Let’s be honest, Angelenos have those days when they question their decision to live in this busy city. But with its electrifying nightlife, incredible outdoor landscapes to explore, and, of course, the incredible art and culture scene, we happily part with a healthy slice of our earnings to see another month here. So it makes sense that if any of these things in the city are free, you absolutely should take advantage of them. This brings us to all the best museums and galleries in L.A. that you can get into for free and how.
1. The Broad
This spectacular building is home to 2,000 works of art that form part of the Broad collection, which is considered one of the best postwar and contemporary art collections in the world. You get to see works from popular artists like Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger and Takashi Murkami. In fact, Murkami’s solo exhibition features 18 works created throughout his career. General entry is completely free (except on Mondays when the museum is closed), but you’ll need to make a reservation first.
Located at Exposition Park, the CAAM mission is to research, collect, preserve, and interpret for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans with an emphasis on California and the western United States. CAAM is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and while the permanent exhibition and galleries are free, you’ll be required to make a timed reservation before you go.
The California Science Center is located in Exposition Park, next to the Natural History Museum and University of Southern California. Their goal is to educate and share the importance of science in our lives to Angelenos. Their permanent galleries, including space shuttle Endeavour, are free and do not require a reservation.
4. Getty Center
Explore 14th Century Venetian art to antique 18th Century furniture at this incredible white-tiled complex with exquisite gardens and views of the city. Make sure you don’t miss the evolving 134,000-square-foot Central Garden, designed by Robert Irwin. Getty Center is free and open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Mondays.
5. Getty Villa
Getty Villa: This spectacular setting of this “villa” is just as fascinating as the 1,000+ artifacts it holds. You can deep-dive into art and history spanning 6,500 BC and 500 AD with a free timed-entry ticket.
“Explore the universe for free” without leaving Los Angeles at this iconic cultural gem. Not only is this epic Art Deco building the backdrop for dozens of classic films, but it’s also home to fascinating astronomy resources and powerful telescopes. You can explore the museum from Friday to Sunday, and take in a sunset over the city with the panoramic views from the surrounding grounds.
The hammer museum and its mix of historic and cutting-edge artworks are now open for visitors. Entry remains free and you’ll get to see fabulous exhibitions, which often feature the works of Los Angeles–based artists in person. Entry is free and it’s open from Thursday to Sunday, from 11 am to 6 p.m.
The Huntington Gardens are easily one of the most stunning places to visit in L.A. You can also check out hundreds of rare materials in the Library Exhibition Hall and enjoy acres of their gorgeous gardens in between! The first Thursday of every month is their Free Day and requires a reservation.
Browse radical and progressive art that speaks to the political and social challenges of the modern world at the 12,700-square-foot industrial space in DTLA. This cultural incubator is the perfect place to inspire innovative thinking as you immerse yourself in illuminating stories that take on every form, from films and live performances to poetry and installations. Their commitment to making contemporary art accessible means admission is completely free. Find out more here.
You will undoubtedly recognize the 202 iron lamps that make up Chris Burden’s Urban Light. However, there are plenty of modern and traditional masterpieces to admire inside the museum too. It’s the largest art museum in the western United States, boasting a collection of more than 142,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. You can see it all for free every second Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. L.A. County residents can get in for free on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m. or on Fridays from 3 to 8 p.m.
This artist-founded gem is home to over 7000 objects and some of the most compelling contemporary art in the world, including works by Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Browse ground-breaking, historically significant exhibitions for free with a timed ticket.
Located in Long Beach, MOLAA is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to featuring and highlighting both modern and contemporary Latin American art. While general admission is typically $15, the museum is totally free to the public on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.