Whether you’re interested in art, science, history or simply want to enjoy an ideal cultural NYC experience, you’ll love this list of free museums in New York, NY.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that some of these museums are always completely free of admission, while others operate on a pay-what-you-wish system. What does it mean to pay-what-you-wish? Well, it means that the posted admission price is a suggested donation. So, visitors can choose to pay the posted price, less than the posted price, or nothing at all! It’s important to note that pay-what-you-wish tickets can’t usually be purchased online or in advance.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
It’s hard to believe that one of the most iconic museums in NYC can be explored on the pay-what-you-wish system. Some of the most magnificent artwork in the world is on display at the MET, from paintings by the masters to Tiffany stained-glass windows; it’s easy to spend the entire day at this museum.

American Folk Art Museum
Admission is always free at the American Folk Art Museum in Lincoln Square. This cultural gem celebrates traditional American art at its finest, through a variety of media including paint, sculpture, fabrics and more.

Museum of the City of New York
There’s no better place to learn about New York than in this museum on Fifth Avenue. The suggested admission fee is $10, but this is another pay-what-you-wish museum.

Queens Museum
Pay-what-you-wish at Queens Museum, celebrating diversity in visual arts and education. With a variety of artwork in both short- and long-term exhibits, the Queens Museum is a great option for visitors and locals alike.

American Museum of Natural History
For lovers of history and science, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is the perfect pay-what-you-wish museum. You’ll also get to explore the Rose Center for Earth and Space for free!

Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library
Enjoy truly free admission at the Hispanic Society of America Museum. The exhibits at this free museum feature work from many areas of Hispanic culture, including Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

El Museo del Barrio
Pay-what-you-wish at El Museo del Barrio in NYC. The museum features exhibits of visual arts, music, spoken word and more – all celebrating the vibrant Latino culture.

Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum is one of the best museums to visit while you’re in New York, because it showcases such a wide variety of artwork. Spanning the entire globe and countless centuries, this pay-what-you-wish museum will take you on a true exploration.

National Museum of the American Indian
This leg of the Smithsonian Institute has locations in both Washington D.C. and NYC. You’ll find completely free admission to this impressive museum, located in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

Looking for free museums in other U.S. cities? Check out our list of Free Museums in the U.S.!