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Visiting museums can be an excellent way to spend a day by yourself, with friends, or with the family.
But heading to a new place each weekend can get a bit expensive with admission fees and parking charges.
Unless you find free museums to explore!
This guide lists more than 100 free museums across the United States, all of which welcome visitors for no cost.
Some museums have discounts for specific groups, others have free museum days, and others are 100% free, all the time.
When you’re looking for something to do that won’t cost a bunch of money, just refer to this guide.
Plus, we explain how to find other museums in your area.
Are There Free Museums Near Me (or Museums for Cheap)?
There are probably more museums that offer free admission in your area than you realize.
That’s because many of them run off donations or memberships.
And even if admission isn’t completely free, there might be some specific groups of people who can get in for free, like children or seniors.
Some museums also offer free admission to first responders, military personnel, teachers, or students.
There are many museums that also have free museum days!
These are specific days and times of the week where anyone or certain groups can get in for free.
Often, these are slower days, like Sundays or Tuesdays.
Always look on a museum’s website to see if it offers admission-free days or times.
You can usually find out this information on the website’s Visit or Admissions page.
How to Find Art Museums Near Me for Free (and Other Types of Museums!)
The easiest way to find art and other museums near you is to use this list!
But if there aren’t any that are within your desired driving distance, then you can also Google it.
Type in a keyword that includes a phrase like “free museums near…”, followed by the city you want to visit, your city, or “near me”.
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For example, you can type in “free museums within 50 miles of me”.
Google is smart, so it can find out your location and help you find museums within that distance.
Then, look through the results and visit the websites of the museums that come up.
Look for admission information to confirm that it’s free.
In just a couple of minutes, you should be able to find some museums to visit at no cost to you.
Now, here’s a huge list of museums in major cities across the United States that don’t charge for admission!
33 Free Museums in New York City, New York
It’s always free to visit this gallery.
Check out some awesome art for free.
Reserve a ticket using the website.
New York City residents can get in for free, but donations are suggested.
Children 16 and under also get in for free.
Read and learn about the attacks of September 11th, 2001, in this free memorial.
Kids 12 and under have no cost to visit.
This museum makes Mondays free.
Holocaust survivors, first responders, and military personnel get in for no cost.
Admission doesn’t cost a dime, but make sure you still have a ticket to enter.
Most of the areas of this museum are free to visitors.
Thursdays are free at this museum.
Any regular admission days are free here.
Although most of the time there is a charge to get in, on Thursdays during specific times, you can get one person in for free with the purchase of a regular ticket.
This one is open to all at no cost.
Kids 4 and under are free any time, and others can pay what they want on Friday evenings.
Get in for free on Fridays during specific evening hours.
From November to March, you can get in with no admission.
ICP students and children 16 and under get in free.
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Children 12 and under get in free here, and every Friday is free to all from 2 to 5 pm.
All visitors need to reserve tickets.
Visit here for free to explore American Indian history and heritage, although donations are always welcome.
Learn the history of seacoast defense in New York at this museum, which doesn’t charge anyone admission.
Check the admissions page to learn when its free days and times are for the public.
Members of certain organizations and groups can enjoy free admission, including SNAP benefit recipients and military families.
Several groups can get into this museum at no cost, including children and visitors with disabilities.
The first Thursday of each month offers free admission for everyone, with the exclusion of major holidays.
This outdoor art exhibit area is free to the public.
From 9 to noon on Saturdays, you can get in free.
Visit on Fridays between 12 and 2 for no-charge entrance.
Head here on Thursdays during the specified times to get “pay what you wish” admission.
People 18 and under get in free.
The Brooklyn Museum lets people 19 and under get in for free.
When you reserve your tickets ahead of time, you can get in for free on Friday evenings.
Mondays at the museum are “Pay what you wish” admissions!
Enjoy Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace museum for free any time it’s open.
10 Free Museums in Boston, Massachusetts
This museum gives you free admission on Sundays during specific times if you’re a resident of the state.
Get free admission any day of the week.
This museum is free to anyone who wants to visit.
General admission is free here for all visitors.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston offers free admission to select exhibits.
Want to learn about plumbing?
This is your place! You can make an appointment Monday through Thursday to visit for free.
Visit ICA and get free admission if you’re 18 and under or a student or staff member with an ICA Unversity membership.
You can donate to the museum as you wish, but admission is free.
Children 12 and under can get in at no cost here.
This museum has free admission on the last Sunday of each month from September to June.
10 Free Museums in Orlando, Florida
Military members, veterans, and kids can get into this museum free.
The gardens holds free admission days. You can check the website to learn when they’re coming up.
This museum is dedicated to Henry Shelton Sandford, the person who established the city of Sanford.
Learn about fine art at this free admission attraction.
Visit the exhibitions for free.
Brush up on Holocaust history at this free museum.
This art museum is open to the public for free.
This accessible facility doesn’t have an admissions charge.
Donations are always appreciated when you visit here, but they aren’t required.
General admission is free, but tickets for specific events at the location may cost money.
15 Free Museums in Los Angeles, California
The exhibits here are free for everyone to enjoy.
Admission here is free for all.
This museum has a Sunday “Pay what you wish” admission.
It’s always free to enjoy the exhibits here.
Children five and under get in free here, but everyone can enjoy free Thursdays from 5 to 8 pm and all day on the third Thursday of each month.
Enjoy free family days as noted by this museum’s calendar.
Except for a few premium exhibits, admission to this science center is free for all ages to explore and enjoy.
Explore some of the best music to come from Hollywood at this iconic museum, which doesn’t charge admission.
The Hammer Museum allows everyone to get in for free.
This museum doesn’t charge admission or require tickets.
Get in for free to learn about the Holocaust and its rich history.
The second Tuesday of each month is reserved for free admission here.
From Wednesday to Sunday, you can take free tours of this museum.
Explore the library, gardens, and art museum during free days.
You can find out when they’re happening on the website.
This museum has a lot of free opportunities for admission, including children 17 and under and free admission days on Thursdays and Sundays.
10 Free Museums in San Francisco, California
This interesting museum hosts all kinds of art exhibits for free.
Bay area residents get free admission on Saturdays.
Children 12 and under, military personnel, and first responders can get free admittance into this museum.
Get in free on Saturdays if you’re a Bay Area resident.
Learn about the history and advances of the city’s iconic railway system for free.
Days listed in the calendar are free for admission and events.
The first Thursday of every month features free galleries.
People go to San Francisco just to see the cable cars!
Learn all about them here.
Children 8 and under are free.
Visit here to get free admission for all.
10 Free Museums in Chicago, Illinois
You don’t need to pay anything to get in, but the museum is currently asking for visitors to reserve tickets before arriving.
Check the website to learn when Illinois residents can enjoy free days.
This art museum is free to the public.
This zoo offers free admission throughout its open season.
It’s free admission to get in!
This art museum also has no admission costs.
The Chicago History Museum has specific times reserved for free on Tuesdays.
This museum offers free admission to disabilities and their caregivers, first responders, and military personnel.
Illinois residents also get in for free on Tuesdays.
Illinois residents can get in for free on select Illinois free days. Visit the website to learn more.
Donations from visitors are encouraged, but admission is free.
15 Free Museums in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
As the name suggests, it’s free!
Tour the facility to see how money gets made and get the behind the scenes scoop of the US Mint at Philadelphia for free.
You can always get in for free at this museum.
Explore the history of Philadelphia in this free museum.
Learn about the famous author without paying anything to get in.
This museum suggests a $5 donation with each admission, but tickets themselves are free.
This art museum has its First Sundays for Families program with free admission on the first Sunday of each month for families temporarily paused, but continue to check back on the website to see when it opens up.
Browse the galleries for free. Everyone is welcome with no admission.
Most areas of this museum are free and open to the public.
Children, teachers, and EBT cardholders can get in for free.
You can visit here for a free tour when it’s open.
Donations are appreciated, but there’s no admission charge here.
Tour the beautiful grounds of this church without paying anything.
Learn about Polish American heritage at this museum, which is open to the public at no charge.
Friday evenings and the first Sunday of each month are “pay what you wish” admission.
25 Other Free Museums
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina)
There’s no-charge general admission here, although some exhibits might be an extra cost.
Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, Maryland)
Enjoy getting in and browsing art for free here.
Tennessee State Museum (Nashville, Tennessee)
Get in here for free to learn more about the state of Tennessee’s past and present.
Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, Ohio)
General admission is free.
Special exhibits are an extra cost, but those are also free on Thursday evenings.
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum (Bismarck, North Dakota)
General admission is always free to this historical museum.
The Portland Puppet Museum (Portland, Oregon)
Learn about puppet history and other cool facts about puppets in this free museum.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)
The museum’s permanent exhibits won’t cost you anything to see.
Cleveland Cultural Gardens (Cleveland, Ohio)
Browse through beautiful gardens here and make a stop at the Rockefeller Greenhouse.
The Alamo (San Antonio, Texas)
Revisit history at The Alamo. Just remember to reserve your free tickets before visiting.
The Oregon Historical Society Museum (Portland, Oregon)
This museum is free for residents of Multnomah County and kids under five.
Georgia Capitol Museum (Atlanta, Georgia)
Walk through the Capitol building in Atlanta on a guided tour with no admission cost.
Check the site to learn when tours happen and set one up.
The National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C.)
If you want to learn anything about American history, this is the place to do it, right at the nation’s capital.
Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, Texas)
There’s no cost to browse this museum, but visitors are asked to reserve tickets before coming.
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Reserve your free general admission tickets online before arriving.
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center (Portland, Oregon)
Learn about Oregon’s rail system here and see trains up close and personal.
Imagine Children’s Museum (Everett, Washington)
The third Friday of each month is free for visitors, and there are always reduced ticket prices for EBT holders.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri)
It doesn’t cost to get in, but visitors will need to reserve tickets before entering.
Seattle Children’s Museum (Seattle, Washington)
Every weekday from 4-5 pm is “pay what you wish” pricing!
Fernbank Science Center (Atlanta, Georgia)
Admission and parking won’t cost a dime.
Mississippi Museum of Art (Jackson, Mississippi)
There’s always an exhibit that’s open to the public at no cost here.
Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio)
General admission to this art museum is free for all.
Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Enjoy beautiful art at this museum, which has no cost for its general admission tickets.
Oklahoma Railway Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Donations are welcome, of course, but admission is free.
Dallas Contemporary (Dallas, Texas)
This art gallery is free to get into, although it suggests a $5 donation to help keep it running.
The Frick Museum (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Most of the exhibits are free to enjoy, but some will have additional costs.
Find Free Museums to Visit in Your Area
Wherever you live across the United States, you can probably find a free museum to visit within a reasonable distance from you.
Our guide above notes many of the most well-known cities in the country, but of course, there are many others to explore!
Just use Google to find out what’s near you, whether you want to find a place close to home or you’re looking for free places to visit while traveling.
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