Categories > Guides and Tips

When and Where to Visit Museums for Free in Phoenix

When and Where to Visit Museums for Free in Phoenix

Ever dreamt of a cultural escapade without draining your wallet? Well, get ready to be delighted as this guide unveils the best times and spots to explore fascinating museums in Phoenix without spending a dime.

From art aficionados to weekend wanderers, discover the hidden gems and popular hubs that make up the tapestry of free museums in Phoenix. Let’s turn your budget-friendly day out into a masterpiece of memories!

1. ASU Art Museum

Address: 51 E 10th St, Tempe, AZ 85281


Contact Details: +1 480-965-2787, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 11 AM-5 PM

Entry Fee: Free

ASU Art Museum, situated on Arizona State University’s campus, beckons with contemporary treasures. This cultural gem boasts a diverse collection of over 12,000 global artifacts, fostering educational initiatives through its ASU affiliation.

The museum’s distinctive architecture, often likened to a “magic mountain” and an “oasis,” houses three floors of dynamic, rotating exhibitions throughout the year. It’s also recognized as “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona.”

Pro tip:
If you worry about parking, hassle-free and complimentary parking is available at ASU Lot 9. It’s right by the ASU Art Museum on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street.

2. Arizona Capitol Museum

Address: 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007


Contact Details: +1 602-926-3620, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee: Free

The Arizona Capitol Museum offers a captivating four-floor journey through the state’s cultural, political, and social evolution. Here, you can immerse yourself in a blend of technology, hands-on activities, and historical artifacts that portray Arizona’s history.

With over 20 exhibition areas, you’ll discover the significance of Arizona’s 5 C’s. You can also explore the museum’s role as the former seat of territorial power, making it an ideal stop for those seeking a compelling and free exploration of local history.

Pro tip: 
You can combine your visit with a stroll in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza next door. It’s a serene oasis featuring memorials and monuments, providing a contemplative extension to your museum exploration.

3. Phoenix Police Museum

Media: Maricopa Police Explorer Post

Address: Historic City Hall, 17 S 2nd Ave 1st Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003


Contact Details: +1 602-534-7278, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Tuesday and Thursday: 9 AM-3 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Phoenix Police Museum offers a glance into Phoenix’s policing evolution over 130 years—a thrilling experience for all, especially kids who will find the exhibits engaging. Its central position makes it accessible for both locals and tourists exploring the city.

Here, you’ll uncover fascinating tidbits, like the Phoenix connection to the Miranda rights statement. It’s showcased through historical photography, equipment, and compelling stories.

Pro tip:
You can check out the vintage police vehicles outside the museum. They’re like time machines, giving you a glimpse into the past.

4. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Museum

Address: 3800 Sky Hbr Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85034


Contact Details: +1 602-273-2744, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Entry Fee: Free

The Phoenix Airport Museum is situated across various areas within Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. As you traverse the terminals of the airport, a dynamic gallery awaits—artist-designed floors, ceilings, and over 40 museum display areas.

Art rotations, featuring captivating displays like Native American artwork, keep the experience fresh, urging locals to make regular visits. Conveniently, the free Sky Train ensures easy access, seamlessly shuttling you from downtown Phoenix to the airport.

Pro tip:
You can utilize the interactive kiosks strategically placed throughout the airport. They offer background information on the artists and add depth to your art appreciation.

5. Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center

Address: 147 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-254-9817

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 AM–6 PM

Entry Fee: Free

The Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center offers free art workshops, classes, and various exhibitions. With its mission to promote Latino and Indigenous arts, it creates a vibrant space for expression.

The downtown gallery and gift shop spotlight the rich talents of Latin American artists, making it a hidden gem for those seeking a cultural immersion. It captures Mexico’s essence and will leave visitors in awe of its cultural splendor.

Pro tip:
You can plan a visit during local festivals or events; the center often collaborates, offering unique exhibits and activities during these times.

6. Buddy Stubbs Harley Davidson

Address: 13850 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85022


Contact Details: +1 602-971-3400

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM, Sunday: 11 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Buddy Stubbs Harley Davidson is a hidden gem in Phoenix for bike enthusiasts. Here, you can wander through 3,000 square feet of free motorcycle history, showcasing over 130 rare machines from 37 manufacturers spanning more than a century.

From 1903 classics to today’s rides, it’s a captivating journey through the evolution of two-wheeled legends. Founded by the iconic Buddy Stubbs, a Harley racing legend and Hollywood stuntman, this museum is a testament to his passion.

Pro tip: 
If you’re in the market for motorcycle gear, visit the dealership section. You might find unique pieces and accessories to take home as souvenirs.

7. Chandler Museum

Address: 300 S Chandler Village Dr, Chandler, AZ 85226


Contact Details: +1 480-782-2717, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM, Sunday: 1–5 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Chandler Museum is situated just north of the historic McCullough-Price house and offers a captivating repository of the city’s history. Here, you’ll find curated exhibits, with a current focus on World War II history, providing a window into Chandler’s past.

What makes this cultural gem truly unique is its collaboration with Tumbleweed Ranch, offering visitors an immersive experience with the artifacts on display. It spans 10,000 square feet and boasts nearly 13,000 square feet of outdoor spaces.

Pro tip:
If possible, try to attend a forum or program. The museum’s commitment to community engagement shines during these events, offering a deeper understanding of Chandler’s rich history.

8. West Valley Art Museum

Address: 8401 W Monroe St, Peoria, AZ 85345


Contact Details: +1 623-972-0635

Operating Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 10 AM–4 PM, Thursday: 12–6 PM

Entry Fee: Free

West Valley Art Museum not only showcases diverse exhibits by artists from across the United States but also hosts a myriad of engaging events suitable for all ages and tastes. In this museum, you’ll discover a world of creativity and cultural richness.

Its collecting interests span International Fine Prints, Arizona Artists, and the fascinating realm of Ethnic Dress. It has ongoing exhibitions and diverse programming ranging from classes and Appraisal Days to lectures, demonstrations, and concerts.

Pro tip:
If you’re an aspiring artist, inquire about classes offered by the museum. It’s a unique chance to learn and create in an inspiring environment.

9. Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Address: 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201


Contact Details: +1 480-644-6500, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCA) is considered as Arizona’s largest arts hub. The museum, with its five captivating galleries, is a dynamic space featuring curated exhibitions of contemporary art by emerging and internationally recognized artists.

Beyond the visual feast, MCA offers lectures by significant artists and arts professionals. Recognized as the Best Museum in Phoenix by New Times in 2019, this museum stands as a testament to the vibrant art scene flourishing within Mesa.

Pro tip:
You can start with the gallery that resonates with you the most. The thematic diversity is in this museum impressive, and focusing on what draws you in can make the experience more personal.

10. Penske Racing Museum

Address: 7125 E Chauncey Ln, Phoenix, AZ 85054


Contact Details: +1 480-538-4444

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee: Free

The Penske Racing Museum is a spacious two-story haven spanning 9,000 sq feet. Here, you’ll dive into the world of motorsports with its impressive collection that includes Indy car racing, NASCAR, and drag racing.

The museum is more than just a showcase; it’s a journey through the racing career of the Penske Racing team, with many iconic race cars on display. Behind each machine, you’ll gain insights into the thrilling world of high-speed competition.

Pro tip:
Don’t forget to visit the gift shop. It’s not just for souvenirs; you might find unique books or memorabilia that delve deeper into the world of racing.

11. Phoenix Trolley Museum

Address: 1117 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007


Contact Details: (602) 805-7343, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Saturday: 11 AM–3 PM

Entry Fee: Free

At Phoenix Trolley Museum, you’ll discover the rich legacy of trolley cars. Operated by a devoted team of volunteers, the museum is a testament to the historical significance of trolley cars in shaping the city’s development.

It has a collection of vintage trolley cars, including Arizona’s oldest operating car from 1913. The highlight of the museum is the restored Phoenix Street Railway Car #116, which allows visitors to experience the bygone era of early 20th-century trolley rides.

Pro tip:
You can ask the volunteers regarding vintage trolley car collection. They’re a wealth of knowledge and often have interesting anecdotes about the trolley cars and their role in Phoenix’s past.

12. Heard Museum

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-252-8840, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Free admission – during First Fridays, from 4-8 PM except in March
  • Free admission – daily for American Indians with Tribal ID or CIB

The Heard Museum specializes in the intersection of indigenous cultures and diverse artistic themes. This museum offers a unique perspective on the rich heritage of American Indian culture.

With over 130,000 square feet of galleries, classrooms, and performance spaces, the Heard Museum is a hub of exploration. There are exhibitions that narrate stories from a firsthand perspective, fostering a deeper understanding of Native American traditions.

Pro tip:
If your visit coincides with one of the Heard Museum’s cultural festivals, don’t miss it. The atmosphere is lively, and you’ll experience Native American traditions firsthand.

13. Phoenix Art Museum

Address: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-257-1880, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Wednesday: 10 AM–9 PM, Thursday & Friday: 10 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Free admission during PHXArt After Hours – Select Fridays, 5-9 PM
  • Free admission during PHXArt Family Fun Days – 4 times a year, select dates at 10 AM-5 PM
  • Pay-What-You-Wish – Wednesdays, 3-9 PM

Phoenix Art Museum houses over 19,000 works spanning American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The museum also showcases captivating photography exhibitions.

What makes this cultural haven even more accessible is its longstanding tradition of Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday. This offers free general admission and programming for all ages.

Pro tip:
Before you visit, try to download the museum’s app. It’s not just a map but also offers additional information about the exhibits and upcoming events.

14. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Contact Details: +1 480-874-4666

Operating Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 11 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Free admission – guests under 18 with valid ID
  • Free admission – Healthcare workers and first responders (with valid hospital or equivalent ID)
  • Free admission – every second Saturday of every month with timed entry
  • Pay-What-You-Wish – every Thursdays of every month

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SmoCA) is a beacon of contemporary creativity across a lush, twenty-one-acre park. With rotating exhibits showcasing the forefront of artistic innovation, it provides a space for reflection and engagement.

SMoCA also serves as a cultural hub, offering educational programs, classes, tours, and slide presentations for enthusiasts of all ages. As a free museum, it opens its doors to a diverse audience, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas within the community.

Pro tip:
You can combine your visit to SMoCA with a stroll through downtown Scottsdale. The surrounding area boasts a vibrant arts scene, offering additional galleries, boutiques, and cafes to explore.

15. Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034


Contact Details: +1 602-253-0501, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 9 AM-4 PM

Entry Fee: Free admission – First Fridays from 5-9 PM

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a haven for young minds, offering 48,000 square feet of exploration designed for children aged newborn to 10. With over 300 interactive exhibits, it’s a playground for open-ended creativity, physical activity, and learning.

It has three floors of interactive fun where imagination and inspiration take center stage, creating an environment that sparks joy and curiosity. To ensure a secure and family-friendly environment, adults are not permitted without accompanying children.

Pro tip:
The museum is a place for kids to touch, explore, and learn in a fun and interactive way. Thus, encourage your kids to engage with every exhibit.
Related topics