A version of the Ames Room illusion where one person appears large and the other appears small at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

More Than Meets The Eye: A Visit to the Museum of Illusions in New York City

There’s a saying that goes “Ask no questions, and you’ll hear no lies”. Being duped isn’t generally what one considers a positive experience, but the Museum of Illusions might be able to convince you otherwise. Optical illusions play with motion, color, patterns and space to create images that, when processed by the brain, create a perception that doesn’t match the true image in reality. Remember the viral phenomenon of 2015 where millions of people saw a black and blue dress as white and gold? (And if you do, have you made up with all the friends and family you disagreed with?) Well, that’s just one of many examples where the eyes can deceive.

A version of the Beuchet Chair illusion at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Care to take a seat?

Infinity Mirror room at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Mirror illusion at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
How many wives can you handle?

The Museum of Illusions has outposts in cities all over the world. From Athens to Zagreb, fans of all ages enjoy exploring fun exhibits that use simple ideas and scientific concepts to trick the mind. At the Museum of Illusions in New York City, you’ll find the same family-friendly fun. Throughout its two floors, you can explore variations of the Beuchet Chair and Ames Room illusions, sophisticated holograms, games, and puzzles. And if you missed out on the Yayoi Kusama exhibit last year, you’ll find a version of the Infinity Mirrors room here.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

We were right at home at the Museum of Illusions. It’s a page right out of Alice in Wonderland, after all, with everything upside down and topsy-turvy. We don’t usually love to be photographed, but we got a kick out of hamming it up and, for certain exhibits, swapping places. It’s like having your own Drink Me Potion and Eat Me Cake, even if just for a little while. The museum is a fun way to while away a few hours, and you definitely leave feeling like your brain got a fun workout too.

Flip photo in a sideways room at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Just a one-arm handstand, no big deal 🙂
Head on a platter illusion at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Hey honey, who’s for dinner?

Exceed your expectations You should definitely think outside the box sign at the Museum of Illusions in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

For more fun ideas, check out our Local’s Guide to New York City. It’s the guide we send to our friends and family!

Here are some tips to make your visit more enjoyable:

Go early. It would seem obvious, but it’s particularly important in this case. Staging and taking your perfect shot takes a bit of time, orchestration, and repetition. We were there right at open and were able to work through the exhibits at our own pace, but by the time we left many people were waiting for their turn in certain rooms.

Ask for help. There’s a sample picture by each exhibit to give you ideas on how you could stage your shot, as well as some cues on the ground to show you where to stand. But don’t be ashamed to ask the staff for help: they have some great ideas and are more than happy to snap a pic for you.

Bring a plus one. There are definitely some exhibits in which you can easily take a picture yourself, but we would recommend going with at least one other person. Pictures of certain exhibits shine when you have a partner in crime. In fact, families and large groups of friends will have a blast here. We ran into a set of twins, as well as families with young kids. We heard a little girl squeal “It’s magic!,” and you know what? It often felt like it was.

If the Museum of Illusions leaves you wanting more, be sure to check out our friends Tip and JAM in Wonderland’s experience at the Escher Exhibition and Experience.

77 8th Ave

Daily 9 am -10 pm

Pair it with:

A meal at La Esquina

Exterior of La Esquina Taqueria with brightly colored Jarritos bottles line up below the counter via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
The Taqueria
Bright blue shelves holding records and books in front of a counter in La Esquine Cafe via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
The Cafe
Guacamole with chips and salsa at La Esquina via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Guacamole with chips and salsa
Coliflor and Pescado a las Brasas tacos at La Esquina via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Coliflor and Pescado a las Brasas tacos
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Devour Daily I Food & Travel (@thedevourdaily) on

New York City is full of surprises, as long as you know where to look. From secret speakeasies to secret menu items, it’s always fun to feel like you’re in the know. But when it comes to food, something gimmicky can be a sign that disappointing fare awaits. Not so at La Esquina’s flagship SoHo location.

The cute spot has a taco take-out window with some tables that offer prime people-watching (the Taqueria), and it also has a dining room which offers a more robust menu (the Cafe). But what La Esquina offers in the way of the unexpected is their subterranean brasserie, with its secret entrance that leads through the kitchen to get to the basement dining room. It’s been known for many years as a buzzy nightspot, with frequent celebrity sightings and impossible-to-get, you-have-to-know-someone type reservations. But these days La Esquina’s brasserie isn’t quite as difficult to get into, so with a little bit of advanced planning you can enjoy New York City-style Mexican fare in a sexy, hip setting.

114 Kenmare St

Taqueria and Cafe Daily 11 am -2 am
Brasserie  Daily 6pm – 2am

Like it? Pin it!

Pic of the infinity mirror in the Museum of Illusions in NYC via Mad Hatters NYC blog.

– L. & J.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This is a really fun post! Justin, didn’t know you were able to do a one arm handstand. That’s impressive! And Lynn, you looked delicious served up for dinner. This museum looks like a interesting place to spend a morning. It would pair well with the Escher exhibit in Industrial City. Looking forward to McSorely’s.


Loved this post and great share!

Dippy Dotty Girl

Gosh this must have been crazy fun! I can see it in your photos. And it is great to see a few shots of you both, as a change from the other posts. Lynn, I am eyeing that dress 🙂 xx

Dippy Dotty Girl

Ah, the simple lives of men. Your double act is pretty cool, Justin. 🙂

Dippy Dotty Girl

Adi loved your post and the idea of the museum. Looking at the photo of multiple Lynns, he said, ‘How many wives can one man handle? 😉


Oh gosh! I had a wide smile going through your post and seeing the quirky photos you guys took.
Also great Taqueria. We’re always looking for new Mexican places to try!


Silliness, smiles and food are the best!!


I dont know if my previous comment was posted or not so again;) This place is such a fun that too in a museum:)


This reminds me of Tom Petty’s version of Alice, and you’re giving me Fred Astaire!


Wow this looks like amazing fun, think I’d probably try to figure out a way to stay overnight lol! I need to visit soon!!!


I love the pictures you took at the museum! You two look great! Such a great alternative pick for a museum. Did you go on Museum Day? I’ve been out of the loop for restaurants lately but I will add this one to my list, thank you for the suggestion.

This looks like so much fun, and I love to see you two hamming it up! The basement dining room at La Esquina would really be an experience, but I’d be happy in that cute cafe too. I really can’t imagine how they achieve some of these illusions. Guess I need to study up on my science. The pic of Lynn with her head on a plate reminds me of an unfortunate episode of Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show I watched as a teenager. I just can’t look at it. I may not sleep. 😉

The head was in an ice bucket, actually, but it still brought back memories. You never saw it, only imagined it. That’s what I love about Hitchcock! You in that seemingly enormous chair, however, is creating very fond memories 😉