NYC Whitney Museum of American Art Guide

Located in a privileged enclave on the Hudson River, this art gallery offers the largest collection of American art in the world and spectacular views of New York.

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

11 min read

NYC Whitney Museum of American Art Guide

Detail of the façade of the Whitney Museum in New York. | ©Julia Juncadella

If you're a lover of modern art, one of the must-see stops on your visit to New York is the Whitney Museum, home to the world's finest collection of 20th-century American art. But what's so special about it? Inside, you'll find many of the iconic paintings by the great realist painter Edward Hopper (1882-1968). So, if you haven't already done so, I suggest you make a note of this cultural gem on your trip.

This museum, which has been able to captivate even Michelle Obama herself, who attended the inauguration of the new building in 2015, will surprise you. In this article I explain how to get tickets at a very affordable price, the best days of the week to visit, which works you can't miss inside and everything you need to know to make the most of your visit. Keep reading!

The best and fastest option

NYC Whitney Museum of American Art Entry Ticket

Avoid the queues and get your priority entrance to the Whitney Museum

Perfect if you want to visit this museum without having to waste time at the ticket office and enjoy the guided tour that is included in the price.

With this option to visit the Whitney Museum so cheaply, in which you only pay a little extra to have your preferential access, you will see unique works of art without having to wait in the very long queues that form every day. Believe me, this can be exhausting. Besides, we all know that "time is money and even more so on a trip!"

With priority access you will have the opportunity and time to discover the most complete collection of American art ever. A fact: this museum places special emphasis on the works of living artists, which proves that the premise that "any time in the past was a better time" is not always true.

What does priority admission include?

  • Direct access to the exhibitions, with no unnecessary queuing or waiting.
  • A daily guided tour to get to know all the secrets of this museum in depth and not leave any questions unanswered.
  • Free cancellation if your trip is changed at the last minute.

Recommended if... you want to avoid the crowds and queues that form every day at the Whitney Museum ticket office.

How much do tickets to the Whitney Museum cost?

Opening of the Whitney Museum| ©Lili Xia
Opening of the Whitney Museum| ©Lili Xia

If you buy your tickets to the Whitney Museum of New York online in advance you will pay only 32 ¤ on the Hellotickets website. However, if you are travelling with children, a family or have access to a special discount, you may be able to get better prices.

Ticket prices at the box office

It is also a very valid option to buy tickets at the ticket office and the price you will get will be very similar, although as I said before, you will lose the advantages of buying a priority ticket (preferential access, free cancellation and guided tour).

Don't forget that queues can be very long, so I don't recommend buying tickets on the day of the visit (especially if you want to get in at the last minute, as tickets sell out weeks in advance).

Take advantage of discounts for special groups

However, if you are a free soul, one of those who like to improvise and don't mind going to the ticket office (even if it takes you longer), check if you can benefit from a reduced price for belonging to the following groups:

  • Over 65s,
  • Disabled visitors,
  • Students, who must present their ID card.

How to get free admission to the Whitney Museum

On the other hand, children under the age of 18 can enter for free. Yes, free of charge. Remember, too, that New York museums have implemented the option of entry with a donation, the famous " pay what you wish ". Didn't you know?

Every Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Whitney Museum allows visitors to enter with this option. However, you need to apply for admission in advance because there is a high demand. If you go on very specific dates, it is best to be cautious and book well in advance on their official website.

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Whitney Museum opening hours

Inside the Whitney Museum in New York| ©Jim Culp
Inside the Whitney Museum in New York| ©Jim Culp
  • Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30am-6pm.
  • Tuesday (closed).
  • Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Best time to visit the Whitney

My advice is to book your ticket to the Whitney Museum in New York in advance and try to visit the Whitney Museum during the week and avoid Saturdays and Sundays. In particular, Mondays and Wednesdays are the best days to explore the Whitney Museum because they tend to be the least crowded weekdays.

Most of New York 's museums and monuments are closed on holidays and the Whitney is no exception: on December 25th, January 1st and Thanksgiving Day, the Whitney is closed.

Book in advance

As the museum explains on its official website, buying same-day tickets can be tricky. So as not to spoil your plans, I advise you to buy your ticket in advance.

Important fact: you have to take into account that the last entrance to the museum is 45 minutes before closing time. And if you're like me, you love sunsets, and you don't know where to enjoy the best sunsets in New York, the terrace of the Whitney Museum is the place for you. Take my word for it!

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Where is and how to get to the Whitney Museum

New York Subway| ©Norbert Stening
New York Subway| ©Norbert Stening

Once you have booked your ticket to the Whitney Museum, please note that it is located at 99 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, just steps from the Hudson River and the West Side Highway.

The Whitney is easily accessible by bike, underground, bus and taxi... For most, the easiest way to get to the Whitney Museum (located at 99 Gansevoort Street) is to use the New York underground.

You can take the A, C, E and L lines (get off at the 14th St stop). The price of a single ticket is approximately €2.60. Here' s an underground map to help you get around the Big Apple.

The New York MetroCard

A little tip! If you plan to use public transport several times during your trip, the best option is to buy the MetroCard, which is valid for the underground and buses. Unlike in major Spanish cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, both the New York underground and buses run 24 hours a day. Here is a practical guide to using the New York underground.

The Citi Bike system in New York City

If, on the other hand, you are one of those who get easily overwhelmed on the underground, I recommend you get to the Whitney Museum by bicycle, the most sustainable and ecological means of transport in the city of skyscrapers. What's more, you'll be able to park right outside the museum.

The best option for renting this vehicle is to use the Citi Bike app, New York's public bike rental system, a cheap and fun way to enjoy every corner of the Big Apple on two wheels; although you can also rent a bike by the hour in New York.

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum

Top works you can't miss at the Whitney Museum

Edward Hopper's
Edward Hopper's "Early Sunday Morning".| ©Daniel Kelly

When booking your ticket to the Whitney Museum, bear in mind that it is made up of over 21,000 pieces created by more than 3,000 artists and is specially designed to appeal to a young-spirited audience. It has several floors that house temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection, as well as founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's own collection.

The museum houses the finest collection of paintings by Edward Hopper, famous for his portraits of loneliness in American life, whose legacy was donated to the museum upon his death. Also on display are works by Andy Warhol, Peggy Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Basquiat, George Bellows and Stuart Davis, among many others.

The museum's must-sees

Don't miss the gallery's best works:

  • Music, Pink and Blue, by Georgia O'Keeffe (1918).
  • Early Sunday Morning, by Edward Hopper (1930).
  • The Brooklyn Bridge, by George Stella (1939).
  • Three Flags by Jasper Johns (1958).
  • A Woman in the Sun, by Edward Hopper (1961).

Don't miss the traditional Whitney Biennial

On the other hand, every two years the museum organises the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running exhibition in the country, which has been held since 1932 and shows the public the latest advances in American art. It is dedicated, above all, to emerging artists and new proposals.

This exhibition, which attracts thousands of onlookers and visitors, has established itself as one of the most important exhibitions in the world of contemporary art, so much so that it tends to lead the trends in the sector. Would you like to attend? Well, you're in luck, because the 2021 Biennale has been postponed and the next one will be held between April and August 2022.

Don't worry if you don't speak English, because during the Biennale the museum usually offers resources and programmes in Spanish, such as a mobile guide, guided tours and free tours of the exhibition. The exhibition signage is also in Spanish.

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum

How much time do you need to visit the Whitney Museum?

Works at the Whitney Museum of American Art| ©Vld0363
Works at the Whitney Museum of American Art| ©Vld0363

Once you have booked your ticket to the Whitney Museum, please note that you will need to set aside two hours for your visit. Keep in mind that visiting the museum with a specialized guide will give you more time than if you see it on your own. As the Instituto Cervantes proverb says, "lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno ".

My advice is to take a short stroll out of the museum and into the Meatpacking District, a twenty-block neighbourhood with a bustling community of artists, galleries, restaurants and nightlife. You can also take the opportunity to tour the High Line, a new urban garden built on an old railway line. Here's my handy guide to 10 things to do and see on New York's High Line

You can then spend the afternoon on a two-and-a-half hour cruise on the Hudson River, taking in the Manhattan skyline and discovering the other side of the Big Apple from the water. Check out the best Hudson River cruises. And if you like street art, I suggest you exit the High Line at the 23rd Street entrance to see the colourful graffiti of Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra.

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Where to eat at the Whitney Museum

View from the terrace of the Whitney Museum in New York City| ©Daniel Kelly
View from the terrace of the Whitney Museum in New York City| ©Daniel Kelly

If you want to grab a snack or enjoy the sunset with a cocktail, you don't have to leave the building, just take the lift up to the eighth floor. The museum is home to the Studio Bar restaurant, which serves American cuisine with a modern twist. I recommend arriving early to get a seat on the fabulous terrace with a view.

  • Water (€2.60).
  • Beer (7,80 €).
  • Glass of wine (12 €).
  • Cappuccino (4,30 €).
  • Alcoholic cocktails (13 €).
  • Aperitif (18 €).

Also, if you just want to stop off during your visit to the gallery and, in the meantime, enjoy watching passers-by go about their busy New York lives, head to the Andrea and James Gordon restaurant on the ground floor, accessible to both museum guests and the general public.

Its walls are large windows that allow you to enjoy the bustling city at your leisure with a coffee in hand. If you're not convinced by any of these options, take a look at this guide to the best places to eat in New York and choose where to satisfy your appetite! And if you want to enjoy the view from the Studio Bar terrace, but don't want to sit down to eat, I suggest you order a cappuccino - it's delicious and will warm you up!

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Recommendations for visiting the Whitney Museum

Inside the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City| ©philanto1
Inside the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City| ©philanto1

My advice is that even if you don't like art, book your ticket to the Whitney Museum and go up to the outdoor terraces on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th floors which serve as art galleries and spectacular viewpoints. As I said, the top floor is perfect for a romantic aperitif with a view!

Although it was once described as the "ugliest building in New York", the Whitney Museum is no longer the ugly duckling and has been transformed into a swan thanks to the wonderful hands of architect Renzo Piano, who designed the new building with a modern, industrial aesthetic and one of the most impressive views in the Big Apple.

Now all you have to do is buy your tickets, put these recommendations into practice and get ready to see one of the most beautiful viewpoints in New York. Have a good trip to the heights!

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Frequently asked questions

View of the city from the Whitney Museum| © AllainG
View of the city from the Whitney Museum| © AllainG

Is the Whitney Museum wheelchair accessible?

If you book your ticket to the Whitney Museum and you have an accessibility problem, you can rest assured that all levels of the museum are accessible by lift. In addition, the entrances to the outdoor terraces are equipped with automatic openers for easy access.

Is there car parking near the Whitney Museum?

Yes, there are three parking garages nearby, at 99 Jane Street, 134-36 Jane Street and 385 West 15th Street.

Can I park my bicycle near the Whitney Museum?

Yes, bicycle parking is available directly in front of the museum. Alternatively, parking for the Citi Bike System (New York's public bicycle system) is located on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets.

Book your ticket to the Whitney Museum here

Are Whitney Museum tickets included in any of the city's sightseeing passes?

View of the Empire State Building| ©Alina Grubnyak
View of the Empire State Building| ©Alina Grubnyak

Manhattan has an endless list of things to see and do, and the best way to make sure you don't miss out on anything like the Whitney is to book the New York Explorer Pass from €72, which allows you to visit up to ten attractions in 60 days. Among them, you'll be able to enter the gallery, visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty or tour the city by bus. If you have time to spare, this is definitely the best alternative for you.

Bear in mind that if you had to see all the attractions on your own, it would be impossible to fit them all in so little time, so this is the most efficient way to make the most of your stay without crowds or queues.

Why I like this option: in addition to its good value for money, I recommend the tourist card because it includes a very complete tour of New York with which you will make the most of your days in this city.

Practical information about the New York Explorer Pass

  • Recommended: if you're going to be in New York for at least two weeks.
  • Number of attractions to choose from: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10
  • Price: from €72
  • Advantages: saves you time and money (the card allows you to enter the main attractions at a reduced rate)

Also ideal for families with children, who like to relax and enjoy the sightseeing buses

Book the best New York City Sightseeing Card