Rubin Museum of Art
150 W. 17th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-620-5000 or rmanyc.org
Having a child makes even die-hard downtowners envy Upper East and West Side parents for their wealth of museums. The Met, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim: All fabulous. But the unsung Rubin gives just as much bang for the cultural buck. Though it’s small and the art is a bit one-note (Donald and Shelley Rubin’s collection is built exclusively on Himalayan works), the Rubin gives kids the feeling of owning their own museum. It’s glisteningly clean, family friendly (staff whisk open doors for strollers), and best of all, often totally empty. Family membership costs a lot less than the competition ($75 a year, versus $115 at the Museum of Natural History and $190 at the Met) and grants access to all classes, including story hours and family yoga sessions. Other museums tack on additional fees if members want to register for classes, but not the Rubin. It’s arguably New York’s best kiddie bargain.