Your Cheat Sheet to Free Days and Always Free SoCal Attractions

Family fun doesn’t have to break the bank! Check out this list of local Southern California museums, gardens, and attractions that offer free admission days. Plus, keep scrolling for a list of places that are always free.

Editor’s Note: Free day policies are subject to change without notice. Be sure to confirm with the organization before attending. Note that most places require a reservation or ticket even if it’s free.

 


 

Tuesdays

 

Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles

Free Day: Second Tuesday of the Month
Admission is free every second Tuesday.

In a Nutshell: The Autry showcases the art, history, and cultures of the American West. Galleries are filled with Native American art and cultural materials, film memorabilia, historic firearms, paintings, interactive areas, and more.

Summer 2023 Highlights: Street Food Cinema events on select Saturday nights throughout the summer.

 


 

LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Free Day: Second Tuesday of the Month for All Visitors
Admission is always free for youth (ages 12 and under) and teens (ages 13-17) residing in LA County. All LA County residents get free admission on weekdays after 3pm. For more free admission details, visit www.lacma.org/tickets.

In a Nutshell: LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United states. Kids can participate in drop-in painting workshops at the Boone Children’s Gallery.

 


 

Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge

Free Day: Third Tuesday of the Month
Free Tuesday tickets are released on the first day of each month.

In a Nutshell: Descanso Gardens is an urban retreat of internationally renowned botanical collections and seasonal horticultural displays.

 


 

LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, Arcadia

Free Day: Third Tuesday of the Month
Tickets must be reserved in advance online (available on a first-come, first-served basis). Tickets are released on the first day of each month (unless the first falls on a weekend, then it’s released on the first Monday). Tickets are limited to 5 per household. All visitors, including infants, will need a free day ticket.

In a Nutshell: The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a unique 127-acre botanical garden and historical site.

Summer 2023 Highlights: Go on a Family Adventure Night Hike or enjoy Children’s Storytime.

 


 

South Coast Botanic Garden, Palos Verdes Peninsula

Free Day: Third Tuesday of the Month
To reserve free tickets, click on Buy Tickets for non-members, and select the third Tuesday date. Pricing should be adjusted to say free.

In a Nutshell: South Coast Botanic Garden, located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, features 87 acres of plants, 5 miles of trails, and 10 meadows.

Summer 2023 Highlights: Immerse yourself amid hundreds of beautiful tropical butterflies at the SOAR: Tropical Butterflies exhibit or enjoy the Sunset Series (live music and kid zone), separate pricing for both.

 


 

Thursdays

 

 

Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles

Free Day: Every Thursday

In a Nutshell: The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger. People of all communities and generations are welcome to participate in cultural experiences and exhibitions. Their most interactive exhibit, Noah’s Ark, encourages children to play, climb, build, and explore a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark filled with whimsical animals.

Summer 2023 Highlights: Family programs include Story Time in the Amphitheater, Archeology Dig, and Music Jams.

 


 

Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles

Free Day: Every Third Thursday
Timed, advance tickets are recommended.

In a Nutshell: JANM was founded to preserve and share the history of Japanese Americans.

Summer 2023 Highlights: The 2023 Natsumatsuri Family Festival will be on Saturday, August 12, 2023. This free summer celebration features cultural performances, crafts, and activities for families and kids of all ages.

 


 

The Huntington, San Marino

Free Day: First Thursday of the Month
Advance reservations required. Free Day tickets are available the last Thursday of every month for admission the following week. Limit 5 tickets per household. All guests, including infants, need a ticket.

In a Nutshell: The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens encompasses 120 acres that feature 16 garden areas including the Japanese garden, Chinese garden, rose garden, lily ponds, botanical conservatory, and a unique Children’s Garden.

 


 

Fridays

 

Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena

Free Day: First Fridays of the Month
Advance reservations required. Tickets are released 2 weeks prior.

In a Nutshell: Kidspace features unique exhibits and interactive play spaces for children.

Summer 2023 Highlights: Kidspace Campout lets kids splash in a mountain stream, trike over the Golden Gate bridge, explore the woods, and go “fishing” in a sandy lake.

 


 

Sundays

 

MOLAA – Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach

Free Day: Every Sunday

In a Nutshell: MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. The museum features a 15,000 square foot sculpture garden and over 1,300 works of art.

Summer 2023 Highlights: MOLAA runs a Bilingual Arts & Culture Camp for kids (ages 6-15).

 


 

 

 

Always Free

 

Banning Museum, Wilmington (donation suggested)

Blackbird Airpark and Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, Palmdale

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro (donation suggested)

California Science Center, Los Angeles (IMAX and special exhibits not included)

Centennial Farm, Costa Mesa

Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, Rancho Dominguez (donations appreciated)

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, CSULB (reservations required)

El Dorado Nature Center, Long Beach

Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton (donation suggested)

Fullerton Train Museum, Fullerton

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles (planetarium shows not included)

Getty Center, Los Angeles (reservations required)

Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades (reservations required)

Homestead Museum, City of Industry (donations appreciated)

La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles (free 3-5pm daily for LA County residents, CA teachers with ID)

LACMA, Los Angeles (free 3-5pm weekdays for LA County residents)

Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands

Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center, Torrance

Marine Mammal Care Center, San Pedro (reservations required)

Mount Wilson Observatory, Mount Wilson (does not include tours)

Natural History Museum, Los Angeles (free 3-5pm daily for LA County residents, CA teachers with ID)

Niguel Botanical Preserve, Laguna Niguel

Pacific Marine Mammal Care Center, Laguna Beach (donations appreciated)

Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro (reservations required)

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim (donations appreciated)

Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach

Rancho Los Cerritos, Long Beach

Roundhouse Aquarium, Manhattan Beach Pier (donations appreciated)

Shipley Nature Center, Huntington Beach (donations appreciated)

Travel Town Museum and Railroad, Los Angeles (donations appreciated)

Upper Newport Bay Nature Center, Newport Beach

Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, Playa Vista

 

 

Categories:

This post was written by Kidsguide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X