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Everything You Need to Know to Visit the Guggenheim Museum

March 4, 2024 By CityPASS

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York—better known as "the Guggenheim"—was originally intended to house its namesake's eccentric, non-objective art collection, which included works by Vasily Kandinsky and his followers. It quickly became evident that a permanent collection was necessary, so Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to create a masterpiece to showcase the masterworks inside.

The Guggenheim Museum opened its fabled doors in 1959 and has been enthralling visitors ever since. There are even international Guggenheim museums: you can visit them in Venice and Bilbao, and one is currently being planned for Abu Dhabi.

Permanent Guggenheim Museum Collections

While there is no shortage of art to admire in NYC, the Guggenheim truly shines above the rest. Featuring both a permanent and an ever-changing rotation of exhibits, the museum and its collections never fails to inspire.

One of the more popular permanent exhibits is the Thannhauser Collection. It's filled with French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and and modern French masterpieces from the Guggenheim's collection, including works by Degas, Manet, Van Gogh, and more.

The Guggenheim's Rotating Museum Collections

With thousands of pieces of artwork, it's up to the museum's curators to decide on new exhibits that will captivate Guggenheim visitors. Exhibits generally last anywhere between three and six months and can include multiple artists or focus on an individual.

If you're a local resident of New York City or live close enough to visit multiple times each year, make it a point to check out the Guggenheim's website to see what's on display before you go. Past exhibitions have included solo shows featuring Alberto Giacometti, Vasily Kandinsky, Hilma af Klint, and Agnes Martin, and group shows such as the experimental works of China post-1989, which happened to be the largest show on this particular subject in all of North America. The creativity of the curators knows no bounds, so be prepared to be amazed by their ingenuity.

The Guggenheim Museum Building

If you're just visiting the city, fear not: even if the current exhibits are not to your taste, the sheer wonder of the building itself will be more than enough to incite an incredible feeling of awe. The Guggenheim's sprawling curves juxtaposed against its jutting corners is an instantly recognizable landmark of NYC. Peer down at the crowds from atop the tremendous spiral rotunda, which is a work of art in it of itself.

The Guggenheim's Digital Guide, available for free on the Bloomberg Connects app, contains audio guides and downloadable exhibition texts for each exhibition on view, as well as information about the permanent collection and the Frank Lloyd Wright building. The building audio guide is available in 11 languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, and Arabic. The audio guides can also be accessed on the Guggenheim website and SoundCloud.

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Guggenheim Museum?

Like many popular museums, the Guggenheim is usually most crowded on weekends and during school hours on weekdays. For current hours of operation, please refer to the attraction's website.

Nearby Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in New York City, we recommend finding lodging near New York City's top attractions like the Guggenheim Museum. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Tickets for the Guggenheim

Members get free admission, but if you're looking for a more of a chance encounter rather than a full-fledged relationship with the museum, try New York CityPASS® tickets. You can flirt with several of New York's top attractions without paying full price.

Special Programs

The Guggenheim offers a host of engaging activities that extend your experience far beyond admiring the art. While these are also rotating, you can be reasonably assured that you'll find art courses, panel discussions, and other exciting events.

The Guggenheim is a treat for all types of people, young and old. Even if you're not an ardent fan of non-objective art, it's still worth the trip to admire the striking exterior and interior.

Header Image David Heald © SRGF, NY

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