The 14th annual Museums Free-for-All is arriving just in time to provide some Super Bowl counterprogramming, with more than 40 cultural institutions across Southern California providing free admission this weekend.
Keep in mind that the deal extends to regular admission but may not cover special exhibitions, films or other attractions. Parking fees apply, as usual (another reason to use Metro, www.metro.net). Consult each museum’s website for details about hours, addresses and what’s on view.
Why not go big with a full day of culture? Descanso Gardens after breakfast, La Brea Tar Pits at noon and the Museum of Contemporary Art by sunset? One can try.
It’s worth noting that many of these museums offer free days weekly, monthly or periodically throughout the year (days and times listed at www.socalmuseums.org/free/). Some are always free, which we’ve noted in the list below to help with prioritizing, whether you’re perpetually pinching pennies or merely saving dollars for that lavish coffee-table catalog.
Here are the participating museums, with their regular admission fees in parentheses.
Free Saturday and Sunday
Automobile Driving Museum, El Segundo ($8-$10)
Craft Contemporary (formerly the Craft and Folk Art Museum), L.A. ($5-$7)
Laguna Art Museum ($5-$7)
Museum of Contemporary Art, L.A. ($8-$15)
Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana ($7.50-$10)
USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena ($7-$10)
Free Saturday only
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’s pop-up location at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.A. (museum still under construction)
Autry Museum of the American West, L.A. ($10-$14)
Columbia Memorial Space Center, Downey ($3-$5)
Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge, via descansogardens.org/tickets ($6-$9)
Kidspace Museum, Pasadena ($3-$14)
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, via tarpits.org/freeforall ($12-$15)
LACMA, L.A. ($16-$25)
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont ($6-$10)
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History ($8-$12)
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ($6-$10)
Free Sunday only
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana ($10-$15)
Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton ($10)
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach ($7-$10, free every Sunday)
Museum of Tolerance, L.A. ($11.50-$15.50)
Palm Springs Art Museum ($6-$14)
Skirball Cultural Center, L.A. ($9-$12)
Valley Relics Museum, Lake Balboa ($8-$10)
Zimmer Children’s Museum by Sharewell, L.A. ($7.50)
Usually free (and participating in the Free-for-All)
Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena
The Broad, L.A. (advance tickets recommended to avoid standby lines)
California Science Center, L.A. (permanent exhibition galleries are free, fee for Space Shuttle Endeavour and IMAX presentations)
Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale
Fowler Museum at UCLA
Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine, Malibu
The Getty Center, Brentwood
The Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades (timed tickets required)
Hammer Museum, L.A.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont
Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage (fee for tours)
USC Fisher Museum of Art, L.A.
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City
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