Are you going on vacation this summer, but you’re a bit low on cash? Do you want to check out some great city attractions without going broke? I’d like to make a suggestion – take advantage of some of best museums on their free days.

Free Museum Days

Some people associate museums with boring places with only art hanging around, but there are some wonderful museums in the United States that offer more. If you’re into astronomy, then planetariums may be more your speed or perhaps you love aquariums. Being open to trying new places can enrich you and keep your wallet from being drained.

Start by deciding which major city you’d like to visit. Many of them have plenty of options with museums and some of them have some wonderful free or cheap deals. I decided to get you started by finding out what deals are currently out there now. Here are some museums that have free days around the country:


  • Fuller Craft Museum 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301 (508) 588-6000 Free Days Every Wednesday 5-9pm
  • Institute of Contemporary Art 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210 (617) 478-3100 Free Days Every Thursday 5-9pm, last Saturday of every month for families
  • MIT Museum 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 253-5927 Free Days Every Sunday 10am-12pm


  • Adler Planetarium 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 922-7827 – Free Days June: 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 2011
  • The Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60603 (312) 443-3600 Free Days June: 1 & 8, all day
  • Chicago History Museum 1601 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 642-4600 Free Days June: 6, 13, 20 & 27
  • Shedd Aquarium 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 939-2438 Free Days June: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 2011

Los Angeles

  • Griffith Observatory 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (213) 473-0800 Always Free
  • Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street Los Angeles, California 90012 (213) 625-0414 Free Days Every Thursday 5-8pm, third Thursday of every month
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 621-1745 Free Days Every Thursday 5-8pm
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007 (213) 763-DINO Free Days First Tuesday of every month

New York City

  • Children’s Museum of Manhattan The Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024 (212) 721-1223 Free Days First Friday of every month admission (from 5pm to 8pm)
  • El Museo del Barrio 1230 5th Ave @104 St, New York, NY 10029 (212)831-7272 Free Days Every third Saturday of each month and every Wednesday from 6pm-9pm
  • Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53 Street  New York, NY 10019 (212) 708-9400 Free Days Every Friday 4-8pm
  • Studio Museum in Harlem 144 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027 (212)864-4500 Free Days Every Sunday

San Francisco

  • Asian Art Museum 200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 581-3500 Free Days First Sunday of every month
  • Cable Car Museum 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 474-1887 Free Days First Sunday of every month
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 357-4000 Free Days First Tuesday of every month
  • Tech Museum of Innovation 201 South Market St, San Jose, CA 95113 (408) 294-8324 Free Days Second Sunday of every month

It doesn’t hurt to go to your favorite museums website and see if they have a free day or a pay what you want offer. You may be surprised by the results. I would just want to remind you to call ahead and confirm the deals as they are subject to change.

Thoughts on Cheap Attractions Around the City

If you want some more ideas, there’s a recent post on cheap yet cool activities that will help you brainstorm. By the way, if you’re planning a vacation, don’t forget to check out some related posts on the topic here on GPT:

Wherever you go for your next vacation, I hope you enjoy it!


Laura Martinez

Laura Martinez