Visiting the Guggenheim Museum in NYC
You already know — New York City offers an abundance of art exploration opportunities through its many museums. The options for cultural immersion are staggering, but when you’re in the Big Apple, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum should be on your shortlist of landmarks to visit.
Designed by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright, this Fifth Avenue icon boasts a ramp-style gallery that ascends to a breathtaking atrium. NYC’s Guggenheim has been featured in so many movies and TV shows, and even if you’ve never been, you’ll know this building when you see it— inside and out, this whimsical concrete structure is truly unique.
Once inside, the rotunda draws your eyes upward, following your fellow visitors as they peruse the museum’s exhibits. Soak. It. In. During our visit, Hilma af Klint’s cerebral body of work took center-stage, and we also enjoyed R.H. Quaytman’s visceral, surprisingly delightful paintings. Kid2, in particular, was taken with pieces from the permanent ongoing Thannhauser Collection, including paintings by Degas and Picasso.
Side note: I love how you can’t get lost at the Guggenheim. You just follow the ramp around the rotunda, take in the art, and then follow it back down again. Easy-peasy.
Find the best times to visit
To avoid crowds, the best time to go to the Guggenheim will be from about 10am to noon, Mondays through Thursdays. No matter when you go, purchase your tickets in advance to avoid any delays.
Before you visit
- Double check your camera to make sure you’ve got a memory card and charged batteries. Newbie fail: I forgot to put my memory card back into my camera, so I used my iPhone for all the photos from this visit..
- Leave the selfie sticks and tripods at home— they’re not allowed. (Make sure to turn off your camera flash, too.)
- FYI to parents of babies and toddlers: strollers are allowed at the Guggenheim, but per the museum’s FAQs, “large toddler carriers and baby backpacks are not permitted in the galleries”.
- Check out the Guggenheim’s family resources, which include downloadable guides and info about museum programs geared toward children
The arts and the art of parental discretion
Visiting with kids? We recommend checking out the exhibits online before you visit.
Art can be arguably NSFW. Because we visited the museum as a family, the ticketing rep suggested that either the Hubby or I check out the Mapplethorpe exhibit before bringing our kids through. We skipped this exhibit because of the crowds, but I appreciated the heads up!
How to save money on admission
As of May 2019 — The regular price of admission is $25 for adults and $18 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under are free of charge (great for family budgets!), as are museum members. To save on regular admission to the Guggenheim, consider these options:
Free admission from 5-8pm on Saturdays
Willing to brave the crowds as we did? Head to the museum from 5pm to 8pm on Saturdays to pay what you wish for entry.
We paid $5 for admission for all five of us. As for the wait, we lined up around 4:45pm and entered the museum about 20 minutes later. Note that the pay what you wish line gets quite long— it often wraps around the building and down the street. If you want to pay what you wish, then I’d recommend getting there closer to about 4:30pm or so.
Grab a prepaid attractions pass
If you’ve got more NYC touristing to do, there are a few prepaid options that include deeply discounted access to the Guggenheim and other must-see NYC attractions. The costs do add up— especially when you’re visiting with your kids in tow. These discount pass options should help, so check them out!