After four decades on the Upper East Side, the Whitney shook off its stone Marcel Breuer shell in early 2015 and relocated to this steel, glass, and light-filled Renzo Piano–designed building in the Meatpacking District. Unlike its notoriously aloof Chelsea gallery neighbors, the museum welcomes visitors with a lively plaza, bold works of contemporary and modern American art, terraced outdoor spaces, and expansive windows. There are eight floors with more than 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art gallery space, 13,000 square feet of outdoor space facing the High Line, a restaurant on the ground floor, and a café on the eighth floor. Start your visit at the top, on the eighth floor, and work your way down via the outdoor terraces, the interior stairs, or the elevators, which usually have works of art as well.The galleries house rotating exhibitions of postwar and contemporary works from the permanent collection that include artists such as Jackson Pollock, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns,
Mark Rothko, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, and Roy Lichtenstein. Notable pieces often on view include Hopper's Early Sunday Morning (1930), Bellows's Dempsey and Firpo (1924), Alexander Calder's beloved Circus, and several of Georgia O'Keeffe's dazzling flower paintings. The Whitney experience is as much about the setting as the incredible artwork. The outdoor terraces on floors 6, 7, and 8 are connected by exterior stairs that provide a welcome reprieve from crowded galleries; the balconies also offer rotating exhibits along with stunning views of the city skyline, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. Free tours of the collection and current exhibitions are offered daily; check the website for more information. After 7 pm on Friday the price of admission is pay what you wish. Skip the long lines and buy tickets in advance, and note that you can not buy same-day tickets online. They must be purchased the day before and are available up to midnight.