Free Museums in Greater Phoenix

Which Phoenix Museums Offer Free Admission?

'Vortex' sculpture detail at Museum of Art.
••• Richard Cummins / Getty Images

There are several museums around town that are free. That's a great deal! Some of these have no admission charge at all, and some are free only on certain days. Museums that offer free admission are typically operated by nonprofit organizations, and, therefore, accept donations. You are encouraged to donate whatever you feel is appropriate, or what you can afford, when you visit.

Not all museums are open every day of the week, so although a museum listed here may indicate that admission is always free, that applies only to the days they are open to the public! Check the website or call before you go for days of operation.

During the summer, active military and their families are offered free admission at museums in Arizona that participate in the Blue Star Museums Program.

In May, several museums participate in International Museum Day by offering free or reduced admissions.

In September, several museums participate in Smithsonian Museum Day by offering free or reduced admissions.

All...MORE dates, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice. Please check the museum official website for confirmation of free admission and hours of operation.

  • 01 of 25

    Arizona Capitol Museum

    Arizona Capitol Museum
    ••• Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    Where is it? Phoenix
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    More than 20 exhibits tell Arizona's story from territorial days to the present.

    More: Arizona Capitol Museum

  • 02 of 25

    ASU Art Museum

    ASU Art Museum in Tempe, Arizona
    ••• ASU Art Museum in Tempe, Arizona. Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Tempe
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    The ASU Art Museum is a contemporary art museum with five galleries in a spacious and modern facility located within the Nelson Fine Arts Center. While the ASU Art Museum's collections are rich in ceramics and prints, a variety of artistic media is showcased here. Southwestern and Latino art are well represented in the collection.

    More: ASU Art Museum

  • 03 of 25

    Arizona Railway Museum

    Arizona Railway Museum
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Tumbleweed Park, Chandler
    When is it free? Admission to the Rail Yard is always free when they are open, weekends from September through May.

    The Museum is dedicated to the railways of Arizona and the Southwest. There may be a small charge to tour the interior of some trains.

    More: Arizona Railway Museum

  • 04 of 25

    Children's Museum of Phoenix

    Where is it? Downtown Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.

    When is it free? The first Friday of every month, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (in conjunction with First Friday)

    More: Children's Museum of Phoenix

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  • 05 of 25

    Heard Museum

    Hopi carved kachinas at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
    ••• Kerrick James / Getty Images

    Where is it? Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? The first Friday of every month, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. except in March in conjunction with First Friday. Native Americans are always admitted free.

    In 1929 Dwight and Maie Heard established this location in what is now central Phoenix to house their personal art and artifacts collection. Today, the focus of the Heard Museum is both traditional and contemporary Native American art. There are more than 35,000 artifacts in its permanent collection at the Heard Museum, displayed in 10 exhibit galleries.

    More: Heard Museum

  • 06 of 25

    Phoenix Art Museum

    'Vortex' sculpture detail at Museum of Art.
    ••• Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    Where is it? Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free?

    • Voluntary donation on the first Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in conjunction with First Friday
    • Voluntary donation on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Second Sunday of the month, from noon to 5 p.m.

    The permanent collection at Phoenix Art Museum includes more than 17,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern/contemporary, Western American art, and Fashion Design. Special exhibitions may not be included with free admission.

    More: Phoenix Art Museum

  • 07 of 25

    Fiesta Bowl Museum

    Fiesta Bowl Museum
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Scottsdale
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    The Ellie and Michael Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Center and Museum opened in Scottsdale in October 2006. Memorabilia from Fiesta Bowl events and bowl games will help you relive the greatest moments in Fiesta Bowl history.

    More: Fiesta Bowl Museum

  • 08 of 25

    Mesa Contemporary Arts

    Mesa Arts Center
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Mesa
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free.

    Five galleries showcasing contemporary art by emerging and internationally recognized artists, as well as art workshops.

    More: Mesa Contemporary Arts

    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25

    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Museum

    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Museum
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Phoenix, at Terminal 4, 3rd Floor
    You can get to Terminal 4 at the airport via the connection from Light Rail to PHX Sky Train. PHX Sky Train has a station right at that terminal, on the 3rd floor. PHX Sky train is free to ride.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    "Through the art collection, exhibitions and aviation archive, the Phoenix Airport Museum’s mission is to enhance the public’s experience by creating memorable environments in the airport system that promote Arizona's unique artistic and cultural heritage."

    More: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Museum

  • 10 of 25

    Phoenix Police Museum

    Phoenix Police Museum
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    The Phoenix Police Museum is a smallish space with an important mission. It represents the dedication of the City of Phoenix Police Department, headquartered since the 1920s in the building where the museum now exists, the historic City Hall building. The museum started as a small exhibit in 1993 and grew in exhibit size and popularity until it received its own space and the recognition as a full-fledged museum in June 2012.

    Not only can you see full-size vehicles here and get historical timelines about the department, but the museum also includes a memorial to fallen officers. I estimate that most people would spend about 30 to 45 minutes to explore the museum. Yes, there's a gift shop, too.

    This is a recommended stop on a self-guided walking tour of Downtown Phoenix.

    More: Phoenix Police Museum

  • 11 of 25

    Sahuaro Ranch Park Historical Area

    Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Glendale
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    One of the Valley’s oldest ranches, the 17-acre Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area features 13 original buildings, a rose garden, barnyard and historic orchards. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

    More: Sahuaro Ranch Park Historical Area

  • 12 of 25

    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Scottsdale
    When is it free?

    • Admission is free all day on Thursdays
    • On Fridays and Saturdays admission is free after 5 p.m.
    • In the winter and spring, SMoCA is free during the Sunday A'Fair event.

    Founded in 1999, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, or SMoCA, is dedicated to presenting exhibitions on contemporary and modern art, architecture, and design.

    More: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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  • 13 of 25

    Shemer Art Center and Museum

    Where is it? East Phoenix
    When is it free? Admission is always free, a suggested donation of $7 per person or $10 per couple is appreciated.

    Originally a private home, the first in the Arcadia section of Phoenix. Classes, workshops and lectures are offered to artists of all levels of experience, media, style and technique. Rotating exhibitions. Sculpture garden.

    More: Shemer Art Center and Museum

  • 14 of 25

    Wells Fargo History Museum

    Wells Fargo History Museum
    ••• Judy Hedding

    Where is it? Downtown Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Long before Wells Fargo was one of the largest banks in the United States, it was also a stagecoach and delivery company, finding its success during the Western U.S. gold rush in the late 19th century.

    Wells Fargo has several museums in cities where the bank has a major presence. In Phoenix, the exhibits include a gallery of western art, historical photographs and prints, relics and historic documents, an authentic 19th century stagecoach (no touching) and a replica stagecoach (touch it all you'd like!).

    The replica stagecoach is a popular spot for family photo opportunities, so bring your camera.

    This is a recommended stop on a self-guided walking tour of Downtown Phoenix.

    More: Wells Fargo History Museum

  • 15 of 25

    African American Multicultural Museum

    Where is it? South Scottsdale
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Exhibits and programs featuring art, historical items, speakers, and artists. Exhibits change quarterly. Emphasizes the positive contributions of many races and cultures while incorporating the African American culture.

    More: African American Multicultural Museum

  • 16 of 25

    Arizona Military Museum

    Where is it? East Phoenix
    When is it free? Admission is always free, donations welcome

    Operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society to "...enhance the appreciation of the military history of Arizona and the contributions of the Militia of Arizona and the Arizona National Guard to the State of Arizona..."

    More: Arizona Military Museum

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  • 17 of 25

    Chandler Museum

    Where is it? Chandler
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Learn about the history of Chandler, Arizona. The museum includes the historic McCullough-Price House and Tumbleweed Ranch.

    More: Chandler Museum

  • 18 of 25

    Gallery at City Hall

    Where is it? Downtown Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Rotating exhibitions from the city’s historic and contemporary art collection of 1,000 artworks. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    More: Gallery at City Hall

  • 19 of 25

    Phoenix Trolley Museum

    Where is it? Phoenix
    Within walking distance from Valley Metro Rail station.
    When is it free? Admission is always free. It is open on Saturdays only, from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in May.

    The Phoenix Trolley project was started in 1975 by a group of individuals who purchased one of the last remaining bodies of an original Phoenix Streetcar.

    More: Phoenix Trolley Museum

  • 20 of 25

    Scottsdale Historical Museum

    Where is it? Old Town Scottsdale, near Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
    When is it free? Admission is always free (closed July and August)

    Exhibits focused on prehistory, history and cultural heritage of Scottsdale and the Southwest.

    More: Scottsdale Historical Museum

    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Tempe History Museum

    Where is it? South Tempe
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Explore the history of Tempe, Arizona. The museum also operates the Petersen House Museum, a restored Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1892.

    More: Tempe History Museum

  • 22 of 25

    West Valley Art Museum

    Where is it? Peoria City Hall, 8401 W. Monroe St.
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Arizona artists are the focus. There is also a collection of ethnic dress, and International fine prints as well as special exhibitions. Occasional programs, lectures, musical events.

    More: West Valley Art Museum

  • 23 of 25

    Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art

    Where is it? South Chandler
    When is it free? Admission is always free

    Contemporary Western American Art and Contemporary Native American Art comprised of oils, watercolors, pastel and charcoal drawings and bronze sculptures.

    More: Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art

  • 24 of 25

    International Museum Day

    Each May the The International Council of Museums designates a day as International Museum Day. Several Central Arizona Museums host special events throughout the month of May to focus attention on our wonderful museums.

    More: International Museum Day

    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Smithsonian Museum Day

    Each year several museums and cultural destinations in the Phoenix area that are affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution participate in Smithsonian Museum Day, offering free admission for you and a guest and special events and exhibits.

    More: Smithsonian Museum Day