As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, New York City is an expensive place, especially when it comes to entertainment. Broadway tickets are crazy pricey (although, Sept. 1 through Sept. 14 happens to be 2-for-1 Broadway week—the more you know!), as are nearly all the museums.
Columbia is an expensive school, too, but there’s some good news—sometimes, your shiny new CUID makes the rest of the city more affordable. The Arts Initiative helps students get free admission to dozens of museums around the city and sells limited quantities of super-discounted tickets to students, which you can buy either online or at the TIC in Lerner’s lobby.
Here’s the full list of museums to which Columbia students have free access. You only have so much free time to spend out in the city, though, so here are the best places to check out for ~~~FREE~~~!
But first, a tip for your future semesters/whenever your “Fall 2014” sticker peels off: Lots of the museums listed are really picky about having this sticker, especially the Met, which is bad because you’ll get there and they’ll demand that you pay anyway. If you lose the sticker, head to the ID center in Kent to replace it and you’re good to go.
The holy trinity: The Met, the Cloisters, and MoMA
These are by far the most popular museums to which the Arts Initiative gives us access. Yeah, everyone goes at least to the Met and MoMA, but all three are really fantastic, if a bit crowded. The Cloisters is technically part of the Met, but it’s all the way uptown, and its medieval castle aesthetic makes you feel like you’ve left the city completely.
dtpancio / flickr
New York Historical Society
This place doesn’t sound like much, but it regularly has some pretty stellar exhibitions. Just last year it recreated the Armory Show exhibition in celebration of the show’s 100th anniversary, bringing in pieces by Picasso, Duchamp, Van Gogh, etc. There are several more niche exhibits as well, like its recent display of Civil War quilts. Keep an eye on whatever exhibits are cycling through!
Studio Museum in Harlem
This is one of the closest museums to campus, located right across the street from the Apollo on 125th Street. It usually has three or four exhibitions at a time that focus around life in Harlem across nearly every medium. It’s well worth an afternoon trip!
Nicholas Roerich Museum
Now this is the closest museum to campus. It’s right on 107th Street near Riverside Drive and displays the work of, unsurprisingly, Nicholas Roerich. There are over 200 works on display from this early-20th-century Russian artist, including beautiful paintings and his sketches from theater designs for composers like Stravinsky.
saitowitz / flickr
Socrates Sculpture Park
Venture out to Queens to see some incredible sculptures in this landfill-turned-park/studio/exhibition space. Make sure to go while the weather’s still nice---it’s a great place for a picnic!