The Best Cheap/Free Museums To Visit In America

The Best Cheap/Free Museums To Visit In America

If you’re planning a trip to the US, museums are a great, relaxing way to learn about the country’s history. They can also be a frugal way to spend an afternoon — many American museum admission prices are cheap or better yet, free. Cheapism offers a list of highly affordable museums in every US state.

Photo by skeeze.

It’s worth pointing out that a lot of museums are technically free, but they strongly “suggest” a donation. Most of the time, they don’t advertise that the price is suggested, and leave it to patrons to assume they have to pay. There’s been some controversy over this in recent years. But Cheapism’s list includes those museums that advertise either free admission or an incredibly low admission price.

In California, for example, you have the Getty museum in Los Angeles, which is known for being a free, beautiful spot to visit in the city. (The only caveat is parking is $US15, but you can also take a bus). Here are a few other states Cheapism lists:

  • VIRGINIA: VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a diverse collection of works from ancient to modern times, including sculpture, photography, and Native American Art. Two elegant restaurants beckon visitors after they explore the museum. (Free)
  • TEXAS: THE ALAMO: While everyone wants to see the Alamo Shrine, where a band of fighters made their last stand against Mexican troops, there’s much more to see on the 4.2-acre site. Stroll the sprawling gardens, visit the Long Barrack Museum, and see the Wall of History. (Free)
  • OREGON: MUSEUM OF NATURAL AND CULTURAL HISTORY: The Museum of Natural and Cultural History has a remarkable 300 million years of history, geology, and archeology all under one roof. Be sure to check out the geophotography exhibit to get a sense of Oregon from the ground up. As part of the University of Oregon’s structural geology course, students investigate geological processes through photography. Admission is free the first Friday of each month; otherwise the cost is $US5.

You can see the full list of all 50 US states at the links below.

Cheap or Free Museums in All 50 States [Cheapism via MSN Travel]


  • They’ve missed out all the Smithonian museums … of which there are quite a few … almost all are free to enter.

    Of course they have a donation box at the entrance, but we were never hassled to contribute in any.

    For any cheapskates feeling under pressure to do so, just put in a dollar bill (or two). One of the upsides of the US is that banknotes are all the same size and general appearance, so unless people are looking closely, it’s not immediately obvious what you’ve put in.

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