Sacramento Free Museum Day has been around for almost 20 years and keeps getting better. Each year, more museums and educational centers join together to offer an experience to those who otherwise could not afford to visit.
When to Visit a Sacramento Museum for Free
This free attraction in Sacramento happens every February. The annual date is always on the first or second Saturday of the month. Museums hold their normal operating hours, but free admission takes place from 10 am to 5 pm, with final guests admitted at 4 pm.
Is It Truly Free?
On this special day where participating Sacramento museums open their doors in honor of the community, all of the participating organizations are completely free to enjoy. The remaining two – Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town – offer half-priced admission to maintain crowds, parking, and adequate staff. To receive free admission to a museum, all you have to do is arrive at a participating location but come early as most destinations draw quite a crowd on this special day.
Why Sacramento Has a Free Museum Day
The arts and culture community of Sacramento truly recognizes the diversity found in the city and its surrounding areas. To have museums in the backyards of many people who could never afford to attend is robbing the community of something wonderful. Also, those who normally would pick another pastime over perusing an art gallery or learning about California’s important past often fall in love with this world of poignant exhibits after attending a day free of charge.
Some museums found on the annual roster include:
Aerospace Museum of California
California Automobile Museum
California Foundry History Museum
The California Museum
California State Military Museum
California State Capitol Museum
California State Railroad Museum
Center for Contemporary Art
Crocker Art Museum
Discovery Museum Science & Space Center
Don & June Salvatori California Pharmacy Museum
Folsom History Museum
Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park
Heidrick Ag History Center (Woodland)
Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
Maidu Museum & Historic Site 404
Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Roseville Utility Exploration Center
Sacramento Children’s Museum
Sacramento Historic City Cemetery
Sacramento History Museum
Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum
State Indian Museum
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
Wells Fargo History Museum (Capitol Mall)
Wells Fargo History Museum (Old Sacramento)
Tips for Attending
As one might imagine, Sacramento’s Free Museum Day draws quite a crowd. For this reason, event coordinators encourage museum-goers to plan no more than two different visits between 10 am and 4 pm. This ensures everyone has a chance to enjoy what’s offered, as well as keep your day stress-free.
The Sacramento Children’s Museum limits their admission to 100 guests per hour. Arrive early to find parking, or call museums mid-day to see how crowds are.
If you plan to hit more than one museum, be sure to plan well: Bring water, sunscreen , and snacks for young attendees, and allow enough time for travel, parking and everyone to experience what they wish to see.
Remember many of the participating museums are within walking distance from one another. However, some have their own free parking lots, including:
- Aerospace Museum of California
- California Automobile Museum
- California Foundry History Museum
- Discovery Museum Science & Space Center
- Fairytale Town
- Maidu Museum & Historic Site
- Museum of Medical History
- Roseville Utility Exploration Center
- Sacramento Children’s Museum
- Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum
The majority of Sacramento’s free museums are located downtown.
The rest are scattered throughout the region in areas including Roseville, Folsom, Woodland and just east, south and north of downtown. A complete map of all museums, including their addresses, can be found on the Free Museum Day website.