Most New Yorkers are familiar with the Bronx’s biggest attractions (Yankee Stadium, the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo), but the bustling borough is also home to some fascinating art, history and cultural institutions. From an 18th-century mansion to a documentary center, here are eight museums in the Bronx that are worth a visit.
The 8 Coolest Museums in the Bronx
1. Bronx Museum Of The Arts
If you’ve checked the MoMA and the Met off your list, then head over to the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The museum houses more than 2,000 contemporary artworks and special exhibitions highlighting local artists (such as street art photographer Henry Chalfant, whose work is currently on view). There’s also a packed calendar of events (like movie screenings and family art workshops) Wednesday to Sunday—and admission is free for all ages.
1040 Grand Concourse; 718-681-6000 or bronxmuseum.org
2. Bronx Documentary Center
If you’re a docu-junkie who’s already gone through all of your Netflix recommendations, the Bronx Documentary Center is the place for you. The space is dedicated to sharing film, photography and new media through screenings, exhibitions and public programming for the community. The coolest part? The center hosts lectures, workshops and educational programs to get emerging creatives and locals involved in telling their own stories.
3. Bartow-pell Mansion Museum
Head over to the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum to check out a 19th-century estate. Guests can take a tour of the historical rooms, stroll through the formal garden and check out the vast collection of decor. It’s also a popular backdrop for photoshoots, films and now your IG feed.
4. Bronx Children’s Museum
Need a place to take the kid in your life? The Bronx Children’s Museum’s purple bus is literally rolling through the Bronx and educating young kids about the arts, science, sustainability and more. A brand-new facility (which will include an outside classroom, café and interactive activities) is slated to open in 2020, but until then, kids and their parents can find the on-the-go museum at public festivals and schools across the borough. (You can even follow where the bus goes next.)
Various locations; 347-971-2155 or bronxchildrensmuseum.org
5. City Island Nautical Museum
City Island is one of the Bronx’s hidden gems, and the best way to learn about it is by visiting the City Island Nautical Museum. Although the small town is a popular spring and summer hangout (thanks to its yacht clubs and delicious seafood restaurants), the island has a rich nautical history that’s worth exploring year-round. Guests can check out antique shipbuilding and sailmaking tools, photographs of City Islanders and a collection of memorabilia dedicated to the island’s past.
190 Fordham St.; 718-885-0008 or cityislandmuseum.org
6. Van Cortlandt House Museum
Step inside the oldest still-standing house in the borough, dating all the way back to 1748. The Van Cortlandt House Museum showcases a large collection of paintings, furniture and history of the prominent family. Guests can take a self-guided tour of three floors of 18th-century rooms and the herb garden, and explore the surrounding areas of Van Cortlandt Park. The public museum hosts a ton of seasonal events for everyone, ranging from concerts to live historical reenactments.
6035 Broadway; 718-543-3344 or vchm.org
7. The Museum Of Bronx History
In need of some weekend plans? The Museum of Bronx History hosts a rotation of exhibitions highlighting the past, present and future of the Bronx—and it’s only open on weekends. The Bronx Historical Society converted the Valentine-Varian House (another 18th-century relic) into a museum complete with galleries and public programs. P.S. Admission is only $5 (and $3 for students).
3266 Bainbridge Ave.; 718-881-8900 or bronxhistoricalsociety.org/museum-of-bronx-history
8. Maritime Museum
If you’ve already made your way through the City Island Nautical Museum, then add the Maritime Museum at SUNY Maritime to your list. Guests can view ship models, artifacts, photographs and historical exhibits that make you feel like you’re at sea (it’s right on the waterfront, which helps). You’ll leave with a better understanding of seafaring and shipbuilding history, and probably some great photos too.
6 Pennyfield Ave.; 718-409-7218 or sunymaritime.edu