Free Museums to Visit Solo or With the Kids

Exploring museums can be a fun and educational experience to enjoy by oneself or with the family. It’s even better when it’s free. Fortunately, there are plenty of museums across the country that offer free admission on certain days of the week or month. If you don’t want your recreation budget to depend on a schedule, there are also some awesome museums that are free to visit every day. Whether you want to stay local or hope to experience attractions on your next vacation, you can find free museums at just about any region you might travel.

Austin, Texas

Texas has a rich history and an even richer culture. Head to the capital city for a variety of museums with exhibits that honor both. From the Texas Memorial Museum and the Austin History Center to the Mexican American Culture Center and the O. Henry Museum, visitors could spend days absorbing the sights and sounds of free Austin museums.

Atlanta, Ga.

Explore Atlanta’s history and arts at a variety of museums that are free every day. Check out any of the Castleberry Hill art galleries and explore the historic Sweet Auburn District, or head on over to the Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum to gain an appreciation of currency. You can also visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site to take a tour of Dr. King’s birth home and visit the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and the King Center, which houses King’s Nobel Peace Prize.

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Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian Institute is the world’s largest museum and research complex, including 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoological Park. Visitors can enjoy the zoo and most of the museums free every day.

St. Louis, Mo.

Opened in 1876, St. Louis’ Forest Park is home to attractions created for the 1904 World’s Fair and Summer Olympics. Park attractions include the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Science Center. Admission to each institution is free every day. While enjoying Forest Park attractions, visitors can also stop at a number of restaurants, landmarks such as the World’s Fair Pavilion and the Jewel Box, as well as natural highlights such as Flegel Falls and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest.


The Dinosaur Trail snakes its way through Montana, stopping by 14 museums and state parks along the way. Each location features unique paleontology displays, dinosaur replicas and actual skeletons of dinosaurs and other fossils found in Montana. Some spots along the Dinosaur Trail even include field digs open to the public. The best part? Most of the facilities are absolutely free.

New York, N.Y.

It’s no secret that New York City is home to countless museums, and while most of them offer free admission on designated days of the year, few are free to everyone every day. Don’t be deterred, however, if you’re looking for free museums in New York, since there are more than enough options provided you know where to go. New York City is home to free museums including the African Burial Ground Memorial Site, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Federal Hall National Memorial, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Biblical Art, of many more.

Los Angeles, Calif.

Living in and traveling to Los Angeles is anything but cheap, and after blowing their budgets at Disney, many seek free recreation to fill in extra hours. While most L.A. attractions cost a pretty penny, there are also some great museums with free admission. The California African American Museum, the California Science Center and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust are free to visitors every day. Los Angeles is also home to a variety of art institutes that offer free admission, including the Getty Center, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, the Hammer Museum and the Anneberg Space for Photography.

Every part of the world boasts its own unique museums. What free museum would you recommend?

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