100 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles: Free Museums

Yayoi Kusama, "Longing for Eternity" The Broad

Yayoi Kusama, "Longing for Eternity," 2017 [detail]. Photo: Maris Hutchinson/EPW Studio. Image © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice; Yayoi Kusama Inc.


When it comes to Los Angeles museums, the words “free admission” have a certain ring. Imagine standing before a priceless van Gogh without having paid a dime, or strolling through the galleries and gardens filled with Roman statuary at the renowned Getty Villa. Artistic "free"-dom indeed.

Following is a list of select L.A. museums with free admission. For a comprehensive list, check out our guide, Discover Free Museums in Los Angeles.

Yayoi Kusama, "Longing for Eternity" at The Broad

Yayoi Kusama, "Longing for Eternity," 2017 [detail]. Photo by Maris Hutchinson/EPW Studio. Image © Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice; Yayoi Kusama Inc.

The Broad

Celebrating its 5th anniversary through February 2021, The Broad is home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art in the world. General admission to The Broad is free, with a separate charge for select exhibitions and events.

"Airplane Parts" by Nancy Rubins at MOCA Grand Avenue

Nancy Rubins, Airplane Parts (2003) at MOCA Grand Avenue | Photo: The Broad

MOCA

Founded in 1979, the Museum of Contemporary Art (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. 

California African American Museum

Located at Exposition Park, the California African American Museum (CAAM) exhibits the history, art and culture of African Americans with an emphasis on California and the western United States.

Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center

The Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

California Science Center

Through hands-on experiences, the California Science Center educates visitors about human inventions and innovations, the processes of living things, and much more. Admission to the Science Center's permanent exhibitions is free (excluding IMAX and Special Exhibits). Timed reservations to view the Space Shuttle Endeavour are required on weekends, holidays, and peak dates.

FIDM Museum

FIDM Museum

FIDM

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) collection holds more than 15,000 costumes, accessories and textiles from the 19th century through the present day. During Awards Season, the FIDM Museum exhibits costumes from all of that year's Oscar nominees as well as numerous other films.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Renowned as one of the nation's premier centers of Mexican American culture, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes invites visitors to explore interactive exhibits as well as contribute to the ongoing story of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and beyond.

"No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake" exhibit at ICA LA

"No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake" | Photo: Jeff McLane - ICA LA, Facebook

ICA LA

Located in the Downtown L.A. Arts District, ICA LA presents dynamic exhibitions of contemporary art that are complemented by educational programs for art lovers of all ages. Be sure to check their calendar of weekend events for non-traditional BBQs and family fun.

Astronomers Monument at the Griffith Observatory | Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Astronomers Monument at the Griffith Observatory

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Griffith Observatory

Opened to the public in 1935, the iconic Griffith Observatory is renowned as a national leader in public astronomy, and a beloved gathering place for visitors and Angelenos alike. Admission to the Observatory's grounds, exhibits, and telescopes is always free. There is a modest fee to see the programs in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

 Travel Town Museum   |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Travel Town Museum

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Travel Town Museum

Located in the northwest corner of Griffith Park, the delightful and family friendly Travel Town Museum focuses on the history of railroad transportation in the western United States, with an emphasis on railroading in Southern California and the Los Angeles area.

Views of the Central Garden and Pacific Ocean at the Getty Center   |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Views of the Central Garden and Pacific Ocean at the Getty Center

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
Outer Peristyle Garden at the Getty Villa

Outer Peristyle Garden at the Getty Villa

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Getty Center & Getty Villa

Situated on a hilltop in Brentwood, the spectacular Getty Center exhibits European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and photography from its beginnings to the present. 

Dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades houses 44,000 works of art from the museum's extensive collection of antiquities, of which over 1,200 are on view.

"Hammer Projects: Leonardo Drew" in the lobby of the Hammer Museum

"Hammer Projects: Leonardo Drew" | Photo: Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum

Located at the corner of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards in Westwood Village, the Hammer Museum champions the art and artists who challenge us to see the world in a new light, to experience the unexpected, to ignite our imaginations, and inspire change.

Annenberg Space for Photography

Annenberg Space for Photography

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

The Annenberg Space for Photography

The first cultural destination dedicated entirely to photography in the L.A. area, The Annenberg Space for Photography features state-of-the-art, high-definition digital technology as well as traditional prints by some of the world's most renowned photographers and emerging photographic talents.

The Nethercutt Collection

The Nethercutt Collection

The Nethercutt Collection

The Nethercutt Collection showcases more than 130 of the world’s greatest antique, vintage, classic and special interest automobiles. Spanning four floors, the collection also includes automobile mascots, antique furniture, clocks and watches, and one of the world's finest collections of Mechanical Musical Instruments.