Visiting the Whitney Museum of American Art

Visiting the Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art is a small museum that you cover in just one day. If you are coming from out of town, I strongly recommend this particular museum. The building itself is an experience designed by architect Renzo Piano. 

The Whitney Museum of American Art  presents a full range of Twentieth Century and Contemporary American Art, with a special focus on works by living artists. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists.  

It is located in the Meatpacking District, a trendy commercial area on the far west side of Manhattan. The Whitney features amazing views of NYC from its outdoor terraces, and not to mention that the surrounding area is packed with a ton of cool bars and restaurants to choose from. 

In this article, we’ve put together some helpful information and tips to guide you towards having a wonderful visit at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Getting Started

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Picking the Right Day and How Long Should I Stay?

To pick the right day I would keep in mind the weather to have the full experience of this Museum going on the outdoor terraces is a must and you will be missing out on the artwork outside. Not to mention the breathtaking views. 
So because it is a small museum you don’t have to watch out for Museum Fatigue! You can do in one day. You do not have to rush through to see everything. The Whitney Museum has some very interactive exhibits, and some that are very different, I can even say shocking at times. Take your time to watch every video, and walk into every room because you never know what to expect next.  

Now just because the Whitney Museum is on the smaller side, don't think that one visit is enough to see it all. The Whitney Museum changes its exhibits pretty often because they showcase living American artists—so there’s always something new.

Should I Buy an Online Ticket?

Yes and no, it depends on your situation...I’ll explain further. The Whitney Museum has different options depending on the day you want to visit. 

  • Adults - $25

  • Seniors, Students, and Visitors with Disabilities (with valid student ID) - $18

  • CUNY Student  (with valid student ID at admissions desk) Free!!! 

Pay-What-You-Wish: Fridays from 7 pm–10 pm

Pay-what-you-wish tickets are available at the admissions desk on Fridays from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. They may not be purchased in advance.

If you are visiting during a weekday then it doesn't matter if you buy online or at the admissions desk. However, on the weekend it’s a different story, it can get PACKED —to the point where the line is out the front door. For the weekends, I recommend purchasing your ticket in advance. Once I even waited in line for 45 minutes on a Saturday in the summer. 

Museum members enter for free. 

Location, Location, Location

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014. It is located between the High Line and the Hudson River in the Meatpacking District. 

 

I don’t recommend driving, as with most places in NYC, there is not much street parking available. This area currently has a lot of construction zones as well, making the driving situation even more of a nightmare. There are a few parking garages in the area, but be warned, they tend to be pricey. 


While At The Museum

 When you enter The Whitney Museum on the first floor is the Whitney Shop and the admissions desk. They have two, one is for members only and the other is for the general public. The general public is on the same side as the shop. There is a security station that will ask to inspect your bags. 

They have a bag and coat check in on the floor below. They prefer if you don’t carry larger bags, so I recommended packing light. You can wear your backpack on the front or hold it in your hand on the side. 

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Guided Tours

They also have free daily tours, the times change based on the day of the week and the current exhibits—just ask staff and they will tell you. If you prefer to be solo they also have a mobile guide. 

 Whitney Mobile Guide

They have a free Streaming Mobile Guide available online for you to use. The Whitney Museum has free public WiFi. They sell both earphones and portable chargers at the Whitney Shop located on the first floor if needed. Don't want to use your phone? That’s fine too, you can rent a device during your visit—they're available at the desk in the Lobby.

 Whitney Signs tours 

This is a gallery tour in ASL (American Sign Language), that takes place on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. They are always preceded by a free wine and cheese reception in the Laurie M. Tisch Education Center. 

It has a  limited capacity, and they do not allow ASL students to attend. Voice interpretation on tours is available upon request, though advance registration is required. Check-in is on Floor One. Can't make that time? No worries, they have private tours in ASL available upon request with a three weeks notice. 

Verbal Description and Touch Tours

The Whitney Museum’s verbal description tours provide an opportunity for visitors. Have a friend or loved one that is blind or has low vision? The Whitney verbal description tours provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the richness and diversity of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American art. Explore Whitney’s collection or special exhibitions with a verbal description of the works on display, while experiencing a selection of objects through touch. They have Manual wheelchairs, stools, and assistive listening devices are available for all touch programs.

These tours are free, and 90-minute tours take place when the galleries are closed to the general public. These tours are held monthly as well if requested with a three weeks advance notice. To place a request or inquire about the next scheduled tour, you can contact them at accessfeedback@whitney.org or (212) 570-7789.

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Courses

Expand your perspectives through innovative courses offered every fall, winter, and spring. 

Please email us with any questions: courses@whitney.org.

  • Crash Courses

  • In-Depth

  • How to Look

Programs 

Open Studio 

This Open Studio is accessible on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am–3 pm. It is welcomed to families with kids of all ages. There is a different art-making project every weekend and meets are at the Laurie M. Tisch Education Center on Floor 3. It is Free !!!!! (with Museum admission) This is the weekend you may want to ticket online in advance.  If you have questions about this  Family Programs you can call 212-570-7713 or email familyprograms@whitney.org.

Family Fun for Families with Kids on the Autism Spectrum

The Whitney has something for everyone, they have sensory-friendly gallery activities and hands-on art-making workshops before the Museum opens to the general public for children on the autism spectrum. This program occurs every three months for kids ages 6 and up. Registration is required. You can Email accessfeedback@whitney.org if you have any questions about this program.

 School Programs

 If you’re a teacher that wants to take their class on a trip, they have Guided Visits for that too. This program is for K-12 students and are thematic gallery tours that build upon classroom learning. 

Want something a little more than just a tour no problem they also have Guided Visit + Studio. This is a 1-hour tour and 1 hour in the art-making workshop. You can follow this link to SUBMIT A REQUEST.

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Feeling Hungry Yet?

On the first floor, there is the “Untitled”, a seasonal American restaurant, open to the public.  

On the eighth floor is the Studio Cafe, they serve coffee, pastries, and seasonal salads, sandwiches, and soups. 

You're not limited to just these two locations either, after all, there are far too many restaurants to name in the Meatpacking  District.

Photo Ops!

This is all about the photo ops! Renzo Piano the architect  designed this build to be an experience. Each space has its own charm. Renzo Piano took full advantage of the location and the fact that you’re in New York City. The outdoor terraces not only have intriguing artwork, but you can also enjoy great views of the city.

What’s next ?

The High Line

Just because you finished your tour of the museum doesn't mean that the fun has to end.

I strongly recommend walking the nearby High Line. It is a public park built atop a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side.

It is a beautiful park with gardens, outdoor art, and food vendors along its 1.45-mile-long stretch. 

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Art Galleries, Restaurants & Entertainment

There are plenty of different restaurants and art galleries around the museum as well.  Be sure to check out the nearby Allouche Gallery right across the street from the Whitney’s entrance. It’s an open gallery so just stroll on in and check it out…don’t be shy!


Remember to share your experiences as you embrace “Art in All Forms”. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below or connect with us on social media!

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— if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments! Thank you!

I believe in embracing “Art in All Forms”. I created this blog to build a community to help budding and experienced artists connect, grow and create together. It’s a place where artists can learn and share information, and to keep art meaningful in there lives.

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