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South Street Seaport Museum: Manhattan’s Hidden Gem

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Looking for a unique museum experience in Lower Manhattan? Discover the fascinating maritime history of New York City at the South Street Seaport Museum. This NYC hidden gem along the East River is a must-visit for history buffs and maritime enthusiasts. Step back in time and learn about NYC’s seafaring past through interactive exhibits and historic ships.  

Not far from the familiar skyscrapers and bustling streets of Manhattan, NYC’s history as a great port city gets its due credit at a little-known maritime museum set among the cobbled streets and historic buildings of the Seaport District. There’s no better place to start exploring the seafaring traditions that shaped New York. Go aboard the historic vessels moored in the harbor or sail on an 1885 schooner, and enjoy the stunning views along the East River.  

Sounds like a unique New York experience? Let’s help you plan a visit. Here’s all you need to know – from where to buy tickets to how to get there and find South Street Seaport Museum parking. 

Park for less Save up to 60% on NYC parking garage rates

What is the history of the South Street Seaport Museum? 

South Street Seaport Museum, at 12 Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, was founded in 1967. It houses galleries and a reference library that showcase New York’s rich maritime history. The 19th-century print shop Bowne & Co. at 211 Water Street is also a part of the museum. 

Outside at Pier 16, Wavertree – an 1885 tall ship and Ambrose – a 1908 lightship, are permanently moored and open to visitors for free guided tours. You’ll also find W.O. Decker – a 1930 tugboat and Pioneer – an 1885 schooner in the museum’s fleet.  

For those looking to delve deeper, the museum has interactive exhibits and several on-demand programs that explore cultural and commercial aspects of the Seaport district’s history. You can learn more about the museum’s attractions here. 

Is South Street Seaport Museum free? 

During regular museum hours, general admission is ‘Pay What You Wish.’ So, you can take advantage of free in-person entry to the museum. However, credit card and other ticket processing fees are applicable. Seaport Museum members also enjoy unlimited free admission.  

  • Regular South Street Seaport Museum hours are 11 am – 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. 
  • General admission covers access to three exhibits and Wavertree only. 
  • Free admission/Pay What You Wish is applicable only on same-day visits  
  • Children should also have a ticket to enter the museum 
  • There’s no limit to the number of ‘Pay What You Wish’ tickets 

Free guided tours of Ambrose are dependent on timed entry. Preset prices are applicable for other ticketed public events and sailing in the harbor.  

How to get tickets? 

You can purchase in-person tickets from check-in locations within the South Street Seaport Museum Campus or book online. Ticket rates for online booking are set at: 

  • $18 per adult, $5 per child – Full Price 
  • $9 per adult – Half Price 
  • $1 per adult/child – One Dollar Admission 

You can redeem online tickets at the museum’s check-in location on the selected date only. No need to print out your ticket; staff will ask for your last name or order number. 

Find out more about South Street Seaport Museum tickets here. 

Where is South Street Seaport Museum NYC? 

South Street Seaport Museum is at 12 Fulton Street in the historic Seaport District along the East River – NYC’s oldest waterfront neighborhood. Battery Park is only a 10-minute walk from the museum. Wall Street, World Trade Center, and other popular Lower Manhattan destinations are also within walking distance. Use the map below to find your way to the museum:

How to reach 

You can reach South Street Seaport Museum by subway, bus, or ferry. Driving in Lower Manhattan is easier if you know where to find parking. Street parking may seem like a quick solution, but if you wish to spend a couple of hours at the museum without worrying about parking tickets or towaways, it’s best to leave the car in a garage nearby. Look for affordable NYC parking spots near the Seaport District online for the best deals. 

Also See: 3 Simple Ways to Find Cheap Parking in NYC

Subway 

Fulton Street is the closest station; take A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 5, or 5 trains. 

Broad Street and Wall Street subway stations are also nearby. World Trade Center PATH train station is a 15-minute walk from South Street Seaport Museum.  

Bus 

M-15/M-15 SBS has services to Fulton Street. SIM5, SIM15, and SIM35 also stop at Pearl St/Fulton Street – the bus stop closest to South Street Seaport Museum. The free downtown connector may also be available to bus stops along Water Street.  

Ferry 

Pier 11 is a 10-minute walk from the museum; Whitehall Terminal is about another 5 minutes on foot.  

Drive 

South Street Seaport Museum is about a 15-20-minute drive from Central Park or Midtown Manhattan. Take the FDR Dr. for the quickest route. Downtown Brooklyn is only 5 minutes away via the Brooklyn Bridge.  

Does the Seaport Museum NYC have parking? 

South Street Seaport Museum does not have a parking lot, but the official website recommends private lots on Water, John, and Pearl streets.  

Drive-up parking in NYC is expensive and will set you back by at least $15-$25 an hour, especially in the busy Lower Manhattan neighborhoods. Seaport Museum is close to Wall Street, World Trade Center, and other popular destinations in NYC. The demand for parking space – on-street and off-street – is consistently high. Parking is also restricted on some streets, which drives up demand and rates for garage space. To avoid all these last-minute hassles, always book your NYC parking spots in advance 

Check out the best deals on South Street Seaport Museum parking here and save your time and money. 

Also See: All you need to know about meter parking in NYC

How to find affordable parking nearby? 

80 Beekman St Lot B at Southbridge Towers is only 0.3 miles or a 5-minute walk from South Street Seaport Museum. The indoor valet parking facility offers hourly rates as low as $12. Park for 12 hours for only $30 when you pre-book a spot online. 

NYC parking apps and websites like Way.com have the cheapest Manhattan parking rates. You’ll also find additional discounts and exclusive deals that help save more on parking in the city. Book now! 

See: How to Book City Parking on Way.com: A Step-by-Step Guide


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