Free Museums in Los Angeles

Use your head (or lose it like the poor lady in the Gauguin painting). There's no reason a tight budget should get in the way of becoming a culture cognoscente. From the Getty Center and Huntington Gardens to MOCA and the Museum of Neon Art, take advantage of free admission to these Los Angeles museums.

Updated: August 23, 2010

LA Art Museums

The Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Enjoy priceless Van Goghs, beautiful gardens and sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean at this striking ode to art. It's free every day! (Just be prepared to fork over $15 for parking.)

The Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

Get lost in the Huntington's gorgeously eclectic gardens, historic art pieces and vast library free of charge on the first Thursday of every month. Then you'll be able to afford lunch at the cafe or high tea at the on-site tea house.

Lacma Los Angeles County Museum of Art

5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Adult admission to the largest art museum in the western United States is $15 (not exactly cheap), but on the second Tuesday of every month you'll get in free to the permanent collections. Bonus: LA County residents get in free after 5pm Monday-Friday with proof of residency.

MOCA Grand Avenue

250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Get up close and personal (for free!) with all the modern greats from Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian to Jackson Pollock and Joseph Cornell every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

152 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Save your money for the cool gift shop and get your modern art fix for free every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm at this downtown outpost of MOCA. (The other two are on our list, too.)

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Hammer time! Thursdays are free at this Westwood favorite where you can mull over the finer points of Monet, Manet and many more in between.

Santa Monica Museum Of Art

2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

This small museum tucked away in Santa Monica's Bergamot Station offers free admission daily (suggested $5 donation). Browse the four-room gallery adorned with installations by hot international artists. Afterward, stroll around the sprawling art complex and grab a bite at the cafe.

MOCA Pacific Design Center

8687 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mini MOCA. Every day is a free day at this intimate outpost at the sprawling PDC. Enjoy works by new and established artists in architecture, design, photography and contemporary art. Look out for free lectures, too.

LA Cultural Museums

Pacific Asia Museum

46 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

One of only four U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, the Pacific Asia Museum is where you can explore the likes of the Ming Dynasty for free on the third Saturday of every month.

J. Paul Getty Villa

17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Every day is free at this stunning museum overlooking the ocean when you reserve your tickets online at: The villa's architecture mimics that of ancient Roman-Grecco gardens and houses a hefty collection dedicated to the arts of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.

Museum Of Latin American Art

628 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802

Viva Latin art! Every Friday indulge in a visual fiesta with loads of Latin American art and cultural artifacts for no charge. This Long Beach museum (referred to as MOLAA) is the only one of its kind in the U.S.

Skirball Cultural Center & Museum

2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Thursdays are free for the public to enjoy all the exhibits at this fun and educational Jewish cultural institution just off the 405 freeway, not far from the Getty. Hang out on Noah's Ark, check out the rotating exhibits, enjoy live music performances or stop by a lecture. It beats being stuck in traffic any day.

LA Science Museums & Beyond

California Science Ctr

700 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Every day is a free-for-all at this interactive kid-friendly museum that happens to be the West Coast's largest hands-on science center. Just remember that some of the most popular attractions here--including the IMAX theater, indoor rock climbing wall and high-wire bicycle--will cost you.

Museum Of Neon Art

501 W Olympic Blvd Ste 101, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Neon liquor store sign as art? Oh yeah, there's more where that came from. Bask in the glow of neon (gratis-style) at this unusual museum on the second Thursday of every month from 5pm to 8pm. It'll light up your life. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Natural History Museum Of La

900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Roam with the dinosaurs for free on the first Tuesday of every month at this awe-inspiring museum that protects over 35 million specimens dating back 4.5 billion years.

Paley Center For Media

465 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Get the scoop on the cultural, creative and social significance of television, radio and "emerging platforms" at this free and informative center located smack dab in the middle of all the Beverly Hills shopping and dining action.