May the Fourth be with you!
There’s lots to do on July 4th before heading to the East River for the annual Macy’s fireworks spectacular, or to Coney Island or Jersey City for their annual fireworks displays.
Most NYC museums are open on Sunday, July 4th, and not likely to be crowded, so you can enjoy some exceptional current special exhibits.
These NYC museums well worth a visit any time, especially on July 4th.
Best places to watch
The price of freedom is high.
George Washington hosted a goodbye dinner for his Revolutionary War officers at Fraunces Tavern, before taking the oath of office a few block away as first President of the new United States.
So Fraunces Tavern Museum is an ideal place to visit on the 4th of July, Independence Day.
Once again, Fraunces Tavern is celebrating Independence Day with special $1 admission all day, Noon to 5pm.
Plus, its location steps from South Ferry makes it easy to visit whether you are headed afterward to the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular on the East River
- Fraunces Tavern is at 54 Pearl St.
- The museum is upstairs.
- The restaurant downstairs is serving lunch and dinner.
Each year on the Fourth of July, each victim listed on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza is honored with an American flag distributed by volunteers.
This year, volunteers from Team Red, White & Blue and Blue Star Families Craig Newmark Tri-State Chapter will place the flags in the names on the Memorial’s bronze parapets to recognize the 2,983 people who were killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993.
Following that ceremony, the 9/11 Museum (official name National September 11 Museum) will be open to the public.
- Starting Monday, July 5th, the 9/11 Museum will be open daily, 1pm to 8pm.
This week is your final chance to see a wonderful exhibit on how modern photography changed magazines, and newspapers, too.
As the threat of war loomed in the late 1930s, avant-garde strategies in photography and design reached the United States via European émigrés, including Bauhaus artists forced out of Nazi Germany. The unmistakable aesthetic made popular by such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue — whose art directors, Alexey Brodovitch and Alexander Liberman, were both immigrants and accomplished photographers — emerged from a distinctly American combination of innovation, inclusiveness, and pragmatism.
Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine features more than 150 works including photographs, layouts, and cover designs, including historic images of original Forbes and Ms. Magazine covers. The exhibition considers the connections and influences of designers and photographers such as Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Lester Beall, Margaret Bourke-White, Louis Faurer, Robert Frank, William Klein, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Cipe Pineles, and Paul Rand.
- The Jewish Museum is open on July 4th and offers FREE admission every Saturday.
- This exhibit closes on Friday, July 11.
- The Jewish Museum is at 92nd St. and Fifth Ave.
New York Historical Society
New York Historical Society celebrates July 4th with FREE admission for ages 17 and under.
Learn about presidential history at “Meet the Presidents”, a special permanent gallery on New-York Historical’s fourth floor features a detailed re-creation of the White House Oval Office, where presidents have exercised their powers, duties, and responsibilities since 1909.
Visitors can explore the Oval Office and hear audio recordings of presidential musings.
That’s NYCOTC Publisher/Executive Editor Evelyn Kanter sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office – the one at the New York Historical Society.
Other exhibits include –
Bob Hope and the Gift of Laughter, exploring his many visits to the troops in WWII
The Tiffany Gallery, one of the world’s largest collections of Tiffany lamps and artifacts, many of which were designed and created by women.
- New York Historical Society is at 77th St. and Central Park West.
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Unlike past years, there are no special July 4th programs. Current exhibits include:
On the Line: Intrepid and the Vietnam War
Intrepid served three tours of duty in Vietnam from 1966–1969. This exhibition explores the events and impact of the Vietnam War through the lens of Intrepid’s history.
Kamikaze: Beyond the Fire
An immersive multimedia experience reveals the history and impact of kamikazes. Through firsthand accounts and artifacts from the United States and Japan, learn about the young men on both sides of the devastating attacks.
- Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum is open daily, 10am to 5pm, at 44th St. and the Hudson River.
Even if you flunked out of high-school geometry and prefer pie to pi, the exhibits here are cool enough to make math fun whatever your age, nine to 90, more or less.
Like math itself, the museum is full of surprises.
Affectionately known as MoMath, it’s the only museum of mathematics in the USA.
- MoMath is open 10am to 5pm on July 4th.
- Momath is at 11 East 26th St.
American Museum of Natural History
One of the best – also largest and oldest – natural history museums on the planet, with compelling exhibits on the worlds oceans and the effects of climate change and pollution.
Be sure to visit the dinosaurs, including Titanosaur, one of the largest ever found anywhere, the giant Blue Whale, and the brand new Hall of Gems and Minerals.
- AMNH is open on July 4th 10am to 5:45pm
Current exhibitions include the abstract artist Julie Mehretu from Ethiopia, whose colorful work is inspired by ancient Babylonian stelae to architectural sketches, European history, and the sites and symbols of African liberation movements.
This museum moved downtown to the Meatpacking District (MeaPo in NYC shorthand) a few years ago, so you can make a day of it here, exploring the boutiques and restaurants, and then walk a few blocks west to the High Line or the new Little Island Park for the sunset and the fireworks on the Hudson River from Jersey City.
Also, the museum’s rooftop restaurant is re-opening this weekend.
From Fridays through Sundays, 12pm–close, enjoy light refreshments and modern twists on classic American cocktails at the Whitney’s Studio Bar. This sit-down, indoor/outdoor dining experience is located on the Museum’s eighth floor and extends onto the Thomas H. Lee Family Terrace, where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the NYC skyline.
- Open 11:30am to 6pm on July 4th
Recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, and designated as a National Monument in 1924.
Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933.
A new museum opened earlier this year, with three levels of exhibit space, including showcasing the statue’s original torch, replaced 30 years ago, and a terrace with spectacular views of the New York City skyline..
- Open 8am to 8:30pm on July 4th (last boat to Manhattan is 8:45pm)
- FREE tours by National Park Rangers
- Tickets required. Save time by purchasing online. Allow time to pass through security.
- Note to NYC visitors – The Staten Island Ferry does NOT go to the Statue of Liberty.
NYC Museums open July 4th was first published in 2015 and is updated annually, including for 2021