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The Travel Detective

The Travel Detective: Secret Tips on Visiting Museums

Most major museums in most major cities charge a pretty hefty admission fee. Then there are some museums that just have a “suggested fee” or a donation. You know what that means? The museums still want you to pay a lot of money. But with enough advanced planning, I’ll show you how you can go to this museum, and just about every other museum, for free.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that many museums actually offer free days all year round. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art will cost you $25 unless you come on Fridays between 4 and 8 p.m. when it’s completely free.

In Los Angeles, tickets to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will run you $15, but they’re free on the second Tuesday of every month.

At the Art Institute in Chicago, tickets start at $23. But if you live in Illinois, you can get in free on Thursdays between 5 and 8 p.m.

And in Paris from October to March, you can get in free to more than 20 museums, including the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as long as you go on the first Sunday of the month.

How’s that for soaking in some culture? So here’s the bottom line. You get to see everything you want to see, you don’t have to stand in a long line, and it won’t cost you a penny. It’s all a matter of picking the right day.

By Peter Greenberg for