The Cloisters: Is it worth visiting it during your trip to New York?

Some of you have asked if The Cloisters are really worth a visit. I will share with you my experience of this museum that I had the chance to visit in springtime. Follow me!

What’s the history behind The Cloisters?

Actually, The Cloisters are not a real cloister per se.
In fact, it was constructed with portions of 5 French medieval cloisters: Froville, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Trie-en-Bigorre et Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

This architectural ensemble dates between the 12th and 15th century, then shipped to NY and assembled to create a medieval museum.
John D. Rockefeller bought a collection of sculptures and architectural elements collected by the artist Grey Bernard during several trips to France. In 1930, after adding few pieces from its personal collection, he offered Fort Tryon Park to the city of New York. A portion of the site was preserved to build this unusual museum/monastery with 5 cloisters without having a single monk ever living in.

Nowadays, The Cloisters offer one of the most impressive collections of medieval arts in the world.

What can you discover?

The Cloisters museum belongs the same group as the MET.

While inside, you’ll quickly notice that just like any monastery, you’ll feel a peaceful and soothing atmosphere, far away from the city’s chaos 🙂 .

The museum is divided in different sections.

You can visit a Romanesque Building, the Fuentiduena chapel, the Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert cloister, the Chapter House from Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut, the Unicorn tapestries, the Campin Altarpiece, the Gothic Chapel, the Treasure and the Bonnefont Cloister.

What’s the best tip about this museum?

If you’re a fan of the Middle Ages, it might be a good idea to rent an audio-guide if you want more details about the museum pieces.
For those who are staying for more than a week in New York, I recommend that you visit the MET museum in the morning then catch the M4 bus on Madison Avenue and head to The Cloisters Museum. It’s a very enjoyable hour ride through the Upper East Side, Harlem and Washington Heights.

The Fort Tryon Park

The cloisters are located in Fort Tryon Park in north Harlem and in the Washington Heights section of the city.

As you can see on these photos, the Fort Tryon lays by to the Hudson. It’s really worth a visit in the spring during the blooming season with a fantastic view on the Washington Bridge.

The best tip is to go there on a beautiful and sunny day!

Opening hours:

From March to October: everyday 10.00am – 5.45pm
From November to February: everyday 10.00am – 4.45pm
Closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Admission fees:

If you’re a visitor from outside New York State, you must pay the following admission fees:
– Adults: $25
– Seniors (+65 years): $17
– Students: $12
– Children under 12: Free
New York State Residents as well as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut students, the amount you pay is up to you.

Please note that general admission tickets include exhibitions and are valid for three consecutive days at the Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters.

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Where is The Cloisters’ located?

The Cloisters are in the North of Manhattan, by the Hudson River.
Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY 10040

Should you or not visit The Cloisters?

After describing The Cloister in details, the last part of my article is written subjectively 🙂
As you could read, Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters are ideal places to relax and enjoy beautiful settings, especially in the spring.
Keep in mind that the commute in public transportations takes at least 45 min to 1 hour depending on your location in New York and traffic.
If you include the time you’ll spend visiting the park and The Cloisters, count 4 hours or half a day.
My advice is to not to visit The Cloisters if it’s your first time in New York even if you’re staying a week!!
However, if it’s your 2nd or 3rd trip to New York or/and you’re staying 2 to 3 weeks in New York, then why not!! 🙂


My fist trip to New York was in 2007 when I was working for an airline company. I was born in the US, I lived in Mexico, in Europe in between Belgium, Spain and France… Well, let’s say I know about travelling! I bring my experience of NYC to the blog, to provide the best travel tips you could imagine!

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The Cloisters: Is it worth visiting it during your trip to New York?

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  1. Neal Hugh Hurwitz says:
    Cloisters is a MUST!
  2. Rory Jones says:
    Nice article but I visited The Cloisters the first time I was in New York and it was one of my most wonderful experiences in the city. The trip is a relaxing break from NYC. This is my fifth trip to New York and plan on bringing my spouse here (who has never been to New York). We also travel the world for business and pleasure. The Cloisters is still one of my favorite places.