Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Free admission at museums in Los Angeles & Orange County
Free museum days rock.

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

We recommend confirming free days/evenings with the museums, especially if the date is near a national or religious holiday. Be aware that free days can sometimes be quite crowded.

Los Angeles County

• The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles 90027
323.667.2000
Located in Griffith Park, directly across the street from the Los Angeles Zoo, the Autry is free to the general public on the second Tuesday (10am-4pm) of every month. The collections focus on Native American and Western U.S. history.

• Craft and Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Blvd. 
Los Angeles 90036
323.937.4230
You never know what you might find at this smaller museum that hosts a wide variety of exhibitions. Admission is "pay what you want" on Sundays, from 11am to 6pm.

• Discovery Cube LA
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Sylmar 91342
818.686.2823
Los Angeles residents are eligible to receive up to four free admissions per household to Discovery Cube LA when they show their Department of Water and Power statement and matching photo ID on a select Tuesday of most months (most often the first Tuesday of the month).

• Fowler Museum at UCLA 
308 Charles E. Young Dr. N.
Los Angeles 90024 
310.825.4361
The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures, with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas. Family programs include Story Time, Kids in the Courtyard (hands-on art projects inspired by an artwork on view), and Family Jam, an interactive series featuring musicians, artists, storytellers, and other performers from around the world. Admission is always free.

• Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90024
310.443.7000
Admission to all exhibitions and public programs at the Hammer is free and open to the public.


Everyone loves wandering the Huntington GardensPhoto by Ian D. Keating/CC BY 2.0

• The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino 91108
626.405.2100
Admission to the Huntington is free to the general public on the first Thursday of every month. Unlike many museums, however, the Huntington requires that you reserve a free ticket. Yes, you have to plan in advance, but the limited number of tickets prevents overcrowding. Tickets, which go fast, become available at 9am on the first of the month preceding the month you wish to visit, so Sept. 1 for the October free day.  

• Japanese American National Museum
100 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles 90012
213.625.0414
JANM is the largest museum in the U.S. focusing on the experiences of Japanese Americans. It is free to the public on the third Thursday of every month (noon-8pm), and every Thursday from 5pm-8pm. In addition, the museum holds a number of free family festivals throughout the year. On those days, admission to the museum is free.

• Kidspace Children's Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena 91103
626.449.9144
Kidspace hosts a free family night on the first Tuesday of every month (except September) from 4pm-8pm.

• Long Beach Museum of Art
2300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach 90803
562.439.2119
This small museum has a lovely location on a coastal bluff and offers free admission on Thursdays from 3pm-8pm. The collections and exhibits focus on ceramics, early 20th-century European art, and California art.


LACMA's Urban Light installation is a must-do LA photo op. Photo by Mommy Poppins

• Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036
323.857.6000
LACMA has several systems in place for free days. The second Tuesday of each month is free for the general public. LA County residents can visit for free after 3pm Mondays through Fridays. Select federal holidays are also free (the museum is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas and every Wednesday). If you sign your children up (for free!) with the NexGen program, each child gets free admission anytime for themselves and one accompanying adult. NexGen and some LACMA free days now include admission to special exhibits.

• Museum of Contemporary Art
Grand Avenue
250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles 90012
213.626.6222

Geffen Contemporary
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles 90012
213.626.6222

MOCA's Grand Avenue and Geffen Contemporary locations offer free admission to the public on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm. The West Hollywood location, 8687 Melrose Ave, is always free.

• Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach 90802
562.437.1689
MOLAA has free family days every Sunday from 11am-5pm. Some family days also feature music, art workshops, storytelling, dance classes, or other activities. In addition, admission is free from 5pm-9pm on the fourth Thursday of every month.


Giddy-up over to the Natural History Museum. Photo by Tomás Del Coro/CC BY 2.0

• Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles 90007
213.763.DINO
The NHM now offers 13 free Tuesdays (9:30am-5pm) each year; most are the first Tuesday. There are none in July and August, but all Tuesdays in September are free. See here for the upcoming schedule.

• Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena 91105
626.449.6840
The Norton Simon is free to the public on the first Friday evening of every month, from 5pm-8pm. This is one of the few museums that is always free to those 18 and under and students with ID.

• USC Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave.
Pasadena 91101
626.449.2742
The USC Pacific Asia Museum's collections focus on Asia and the Pacific Islands. It opens its doors to all for free on the second Sunday of every month, and on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm.

• Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036
323.934.7243
The Page Museum offers free admission on the first Tuesday of each month, except in July and August, and every Tuesday in September. LA County residents also receive free admission Mondays through Fridays from 3-5pm (with a valid ID or utility bill). Reservations are recommended for free days because it does get crowded. Remember, the grounds are always open, free of charge, and if your kids like the actual tar, they will love the grounds!


Skirball's Noah's Ark exhibit is a great family destination. Photo by Timothy Norris courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center

• Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 E. Union St.
Pasadena 91101
626.568.3665
The Pasadena Museum of California Art offers free admission on the first Fridays (noon-5pm) and the third Thursdays (5pm-8pm) of the month.

• Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles 90049
310.440.4500
All of the Skirball's exhibitions are free to the public on Thursdays (noon-5pm). The campus grounds and Ruby Gallery are always free, as is parking, and no tickets are required to access the shops or dining areas. Note that the Noah's Ark portion of the museum, while also free on Thursdays, requires a timed ticket to enter, and tickets on free Thursdays are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a change from the old system, which used to allow advance ticket reservations on free days.

Orange County

Bowers' Family Days have demonstrations where kids can get crafty. Photo courtesy of the Bowers Museum

• Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana 92706
714.567.3600
On Sundays, the Bowers offers free museum tickets to Santa Ana residents only with proof of residency. In addition, on the first Sunday of each month, a Family Festival is held in the Key Courtyard. The festival is free to all visitors.

• Discovery Cube OC
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana 92705
714.542.2823 
Bank of America cardholders receive free admission on the Sunday of the first full weekend of each month, with photo ID and a valid card (one free general admission limited to cardholder only). Also, Santa Ana residents with proof of residency receive up to four free admissions per address on the first Tuesday of every month.

• Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach 92651
949.494.8971
The Laguna Art Museum focuses on California art, and is free to the public the first Thursday evening of every month, from 5pm-9pm.
 

Top photo of LACMA's Levitated Mass by Eric Chan/CC BY 2.0

Originally published January 13, 2014

location: 
The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
90027 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 323.667.2000
34° 8' 55.4964" N, 118° 16' 53.9868" W
California
Craft and Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Blvd.
90036 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 323.937.4230
34° 3' 43.884" N, 118° 21' 20.1168" W
California
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
90024 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 310.443.7000
34° 3' 32.8392" N, 118° 26' 37.2012" W
California
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
91108 San Marino , CA
Phone: 626.405.2100
34° 7' 46.0632" N, 118° 6' 35.5392" W
California
Japanese American National Museum
100 N. Central Ave.
90012 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 213.625.0414
34° 2' 58.6788" N, 118° 14' 18.9636" W
California
Kidspace Children's Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
91103 Pasadena , CA
Phone: 626.449.9144
34° 9' 19.6128" N, 118° 9' 50.3892" W
California
Long Beach Museum of Art
2300 E. Ocean Blvd.
90803 Long Beach , CA
Phone: 562.439.2119
33° 45' 48.9492" N, 118° 9' 53.3376" W
California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
90036 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 323.857.6000
34° 3' 49.6476" N, 118° 21' 31.986" W
California
Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue
250 S. Grand Ave.
90012 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 213.626.6222
34° 3' 12.1464" N, 118° 15' 1.6668" W
California
Museum of Contemporary Art Geffen Contemporary
152 N. Central Ave.
90012 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 213.626.6222
34° 3' 1.512" N, 118° 14' 18.798" W
California
Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Blvd.
90007 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 213.763.DINO
34° 1' 1.4052" N, 118° 17' 19.5756" W
California
Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
91105 Pasadena , CA
Phone: 626.449.6840
34° 8' 46.4676" N, 118° 9' 33.2568" W
California
USC Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave.
91101 Pasadena , CA
Phone: 626.449.2742
34° 8' 48.2928" N, 118° 8' 27.6936" W
California
Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
90036 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 323.934.7243
34° 3' 49.7556" N, 118° 21' 19.6668" W
California
Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 E. Union St.
91101 Pasadena , CA
Phone: 626.568.3665
34° 8' 48.7464" N, 118° 8' 24.7128" W
California
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N Sepulveda Blvd.
90049 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 310.440.4500
34° 7' 29.3952" N, 118° 28' 45.0912" W
California
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St.
92706 Santa Ana , CA
Phone: 714.567.3600
33° 45' 48.0816" N, 117° 52' 5.538" W
California
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
92651 Laguna Beach , CA
Phone: 949.494.8971
33° 32' 36.1356" N, 117° 47' 17.4444" W
California
Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
90802 Long Beach , CA 33° 46' 27.8976" N, 118° 10' 47.5608" W
California
Discovery Cube OC
2500 N. Main St.
92705 Santa Ana , CA 33° 46' 13.0188" N, 117° 52' 4.3428" W
California
Discovery Cube LA
11800 Foothill Blvd.
91342 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 818.686.2823
34° 16' 22.0512" N, 118° 23' 33.72" W
California
Fowler Museum at UCLA
308 Charles E. Young Dr. N.
90024 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: 310.825.4361
34° 4' 22.5372" N, 118° 26' 34.7388" W
California