“A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head,” said architect Renzo Piano. Well hold onto your hats if you walk along Museum Mile in NYC. This part of the city is a cultural mecca, with a string of eight world-class museums. Here’s everything you need to know about Museum Mile.

This hotbed of high art is located on Fifth Avenue, from East 82nd to East 110th Street on the Upper East Side. (It’s something of a misnomer, too: the distance between Museum Mile’s southern and northern points is actually 1.4 miles. But that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?) Together with Central Park, Museum Mile forms the western edge of Carnegie Hill and lower sections of East Harlem. For the entire length of Museum Mile, expect grand apartment buildings, embassies, and mansions (some of which are now actually museums), plus the Mount Sinai Hospital campus.

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It’s probably not a surprise that it costs a lot to live along this tony thoroughfare. According to the StreetEasy Data Dashboard, The Upper East Side’s median asking price was $1.7 million in December 2021, compared to $1.5 million for all of Manhattan. The median rental asking price was $3,300 for the same period, compared to Manhattan’s overall median of $3,500. East Harlem is more affordable, with a median asking price of $697,500, and a median rental asking price of $2,300 in December 2021. However, on Fifth Avenue along Museum Mile itself, prices soar to some of the most expensive in New York City.

How to Get to Museum Mile

The M1, 2, 3, and 4 buses run down Fifth Avenue, with convenient stops near all of NYC’s Museum Mile key attractions. For those coming from downtown, these same buses run up Madison Avenue, one avenue east of the museums. Subway service is two avenues further away, on Lexington Avenue. The 4 and 5 trains run express, stopping only at 86th Street, but the 6 runs local with stops at 96th, 103rd, and 110th streets.

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What Museums Are On Museum Mile?

You can explore eight wildly different cultural institutions on Museum Mile in NYC. Whether you want textbook-famous paintings or a vintage Rolls-Royce, there’s something for everyone. Below, we list museums from south to north along Fifth Avenue.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Known affectionately as “the Met,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a titan in the culture world. It is by far the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere (both in terms of gallery space and total number of works). It’s also one of the world’s most popular museums, attracting more than a million visitors in a given year. Its encyclopedic collection traces 300,000 years (!)  of human artistic achievement, from Paleolithic objects to 20th century painting and sculpture. Stroll through galleries housing Ancient Egyptian mummies, Renaissance-era Ottoman calligraphy, Dutch Golden Age paintings, 19th-century Impressionist works, and more.  1000 Fifth Avenue

Neue Galerie

Inside a Beaux-Arts mansion on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 86th Street, Neue Galerie’s lavish halls showcase early 20th-century art from Germany and Austria. See world-recognized pieces by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, along with decorative art and period home decor, plus rotating special exhibitions. And don’t miss lunch (and the chocolate cake, sachertorte) downstairs at Café Sabarsky, seemingly plucked from Vienna circa 1910. Open only since 2001, it’s a relative newcomer on Museum Mile in NYC.  1048 Fifth Avenue

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum holds an impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art in an equally impressive setting. Pieces by the likes of Cézanne, Kandinsky, and Chagall line the walls of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic cylindrical building. Fun fact: In 2019, the museum earned UNESCO World Heritage status as a stunning example of the architect’s legacy. 1071 Fifth Avenue

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

In the former mansion of Andrew Carnegie, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States that focuses on design, both historic and contemporary. Visitors here can see nearly 250 years’ worth of sculpture, decorative arts, metalwork, furniture and architecture paintings from around the world. Collection highlights: a chair Abraham Lincoln sat in in 1860, and a Rolls-Royce owned by the Beatles. The museum is one of three New York City museums affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute (the other 16 are in Washington, D.C.). 2 East 91st Street

Jewish Museum

The first institution of its kind in the country — and among the oldest in the world — The Jewish Museum invites visitors to explore Jewish art and culture through the ages. It holds the world’s largest collection of Jewish art outside of Israel, including paintings by the likes of Chagall and Warhol, ceremonial objects dating back centuries, sculptures, archeological artifacts, and more. 1109 Fifth Avenue

Museum of the City of New York

Discover the fascinating history of The Big Apple at the Museum of the City of New York. Its 1.5-million-piece collection showcases paintings, photographs, furniture, costumes, dioramas and even toys, providing a glimpse into how the metropolis and the lives of its residents have evolved over time. 1220 Fifth Avenue

El Museo del Barrio

Known as “El Museo,” this museum specializes in Latin American and Caribbean art dating from the 1200s to today. It’s at once a bedrock of the neighborhood community, showcasing works by Puerto Rican and Nuyorican artists, and a global player in preserving the legacy of artists from across the Caribbean islands and Central and South America. A particular highlight is the collection of pre-Columbian Taíno artifacts. 1230 Fifth Avenue

The Africa Center

The Africa Center launched programming in its all-new Fifth Avenue home in 2019, making it the most recent arrival on Museum Mile in NYC. Through film screenings, talks, readings, and special exhibitions, it seeks to increase the public understanding of Africa and its Diaspora. Many of its programs go on to visit museums and institutions around the world. 1280 Fifth Avenue

What is NYC’s Museum Mile Festival?

On the second Tuesday of June, museums along NYC’s Museum Mile traditionally open their doors to visitors for free during extended evening hours. It’s been a favorite Upper East Side event since the 1970s, and typically involves outdoor art activities geared for the whole family. The event was held virtually in 2020 and 2021, with livestream festivities throughout the day across the museums’ websites and social media accounts. The dates for the 2022 festival have yet to be announced, but it is traditionally held on the second Tuesday in June, which this year is June 14. If it’s once again held virtually, you can likely follow the fest via the hashtag #MMF2022.