free cancellation and guided tour).
Don't forget that the queues can be very long, so I don't recommend buying tickets on the day of the visit (especially if you want to get in at the last minute, as they sell out weeks in advance). As you can see, the price difference is minimal - for only 1.50 euros, which is the cost of a simple coffee - you will save yourself the trouble of not getting in because of poor planning.
Take advantage of special group discounts
However, if you're a free soul, one of those who like to improvise and don't mind going to the ticket office (even if it takes you longer), take note of these reduced prices because I'm sure they'll be of interest to you. The following groups will be able to access the museum for only 15.5 Euros.
- Over 65s,
- Disabled visitors,
- Students, who must present their ID card.
How to get free admission to the Whitney Museum
On the other hand, children under the age of 18 can enter free of charge. Yes, free of charge. Remember, too, that New York museums have implemented the option of entry with a donation, the famous " pay what you wish ". Didn't you know?
Every Friday, from 7pm to 10pm, the Whitney Museum allows visitors to enter with this option. However, it is necessary to apply for admission in advance because there is a high demand. If you are going on very specific dates, it is best to be cautious and book well in advance on their official website.
Whitney Museum opening hours
- Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Tuesday (closed)
- Friday: 10:30 am to 10:00 pm
- Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday: 11:00-18:00
Best time to visit the Whitney
My advice is to try to visit the Whitney Museum during the week and avoid Saturdays and Sundays. In particular, the best days to discover its collections are Mondays and Wednesdays because they tend to be the least crowded weekdays.
Most of New York 's museums and monuments are closed on holidays, and the Whitney is no exception: on December 25th, January 1st and Thanksgiving Day, the institution closes its doors.
Book in advance
As the museum explains on its official website, buying tickets for the same day can be complicated. So as not to spoil your plans, I advise you to buy your ticket in advance.
Important fact: the last admission to the museum is 45 minutes before closing time.
Nuria's Traveller Tip
If you're like me, a sunset lover, and you don't know where to enjoy the best sunsets in New York, the terrace of the Whitney Museum is the place for you. Take my word for it!
Where and how to get to the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum is located at 99 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, just steps from the Hudson River and the West Side Highway.
The Whitney is easily accessible by bicycle, underground, bus and taxi... For most, the easiest way to get to the Whitney Museum (located at 99 Gansevoort Street) is to use the New York underground.
You can take the A, C, E and L lines (get off at the 14th St stop). The price of a single ticket is approximately €2.60. Here's an underground map to help you get around the Big Apple.
The New York MetroCard
A little tip! If you plan to use public transport several times during your trip, the best option is to buy the MetroCard, which is valid for the underground and buses. Unlike in major Spanish cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, both the New York underground and buses run 24 hours a day. Here is a practical guide to using the New York underground.
The Citi Bike system in New York City
If, on the other hand, you are one of those who get easily overwhelmed in the metro, I recommend you get to the Whitney Museum by bicycle, the most sustainable and ecological way to get there in the city of skyscrapers. What's more, you'll be able to park right outside the museum.
The best option for renting this vehicle is to use the Citi Bike app, New York's public bike rental system. New York's Citi Bike is a cheap and fun way to enjoy every corner of the Big Apple on two wheels. A perfect plan for families with children.
Top works not to miss at the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum is made up of over 21,000 pieces created by more than 3,000 artists and is specially designed to appeal to a young-spirited public. The museum has several floors that house temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection, as well as founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's own collection.
In the museum you can find the finest collection of paintings by Edward Hopper, famous for his portraits of loneliness in American life, whose legacy was donated to the institution upon his death. Also on display are works by Andy Warhol, Peggy Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Basquiat, George Bellows and Stuart Davis, among many others.
The museum's must-sees
Don't miss the best works in the gallery:
- Music, Pink and Blue by Georgia O'Keeffe (1918)
- Early Sunday Morning, by Edward Hopper (1930)
- The Brooklyn Bridge by George Stella (1939)
- Three Flags, by Jasper Johns (1958)
- A Woman in the Sun, by Edward Hopper (1961)
Don't miss the traditional Whitney Biennial
On the other hand, every two years the museum organises the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running exhibition in the country, held since 1932, which shows the latest advances in American art to the general public. It is dedicated, above all, to emerging artists and new proposals.
This exhibition, which attracts thousands of onlookers and visitors, has established itself as one of the most important exhibitions in the world of contemporary art, so much so that it tends to lead the trends in the sector. Would you like to attend? Well, you're in luck, because the 2021 Biennale has been postponed and the next one will be held between April and August 2022.
Don't worry if you're not fluent in English because the museum usually offers resources and programmes in Spanish during the Biennale, such as a mobile guide, guided tours and free tours of the exhibition. The exhibition signage is also in Spanish.
Did you know that ....?
Renzo Piano, the "Messi of contemporary architects", also designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Botín Centre in Santander. His buildings always incorporate large transparent windows that connect the museums with the city.
How much time you need to visit the Whitney Museum
In my opinion, a two-hour visit is ideal. Although at first glance it may not seem like much time, bear in mind that if you visit the place with a specialised guide (there is a tour every day), the time is twice as long as if you were to see it on your own. As the Instituto Cervantes proverb says, "lo bueno, si breve, lo breve, dos veces bueno".
If you still have a few minutes to spare, my advice is to take a stroll through the Meatpacking District, a twenty-block neighbourhood with a bustling community of artists, galleries, restaurants and nightlife. You can also take the opportunity to tour the High Line Park, a new urban garden built on an old railway line. Here's my handy guide to 10 things to do and see on New York's High Line.
If after this walk through the park you still don't feel relaxed, you can spend the afternoon aboard a two-and-a-half hour cruise on the Hudson River, which will allow you to see the Manhattan skyline from the boat and discover the other side of the Big Apple from the water. Take a look at the best Hudson River cruises in New York.
Nuria's Traveller Tip
If you like street art, I suggest you exit the High Line at the 23rd Street entrance to see the colourful graffiti of Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra.
Where to eat at the Whitney Museum
If you want to grab a snack or enjoy the sunset with a cocktail, you don't have to leave the building, just take the lift up to the eighth floor. The museum is home to the Studio Bar restaurant, which serves American cuisine with a modern twist. I recommend arriving early to get a seat on the fabulous terrace with a view.
Here is a small list of prices to give you an idea:
- Water (2,60 €)
- Beer (7,80 €)
- Glass of wine (12 €)
- Cappuccino (4,30 €)
- Alcoholic cocktails (13 €)
- Aperitif (18 €)
Also, if you just want to stop off during your visit to the gallery and enjoy watching passers-by go about their busy New York lives, head to the Andrea and James Gordon restaurant on the ground floor, which is accessible to both museum guests and the general public. Its walls are large glass windows that allow you to enjoy the bustling city at your leisure with a coffee in hand.
If you're not convinced by any of these options, take a look at this guide to the best places to eat in New York and choose where to satisfy your appetite!
Nuria's Traveller Tip
If you want to enjoy the view from the Studio Bar terrace, but don't want to sit down to eat, I suggest you order a cappuccino - it's delicious and will warm you up!
Recommendations for visiting the Whitney Museum
My advice is that even if you don't like art, you should go to the Whitney Museum and go up to the outdoor terraces on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th floors, which serve as art galleries and spectacular viewpoints. As I mentioned, the top floor is perfect for a romantic aperitif with a view!
Although it was once described as the "ugliest building in New York", the Whitney Museum is no longer the ugly duckling, but has been transformed into a swan thanks to the wonderful hands of architect Renzo Piano, who designed the new building with a modern, industrial aesthetic and one of the most impressive views in the Big Apple.
Now all you have to do is buy your tickets, put these recommendations into practice and get ready to see one of the most beautiful viewpoints in New York. Bon voyage to the heights!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Whitney Museum wheelchair accessible?
Yes, all levels of the museum are accessible by lift. In addition, the entrances to the outdoor terraces are equipped with automatic openers for easy access.
Is there car parking near the Whitney Museum?
Yes, there are three parking garages nearby, at 99 Jane Street, 134-36 Jane Street and 385 West 15th Street.
Can I park my bicycle near the Whitney Museum?
Yes, bicycle parking is available directly in front of the museum. On the other hand, parking for the Citi bike system (New York's public bike system) is located on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington streets.
Is admission to the Whitney Museum included in any of the city's sightseeing passes?
Yes, the best way to see the Whitney and not miss any of the city's wonders is with the New York Explorer Pass from €69, which allows you to visit up to ten attractions in 60 days. This includes entry to the gallery, a visit to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and a bus tour of the city. If you have time to spare, this is definitely the best alternative for you.
Bear in mind that if you were to see all the attractions on your own, it would be impossible to fit them all into such a short time, so this is the most efficient way to make the most of your stay without crowds and queues.
Why I like this option: In addition to its good value for money, I recommend the Tourist Card because it includes a very complete tour of New York that will allow you to make the most of your days in the city.
Practical information about the New York Explorer Pass
- Recommended: if you're going to be in New York for at least two weeks.
- Number of attractions to choose from: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10
- Price: from €69
- Advantages: saves time and money (the card allows you to enter the main attractions at a reduced rate)
Also ideal for families with children, who like to relax and enjoy the sightseeing buses.