Who says great art has to come at a high price? That’s definitely not the case in LA where residents and tourists can visit dozens of museums, galleries, cultural centers and more without paying a single penny. Here’s a list of 10 such places that are absolutely free all the time.
J. Paul Getty Museum | The Getty
1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Getty Center, one of two locations of the John Paul Getty Museum, aims “to further knowledge of the visual arts and to nurture critical seeing by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting works of art of the highest quality.” Entrance to this museum off of Sepulveda Blvd. is absolutely free and in addition to the art, the Getty Center offers spectacular views, dramatic architecture and tranquil gardens.
The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
The Getty Villa, located in the Pacific Palisades area of LA, is the second part to the John Paul Getty Museum. Visitors to this educational center and museum can expect to be enlightened on the cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Although admission is free, visitors are required to acquire an advance, timed ticket. Each general admission ticket for exhibitions allows adults to bring up to three children ages 15 and under.
2800 E Observatory Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
One of LA’s most popular attractions, the Griffith Observatory, located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park directly above the Los Feliz neighborhood, offers not only a great view of the heavens, but breathtaking views of the city as well. Entrance to the observatory is free of course, but there is a fee to see shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
The Paley Center for Media
465 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The Paley Center for Media, situated in the Beverly Hills area, focuses on everything related to TV and radio and its former name is the Museum of Television and Radio. The Paley Center, which has a sister site in New York City, aims to stimulate visitors to consider the cultural, creative and social significance of the TV and radio as well as emerging platforms for the professional community and media-consuming public.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Both adults and kids can have fun while learning at the California Science Center in South Los Angeles. The center has a three-fold Master Plan to become the largest science center on the West Coast and its organizers have been doling out creative and stimulating hands-on exhibits to encourage an interest in the sciences for more than 10 years. Learn about the benefits and consequences of inventions and innovations, the common connections between all forms of life, aircraft design and space exploration, and more.
Fowler Museum at UCLA
308 Charles E Young Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90024
The Fowler Museum on campus of the University of California, Los Angeles in Westwood “explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, past and present.” The Fowler Museum also hosts lectures, performances and workshops for patrons of all ages.
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Unfortunately, the LACMA is not absolutely free all the time, but there are enough free hours to make it seem like it. If you’re looking to dodge the $15 adult ticket price, stop by the museum on the second Tuesday of every month or after 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with proof of residency. Three to four hours should be enough to take in a good number of the exhibits from various periods and regions — hopefully.
FIDM Museum & Galleries
919 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Located on the campus of the Fashion Institute and Design Merchandising, the FIDM exhibitions are, of course, mostly clothes. The facility boasts over 12,000 costumes, accessories and textiles from the 18th century through the present day, including film and theatre costumes. In addition, the FDIM Museum and Galleries houses The Annette Green Perfume Museum, which is solely dedicated to the “historical and cultural roles of fragrance around the world.”
Armory Center for the Arts
145 N Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
This Pasadena venue describes itself as a community arts center and not only hosts contemporary art exhibits and performances, but also offers classes (some of which are free) and will even host your kid’s or teen’s “art party” for a fee, of course. If you’re not looking to shell out any kind of cash, however, there’s no need to but the Armory Center for the Arts would appreciate a $5 donation… but only if you feel like it.
California African American Museum
600 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Located in South Los Angeles, the California African American Museum (CAMM) houses three exhibition galleries, a theater gallery and a Sculpture Court. The museum was designed by African American architects, Jack Haywood and Vince Proby, and shares with patrons the history, art and culture of African Americans in California and along the western U.S.
The following museums aren’t free all the time, but there are some days where you can get in scot-free. Check their websites for details.
Article by Nicola A. Menzie