Union Square is a famous landmark for many in New York. It has always acted as a gathering place for entertainment, commerce, recreation, and even political events. However, while you are around why not visit some museums? Let’s see what are the best museums near Union Square, NYC.
We’ve picked out 7 of the best museums that you can reach from Union Square. The museums we’ve selected are the best in the area. From art galleries to pinball exhibitions, we’ve got something for any type of traveler. So let’s see what are the best museums around Union Square in New York City.
Of course, we’ve taken walking time into consideration. You may take public transport but everything we’ve selected for this list is within walking distance of Union Square. In fact, we’ve drawn the line at 15 minutes of walking.
This means that you can reach each museum in just 15 minutes by walking from Union Square. Great isn’t it?
1. Talwar Gallery
Hours: Tue-Fri 11AM – 6PM
Distance: 1 minute
The Talwar Gallery is one of the most important galleries in New York for displaying works of artists from the Indian subcontinent. They have constantly changing exhibitions and a great selection of artwork on display.
The story began in 2001 when Talwar New York was launched. It was founded by Deepak Talwar who has been working with contemporary artists from India since the 1990s.
It’s actually a small and cute museum. Hidden on the 3rd floor of 108 E 16th Street. Good for a quick visit especially if you are interested in Indian artists.
2. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Hours: Wed-Sun 10AM-12PM & 1PM-4PM
Distance: 5 minutes
You will find the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site just a short 6-minute walk away from Union Square. It’s definitely a quick trip and this museum is a great visit.
You’ll get a chance to learn about the life of Theodore Roosevelt and also to tour a historically accurate New York home from the early days of the city. It’s definitely a spectacle to walk around the place and a must-see for history buffs.
For a long time, the museum was closed due to COVID renovations, but since Sept 2022 it is, once again, open to the public.
Do note that period rooms can only be visited via small guided tours. They are first-come-first-served basis so it’s best to visit during a quiet period. Groups of more than 10 people must make a reservation in advance. Tours start hourly and there is no tour at noon.
3. Arcadia Earth
Price: $39 peak hours Adult
Hours: Mon, Wen-Fri 2PM – 8PM, Sat-Sun 10AM – 8PM, Tue CLOSED
Distance: 10 minutes
Arcadia Earth is a colorful museum on Broadway NYC. However, the exhibition is way more than sensory overload. The vivid installations aim to display the effects of climate change and educate about sustainability.
It’s a great place to explore with a family. In this day and age, it’s never too early to start learning about climate change and what an individual can do in order to preserve our environment.
Arcadia Earth is perfect at this. They’ve managed to package the message in colorful and exciting displays that will leave great memories.
Not only that, but it is also an interactive museum near Union Square. In fact, you’ll need to have a charged phone if you want to experience it fully. There are augmented reality sections and QR code readouts as well.
It’s a great museum with an important message but in our opinion, it’s a little bit on the expensive side of things.
4. Fotografiska Museum
Hours: Sun-Tue 9AM – 9PM, Wed-Sat 9AM – 11PM
Distance: 7 minutes
This impressive facility boasts a remarkable photography exhibition. Expertly curated and thought-provoking, it is truly a sight to behold.
Fotografiska Museum is one of those museums that want to charm you in every corner. It’s filled with artwork and people who love photography will be amazed by all the different styles and pictures that are represented inside.
The icing on the cake is definitely the breathtaking top floor. It has a unique design that we’ve absolutely loved. It’s a rather big museum with 5 floors so make sure that you allocate enough time for your visit.
Visitors can purchase refreshments from the café at the entrance and enjoy them during their stay or visit the lounge on the first floor, which hosts a DJ in the evenings.
5. Rubin Museum of Art
Hours: Thu 11AM – 5 PM, Fri 11AM – 10 PM (free K2 Night 6-10PM), Sat-Sun 11AM – 5PM
Distance: 10 minutes
The Rubin Museum of Art houses a distinguished array of vibrant works of art from the Himalayan region, including pieces from India, Tibet, and Bhutan.
The museum features art from the ancient eras up to even contemporary displays. There is a permanent exhibit that you can visit which has a wide arrangement of artworks even including items like textiles.
Rubin Museum of Art has recently incorporated interactive activities which enable visitors to experiment with sound, olfaction, video-guided meditation/stretching, and emotional expression.
It’s a medium-sized place so prepare to spend at least 1 hour here. In our opinion this is a must-see among the museums near Union Square for anyone who is interested in the Himalayan and Tibetian culture.
6. The FRIENDS™ Experience
Hours: Wed-Sun 10AM-7PM
Distance: 10 minutes
The Friends NYC Pop-Up is the place for the FRIENDS™ Experience in New York City. Fans of the legendary show will be able to walk among and explore a replica of the real set.
It might be pricey and it might be cheesy but we well know that anyone who loves the show will absolutely love this experience.
You can pose on the iconic couch, you can chat in the coffeehouse that the crew visited so often and you can even check out the apartments that make an appearance on the show. It is an interactive and fun place to see.
One positive thing about the pricing is that it also includes a set of photographs that the staff will take of your group as you explore the sets. It’s still pretty expensive but for fans, it’s worth it.
We highly recommend that you book this museum in advance. Prices at the property are a good bit more expensive and you’ll even have to wait in line if you want to get it. If you reserve your spot online you’ll save money and you’ll definitely be able to get in quickly.