Free Museum Days: Art

LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art: FREE on the 2nd Tuesday of every month
LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art: FREE on the 2nd Tuesday of every month

LA is full of opportunities for free entertainment, and today I give you an in-depth guide to seeing more museums than you can shake some boring old bones at; All for free. And I mean entirely free. Free entrance, free parking, free tours, free everything. Follow the guide carefully and you won’t spend a dime!!!

MOCA Grand Avenue

FREE every Thursday, 5–8pm

250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Open Mon: 11am–5pm, Thurs: 11am–8pm, Fri: 11am–5pm, Sat & Sun: 11am–6pm
CLOSED Tues & Wed

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, shows exclusively contemporary art created after 1940 in all media. The large Grand Avenue Facility contains both perminate collection and changing temporary exhibitions.

Validated parking available for ½ price at the Disney concert hall located across the street. Or you can park in front on the street, but be aware that meters run until 8pm and can be very expensive.

  • FREE parking is available on the street in downtown Los Angeles if you are willing to hike 3-4 city blocks. The supper secret free parking place is 2 unregulated blocks on N Beaudry Ave, between Mignonette St (just north of 1st St) and W Temple St. You can also park up Mignonette St. east of Beaudry. For some unknown reason there are absolutely no parking regulations on east side of that section of Beaudry, which is quite large. I have never found myself without a parking spot there. Then after you park, just walk East up 1st St to Grand ave, and you’re there. Its really not that bad of a walk, but make sure you leave enough time for it. If you really cant find parking on Beaudry, there is always plenty of free parking available on 2nd St just West of Beaudry. As always, make sure you read the parking signs carefully.
  • FREE Exhibition Highlight Tours. MOCA’s gallery educators offer free conversational tours of the current exhibitions on a regular basis. Ask about the tours at the front desk, or call (213) 621-1745 for tour information. Tour times: Mon noon, 1pm, 2pm; Thur noon, 1pm, 2pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm; Fri noon, 1pm, 2pm; Sat & Sun noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm
  • FREE Group Admission for Schools. Accredited schools can get free admission for groups of students & faculty, but reservations are required. Call the Group Reservation Line (213) 621-1745 for more information.
  • Free drawing for a copy of the MOCA Exhibition Book. As you leave MOCA, be sure to fill out their quick customer survey just before you exit the building. They will hold the drawing for you right there on the spot as you turn in the survey. You have good odds of wining too, and after someone wins their winning ticket goes straight back into the pot so the odds don’t change for the next person. Nice. When I did it, I actually won, and the book is a beautiful $100 hard-bound collection of all of MOCA’s art.

General Admission $12. Students & Seniors (65+) $7, Children under 12 Free.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Geffen is also FREE on Thursdays 5-8pm, but is not always open in the off season.

152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Open Mon: 11am–5pm, Thurs: 11am–8pm, Fri: 11am–5pm, Sat & Sun: 11am–6pm
CLOSED Tues & Wed

Built out of a former LAPD vehicle wear-house in Little Tokyo, The Geffen displays an always changing array of contemporary art exhibitions (hence its former name, the “Temporary Contemporary”) in its massive 40,000 square feet of exhibition space.

  • FREE Parking is available on the street a few blocks away near the new housing development at 3rd St & Alameda. There are several parking opportunities here, including unrestricted parking East of Alameda on 3rd St & 4th St, all the way down to Santa Fe St. You can also find free parking on 2nd St, East of Rose St; and on several cross streets including Garey St between 2nd & 3rd, and Hewitt St between 1st & 2nd. There is also free 4 hour parking 6am-4pm (unrestricted after 4pm) on Temple just East of Alameda. And, if you are willing to walk it, there is plenty of totally free parking on Santa Fe St. As always, pay careful attention to posted regulations as you park.
  • FREE Exhibition Highlight Tours:
    • Mon: noon, 1pm, 2pm
    • Thur: noon, 1pm, 2pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
    • Fri: noon, 1pm, 2pm
    • Sat & Sun: noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm

General Admission $12. Students & Seniors (65+) $7, Children under 12 Free.

MOCA Pacific Design Center

FREE admission every day

8687 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Tues – Fri 11am–5pm, Sat & Sun 11am–6pm

CLOSED on Mondays

The MOCA facility at the Pacific Design Center houses a single small gallery on the second floor of the separate and distinctly designed MOCA building, atop the MOCA’s Art Catalogs Book Store and Rare Museum Catalogs Collection. The Gallery Typically features a single artist with a large singular installation piece and a few supporting works. If you happen to be in the West Hollywood area, it’s definitely worth stopping by. I would plan to spend about 30-40 mins. in the actual gallery, and more time if you wish to peruse the extensive art themed bookstore.

FREE parking is available on the street in a few locations, despite the fact that parking is very scarce in West Hollywood. There are a few (very few) 2 hour spaces available directly in front of the entrance to Pacific Design Center on Melrose Ave. There are also Metered spaces further down melrose, but they tend to be expensive. FREE 2 hour parking (with no parking after 7pm daily and 8-9am on Thursdays) on San Vicente Blvd for several blocks south of the Pacific Design Center. And, north of Santa Monica Blvd on Larrabee St you can find FREE parking all day until 7pm, but you will have to walk several blocks to get to the MOCA building. Finally, FREE 3 hour parking with library validation is available in the lot for the Los Angeles County Public library across the street from the Design Center (on San Vicente), but the Parks Department will tow your car if they catch you using the library lot and not going to the library.

LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art

FREE on the second tuesday of each month
for general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions.

FREE after 3 pm for LA County residents Mon–Fri.

FREE on select federal holidays including Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day, and Memorial Day.

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036
(323) 857-6000

Mon, Tues, & 11am–5pm
Fri 11am–8pm, Sat & Sun 10am–7pm
CLOSED Wednesday

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is large facility located on museum row in the Center City portion of Los Angeles. It features a combination of classical and modern art, gardens, and indoor and outdoor instillation pieces.

Underground parking is available for a hefty fee on the museum grounds. Street parking at meters in front of the museum on Wiltshire Blvd is extremely restricted and very expensive.

  • FREE parking is available behind the museum on 6th St for block after block, any day of the week, with very few restrictions. I had no trouble finding a spot here on a Free Tuesday, but I suggest you come early if you want free parking on the museums busiest weekday. Parking is also free after 7pm in the 6th Street parking garage, located just east of Fairfax Avenue.
  • Free view of the Labrea Tar Pits. They are just out there in the surrounding Hancock Park for anyone to view and stroll through. The park itself is also a nice place to visit, so be sure to take a walk though it while you are there.
  • Free lectures on various art topics in LACMA’s Bing Auditorium. No reservations required for most lectures, but check the website or call (323) 857-6000 for more information.
  • Free Tours & Discussion Groups daily, including The following…
    • Spotlight Talks: 15-minute talks which focus on a single work of art. Spotlight Talks are offered most days at 1:30 pm.
    • In Focus Tours: In a 20 – 25min tour Museum Docents highlight a single artist, style, or movement. In Focus Tours are offered most days at 1 pm.
    • Exhibition Talks: Offered weekly, these Fifty-minute guided tours look at LACMA’s special exhibitions.
    • Gallery Conversations: Join LACMA educators in the modern or contemporary art galleries for informal conversations about art.

Check the LACMA website for more information and scheduling.

  • Special Programming and FREE admission on many major holidays, including: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, & Columbus Day.
  • FREE WIFI: LACMA visitors can access free WIFI connections daily.
  • FREE Children’s Art Tote. The tote contains hands-on materials to help further engage children in the world of art. Check out is available free at the Welcome Center with a valid ID. Available in English and Spanish.

$2 film screening at the Tuesday Matinee. View classic, historical, and popular films at the LACMA each tuesday afternoon.

General Admission $15, Seniors & Students $10, Children (17 & under) FREE.

The Getty

FREE admission every day

On-site parking is $15/car, $10 after 5 p.m.

1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049
(310) 440-7300

Tues – Fri, & Sun 10am–5:30pm
Sat 10am–9pm
CLOSED on Mondays

The Getty Center is dedicated to displaying a combination of classical and modern western art to the public for free. It feature dramatic architecture, in-door galleries, sprawling gardens, and beautiful views of Los angeles. Exhibits change often.

  • FREE Parking at the overflow lot off of N Church Ln is only available if the regular Getty lot is full. After parking, a FREE shuttle takes you to the regular Getty parking lot. I suggest stopping by this FREE lot to see if it is open before trying any of the parking schemes below.
  • Bicycles and motorcycles park for FREE at the Getty center every day, so consider parking elsewhere and then biking in.
  • Probably the best low-cost way to see the Getty is to park near a Metro bus stop along Sepulveda Blvd south of the Getty, and then pay $1.25 to ride the bus in. Metro Rapid Line 761 will take you straight to the Getty. Call (800) COMMUTE or visit for scheduling, stops, and more information on taking public transportation. You can also have someone drop you off and pick you up in the free drop off area near the parking structure.
  • FREE Parking is extremely scarce near the geographically isolated Getty Center. You can park in residential areas many blocks down Sepulveda Blvd, but the walk back up this busy street to the Getty center is treacherous, and lacks a pedestrian sidewalk in some areas. Still, if you wish to go this rout, I was able to find a very limited number of streets with unrestricted parking. To find them, exit the 405 freeway north at the Getty Center exit (Moraga Drv.), then follow Moraga East, turn Right on Bellagio Rd and drive through the neighborhood until you reach Casiano Rd. Follow Casiano as it veers to the left, and then park after the parking regulations end. You can then walk down the hill following Casiano back across Bellagio until it crosses Sepulveda Blvd. Walk or bike north up Sepulveda Blvd to the Getty Center. You can find parking on a few other streets in this neighborhood too, just make sure you read all parking regulations carefully as they are always changing.
  • FREE Monorail Ride on the Getty Center Tram, which takes visitors from the parking lot up the hill to the Getty center.

Getty Villa

FREE admission every day
Reservations required. See website for details.
Parking on-site is $15 for cars & motorcycles.

17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
(310) 440-7300

Wednesday – Monday 10:00a.m.–5:00p.m.
CLOSED Tuesdays

Sitting atop a hill in Malibu above the Pacific Coast Highway, The Getty Villa offers visitors the chance to view and learn about the art and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

Although entry into the museum is completely free, you must make a reservation in advance. Call (310) 440-7300 or visit the website to make a reservation and get more information.

  • FREE parking can be found down the hill from The Villa on Coastline Dr, just North-East of PCH. From hear it is an easy one block walk to the museum.

Annenberg Space for Photography

*Expected to reopen October 26, 2013.

FREE admission every day

Century Plaza
2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(213) 403-3000

Open Wednesday – Sunday: 11am-6pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Created by the Annenberg Foundation to celebrate the art of photography, the state of the art facility exhibits a collection of both classical and digital photography. State of the art digital photo tables allow patrons to move, organize, resize, and manipulate photo collections while paper prints and digital projections adorn the walls.

Validated self-parking is $3.50 for three hours in the garage directly beneath the building, Mon – Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm. Weekdays after 4:30PM, and on Saturday and Sunday, parking is a flat rate of $1.00.

  • Free parking available on the street in the surrounding neighborhood if you have the time to hunt for it. You can also park in the the Westfield Mall (just one block away) free for 2 hours. They expect you to buy something at the mall if you park there, but they don’t actually seem to check this and there is no validation necessary to get the 2 hours free.
  • Free lectures on various topics relating to photography held regularly, check website for the schedule.

Skylight Studios at the Annenberg Space for Photography

This is a new 5,000-square-foot multimedia studio and retail gallery run in conjunction with the Annenberg Space for Photography. It’s located directly across the park from the Photography Space. Skylight Studios provides lectures, photographer workshops and other special events. The space remains open even while the Annenberg Space for Photography is closed until October 26, 2013.

Open Sat & Sun 11am – 6pm
Closed Mon – Fri

Norton Simon Museum of Art

FREE Admission on the first Friday every month 6pm – 9pm

411 W. Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105-1825
(626) 449-6840

Mon, Wed, Thur, Sat, & Sun: 12noon – 6pm
Friday: 12noon – 9pm
CLOSED Tuesday

The Norton Simon Museum is houses a large private art collections ever. Named after it’s benefactor, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993), who put together an extensive collection of European art from Renaissance through the 20th century, as well as a large collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years.

Admission $10, Seniors (62+) $7, Students FREE.

Hammer Museum, UCLA

FREE on Thursdays for all visitors
Also FREE for Students, UC faculty & staff, Military & veterans (including their families), Golden State Advantage EBT card holders & Museum employees.

10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-7000

Tue – Fri 11am – 8pm
Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm
CLOSED Mondays

The Hammer Museum houses a large number of modern and classical art collections, including often changing temporary collections and special programs. Administered by the University of California Los Angeles, the enormous multi-room space and diversity in collections gives you the feeling there are several different museums within the complex, as well as a gift shop & book store, cafe, movie theater & lecture hall.

Admission $10 Adults, $5 Seniors (65+), $5 UCLA Alumni & Metro Card Holders

Fowler Museum at UCLA

FREE admission every day!

308 Charles E. Young Drive North
Los Angeles CA 90095
(310) 825-4361

Wed – Sun: 12noon to 5pm; Thur: 12noon to 8pm
CLOSED Monday & Tuesday, and all major holidays

  • FREE performances regularly, check website for details

Located on the University of California Los Angeles campus, the Fowler Museum explores past & present global arts & cultures; with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas.

The Long Beach Museum of Art

FREE on Thursdays 3pm – 8pm and all day Fridays

2300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90803

Fri – Sun 11am to 5pm, Thur 11am to 8pm
CLOSED on Monday – Wednesday & Holidays

  • FREE parking is available in the Museum parking lot on Ocean Blvd., one block west of the main entrance. Metered parking is available at the beach nearby.
  • FREE art workshops, discussions, and Film Screenings. Check website for details.

The Long Beach Museum of Art houses temporary and permanent collections of American decorative arts objects, early 20th century European art, California Modernism, and contemporary art of California.

Stop by the picturesque ocean-front Claire’s at the Museum cafe, and dine in the outdoor patio featuring a stunning water sculpture, and an unobstructed view of Long Beach Harbor & the Pacific Ocean.

Regular admission: $7 Adults, $6 Students &  Seniors, FREE for children under 12

Photos: John Glass

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