From free admission nights to cocktail parties and museum sleepovers, there’s plenty of fun to be had at NYC’s museums. Here are the best museum parties and events that New York City has to offer:
Museum Mile Festival
Tuesday, June 9
Fifth Ave, 82nd – 105th Streets
Free to the public
Museum Mile, the stretch of Fifth Ave between 82nd and 105th Streets, was formed as a consortium by museums as an initiative to increase support for the arts during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. Since 1978, Museum Mile has hosted a festival every year in June to attract new museum audiences and bring together New Yorkers from all over the city. Today, the Museum Mile Festival draws attendees from all over the world, offering free admission to participating museums as well as face painting, chalk drawing, live music and other block-party-type events. For more information, you can visit the Festival’s website.
Warm Up at MoMA PS1
Saturdays, June 27–September 5, 2015
3–9pm; doors open at Noon
Tickets $18 in advance, $20 day-of
Now in its 18th season, the Warm Up party will take place every Saturday this summer through September 5. This highly anticipated outdoor music series introduces audiences to the best in experimental live music, sound, and DJs—both local and international—across a range of genres. The series features rotating stage installations by local New York design talent. This year’s installation, titled COSMO, is by Andrés Jaque and will light up like an exotic luminescent jellyfish in the PS1 courtyard. The lineup will be announced soon on the MoMA PS1 website – check back to reserve your tickets.
Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum
First Saturday of Every Month
Museum admission is free; some events are ticketed
Though the Brooklyn Museum usually closes at 6pm on Saturdays, this monthly celebration goes until 11pm. The programming is family-friendly, diverse, and always ties into the exhibitions at the museum. Though many of the events take place in the lobby and are free to the public, some activities take place in smaller and more intimate locations in the Museum and require a ticket. Ticket lines often form 30 minutes before tickets are distributed at the Visitor Center (in the Rubin Lobby). The month of June is dedicated to International LGBTQ Pride, with performances by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Brooklyn-based band Aye Nako, film screenings, and more. The Brooklyn Museum’s website is updated monthly with details on upcoming programs and events.
Art After Dark at the Guggenheim Museum
First Friday of the Month
Free for members, $20 general admission
Centering on a special exhibition or program, Art After Dark features a cash bar, renowned DJs, artist-curated playlists, and private viewings of exhibitions. You’ll want to arrive by 8:30 to avoid the long lines that tend to form outside, and be sure to stop at Michelin-starred restaurant The Wright on the first floor. Details for each month’s After Dark party are listed on the Guggenheim Museum’s website.
Night at the Museum for Grown Ups at the American Museum of Natural History
Every other month
$300 for members, $350 for non-members
Built on the successful A Night at the Museum sleepover program, adults ages 21 and up can enjoy a more sophisticated version of the popular event. The overnight adventure begins with a champagne reception and music provided by the 12th Night Jazz trio in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Explorers can roam the nearly-empty halls before unrolling their sleeping bags to curl up under the beloved 94-foot-long blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. The June 2015 sleepover is already sold out, but keep an eye on the American Museum of Natural History’s website for the announcement of the August 2015 event.
Annual Young Members Party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Second Week of July
$100 for members
Members between the ages of 21 and 35 are invited to this annual party in the rooftop garden. This event features an open bar, live music, and exclusive access to exhibitions at the Met. Tickets are offered to members first and usually sell out, so if you’re not a member you’ll likely need to be friends with one in order to get in. Attendees will be dressed to the nines, as the dress code is “summer chic.” This year’s date and theme will be posted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website in late May.
K2 Nights at the Rubin Museum
Free museum admission; performances are under $20
During K2 Friday Nights, the Museum’s Café Serai becomes the K2 Lounge, offering a special pan-Asian tapas menu to accompany the evening’s DJ and programs. Happy Hour runs from 6:00–7:00 p.m. with a 2-for-1 special on all beer, wine, and well drinks. Explore the galleries, which feature art from the Himalayas, or enjoy film screenings, live performances, and more. Upcoming K2 events are listed on the Rubin Museum’s website.
The White Party at the New Museum
Annually in July
Free for members
This annual rooftop party for museum members is filled with revelers clad in white. Attendees can enjoy cocktails under the NYC sunset, dancing, and the chance to mingle with fellow members. Invitations will arrive in the mail as the date of the party approaches, so there’s still time to become a member and gain access to this exclusive event.
UNIQLO Free Fridays at the MoMA
Free to the public
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is home to famous works such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Paul Cézanne’s The Bather, and a rotating collection of modernist art. Every Friday from 4-8pm, admission to the museum (including special exhibitions) is free. Try to arrive before 4 to avoid the long wait – the line often stretches around the block!