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The levels inside the New York City's Guggenheim Museum

New York

New York City: Cultural Attractions to Visit in Every Borough

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    New York

From borough to borough, explore the creative contributions of New York City.

From historic houses to modern art, the city's five boroughs are positively packed with world-class cultural attractions. Here are can't-miss influential institutions in each.

Must-See Art and Museums in Queens

If you’re looking for contemporary art, look no further than MoMa PS1. This innovative Queens museum in Long Island City features continuously updated installations, including envelope-pushing artists as well as talks, performances and music programs.

For an indoor-outdoor cultural experience, Noguchi Museum has the best of both worlds. Housing the works of celebrated Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the museum offers guided tours and a tranquil sculpture garden perfect for relaxation.

Visit the King Manor Museum in Jamaica, Queens, for a journey back in time. The estate was home to Rufus King, an abolitionist and one of the drafters and signers of the U.S. Constitution.

Outside the Noguchi Museum in the Long Island City neighborhood

Outside the Noguchi Museum in the Long Island City neighborhood
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Brooklyn’s Cultural Favorites

The massive Brooklyn Museum is not only impressive from the outside – it’s one of the largest museums in the city – but inside you’ll find more than 1.5 million works of art representing thousands of years and cultures from around the world.

Next door, stroll through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Throughout the year, but particularly during cherry blossom season in the spring, this garden impresses visitors with colorful blooms and peaceful paths to evoke your inner wanderer.

For a different type of culture, check out the 150-year-old Brooklyn Academy of Music and its calendar full of avant-garde plays, dances, music, literary events and lectures.

The grand exterior of the Brooklyn Museum

The grand exterior of the Brooklyn Museum
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Diverse Offerings in the Bronx

Fans of mystery writer Edgar Allan Poe can visit his cottage in the Bronx, where he spent the later years of his life and penned such classics as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Annabel Lee.”  

With a history dating to 1654, the opulent Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and a designated New York City Landmark. Take a tour of the mansion and carriage house.

New York Botanical Garden, one of the largest botanical gardens in the USA, is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Wander the scenic trails, visit the conservatory and see a vast array of flora, from roses to water lilies.

Pond display at the New York Botanical Garden

Pond display at the New York Botanical Garden
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Staten Island’s Houses of History

Staten Island has a number of unique historic sites. The Alice Austen House holds a collection of photos and the original 19th-century wooden camera of Alice Austen, one of the first women to become a professional photographer. Visit for a detailed look at the life and accomplishments of this pioneer.

Check out the natural history exhibits, regional art and local history at the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor.

See thousands of artifacts and more than 30 structures dating to the 17th century at the Historic Richmond Town museum complex, a cultural treasure of Staten Island.

Historic buildings at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Historic buildings at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
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Art and History in Manhattan

Manhattan is known for its impressive art institutions. Admire the striking Frank Lloyd Wright design of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which features definitive works of Impressionists, Surrealists, Minimalists and more.

Another favorite is The New Museum, which spotlights contemporary art in a unique, seven-story space in Manhattan’s trendy Lower East Side.  

Don’t leave New York without visiting the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, site of the former immigration station complex where millions of immigrants entered the USA from 1918 to 1924. It’s also the site of the iconic Statue of Liberty.

Entering the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

Entering the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
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Getting There

To reach New York City from international destinations, fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in nearby Newark, New Jersey.