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The museums and galleries of New York City are mostly rather sensible places, with quiet contemplation the norm and noisy guests expectant of a stern “Sssh!”

For one day of the year, however, noisiness is actively encouraged. The Museum Mile Festival on 14 June sees many of the city’s biggest museums let off steam by taking over a few blocks of downtown Manhattan, with live bands playing on the street and artists scribbling all over the pavements. Face painting, clowns and activities are on hand to distract less enthusiastic museumgoers. Originally created to promote museum-visiting through the recession of the ‘70s, tough economic times see the festival booming again. Meanwhile, those looking for art can slope off to the likes of the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Art Institute, which are open for free from 6 pm to 9 pm.

Make it happen
Nine of the city’s finest museums are open to the public on 14 June, accompanied by a huge block party, with 5th Ave closed to traffic.

Visit author and chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s restaurant Prune, in the East Village for nouveau- American cuisine (mains from £14; prunerestaurant.com).

This article was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.

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