14 Free Museums in Los Angeles You Must Explore

By Deepak Kannan on Mar 02, 2017
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).
Blooming with energy and enthusiasm than any other city in the world, Los Angeles or the 'City of the Angels' as it is popularly referred to is a dream destination for many. While the iconic cinematic landscape is something that most tourists know about, Los Angeles embraces a lot of amazing museums to stop at and the most wonderful thing is a lot of the museums in Los Angeles are free to visit. Yes, you heard it right.
Without further delay, I present to you the top 14 free museums in Los Angeles to explore during your vacation.

1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Image Source: Joe Wolf/flickr.com

Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the Western United States holding over 150,000 works of art dating from the antiquity to the present. Humongous in size with continuously changing exhibits, Los Angeles County Museum of Art is eclectic with art, culture, and music. LACMA attracts nearly million visitors annually and is best visited during the night time.

Mondays & Thursdays: Free during 3-5pm
Fridays: Free during 3-8pm
Second Tuesdays of every month: Free all day and other Tuesdays: Free during 3-5pm
Applicable only for Los Angeles County with a valid ID
Organize your trip using Los Angeles Trip Planner

2. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Born out of the association of three Los Angeles-area museums, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County covers over 4.5 billion years of history with its tremendous collection of nearly 35 million specimens and artifacts. As you walk through the largest natural and historical Natural History Museum, the varied exhibits of dinosaur, mummy, and fossils come to life offering an interesting experience to families and kids.

First Tuesdays of every month: Free all day, except July & August
All Tuesdays in September: Free

3. California Science Center

California Science Center

Image Source: Fabio Achilli/flickr.com

Take pleasure in getting to know science better through the dynamic experience on offer at the California Science Center. Boasting of interactive exhibits, inspiring films, and live demonstrations, California Science Center is for the curious visitors. The main highlights of California Science Center include Space Shuttle Endeavour, motion-simulator, climbing wall, IMAX theater, and a high-wire bicycle.

Free all year

4. The Broad

The Broad

Image Source: Sharon VanderKaay/flickr.com

Named after the philanthropist Eli Broad, the distinctively designed contemporary museum of The Broad is a monumental destination in the history of Los Angeles. Start with watching the movie on the Broad family to learn about their interest in art and continue touring around the floors of the museum. Ironically though the Broad is not too big in size, it carries some of the best pieces of art and the collections here are quite vast.

Tuesday to Sunday every month: Free all day

5. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

Image Source: James St. John/flickr.com

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is a national natural landmark which is a group of tar pits formed over tens of thousands of years right after all the big dinosaurs went extinct. Trapped in the tar are bones of a varied range of animals, preserved over the years. Examining the tar pits is a fascinating experience as it offers a unique experience to every visitor and is one of the best free museums in Los Angeles.

First Tuesdays of every month: Free all day, except July & August

6. Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum

Image Source: Flickr.com

Renowned for its artist-centric progressive array of displays and public based programs, Hammer Museum is an art museum and cultural center in Los Angeles working its way to becoming the hippest and the culturally significant institution. A combination of wonderful art installations, music, live talks, book shop, and gift store makes Hammer Museum a worthy visit in Los Angeles.

Tuesday to Sunday every month: Free all day

7. Getty Center

Getty Center

Image Source: Rictor Norton & David Allen/flickr.com

Perched on top of a hill, the first thing that captivates the visitors of the Getty Center is its incredible location. Built to inspire curiosity and enjoyment, a day at Getty Center is a must. Comprising of illuminated manuscripts, European-American-Asian paintings & photographs, decorative arts, sculptures, and drawings, along with the magnificent views and the lush-green garden, Getty Center is one of the best places to visit in LA.

Tuesday to Sunday every month: Free all day

8. Japanese American National Museum

Japanese American National Museum

Image Source: Steven Damron/flickr.com

Erected to preserve the history and the culture of the Japanese Americans, Japanese American National Museum set in the Little Tokyo area dates back to the first Issei generation preserving over 130 years of Japanese American history. Glance through the touching and the wonderful exhibits to understand the cultural richness and the real-life struggles of Japanese Americans during the World War II.

Third Thursdays of every month: Free all day
other Thursdays: Free during 5-8pm

9. Annenberg Space for Photography

Annenberg Space for Photography

Image Source: Fred Rockwood/flickr.com

Dedicated to print and digital photography is the cultural destination of Annenberg Space for Photography with an intimate atmosphere. Featuring digital, print photographs, and an original short documentary film, Annenberg Space for Photography is a must-visit for photographs interested in mastering the craft. Enjoy the video interviews presented in the theater and admire the impressive photographs on display.

Wednesday to Sunday every month: Free all day

10. MOCA Grand Avenue

MOCA Grand Avenue

Image Source: David Hilowitz/flickr.com

Designed classically keeping the popular culture of Los Angeles in mind, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is situated in a flagship location, adorned with American and European artworks. Despite being small in size, MOCA Grand Avenue is interesting and looks terrific. With the museum pieces of the famous artists as well as the budding artists on display, MOCA Grand Avenue offers a nice variety.

Thursdays of every month: Free during 5-8pm 

11. Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Devoted to the sustaining Jewish heritage and American Democratic ideals, Skirball Cultural Center is an educational institution with the museum as its main core. Revel in the joy of the cultural vibrancy as unraveled by the iconic Noah Ark exhibit and enjoy the significant features of Skirball Cultural Center that includes engaging music, changing exhibits, literary programs, theater, comedy shows, cafe, and the museum store.

Thursdays of every month: Free all day

12. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

Image Source: Flickr.com

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens is an all-in-one destination in Los Angeles that has a special something for everyone. Loaded with world-class gardens, exquisite exhibits, rare book collection, famous artworks, and a charming atmosphere, Huntington Library is definitely one of the top free museums in Los Angeles you should check out and do plan your visit in the spring season.

First Thursdays of every month: Free all day
Prior Reservation is necessary

13. Hollywood Bowl Museum

Hollywood Bowl Museum

Image Source: MargaretNapier/flickr.com

Built as a celebration to the iconic landmark of the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Bowl Museum provides a historical context to the electrifying location. Enrich your Bowl experience by going on a tour of the Hollywood Bowl Museum that comprises of state-of-the-art audio stations, DVD documentaries, and soak in the great moments of the enthralling journey of music. Visiting Hollywood Bowl Museum will just elevate your summer.

Free all year

14. Craft and Folk Art Museum

Craft and Folk Art Museum

Image Source: Sharon VanderKaay/flickr.com

Contributing to the continuous growth of the Los Angeles culture is the fabulous Craft and Folk Art Museum. Explore the excellent work of art, craft, and design put up on display in the conventional museum space of the Craft and Folk Art Museum which is one of the hidden gems of a museum in Los Angeles. Compact in nature, the exhibits in Craft and Folk Art Museum are compelling and would keep you engaged.

Sundays of every month: Free all day
Gone on a tour of the top free museums in Los Angeles? feel free to share the experience and help your fellow travelers. 
Related Articles