A visit to the museum needn't be a serious, subdued affair – despite whatever you were told on the field trips of your school days. Many museums are catching on to the trend of keeping doors open after hours so that guests can combine a love of art and culture with good food, drinks, music and dancing. Here are a few of the best.
Warm Up at MOMA PS1, Long Island City, New York
This experimental summertime dance party is one of New York's hottest tickets and runs on Saturdays from late afternoon through the evening. The museum's courtyard is taken over by an installation created by the winner of their Young Architects Program while a stellar lineup of international DJs plays to the crowd. You can also expect food, drink and al fresco dancing come rain or shine.
K2 Friday Nights at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York City
Also in New York, this museum of Himalayan art offers free admission on Friday evenings during its K2 Friday Nights. The museum's cafe transforms into a lounge serving cocktails and Asian tapas while DJs spin. Other activities include a live music series and screenings of movies related to the museum's current exhibitions.
Long Night of Museums, Berlin
This twice-yearly event started in Berlin in 1997 and has since spread to 120 other cities across Europe, as well as Argentina and the Philippines. In Berlin's Lange Nacht der Museen around 100 different museums open their doors until the early hours of morning and host parties and special events that range from readings to dance workshops and concerts. A ticket to the event gets you into all participating museums as well as on the shuttle bus that ferries you between them.
European Night of Museums
Held every year on the Saturday closest to International Museum Day (May 18th), the European Night of Museums sees hundreds of museums across the continent discard entrance fees and keep their doors open late into the night. The event originated in France and Paris' museums are usually the most active. At this years event, for example, there was a dance performance under Monet’s famous Waterlilies at the Musée National de l’Orangerie, and 10 Paris museums took part in a 1920s-themed treasure hunt.
This popular, and very busy, art party is held on the last Friday of every month except November and December. Each month is tailored to a particular, creative theme – recent events have included an "American Gothic" Halloween-themed event and "Manila Glam," which featured Filipino singers and dancers. Local restaurants serve appropriately themed dishes and drinks; live bands play, and guests tour the exhibits and participate in quirky activities such as art scavenger hunts.
Lates at the Natural History Museum, London
Also on the last Friday night of each month, Lates at London's Natural History Museum offers a pop-up restaurant, drinks in the Darwin Centre Courtyard, live music and the opportunity to take a (possibly unnerving) after dark-stroll through the dinosaur and creepy-crawly galleries.