Cloisters Museum & Gardens

Top choice museum in Harlem & Upper Manhattan

Image by Barry Winiker Getty Images

On a hilltop overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters is a curious architectural jigsaw, its many parts made up of various European monasteries and other historic buildings. Built in the 1930s to house the Metropolitan Museum’s medieval treasures, its frescoes, tapestries and paintings are set in galleries that sit around a romantic courtyard, connected by grand archways and topped with Moorish terra-cotta roofs. Among its many rare treasures is the beguiling 16th-century tapestry series The Hunt of the Unicorn.

Also worth seeking out is the remarkably well-preserved 15th-century Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece). Then there’s the stunning 12th-century Saint-Guilhem cloister and the Bonnefant cloister, the latter featuring plants used in medieval medicine, magic, ceremony and the arts.

Your ticket gives you three-day admission to the Cloisters as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Met Breuer.