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MoMA Visitor Tips and Advice

Make the most of your visit to MoMA with these helpful suggestions

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The MoMA is one of New York City's most impressive museums. Designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, the building itself is as impressive as the extensive art collection. Make the most of your visit to this tremendous modern art museum with these helpful tips and advice.
More About MoMA: MoMA Visitors Guide

1. Know When To Go

MoMA Entrance
Timothy Hursley
While many museums are closed on Mondays, the MoMA is open daily except on Tuesdays (and Christmas and Thanksgiving) from 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. On Fridays, the MoMA is open until 8 p.m. for Target Free Fridays. If you're visiting the MoMA during the day on Friday, keep in mind that Target Free Fridays begin at 4 p.m. and the galleries can become crowded by 5 p.m. or so.

2. Maps and Gallery Tours

With six floors of exhibits, it's helpful to grab a museum map. You can also print your own museum plan if you want to prepare in advance for your visit. The museum's staff can always point you in the right direction if you're confused. Visitors can also try free Gallery Talks. Topics change frequently and they are offered daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Groups are limited to 25, so arrive 10 minutes before the tour begins to get a sticker so you can participate.

3. Check Your Coat and Bag

The coat check service is free (well, it's included in the cost of admission) at the MoMA. Sometimes the galleries can be a bit chilly, so even on a warm day you might want to keep a light sweater with you, but it's a great way to store away any shopping bags or backpacks you might have along with you.

4. Grab an Audio Tour

The audio tours are also included in the cost of admission (they're sponsored by Bloomberg) and they are well-done and interesting. You'll need to leave an ID to get one, but the audio tours are engaging and offer a wealth of insight about the art that you are experiencing. They also have a fantastic series of audio segments geared toward children that are interactive and entertaining (even for adults).

5. Start at the Top

Between extensive permanent exhibits and ever-changing exhibitions, there is a lot to see at the MoMA. I recommend that first time visitors start on the fifth floor with the Painting and Sculpture Galleries (they continue onto the fourth floor as well). Take the elevator to the top and ride the escalators down as you work your way through the collections.

6. See A Movie

If you want to take a break from the galleries, the MoMA offers extensive movie screenings which are included in the cost of admission. Check out the Film and Media Schedule to see if there is anything that interests you. Tickets to see a movie can also be purchased separately ($10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 students). Good to know: The price of a film ticket may be applied toward the price of a Museum admission when presented at the Lobby Information Desk within 30 days.

7. Refuel and Relax

Visitors to the MoMA may be surprised to discover that its also a delicious culinary destination as well as an art museum. During the warm months, ice cream from Il Laboratorio del Gelato is served in the Sculpture Garden and lunch is available in the Terrace 5, a full-service cafe with a view of the Sculpture Garden and the city. For a more serious meal, The Modern and the Bar Room serve top-notch cuisine and drinks. Reservations are essential for dining at The Modern, though not the Bar Room.

8. Make The Most of MoMA With Kids

MoMA Tours For Fours
"The Three Musicians" (1921) © 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society, New York
In addition to the great audio tour for children, the MoMA offers ongoing activities and events oriented toward children and families. Programs are available for children age 4 and up. Strollers are permitted throughout the MoMA (take the elevator, not the escalators) and the Sculpture Garden is a great stop during any family visit to the MoMA.

9. Target Free Fridays

On Fridays from 4-8 p.m., admission to the MoMA is free. With free admission come crowds, so be prepared. The line to enter the MoMA for Target Free Fridays may appear long, but it tends to move quickly. Maximize your time at the MoMA and dodge the crowds by arriving as close to 4 p.m. as possible, and take the escalator to the 5th floor and work your way down through the galleries. Good to know: film screenings are not included with Target Free Friday admission.

10. Buy Great Souvenirs and Gifts

In the MoMA lobby you can visit the outstanding gift shop, featuring an array of art-related gifts, from postcards and posters to housewares and handbags, it's a great stop for buying souvenirs or gifts. Across the street, the MoMA Design Store also has a wide variety of items for sale that make great presents and souvenirs.

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