Museums are the jewels in New York City’s cultural crown, no matter what the season. But there’s an extra sparkle that comes with summer, emanating from new exhibitions, outdoor spaces and art, special events or the lure of air-conditioned enlightenment. The institutions will join together once again this year for an annual summer highlight, the Museum Mile Festival, on June 13, when many will keep their doors open late and admission free. A block party along Fifth Avenue that evening will include face painting, chalk drawing and live music more. Here are some more suggestions for your summer itinerary.
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
The Guggenheim celebrates the man who designed its iconic New York City home, Frank Lloyd Wright, on the 150th anniversary of his birth. The museum will have a special open day on June 8 with a reduced admission of $1.50, a free birthday cupcake at Café 3 (redeemed with admission ticket) and a midday tour of the building. There also will be architecture-focused building tours (Sundays), a “Drawing the Guggenheim” workshop (June 10), and other special events. The Guggenheim kicks off its Summer Tuesdays after the Museum Mile Festival June 13 with extended hours (until 9 p.m.) and a cash bar. Meander through the rotunda to see “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim” (through Sept. 6), featuring work by artists including Vasily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, who also has his own show, “Jackson Pollock: Exploring Alchemy” (through Sept. 6).
WHERE 1071 Fifth Ave.
INFO $25; 212-423-3575, guggenheim.org
THE JEWISH MUSEUM
The museum is a destination for a diverse array of art, Jewish culture and classic New York noshes. This summer, visitors can explore “Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry” (through Sept. 24); “The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin” (through Aug. 6); “Charlemagne Palestine’s Bear Mitzvah in Meshugahland” (through Aug. 6); and “Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures From Playgrounds to Palaces” (ongoing). Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the museum’s own outpost of the classic Lower East Side appetizing shop, Russ and Daughters, for bagels, smoked fish, knishes, soups and babka. Museum admission is free on Saturdays.
WHERE 1109 Fifth Ave.
INFO $15; 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
You could spend days wandering through the Met’s many galleries, but this summer make sure to see the new Costume Institute exhibit, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” (through Sept. 4), focusing on the Japanese fashion designer, and another wardrobe-related installation, “Sara Berman’s Closet” (through Sept. 5), a re-creation neatly filled with shoes, clothes, linens, beauty products, luggage and other necessities, all in shades of white — made by her daughter and grandson, Maira and Alex Kalman. The Roof Garden Bar (open through October) offers seasonal treats and cocktails along with dazzling views.
WHERE 1000 Fifth Ave.
INFO $25; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
If you’ve wanted to run away to a museum since reading E.L. Konigsburg’s classic children’s book, “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” this museum offers sanctioned opportunities. Children ages 6-13 can sign up for A Night at the Museum Sleepover (June 16 and 23) and adults can try A Night at the Museum Sleepover for Grown-Ups (June 30). Make sure you register early, because these events sell out quickly. There’s still plenty to see if you opt for a daytime visit, including the museum’s newest exhibit, “Mummies” (through Jan. 7), which looks at the mummification practices of ancient Egyptians and Peruvians; and displays such as “The Titanosaur” (ongoing), “Cuba” (through Aug. 13) and “Opulent Oceans” (through Oct. 1); as well as 2-D and 3-D showings of the film “Humpback Whales” (through Sept. 14).
WHERE Central Park West at 79th Street
INFO $22; 212-769-5100, amnh.org
NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETYThis year marks a century since the United States entered World War I, and you’ll have a chance to explore how American artists reacted to the conflict with “World War I Beyond the Trenches” (May 26-Sept. 3), featuring artwork by John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe and others, as well as toys and posters. The museum demonstrates its range when it opens “Eloise at the Museum” (June 30-Oct. 9), a closer look at the minds, sketches and manuscripts behind the picture-book heroine. Don’t miss the new Center for Women’s History; see some of the late photographer Bill Cunningham’s personal effects; stop by the recently opened Parliament Espresso and Coffee Bar or have a bite at the bright, elegant Caffe Storico.
WHERE 170 Central Park West
INFO $20; 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
MoMA is also celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday with “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” (June 12–Oct. 1), featuring more than 450 works — including architectural drawings, films and scrapbooks. Visitors also can see “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” (through Sept. 17) and give female artists the attention they deserve in “Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction” (through Aug. 13). The museum’s restaurant, The Modern, has an outdoor patio that hosts Summer Thursdays performances and Summergarden, a free classical and jazz concert series on Sundays in July.
WHERE 11 W. 53rd St.
INFO $25; 212-708-9400, moma.org
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
The new Whitney building was made for summer visits, with 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and multiple terraces, perched above the Hudson River. This summer, wander through “Calder: Hypermobility” (June 9-Oct. 16), which explores movement and sound in the sculptures of Alexander Calder; “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” (July 14-Oct. 1), a retrospective of the influential 20th century Brazilian artist; and Bunny Rogers, a first solo U.S. museum show for the young artist whose installations, videos and sculptures reference diverse sources, from the collective trauma of the Columbine shooting to cartoons and young-adult literature. The Whitney Biennial remains up through June 11. The museum is until 10 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.
WHERE 99 Gansevoort St.
INFO $22-$25; 212-570-3600, whitney.org
On the first Saturday of every month (except September), the Brooklyn Museum stays up late. Its free Target First Saturdays (5-11 p.m.) allow visitors to explore exhibits, which this summer include the ticketed “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” (through July 23), “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85” (through Sept. 17), and “Infinite Blue” (ongoing). June’s First Saturday will celebrate Pride Month and kick off the five-week film series “What We Believe: Black Queer Brooklyn on Film.” July’s theme will celebrate Independence Day, and August’s will be a celebration of Caribbean culture. Stop by the cafe for a snack or an Artist Sandwich, inspired by artists featured at the museum, or visit The Norm, where Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton works with an eclectic mix of flavors, from Mexican to Japanese.
WHERE 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
INFO $16-$20; 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org