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Museum Mile Festival

Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th Streets is a museum-lover’s paradise. This 23-block stretch is so packed with museums that local street signs actually bear the title “Museum Mile” below the street name itself. Once every summer, the museums along this stretch open their doors to the public free of charge, with the goal of promoting interest in the visual arts and increasing their membership. This year the evening of June 12 will mark the 34th annual Museum Mile Festival, as Fifth Avenue closes to traffic for a gigantic New York-style block party.

Activities Indoors and Out

For the 2012 Museum Mile Festival, ten Fifth Avenue museums will be taking part. The brand new African Museum is the latest addition to the line-up. To mark the occasion, special exhibits will be offered inside the museums.

The outdoor activities promise to be at least as interesting, with art-in-the-street entertainment such as live music, performance art and theater. Children will especially enjoy the magicians, clowns and balloon sculptors. One of the participating institutions, the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, will offer drawing classes for kids.

“Chalking” has become a Museum Mile Festival tradition. Anyone of any age is welcome to pick up colored chalks and make their mark on the streets of New York. The often elaborate drawings are quite creative and it seems like a shame when the rain eventually washes them away.  Grab your camera or phone and photograph your favorites while you can!

No New York City event would be complete without food. Pushcart vendors at the site sell traditional New York street food – hot dogs, soft pretzels, ice cream and more… Sometimes the food preparation itself becomes part of the show. You can make a meal out of these treats, or just have a light snack and save your appetite for a sit-down dinner later at one of New York’s incredible selection of restaurants.

Be Prepared

The Museum Mile Festival is held come rain or shine, so be prepared for possible inclement weather. A fold-up rain poncho is lightweight and easy to tote along with you. Line-ups to get into the museums may be long, although they tend to move quickly. Decide ahead of time whether you’d like to catch a quick glimpse of all the museums, or enjoy a more leisurely visit to just one or two.

Accommodation during the Museum Mile Festival

Book your hotel room in New York well ahead of the festival. New York offers a jam-packed schedule of festivals, tours and excitement during the summer, and so is a popular vacation destination for people from around the world. You’ll want to choose a New York hotel that has easy access to the Museum Mile, as well as other attractions you’d like to check out.

Mark Andersen is a writer for Loyal Writer

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