Metropolitan Museum of Art
No city institution carries the cultural heft of the Met, located on the east side of Central Park at 81st Street, with its 17 renowned curatorial departments and countless temporary exhibitions that run the gamut from ancient and historic to cutting-edge contemporary. Everywhere you turn is something spectacular, be it the unparalleled Egyptian collection, the glitzy Costume Institute, the Asian and African art wings, the newly restored American art galleries, the Arab lands section, or the European wing featuring some of the most acclaimed pieces from the 12th through the 19th centuries.
Even if you’re not an art aficionado, the museum’s rooftop cafe and martini bar offers excellent views across Manhattan and Central Park, and the Petrie Court restaurant (just off the European sculpture rooms) is well worth a visit. If you want a truly lavish Met museum experience, go all out; become a member and get life-long free entrance, as well as a table in chef Fred Sabo’s exquisite members’ dining room.