Arts & Entertainment

Your ultimate itinerary for SoCal Museums Free-For-All Day

Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture, "Urban Light," located in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Amaury Laporte/Flickr Creative Commons

If you've been meaning to go to an L.A. museum, but haven't found the time, make the time on Saturday, Jan. 30 — it's the 11th annual SoCal Museums Free-For-All day. 

More than 20 museums are offering free admission, so it's a budget-friendly chance to spend the whole day seeing the best art and science exhibits Los Angeles has to offer. But even though it's free, SoCal Museums President Alex Capriotti says to check individual museums for details on special exhibitions — which could come at a price — and parking costs. Plus, expect some waits.

"Give yourself time if you're going to museums — there might be some lines because it’s such a popular day," Capriotti said. "We really do encourage visitors to be able to visit museums that they’ve never visited before."

SoCal Museums also partnered with Metro, so you can show your TAP card, Metro employee ID or L.A. County employee ID at some museum gift shops to land discounts.

Grab your tourist hat and your artistic spirit, because a day of culture is in your future — just one with longer lines than if you paid for admission.

Worried about planning your route? Don't — we've got you covered with the ultimate itinerary to make sure you get the most out of this free museum day.

Morning

The Broad

Start your day at the Broad. The doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and you will want to be there right on time to get your timed ticket to enter Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrored Room." Appearing at the Broad through March, "Infinity Mirrored Room" is a display of LED lights against mirrors that have a seemingly endless quality. The room only holds one person at a time, so you get to spend 45 seconds taking it in.

Tickets are a hot commodity. According to the Broad's ticketing FAQ, there's a kiosk in the museum lobby for Kusama's installment — and they are usually gone in the first two hours. The Broad has a collection of nearly 2,000 contemporary and postwar works to enjoy in addition to the "Infinity Mirrored Room." 

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays

Parking: Parking is $12 on weekends with validation. Enter the garage on 2nd Street between Hope Street and Grand Avenue.

Next step: Once you finish perusing the Broad, continue your art journey across the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's just about a one-minute walk, but here's a map just in case.

MOCA

MOCA

If you've never taken the time to stroll through the permanent collection at MOCA, you're in for a treat. Visit the works of contemporary influencers like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol on a self-guided visit, or take a free 45-minute guided tour at 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. starting in the museum lobby. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays

Parking: $7.50 with MOCA validation at California Plaza | MAP

Next step: Hop on the Metro and head toward the California Science Center. | ROUTES

Afternoon

California Science Center

Ecosystems

Take an afternoon break from the world of art and get in touch with the world's ecosystems at the California Science Center. With eight different zones and rooms, the ecosystems exhibit will take you from the world's harshest environments right to the challenges of  L.A.'s urban ecosystem. One of the California Science Center highlights is the space shuttle Endeavor. Tickets are $2 to see the shuttle. Pro tip: Get your Endeavor ticket reservations in advance online

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Parking: $12 cash only in the museum's parking structure

Next step: Take a 10-minute stroll over to the Natural History Museum to continue your science-filled afternoon. | MAP

Natural History Museum

Meet a live animal

Among the many still animals behind glass at the Natural History Museum, the Nature Lab exhibit gives visitors the chance to meet a live animal at 3 p.m. every day. Take a peek at the museum map to make sure you're on time to Level G to meet one of the Nature Lab geckos, American bullfrogs or the museum's Southern Pacific rattlesnake. Stop for a snack at the NHM Grill before you head to the next museum, or bring your own lunch and picnic under the trees in front of the Natural History Museum.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Parking: $10 in the parking lot on Exposition Boulevard and Bill Robertson Lane

Next step: Contemporary art? Check. Science? Check. Now head to the last stop of the day, LACMA, to get your fill on architecture. Jump on the Metro to save on parking. | ROUTES

Evening

LACMA

A model of the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry on display at LACMA.
A model of the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry on display at LACMA.

End your day at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Museums Free-for-All day at LACMA also includes free admission into the normally specially-ticketed Frank Gehry exhibition. The exhibit highlights Gehry's influence on L.A. architecture and features never-before-seen sketches and drawings from the hand that designed many of L.A.'s buildings. Plus, even though the museum closes at 7 p.m., you can still snap some photos at the LACMA's iconic "Urban Light" by Chris Burden. The 202 restored cast-iron street lamps are lit from dusk until dawn, and are controlled by solar energy, according to Miranda Carroll, LACMA's communications director. Not to mention they are a prime location for Instagram pictures, so that all of your followers know you made the most of Museums Free-for-All day, and show up in a lot of profile pictures too.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays

Parking: $12 at the Pritzker Parking Garage on Sixth Street

Now, this schedule maaaay be a wee bit ambitious — but it's worth a shot, right? Check out the map below to see all of the museums participating in the free-for-all, or for more details visit SoCal Museums' website.