MoMA or The Guggenheim


So many tourists visiting New York seek an answer to this question, “MoMA or The Guggenheim?”

If you are an art lover, we always recommend visiting both museums to see something unique regarding their respective collections. 

However, if you are going to New York on a budget trip or are low on time to visit, you might have to choose any one of the museums.

To help you make a better decision, check out our comparison of MoMA vs. The Guggenheim.

Is MoMA the same as The Guggenheim?

Guggenheim is better

No. Although both museums are in New York but are different tourist attractions.

MoMA is the Museum of Modern Arts and focuses mainly on cultural representations of Contemporary Art. 

On the other hand, The building of Guggenheim is an art in itself. The museum dedicates much of its gallery space (80 – 90%) to temporary exhibitions. It only has a few of the artworks in its permanent collections.

MoMA and The Guggenheim are almost nearby in New York; they are just 2 miles (3.2 km) apart. 

Suppose you explore any of these museums in the morning. In that case, you can easily walk through 5th Avenue to get to the other museum by mid-afternoon in around 40 minutes.

It is always better to buy online tickets in advance to avoid any last-minute disappointments after reaching your much-awaited place. 

It will also save you from standing in long lines outside the ticket counter.

Opening Hours

Sometimes while selecting one museum to visit out of two, tourists search for its opening time to make their plans accordingly.

The Museum of Modern Arts opens from Sunday to Friday from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.

MoMA offers better visiting hours during summer days, staying open till 9 pm.

The museum remains closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

The Guggenheim Museum’s opening hours are 11 am, and the closing time is 6 pm. On Saturdays, the museum opens at 8 pm.

So, if you want to start your tour of the museums early in the morning, visiting MoMA first is a better option, as the museum gets crowded by noon.

As MoMA attracts more visitors and is smaller in its building size, it seems more crowded than the Guggenheim.

Note: MoMA and Guggenheim offer timed tickets to their visitors.

Hence, booking your tickets in advance is essential to secure your entry to the museums during your preferred time slot.

Distance between MoMA and The Guggenheim

MoMA and The Guggenheim are almost nearby in New York; they are just 2 miles (3.2 km) apart. 

If you explore any of these museums in the morning, you can easily walk through 5th Avenue to get to the other museum by mid-afternoon in around 40 minutes.

It is always better to buy online tickets in advance to avoid any last-minute disappointments after reaching your much-awaited place. 

It will also save you from standing in long lines outside the ticket counter.

MoMA vs The Guggenheim

Both museums are an experience in themselves and are relatable attractions in New York City.

If you are someone who loves to see varied kinds of emerging artists’ work as well as have a likelihood of classical paintings.

Then both of these museums will enchant you with whatever they have in their exhibits.

So, it is somewhat difficult to consider one museum as best over the other one. 

In this sub-section, we will try to get an understanding of what makes the museums better and which one is worthy of your visit.

To reach a decision, here are some of the parameters to compare the two museums on the paradigms of building, modern art on display, their respective art collection, modern art that is on display, outdoor space, opening hours, location and ticket prices.

The buildings

The buildings of Guggenheim

The building sizes and shapes signify a significant difference between MoMA and The Guggenheim.

MoMA was built earlier in 1929 than The Guggenheim, which was inaugurated in 1959.

The Museum of Modern Arts building has undergone various changes; the latest renovation came in 2004, which Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi did.

This latest renovation made the museum more spacious and suitable for a Modern Art Museum.

MoMA’s building miles with the city in such a manner that it can hardly be identified from the outside.

And therefore, to help visitors, the building comprises a large sign to help tourists identify the attraction.

The museum of Guggenheim was made by Frank Lloyd Wright, which later became an example to study in its radical way of exhibiting art.

Serving as the building of Wright’s late career, it can be considered a monument to modernism for its unique architecture.

So, for those visiting the museum to view the building of the museum, you can go to The Guggenheim.

Note – If you want to visit the museums to see the art collections, we recommend you choose MoMA.

Modern Art Collection

Modern Art Collection Moma

The Museum of Modern Arts offers a rich collection of modern art collections compared to The Guggenheim.

MoMA houses many paintings in a significant concentration by the artists who become household names for their works.

These reputed names include Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Kahlo, Warhol and Pollack.

Most visitors admire the museum’s stunning collection of contemporary art here.

However, the Guggenheim consists of some conservative artworks from the late twentieth century and early 21st century. 

It houses works of relevant artists such as Louise Burgeois, William Kentridge and James Turrell.

So far as the collection of artworks is concerned, there is no comparison between these two, as MoMA wins in this category with its extensive modern art collection.

Overall Art Collection

MoMA is better

Although both venues MoMA and the Guggenheim, exhibit the best of modern and contemporary art.

But inside MoMA, visitors will find that the museum entirely focuses on Modern art and therefore comprises less variety of artworks.

The simulating thing about MoMA is the museum’s ability to question the meaning of the word art. The museum also has artistic manifestation as pieces produced by the visual arts. 

In the case of Guggenheim, it’s the same for this museum. Also, they have significantly less number of paintings in their permanent collections.

The museum of Guggenheim offers most of its spaces to temporary exhibitions, introducing new artists and their artworks for visitors to enjoy.

So, if you are an art lover, who wants to visit a place to see an extensive art collection of modern paintings, MoMA is your place.

But if you are looking for a place where the works of new artists can be seen, then Guggenheim is best.

Outdoor Space

Both museums are in Manhattan city and have an ambiance that gives visitors an atmosphere to roam the museum.

What embraces the presence of MoMA in New York City is its most beloved green space, the Sculpture Garden. 

The garden is an outdoor gallery for changing installations that would bring nature, architecture and art together differently.

Guggenheim Museum has not had much to offer from the outside, just the splendor of the building.

But when you are inside the museum, Wright’s design will make the space within the reality of the building.

So, this category winner is MoMA, as it offers a great green space to relax outside the museum.

Price of Tickets at MoMA and The Guggenheim

The museums, MoMA and The Guggenheim tickets have almost similar entry prices.

Suppose you are visiting the on normal weekdays to the museums. In that case, we recommend you buy entry tickets online to skip the hassle of standing in long ticket lines.

However, MoMA offers free admission for New York City residents on the first Friday evening of every month from 4 to 8 pm.

The Guggenheim museum offers to pay what you wish for hours each Saturday from 6 pm to 8 pm. 

To avail of the benefits provided by the museum, you need to visit the museum on their specific mentioned days. 

Children up to 12 or 13 years of age can access the museums for free based on which museum they visit.

MoMA or Guggenheim – which is better?

After reading all the information above, you might have got a better picture of both museums by comparing the two on varied criteria. 

For most art lovers, every museum is a new experience; therefore, it’s not about endorsing one over the other, but you are supposed to pick one between these two.

Then, here are our recommendations based on the following circumstances.

MoMA or Guggenheim which is better

Based on your area of interest

Suppose you want to see some of the best collections of artworks revolving around the modern art category. In that case, visiting MoMA is the best option.

From the best of contemporary art to the significant ones in the category of photography and architecture, you will find it all in one place.

If you are into what’s new in the field, then there’s a high possibility of you enjoying the museum of Guggenheim.

For architecture lovers also, it proves as well an experience.

MoMA is the best option for you if you want to visit the museum for its variety of exhibits.

Based on how much time you have

As MoMA’s building is compact and smaller in area, it takes around three hours to visit completely. 

Meanwhile, the Guggenheim has less number of paintings in its collection and, therefore, would take less time to see the exhibits in it.

Therefore, if you are looking for a wholesome experience from the museum exhibits, we advise you to go with MoMA.

You can save the Guggenheim for later visits.

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