Free museum day is back: The complete list of 40-plus places to go

The new Cayton Children's Museum in Santa Monica is one of dozens of institutions offering free admission Saturday.
Hayley Alvarez and Nicholas Valladares play at the Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica, one of dozens of institutions offering free admission Saturday.
(Los Angeles Times)

The annual SoCal Museums Free-for-All returns for its 15th year with more than 40 institutions offering free admission on Saturday.

The event is meant to emphasize the array of cultural options in Southern California and also to point out that many museums do have other free days throughout the year, so entry fees need not be a barrier to the exhibitions, installations and event programming around the region.

A good number of the museums on the Free-for-All list, including the Broad, the Hammer, the Getty and now the Museum of Contemporary Art, are free year-round, so the strategic museum visitor might well focus on institutions that usually do charge, including the Cayton Children’s Museum, Descanso Gardens and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The Free-for-All is a great opportunity to visit some lesser-known museums, such as Craft Contemporary, the American Museum of Ceramic Art or the Japanese American National Museum.

You can see the list of participating museums here. They’re also listed with hours at, although take note: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is not yet open.

Museums Free-for-All participants

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona

Automobile Driving Museum, El Segundo


Autry Museum of the American West, L.A. | Article

Bowers Museum, Santa Ana

The Broad, downtown L.A. (free year-round, reservations recommended) | Article

California African American Museum, L.A.'s Exposition Park (free year-round) |Article

California Science Center, L.A.'s Exposition Park (some exhibits free year-round)

Cayton Children’s Museum, Santa Monica

Columbia Memorial Space Center, Downey

Craft Contemporary, L.A.

Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge

Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale

Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood | Article

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu

Getty Center, Brentwood (free year-round)
Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades (free year-round)

Glendora Historical Society, Glendora (free year-round)

Hammer Museum, Westwood (free year-round) | Article

Heroes Hall Veterans Museum, Costa Mesa (free year-round)

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in downtown L.A. (free year-round)

International Printing Museum, Carson

Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo

Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, L.A. | Article

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, downtown L.A.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.A. | Article

Los Angeles County Fire Museum, Bellflower

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, L.A.

MOCA, downtown L.A. (free year-round)

Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton

Museum of Tolerance (participating on Sunday, Jan. 26)

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Exposition Park

Orange County Museum of Art, temporarily relocated to Santa Ana (free year-round)

Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (museum only, not the Sea Center)

Skirball Cultural Center, L.A. | Article

Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage

Wende Museum, Culver City | Article

Torrance Art Museum

USC Fisher Museum of Art, University Park (free year-round)

USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena | Article

Valley Relics Museum, Lake Balboa

Tom Kiefer, who photographed items confiscated at the Mexico border, has his project “El Sueño Americano” on view at the Skirball Cultural Center.