How to Spend an Afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
As the largest art museum in the United States, realistically you could spend days upon days wandering the halls and galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Its permanent collection contains over two million pieces (!), divided among seventeen curatorial departments. But as I discovered when I visited the Big Apple, finding the time to see everything is nearly impossible, especially if you’re only visiting the city for a few days.
Listed below you’ll find some of the most popular galleries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pick one and spend a few hours immersed in the history and culture of that region. Or, give each gallery a quick walk through to get a brief overview of the incredible pieces featured in one of the world’s biggest museums.
Greek & Roman Art // The Museum's collection of Greek and Roman art comprises more than 17,000 works ranging in date from the Neolithic period (ca. 4500 B.C.) to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312. It includes the art of many cultures and is among the most comprehensive in North America.
Egyptian Art // Interested in Egyptian Art? Look no further than the Met’s astounding 39 galleries filled with approximately 26,000 pieces dating all the way back to the Paleolithic period. More than half of the collection is derived from the Museum's 35 years of archaeological work in Egypt, initiated in 1906 in response to increasing Western interest in the culture of ancient Egypt.
The American Wing // Ever since its establishment in 1870 the Museum has acquired important examples of American art. Gallery 768, titled “Images of Women”, is particularly interesting and features paintings of women engaged in various pastimes and activities.
European Paintings // The Met's collection of European paintings encompasses works of art from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The galleries feature masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Cézanne, Degas, Jan van Eyck, Monet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh.
Art of the Arab Lands // Located on the second floor, the Met's collection of Islamic art fills 15 rooms with pieces ranging in date from the 7th to the 19th century. The nearly 12,000 objects come from the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. You can expect to see pottery, carpets and textiles, jeweled arts, calligraphy, and paintings.
Cantor Roof Garden // Perhaps the best spot in the entire museum, the roof garden features rotating sculpture installations by contemporary artists and an unforgettable view of Central Park and the city. There is also an onsite cafe and martini bar. The roof garden is open from May to October.
The Met Store // Inside the Met Store you’ll find a large assortment of fine art gifts reproduced from the featured collections, along with books, clothing, prints, jewelry, and other fun little trinkets.
Planning your visit
Please note, only bottles of water are allowed inside the museum.
No other food or drink is permitted.
Photography is allowed, but without flash (although keep an eye out for a few specially designated areas that include signage stating “no photography”).
Strollers are allowed in all galleries unless otherwise noted.
The Met is included in the New York CityPASS - you can find my review of the ticket booklet here.
Sunday - Thursday: 10 am - 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May.
The Met Fifth Avenue
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028