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A Complete Guide to The Museum of Modern Art

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, The Museum of Modern Art is also referred to as MoMA. It welcomes approximately 2 and a half million visitors every year. The Museum of Modern Art has a reputation for displaying the finest collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum was closed from June until October 2019 for a $450 million major overhaul. Let us dig in deeper into what makes the MoMA tick and what to do once you get there

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Since its major overhaul in 2019, the museum has now expanded by 47,000 square feet and boasts many technological advancements such as 200 digital audio guides and a forever-changing collection of installments. The re-opening was met with rave reviews from The NY Times and The New Yorker. Visitors who visit frequently will surely notice some cool changes such as the enclosed bookstore, which is now spread out over a large area, and a survey of its deep collection. This ranges from film and video to photography, painting, sculpture, and more

Hours and Admission

The Museum of Modern Art is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. It is open Monday-Sunday except Saturday from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm and on Saturdays it is open from 10.30 am to 7 pm. You can enter the building and main lobby from either 53rd Street or 54th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. There is also a separate entrance for members which is situated on 53rd Street just south of the main entrance.  

The price of admission is $30 for adults, $22 for seniors, $17 for students, and free for children and members. If you decide to book a visit online it will be a little bit cheaper for you.   

What to see at Museum of Modern art

Your visit to MoMA starts even before you step foot into the museum. Even though previously the museum’s contents were hidden behind its walls, the 53rd Street exterior now offers a glance into several galleries and spaces. This is all thanks to new vast windows that give a peep into the gift shops, lobby, staircases, and galleries. Make sure you are connected to the museum’s WI-FI once you are inside the Museum to get access to its digital maps and audio guides. This will certainly enhance your experience and help guide you through this vast space of art.  

Works of art form the permanent collection out of which 2,500 are on display at any given time. The collection starts on the fifth floor and here you can find Van Gogh’s iconic 1889 “Starry Night”, Frida Kahlo’s 1940 “Self Portrait with Cropped Hair”, Pablo Picasso’s 1907 painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, and Claude Monet’s three panels “Water Lillies” which is dated 1924-26. Represented on the fourth floor is work from the 1940s to 1970. The main highlight on this floor includes works by Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, and Yayoi Kusama and also the must-watch gallery 402 “In and Around Harlem” which showcases the African American neighborhood through the eyes of various artists. This includes the painter, Jacob Lawrence.  

Other works to look out for include Van Gogh’s “The Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background”, Henry Rousseau’s “The Sleeping Gypsy”, Henri Matisse’s “The Dance I”, Paul Cezanne’s “The Bather” and many more. The third floor and atrium are dedicated to temporary exhibitions and newly installed collections. The permanent collection ends on the second floor and includes work by names such as Jean-Michael Basquiat and Wolfgang Tillmans.  

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Things to do

The basement level of MoMA is filled with books with more than 2,000 publications and a forever-changing selection of art and photography books from all over the world. Make sure you spend at least 30 minutes and do proper browsing. The second and sixth floors present shops with collection and exhibition-themed items.   

Aside from the gallery, there is also a very vigorous cinema program that has daily screenings. Make sure you keep an eye out for 1914’s Lime Kiln Field Day, a three-minute clip on the fifth floor’s gallery 502. 

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The Museum of Modern Art’s premier dining destination is The Modern. Over there, executive Chef Abram Bissell and pastry chef Jiho Kim will serve you modern-day lunch and dinner six days a week. They have an enticing menu available at their restaurant. You will need to make reservations beforehand as it can be booked 28 days in advance. You do not need to tip anything while you are at The Modern as they have a no tipping policy.  

The second floor has Cafe 2 which is a first come, first serve style restaurant with Italian-themed cuisines including fresh pasta, panini, soups, salads, and cheese boards. They also have a full beverage menu which you can enjoy while the Espresso Bar provides coffee shop staples. There is also the Terrace Cafe located on the sixth floor. Here you will find small plates, sharable snacks, a wide selection of beers and wine, and outdoor terrace seating if the weather permits.   


  • The Jewel Hotel – It is located 0.1 mile away from the Museum of Modern Art. The beds are comfortable, and the rooms have a modern design.   
  • 1 Hotel Central Park – Situated just 0.2 miles away from MoMA, it has everything for everyone. The beds are luxurious, and the rooms are painted with fresh greenery.  
  • Carnegie Hotel – The museum is just 0.2 miles from Carnegie Hotel.  
  • Warwick New York – It is a great location to walk all of New York’s hot spots. The hotel is beautiful and is 0.1 miles off MoMA.  
  • Grayson Hotel – The staff here is very helpful and the hotel is located just 0.7 miles from The Museum of Modern Art.  
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  • You can buy tickets online directly and this will save you some time when it comes to standing in the queue. However, if you wish to get tickets on arrival, keep in mind there will be a waiting line. To avoid this as much as possible, aim to come at 11 am or later. Admission to “UNIQLO Free Friday Night” is complimentary on Friday and hence there seems to be a bigger crowd on Fridays. Weekday late morning and early afternoon are the best times to avoid large crowds.  
  • It is mandatory to check backpacks and large bags so therefore there will be some waiting time again in the cloakroom.   
  • Make sure you remember that your ticket also gives you admission to MoMA’s outstanding sister venue, PS1, in Long Island City, Queens. It is a converted school-turned contemporary art exhibition that can be easily accessed by the subway at Court Street stop. PS1 is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  

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