Enjoy Free Museum Days in Los Angeles

Discover two dozen L.A. museums with free admission.

Chris Burden "Urban Light"(2008)  at LACMA

 |  Photo:  Discover Los Angeles

Many of L.A.'s top museums and cultural attractions offer free admission on select days of the week. From ancient artifacts to modern art, read on for our guide to free museum days in Los Angeles.

Property of Discover Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of USC Pacific Asia Museum

SUNDAY

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA): Founded in 1996, MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. Since its inception, MOLAA has doubled its size, added a 15,000 square foot sculpture garden and expanded its permanent collection, ranging from works by Tamayo and Matta to Cruz-Diez, Los Carpinteros and Tunga. Free admission every Sunday, and the fourth Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m.

USC Pacific Asia Museum: The museum's collection has grown to more than 17,000 objects, including rare and representative examples of art and ethnographic objects from Asia and the Pacific Islands, spanning more than five thousand years. Free admission on Thursday 5-8pm and the second Sunday of every month.

The famous "Dueling Dinos" in the Grand Foyer of the Natural History Museum   |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

The famous "Dueling Dinos" in the Grand Foyer of the Natural History Museum

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

TUESDAY

Autry Museum of the American West: Located in Griffith Park, the Autry features world-class galleries filled with Native American art and artifacts, film memorabilia, historic firearms, paintings, and more. The Autry’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the country. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month. Free with current ID for active military personnel and veterans, peace officers, and park rangers.

Descanso Gardens: Located in La Cañada Flintridge, the 160-acre Descanso Gardens was originally developed in 1936 by newspaper magnate Elias Manchester Boddy, whose numerous interests included horticulture and politics. Descanso Gardens offers numerous areas for exploring, including a bird sanctuary, five-acre rosarium, Japanese tea garden, water-wise garden, Oak Woodland, California garden, and the world’s largest collection of camellia flowers. Free admission the third Tuesday of every month.

Kidspace Children's Museum: Founded in 1979 by members of the Caltech community and the Pasadena Junior League, the museum nurtures the potential of all children through kid-driven experiences, inspiring them to become joyful, active learners. Admission to the museum is free on Kidspace's Free Family Nights, taking place the first Tuesday of the month from 4-8pm. Families can enjoy special programming and performances that highlight cultures and traditions from around the world.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden: Founded in 1947, the L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a 127-acre garden located across the street from Santa Anita Park. The Arboretum is home to plant collections from all over the world, including many rare and endangered species. The Arboretum also houses several historic structures, including the 1885 Queen Anne Cottage, best known for its appearance in the opening of TV's Fantasy Island. Free admission on the third Tuesday of the month (no tram on these days).

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): The largest art museum in the western United States, LACMA houses a collection that includes nearly 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month. Free admission every week for L.A. County residents 3-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; and 3-8 p.m. on Friday. Target sponsors free admission on select federal holidays. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, General Admission is free to all active-duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA): Located in Exposition Park, NHMLA has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history — more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month except July and August, and free every Tuesday in September. L.A. County residents receive free museum admission to NHMLA Monday - Friday from 3-5 pm. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit.

"Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich" at the Skirball Cultural Center

Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich | Photo: Skirball Cultural Center, Facebook

THURSDAY

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens: Founded in 1919, The Huntington is an oasis of art and culture on 207 acres. Explore breathtaking themed gardens, a conservatory, four art galleries and an extraordinary collection of rare books like the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, and a world-class collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works. Free admission on the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets, which can be reserved online.

Japanese American National Museum: Located in Little Tokyo, JANM is internationally recognized for its commitment to exploring the meaning of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the experience of Japanese Americans through exhibitions, public programs, an award-winning museum store, and resource center. Free admission every Thursday from 5-8 p.m., and all day every third Thursday of the month. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, JANM admission is free for all active duty military personnel and up to five members of their families.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): Established in 1979, MOCA is the only artist-founded museum in Los Angeles, dedicated to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. MOCA houses one of the most compelling collections of contemporary art in the world, comprising roughly 7,000 objects, with a diverse history of ground-breaking, historically-significant exhibitions. Free admission every Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA): The museum presents the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to the Golden State. PMCA exhibitions and educational programs explore the ways that California’s rich cultural heritage and spectacular natural landscapes have shaped and defined art in all media. Free admission on the first Friday of the month (noon–5pm) and the third Thursday (5–8pm).

Skirball Cultural Center: Open to the public since 1996, the Skirball has established itself as one of the world's most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions and among the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles. The center welcomes people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society. Free admission every Thursday.

Schindler House exterior at night

Schindler House | Photo by Joshua White, courtesy of MAK Center

FRIDAY

Mak Center for Art and Architecture: The MAK Center is a contemporary, experimental, multi-disciplinary center for art and architecture headquartered in architect Rudolph M. Schindler’s landmark House and Studio (1922) in West Hollywood. Free admission on Fridays from 4-6 p.m., on International Museum Day (held annually in May) and R.M. Schindler's birthday (September 10).

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA): Founded in 1996, MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. Since its inception, MOLAA has doubled its size, added a 15,000 square foot sculpture garden and expanded its permanent collection, ranging from works by Tamayo and Matta to Cruz-Diez, Los Carpinteros and Tunga. Free admission every Sunday, and the fourth Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m.

Norton Simon Museum: Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon amassed one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled, including European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Approximately 1,000 works from the permanent collection of 12,000 objects are on view in the museum's galleries and sculpture garden. Free admission on the first Friday of every month from 5-8 p.m.