These Phoenix Museums Are Free This Summer

With the heat of Phoenix doing what it does best, indoors might seem like the best place to be this summer.

It can also be fun and affordable.

Several museums offer free admission every day. Some offer it in conjunction with special events such as First Fridays. Others have free hours on certain days.

This list includes something for just about everyone, from the Phoenix Art Museum and Mesa Arts Center to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Penske Racing Museum.

Here’s your guide to the museums in the Phoenix metro where you can enter for free.

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Phoenix Art Museum

Guests can visit the Phoenix Art Museum for free from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays in June, July and August. Admission is also free from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

Details: 10am-9pm on Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. 602-257-1880, phxart.org.

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Jose Villalobos, QueeRiders, 2022. Mixed media.  Courtesy of the artist.  Installation view of Desert Rider, 2022, Phoenix Art Museum.

Phoenix Children’s Museum

Whether you want to be outdoors or indoors, or whether your child is 3 or 10, this museum is for you. Children can visit the Children’s Museum of Phoenix for free from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

Details: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 215 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. $16; free for children 1 year and under. 602-253-0501, https://childrensmuseumofphoenix.org.

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Heard Museum

Hoop dancers from across the country compete in the Heard Museum competition.

The Heard Museum offers free admission from 6pm to 10pm on the first Friday and from 11am to 5pm on the fourth Sunday of the month from June to September. American Indians get free admission daily with ID

Details: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Closed on Mondays. 2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. $9 to $20. 602-252-8840, https://heard.org.

Musical Instrument Museum

Phoenix has the largest musical instrument museum in the world, with instruments from more than 200 countries and regions. July is Educator Appreciation Month and all educators can visit for free with ID.

Details: 9am-5pm. Daily. 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $20; $15 for 13 to 19 year olds; $10 for ages 4 to 12; free for ages 3 and under. 480-478-6000, https://www.mim.org.

Penske Racing Museum

Cars on display include the 1963 Pontiac Catalina, which Roger Penske drove to victory in the 1963 Riverside 250.

Details: 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday; 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Free. 7125 E. Chauncey Lane, Phoenix. 480-538-4444, https://www.penskautomall.com/penske-racing-museum/.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

SMoCA, one of Arizona’s premier contemporary art museums, offers Pay-What-You-Wish all day Thursdays (the museum is open until 7 p.m.) and every second Saturday of the month. Guests must make reservations in advance on line to get a free ticket.

Details: 11am-5pm Wednesdays and Fridays-Sundays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 7374 E.Second St. $7-$10. 480-874-4666, https://smoca.org.

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ASU Art Museum

Nestled inside the Nelson Fine Arts Center, the ASU Art Museum is one of Tempe’s hidden gems. With seasonal exhibitions of contemporary art from local and guest artists, admission is always free.

Details: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. 51 E. 10th Street, Tempe. Free. https://asuartmuseum.asu.edu/visit/asu-art-museum.

Mesa Museum of Contemporary Art

With five exhibit galleries, including the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, the Mesa Arts Center houses works by local and visiting artists. All galleries are open daily for free.

Details: 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed on Mondays. 1 E. Main St., Mesa. Free. 480-644-6560, mesaartscenter.com.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] Follow her on Instagram @sofia.krusmark.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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