36 Hours
36 Hours

Ceramic Guide - New York City

Here is MoCA/NY’s ceramic guide to 36 hours in the city known for being the fine art capital of the world.
July 23, 2023
On our Ceramic World Destinations map, there are more than 200 ceramic-related destinations in New York and while we suggest key places to visit, check the gallery and museum websites to find the current exhibition schedule. Our tour takes you to diverse neighborhoods where we also suggest restaurants, theaters, and nightlife conveniently located to complete the New York experience.



LOWER MANHATTAN - Tribeca, Chinatown & East Village


Get on your walking shoes. Sidewalks in all neighborhoods are meant for people-watching, window shopping, sights and sounds, and street life, all adding up to the total NY experience. So drop your bags and head to downtown Manhattan. 

Take the subway to Canal Street and you’ll see a string of galleries: Nicodim Gallery, George Adams Gallery, PPOW GALLERY, HB381 GALLERY, and Grimm Gallery. Galleries close at 6 PM, however, some have openings on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights (between 6-8 PM).

6 PM: Getting hungry?

You’ll find restaurants and lots of Chinese Food - after all, you are in Chinatown. Notable Chinese restaurants to try are Potluck Club, Golden Steamer, Jiang Nan, Spicy Village, Uncle Lou, and Super Taste.

Not craving Chinese? Walk over to Lafayette Street and have a candle-lit French dinner at Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery, Italian at Vic’s or Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, or Mexican at ATLA (reservations for these restaurants recommended). 

If you don’t want to splurge on dinner, pop by the newly renovated Essex Market which has a food court with great options. If you’re vegan, walk north and try Ladybird or Avant Garden for plant-based foods that even a carnivore would enjoy. Other notable vegan restaurants include Butcher’s Daughter for American Food, Cocoron for satiating Japanese ramen, Spicy Moon for Chinese, or Caravan of Dreams.

7:30 PM: Theater Experience

There are extraordinary opportunities to experience live performance at all price points so consider Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off-Broadway. The Public Theatre is conveniently located next to two other theaters: Astor Place Theater and Playwrights Downtown. 

10 PM: Fancy a drink?

Walk further southeast and you’ll reach the  East Village where you can enjoy a glass of wine at Bibi Wine Bar or Bar Veloca. If you’re more of a cocktail person, stop by Please Don’t Tell or Berlin. And if you’re in the mood to move your hips, pop by JoyFace, Pineapple Club, or The Bowery Electric.



10 AM: Ready for breakfast? 

Grab a bagel to go or stop by Blank Slate or Le Pain Quotidien for a quick bit, or try brunch at Sarabeth’s, The Smith, or The Blue Dog.


The first museum stop is the The Museum of Art and Design, located on Columbus Circle. It is a premiere space dedicated to contemporary craft in all media. There might not be a ceramic exhibition at the moment, but they feature mixed media across all crafts and designs.

TIP: Check to see what craft demonstration might be scheduled on the 6th floor. The gift shop also showcases crafts in all media. 

Alternate museum or in addition - if you have the energy - is the Museum of Modern Art. Head to the design floor where clay is featured as design inspiration.

1 PM: Lunch near MAD

Across the circle is an upscale shopping mall known as the Time Warner building. There is a Whole Foods supermarket on the lower level with a fresh food bar and a place to sit and eat. There are also many restaurants on the upper floors from moderate to expensive such as Momofuku and Per Se.

Additionally, a few blocks north on Broadway toward Lincoln Center is another museum gem, the Museum of American Folk Art.

Since you are now at  Lincoln Center, you can always find a ticket at the box office to the Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic, or Theater.


Walk down to 32nd Street where KTown resides. If you’re feeling Korean BBQ, try Five Senses, Woorijip, New Wonjo, or The Kunjip. If you don’t care to sit in a cloud of cooking meat, BCD Tofu House is well known for their soon dubu (spicy tofu soup) and there are vegan/vegetarian options.

2 PM: Care to do some shopping for your ceramic collection? OR sit in a Park!

Head east to the New York Design Centeron 200 Lexington, a high-rise with 100 showrooms. Go to their website for their list of showrooms, but make sure to check out Guy Regal and Wexler Gallery.

If you prefer sightseeing over shopping, walk to Madison Square Park and enjoy their public art installation or Little Island, a public park on the Hudson River West. 


4 PM: More Galleries with Ceramic Artists

Chelsea is known for their galleries. You can spend the entire day going in and out of buildings (which have many galleries on each floor) and you still won’t see half of them. 

Refer to Ceramic World Destinations to find a list of 40 galleries in the area. 

Notable galleries: C24 Gallery, 303 Gallery, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, Kasmin Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, and David Zwirner.

TIP: Keep your eyes peeled for hot openings with an overflow of people on the streets.

If you prefer a museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art is in the Meatpacking District at the end of the Highline.


Walking builds up an appetite so why not rest with food and a drink? Chelsea Market is a multi-leveled, space with a mix of food and clothing shops. It also houses many splendid food courts.  

If you’re craving pizza, try Artichoke Pizza, Mel’s, or Ovest Pizzoteca

The recently renovated El Quixote’s Spanish food is delightful. If you didn’t have Korean for lunch, try the Genesis House for elevated Korean Food. Again for the vegans, try Willow Vegan Bistro or Zizi’s for Mediterranean (they’re not vegan but have great options).

10 PM: Drinks? Dance? Jazz?

If you’re not exhausted, and in the mood for another round, stop by the Chelsea Hotel or Entwine Cocktail Bar for a late-night cocktail and The Standard or Soho House for dancing.

Prefer swinging to jazz? Walk towards Washington Square Park and stop by The Village Vanguard, Smalls Jazz Club, Bluenote Jazz Club, or Mezzrow

Want to laugh? Get tickets for the Comedy Cellar and have one last cocktail at the basement speakeasy Up and Up.

DAY 3:



Have your coffee and head up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - While there are ceramic collections from every century at the Metropolitan, a good place to start is up the grand staircase. Walk around the mezzanine where there is a great cross-section display of 19th and 20th Century ceramics.

TIP: Another visitor entrance on the ground floor is less crowded and has a museum shop with discounted/clearance items.

TIP: Ground Floor Eatery is cafeteria style that is casual and efficient

Other museums in the area worth visiting are the  Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, The Jewish Museum, Guggenheim, Frick Madison, and the Asia Society Museum. All are located on or near Fifth Avenue. In fact, Fifth Ave here is known as Museum Mile.

1 PM: Central Park

Museum Mile (Fifth Ave) is parallel to Central Park so this is a great opportunity to stroll into the park!  Stop by a bodega, diner, cafe, or food truck to get a bite to go, and find an empty spot to sit in Central Park. Walk off lunch by getting lost in the expansive park with many routes and beautiful scenes.

Selected ceramic galleries in the Upper East Side to visit: Joan Mirviss Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, and the Zetterquist Gallery.

If you want an ocean breeze and the best views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, board the NYC Ferry which circumnavigates Manhattan for the price of a subway ticket. NYC SUBWAY MAPS

Want to see our next ceramic guide to a city? Amsterdam + Hague  and Brooklyn + Long Island City are next on our list. Subscribe to our newsletter for an update and send your suggestions to INFO@MOCA-NY.ORG.


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