Postcards from The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan in New York City

I recently spent a week in New York City and seeing as this was my second visit, I wanted to visit some of the lesser known attractions I missed the first time around. At the top of my list was a trip out to the Cloisters.

The Cloisters which formally opened in 1938 are devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Inside you’ll find medieval sculptures, tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts, with many of the pieces dating between the 12th and 15th centuries.

I can’t remember exactly how I first heard of the Cloisters – maybe I read about it on a blog while planning my trip, or perhaps I came across a photo of it on Instagram – whatever it was, this place was on my radar because it looked nothing like what you’d expect to find in New York City.

And so, on my first day in Manhattan, I traded skyscrapers for towering trees, and the masses of people for solitude as I made my way to over to Fort Tryon Park. And that’s another nice thing about this museum – because it’s a bit of a trek to Upper Manhattan, there was hardly a soul there and I had many of the galleries all to myself!

Here are a few photos from the day:

Postcards from The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan in New York City The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.
Postcards from The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan in New York City The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.
The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.
The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.
The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.
The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, New York City.

Essential info:

  • If you’re travelling by subway, you’ll want to take the A train to 190th Street and exit the station by the elevator. (I decided to walk up the hill and I was sweaty and out of breath by the time I reached the top!) Walk north along Margaret Corbin Drive for about 10 minutes, or alternatively you can choose to ride the M4 bus for one stop.
  • The Cloisters are an extension of the Met and admission here is included when you purchase a ticket at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While the suggested admission is $25 for adults, and $12 for students, that really is just a suggestion and you are welcome to give whatever you can afford. (Words spoken by a local New Yorker who was horrified I had paid the full “suggested” price, so there.)
  • The Cloisters are open 7 days a week, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. Hours of operation are between 10:00 a.m.–5:15 p.m. March through October, and 10:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m. November through Februrary. 

Have you ever been to the Cloisters?
Do you know of any other gems in New York City?

Join the Conversation

29 Comments

  1. says: Karisa

    I LOVED the Cloisters! I went with my sister and mom back in 2007 and I’ve wanted to return ever since. My NYC visits are never quite long enough!

    1. says: Audrey

      Ahhh, I know what you mean – no trip to NYC ever seems long enough. There’s just so much going on in the city!

  2. says: Maria

    Audrey, So glad to read that you visited the cloisters – I’ve heard of them but trust your opinion more than others so this is a great post for me to find. Definitely adding the cloisters to my list.

  3. says: Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog

    Looking at these, I would have assumed you were in Spain or Italy or somewhere – not NYC! I’ve never been to New York (though I’m going for new years – so excited!), but even I can tell that this is something special and out of the ordinary. Looks well worth a visit!

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s exactly what I thought when I first saw the building! It would fit right in somewhere in Spain or Italy. P.S. I hope you have a wonderful New Years in NYC! That should be a lot of fun. 🙂

  4. says: Ani

    We’d never heard of The Cloisters till now – looks like a very interesting place. Love the pictures – very nicely captured.
    Haah – surprised to read about the “suggested price” and people pay whatever they feel like or can afford – that sounds pretty cool. Thanks for uncovering this hidden gem.

  5. says: gottatravelbug

    That looks amazing! I’ve never heard of the cloisters before, but I’ll definitely try to visit next time I’m in NYC!

  6. says: Agness

    Great pictures Audrey! I was so jealous of you and Sam finally visiting NYC. I couldn’t believe you finally made it there. So inspiring. By the way, congratulations on your wedding. What a surprise. THE COUPLES WHO TRAVEL TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER :), right?

  7. says: Candice @ The Let's Go Ladies

    I never would have thought you could find a place like that right in the middle of New York City! It’s like a mini-Europe vacation. I should add it to my list of things to do while in NYC.

  8. says: Justine

    I’ve been to New York a few times and I didn’t even know the Cloisters existed! The architecture is stunning. I’ll definitely add this place to my list for next time I’m in town!

  9. says: Ed

    Thanks for pointing out this offbeat locale. I’d probably enjoy it but then the travel snob in me would just whisper into my ear that it sounds akin to going to Las Vegas and seeing the Eiffel Tower instead of going to Europe to experience the real thing. I hate that travel snob guy….he ruins so many things!

  10. says: Kendra (the Escapologist)

    Fantastic pictures. I’ve lived in NYC for three years and I have yet to get to the Cloisters! Maybe this weekend!

  11. says: Charlie

    Wow, that’s in NYC! I never knew. I love to find quirky, off-beat places to visit in big cities, and I think this certainly qualifies! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m there.

  12. says: Ryan

    Wow! I didn’t even know this was in Manhattan! Thank you for yet another great idea! I haven’t given New York the time it deserves either and I need to at some point!

  13. says: James

    Wow, I’m back and working NYC for a year and looking for neat things to do around here that I didn’t manage to get around to while at university here before.

    This definitely just made the list!

  14. Such a gorgeous place and you have shown it of so well with your photo Audrey. I had never heard of the Cloisters when I visited NY a few years ago so I missed out on visiting. Yet another excuse to go back to my favourite city in the world!

  15. says: Laura

    The Cloisters are so lovely! I always forget about them when I’m giving tours of NY to people, but I used to go there on school trips as a kid. I think next time I’m back home I’ll have to go back.

  16. says: Sara @ The Let's Go Ladies

    I had never heard of this place before! I’m always so impressed by the diverse locations and attractions in NY. Lovely photos!

  17. says: Franca

    What a lovely photos Audrey, I have to admit I’m kind of jealous because I’ve never been to NYC and I’m definetely willing to visit it. One day! 🙂

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