Post overview: Interactive museums in NYC
Let’s face it – not everyone is a “museum person” in the traditional sense. Some folks don’t get excited to see ancient artifacts or million-dollar paintings, and that’s okay.
But luckily those aren’t your only museum options in the Big Apple. There’s an entire lineup of interactive museums in New York City that cater to folks who would rather be immersed in a unique experience, rather than strolling through galleries.
You can play, explore and learn at all of these immersive experiences in New York City in a way conventional museums don’t allow. These museums are fun with kids, for dates and even just to explore solo.
But look at me, I’m already getting ahead of myself. What do you say we start chatting about the interactive museums in NYC?
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Interactive Museums in New York City
Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream kicks off our list of interactive museums in New York City, but it feels more like a playground. You get to learn all about the world of ice cream through colorful exhibits.
The star of the show is a toss up between the 3-story slide (longest indoor slide in NYC) and the sprinkles pool. Although folks of all ages enjoy the Museum of Ice Cream, I think young teenagers will love it best.
A big part of the museum’s draw are the endless photo-ops, I mean just look at their Instagram. Just remember to wear a cute outfit, and pink is always a great color choice. 😉
With so much to explore (and a chance to sample ice cream) it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular interactive museums in NYC. The experience takes between an hour or two, and tickets are available online.
Address: 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
One of the most unique interactive museums in NYC is ARTECHOUSE. It’s technically an art museum, but instead of artwork hung on walls it’s projected across the entire room. Hence the name art + tech house.
I’m talking 360° — walls, ceiling and floors full of colorful and well thought-out lights and video projections. The theme changes often giving locals ample reason to keep coming back.
The current innovative theme is called Beyond the Light and it’s an immersive dive into our universe. Stars and nebulas adorning every surface sparking the imaginations of those visiting.
Address: 439 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
Museum of Broadway
Thespians and theater geeks will love the Museum of Broadway, one of the best interactive museums in NYC. It takes you behind the curtain and gives you inside access to the world of Broadway theater.
There are snapshots and exhibits that deep dive some of the greatest Broadway shows to ever grace the stage. You’ll get an up close and personal view of memorabilia from their original runs.
Scripts, props and pieces of the wardrobes are on display and ready for photo-ops. Towards the end of the museum you’ll get to see all the work that goes on behind the stage in regards to lighting, set design and more.
Before you leave don’t forget to check out the gift shop at this interactive New York City museum. It’s fully stocked with merch from both new and old Broadway hits and is a great place to find a souvenir!
Address: 145 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
Vibrant and full of life, the Color Factory is one of the most unique interactive museums in New York City. As the name suggests it revolves around color, thus providing an abounding supply of selfie opportunities.
There are interactive parts of the museum where you get to draw and and put your artistic skills to the test. There’s even a silent disco exhibit – which didn’t serve a colorful purpose but I enjoyed nonetheless.
You’ll get to enjoy a ball pit, a slide and plenty of more immersive exhibits to make you feel like a kid again. And speaking of kids, that’s who I think would enjoy this interactive New York City museum most.
And the Color Factory, even more so than other interactive museums in NYC, is best enjoyed with friends. It’ll help you slow down and enjoy all the exhibits instead of zooming through, not to mention they can take your photos. 😉
Address: 251 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
Madame Tussauds New York
Seeing celebrities in NYC isn’t unheard of, but there is an unspoken rule about never approaching them. If you are just dying to snap a picture with you favorite star, I suggest visiting Madame Tussades.
Located in the heart of Times Square, Madame Tussades is a wax museum chock-full of realistic wax figures and one of the most popular interactive museums in NYC.
There are nine jaw-dropping floors of life-like wax figures spread across 80,000 square feet. You should allocate around an hour and a half to see everything on display.
Here is a short list of some of the life-like celebrities you’ll find at this interactive NYC museum:
- The Avengers
- The Royal Family
- Taylor Swift
- Jennifer Lopez
- Selena Gomez
- Indiana Jones
- Jimmy Fallon
- Marilyn Monroe
- The Kardashians
- Former presidents
Address: 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
The Friends Experience
There are few TV shows based in New York City that have the same level of fandom as Friends. The series was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, so safe to say it was a damn good show.
So it should come to no one’s surprise that the Friends Experience is one of the most popular interactive museums in NYC. Fans get to enjoy a drink at Central Perk, hangout in Monica & Rachel’s apartment and more.
There’s a wide array and props and costumes that die-hards are sure to recognize. You can even recreate the pivot scene with a friend by holding each grabbing an end of the couch from the show.
As you might be able to tell this isn’t among the best interactive NYC museums for everyone. The folks that will receive the best value are those who watched the show, otherwise a lot of things can go over your head.
Address: 130 E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010
Museum of Illusions
If you want to do some mental gymnastics then then Museum of Illusions is one of the best interactive museums in NYC for you. It takes time to wrap your head around some of the exhibits, but it can also be quite fun.
As the name suggests the museum is chock full of mind-bending exhibits and installations. There are full illusion rooms, deceiving images and installations that can make you go cross-eyed.
As you work your way through the exhibits you’ll understand why this is one of the highest-rated interactive museums in NYC. The museum boasts an impressive 4.6 stars on Google from a staggering 11 thousand reviews.
As one of the best immersive museums in New York City the Museum of Illusions shows you that nothing is ever quite as it seems.
Address: 77 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014
The Sloomoo Institute
I’m still shocked at just how popular slime is with little kids. Outside of an iPad it’s the one thing that can entertain youngsters for hours.
That’s why I’m confident naming the Sloomoo Institute as one of the best interactive museums in NYC for kids. The institute is fully immersive, you get to play with slime from a variety of different colors, aromas and textures.
it saves parents the time (and the mess!) it takes to make the slime and kids have an endless supply to play with.
And even if you don’t have children, slime has been proven to have therapeutic benefits. The smoothness has a calming effect and plus, it’s fun to play kids for a day at one of the most unique interactive museums in NYC.
Address: 475 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Hall des Lumières
Housed in a 100+ year old Beaux-Arts building, visiting the Hall des Lumières is an experience from beginning to end. The name translates from French to the Hall of Lights, and it’s among the best interactive museums in NYC.
Similar to ARTECHOUSE, this museum uses technology as a means to present art. You walk through rooms that have different art displayed on all its surfaces.
There are new exhibits every few months, so even if you’ve already visited there might be something new that warrants a second stop. There are abstract exhibits that will put your brain to work and others are photos that transport you to the most scenic places.
Current exhibits feature the works of French painter Marc Chagall, Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, and an experience called Infinite Horizons that transport you to unforgettable vistas.
Address: 49 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007
Catacombs by Candlelight
If you’re into the macabre then touring the Catacombs by Candlelight could be right up your alley. Under the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral are the only Catholic catacombs in New York City, and you can visit them.
Although not technically an interactive NYC museum, the catacombs are immersive enough to warrant a spot on this list. The tour lasts 80 minutes and actually begins outside, in the basilica’s graveyard.
To enter the catacombs you have to do so through the inside of the church, which you might recognize from the baptism scene in The Godfather (1972). From there you go underground, to the 200 year old catacombs.
I won’t ruin the tour, all I’ll say is it’s quite memorable. If you’re looking for a unique immersive experience in New York City the Catacombs by Candlelight tour should be at the top of your list.
NYC Interactive Museums (Post Summary)
- The Museum of Ice Cream
- Museum of Broadway
- Color Factory
- Madame Tussauds New York
- The Friends Experience
- Museum of Illusions
- The Sloomoo Institute
- Hall des Lumières
- Catacombs by Candlelight
Interactive Museums in New York City (Map)
And there it is! I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the best interactive museums in NYC. Enjoy the immersive experiences in New York City and let us know which was your favorite. Until next time, cheers!