Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Address: 38 W. 86th St.
Website: bgc.bard.edu

Do you love museums and hate crowds? Visit this charming UWS townhouse for a double dose of intellectual stimulation and solitude. Connected to the Bard Graduate Center, which focuses on new ways of thinking about decorative arts and design, the museum hosts a handful of rotating exhibitions a year. This summer’s show (closing August 10), Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual Art, is all about textiles and drugs. Within, there’s a floating woven boat (awesome), and some extraordinary multichannel videos that contrast the seductive calm of rainforest with the jarring rat-tat-tat of drug cartel gun fire. It’s cerebral stuff, but delivered through an experience you won’t replicate at one of New York’s monolithic institutions. Plus, at $7, the BGC won’t damage your beer fund like a visit to MOMA might. — Nick Schonberger