Los Angeles has many free museums and many other museums have at least one day a month, or sometimes one day a week, where they offer free admission to make sure the museum experience is available to everyone. Be aware that museums that charge admission are significantly more crowded on free days, especially when they only happen once a month. Parking is rarely free.
To learn more about LA museums see my full annotated Los Angeles Museums Guide that will help you find museums that interest you by subject, or if you already know the name of the museum you're looking for, check my Alphabetical List of over 230 LA Museums.
Always Free Museums in Los Angeles
Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City, Los Angeles
The Broad, contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles
California African American Museum, Exposition Park
California Science Center, Exposition Park
Domninguez Rancho Adobe Museum, Rancho Dominguez
Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising Museum, Downtown LA
UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles
The Getty Center, art museum, Brentwood, Los Angeles
The Getty Villa, ancient arts and antiquities, Pacific Palisades/Malibu
Griffith Observatory and space museum at Griffith Park
UCLA Hammer Museum, art museum in Westwood
Hollywood Bowl Museum, history of the Hollywood Bowl
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, (former Santa Monica Museum of Art, opening in downtown LA in Fall 2017)
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Downtown Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Fire Department Museum, Hollywood, only open Saturdays 10-4
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Pan Pacific Park
MOCA PDC, at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood
Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton
The Nethercutt Collection and Nethercutt Museum, car museum in Sylmar
Southwest Museum at Mt.
Washington, part of the Autry National Center, Open Saturdays 10-4
Torrance Art Museum, Torrance
Travel Town Museum, train museum at Griffith Park (free parking!)
STARS Center Sheriff's Museum, 11515 Colima Rd. at Telegraph Rd., Whittier
USC Fischer Museum of Art, at USC
UCLA Meteorite Gallery, at UCLA
Free Weekday Afternoons
Los Angeles County Museum of Art is free for LA County residents after 3 pm on weekdays, and always free for active military with ID.
Weekly Free Museum Days
Free Every Thursday
Museum of Contemporary Art - MOCA Grand, Downtown Los Angeles - Free every Thursday from 5 to 8 pm, Jurors with ID are always free.
MOCA Geffen Contemporary, Downtown Los Angeles - Free every Thursday from 5 to 8 pm
Skirball Cultural Center - Free Thursdays
Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles - Every Thursday 5 to 8 pm, and 3rd Thursday all day
Free Every Friday
Long Beach Museum of Art - Free all day Friday
Free Every Sunday
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach - Free on Sundays and the 4th Friday of the month from 5-9 pm
Craft and Folk Art Museum, Mid Wilshire, Museum Row, Los Angeles - Sunday is Pay What You Want Day
Monthly Free Museum Days
George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits on Museum Row, Los Angeles - Free the first Tuesday of the month, except July and August, and free every Tuesday in September (reservations recommended)
Natural History Museum, Exposition Park, Downtown Los Angeles - Free the first Tuesday of the month, except July and August, and free every Tuesday in September (reservations recommended). Free all the time for CA EBT Cardholders with ID, CA teachers with ID and active or retired military with ID.
Huntington Library, Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino/Pasadena - Free first Thursday of the month. Free advance tickets required, available beginning the 1st of the preceding month (i.e. August 1 for Sept 6).
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena - 1st Fridays from 5 to 8 pm, always free for students and active military with ID.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - Mid-Wilshire, Museum Row, Los Angeles - Free 2nd Tuesday, check for other sponsored free days
Autry Museum in Griffith Park, Los Angeles - the 2nd Tuesday of the month
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia - free every 3rd Tuesday of the month
Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles - 3rd Thursday all day and every Thursday 5-8
USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena - 2nd Sunday of the month
Free on Holidays
Bank of America Museums on US
For Bank of America credit or debit card holders, several LA museums are free the first weekend of every month by showing your card through their Museums on Us program.
Southern California Museum Free for All
Once a year at the end of January, SoCalMuseums hosts Museums Free for All day, where over 30 local museums offer free admission.
Smithsonian Museum Day
One Saturday a year in September, Smithsonian Magazine hosts Museum Day, with free admission to museums across the country, including several in Los Angeles.
Blue Star Museums - Free for Active Duty Military
The following museums are always free for active duty military with ID and their families from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Some are free for active military all year.
Norton Simon Museum
This information was accurate at the time of publication, but museums change their free day availability based on sponsorships. Please check with venues for the most current information.