Guide to Open House New York Weekend

A large brown stone cathedral during the day.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Have you ever looked up at NYC’s wealth of skyscrapers and wondered what really goes on up there? Or how about the charming brownstones in the West Village–what does the interior of those gorgeous little structures look like? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having behind the scenes access to the inner workings of JFK Airport (I mean, who hasn’t?) Your dreams are all about to come true during the 2017 Open House New York Weekend! We got the full scoop for you below, so all you have to do is take note and have fun!

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What Is Open House New York Weekend?

Open House New York Weekend is an annual event which happens over the course of a weekend every October. It’s the opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of NYC’s most significant buildings, and to talk to the people who have taken a huge role in designing, building, and preserving these important structures all over NYC.

Why Would I Want To Go Into These Buildings?

Besides the fact that most of these spaces are closed to the public the rest of the year (hence making it a pretty unique New York experience!), you’ll also have the opportunity to hear tours, talks, performances, and other special events while you’re there. The main topic of conversation is how to build a better New York…a theme I think we can all get behind.

An interior view of a room filled with art and spectators.

Photo Credit: Open House New York

Does It Cost Anything To Attend?

Nope! Open House New York is 100% free for “Open Access Sites”. For “Advance Reservation Sites”, you will be required to make a $5 per person donation online, simply to keep people from registering for a slew of tours they don’t intend to actually attend.

Do I Need To Make Reservations?

There are over 140 buildings which are considered “Open Access Sites”, meaning no reservations or tickets are required. In addition, there are 100 “Advance Reservation Sites”, and the links to register for those will go live on Thursday, October 5 at 11 am.

Where Can I Find A List Of Buildings To Tour For Both Open Access and Advance Reservation Sites?

Beginning on October 4th, you can check out the full lineup of places here. If you prefer a hard copy, stop by a West Elm store and grab yours!

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Is Open House New York A Family Friendly Event?

Absolutely! In fact, some of the sites even offer special programming designed with kids in mind, including tours, crafts, and other activities. Due to safety reasons, some sites are adult only. In order to make the most of your visit, search ahead of time on the website using “family friendly” filters.

Is There A Way To Skip The Lines?

There sure is! A limited number of Passports will be sold for $150 (all tax deductible), which will have you skip to the head of the line at all the Open Access Sites. Since the Advance Registration Sites are ticketed, it is not valid for those.

An exterior view of Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden stone building with potted flowers.

Photo Credit: Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden

Will There Be Open Houses Taking Place In My Neighborhood?

Lucky for us New Yorkers, the open houses will be happening all over the city, making it super simple to attend no matter what neighborhood or Glenwood building you live in! A few of the sites we’re really anticipating this year are the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden (nestled in the Upper East Side, and a beautiful place to take a breather from the stressors of everyday life), and Cast Hall at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (situated in Midtown, and the perfect kid-friendly event to attend!) and the Cathedral Church of Saint John The Divine (a true worldwide architectural gem, worth the trip to Morningside Heights!).

Any Tips For Making The Most Out of Open House Weekend?

Of course! Make sure you spend the time to figure out the spots that are of highest importance for you to see ahead of time. If they are ticketed, go ahead and purchase your tickets as soon as possible. After you have your weekend lineup, spend a bit of time mapping out transportation routes to and from different spots. A bit of planning ahead will save you loads of time on the day of! And finally, be aware that you will be engaging in a lot of walking and standing throughout the weekend, so wear comfy shoes!

What venue are you most looking forward to seeing at Open House NY? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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