Walker Art Center

Over 28 Free Museums in Minneapolis in 2023

The Twin Cities is filled with all kinds of fun and exciting things to do, especially when it comes to museums. We have a world-class collection that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Going to a museum shouldn’t break the bank.

That’s why I love all the Free Museums in Minneapolis.

I’m not talking about the smaller ones. I’m talking large-scale museums that are comparable to any big city.

There are over 28 free museums. Ok, I know what you are thinking. Can there really be that many free museums in Minneapolis?

Are there free museums in the Twin Cities?

Yes, Minnestoa is home to over 28 museums you can visit for free, every day or on special days. The 11 museums you can visit free everyday are Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, The American Museums of Asmat Art, The Minnesota State Capital, Minnehaha Depot, Como Zoo and Conservatory, Weisman Art Museum, NWA History Center, Hennepin History Museum, The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, and the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center.

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Everyday Free Museums in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Location: 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
More Info

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is always free and is considered one of the best museums for the range of items. They have everything from Monet to Matisse, Asian to African, 40,000-year-old artifacts to world-famous masterpieces.

If you can only go to one museum, make sure you stop here. Avoid getting lost at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

They have something for everyone that will draw you to every corner including Van Gogh. In addition to being a great museum, they also have a haunted side to the left me running from one room.

The MIA is a great museum to explore with new pieces being rotated in.
How to Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art without Getting Lost

The museum also has some ghosts lingering around. Check out my first-hand experience!
Are you Brave Enough To Go To A Haunted Minneapolis Institute Of Art

The Free Minnesota Institute Of Art

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Location: 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
More Info

One of the most photographed museums in Minneapolis is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It is open year-round and located next to the Walker Art Center.

The Minneapolis Sculpture garden brings in visitors from everywhere. They recently went through a major renovation and had a bunch of new installations. It’s like walking through a whole new park.

Before you go, make sure to find out “What happened to the trees?” It will help explain why the changes were so significant.

The Spoon Bridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The American Museums of Asmat Art

Location: 2115 Summit Ave #44C, St Paul, MN 55105
More Info

The University of St. Thomas holds a collection of Asmat art. The Asmat people lived in southwest New Guinea. It currently is the most extensive collection in the country and has regularly changing exhibits.

This is a wonderful museum worth checking out!

The Minnesota State Capital

Location: 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard., St Paul, MN 55155
More Info

The Minnesota state capital also went through a major renovation. Theirs focuses more on updating and cleaning the artwork to bring it back to its original condition.

They offer free guided tours that will give you access to things you won’t see on the self-guided tours, including access to the golden horses on the top.

Make sure to bring your camera, because this place will blow you away. Tours are held every day for free.

Learn what a MN State Capital Tours is like: Inside the Minnesota State Capitol

A peak at the renovations inside the MN State Capitol

Minnehaha Depot

Location: Minnehaha Park Hwy 55 &, Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
More Info

Located in Minnehaha Park, the historic train depot is the first train station on the west bank of the Mississippi River. You can walk on the platform, and explore the station.

On Sunday from 1-5pm, Memorial Day-Labor Day, view exhibits about early railroad history.

If you enjoy the history, also think about visiting one of our Historic Trains in Minnesota. These cost extra but are a lot of fun!

Como Zoo and Conservatory

Location: 1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
More Info

The Como Zoo and Conservatory is open year-round. They host a variety of different animals, gardens, art, and family fun.

The zoo has an amusement park on-site that costs, but everything else is free. They ask for donations to help fund the park, but it’s a great way to explore and spend a day. 

I highly recommend exploring the gardens. There is a whole hidden area past the primary conservatory.

Check out some great parts about the Como Park Zoo Conservatory

The Como Zoo in St Paul MN

Weisman Art Museum

Location: 333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55455
More Info

The Weisman Art Museum in a modern art gallery is owned and operated by the University of Minnesota. The outside of the museums is amazing works of art too.

It was established in 1934 and prides itself on being a teaching museum. Its mission is to create art experiences that spark discovery. They offer Free Tours available on  Saturdays and Sundays at 1.

NWA History Center

Minnesota’s hometown Airline could have gone to the wayside when it merged with Delta. Instead, they have their own history center. Telling the history of the airline and how it shaped the travel industry.

See vintage stewardess outfits and model aircraft. Any airplane buff would have a great time. Every day is free.

Hennepin History Museum

Pay as you can

Located in Minneapolis, the Hennepin History Museum has a wealth of different exhibits to explore. Some of my favorites are the rotating collection that comes through. They specialize in cultural aspects of history throughout Minnesota.

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics

Location: Union Park, Fraser Hall, 106 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
More Info

For those that like to look upward at their history, join the Minnesota Institute of Astrophysics for some stargazing opportunities. Weather depended, on the student and graduate students’ programs and presentations.

They include public telescope viewing from the roof of the Tate Building, State Park programs or offering to create customized group events for different organizations.

Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center

Location: 11411 Masonic Home Dr, Bloomington, MN 55437
More Info

The Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center is both an event center and a free museum, exploring the work of the Freemasons’ throughout the world. They have documented the thousands of Masonic artifacts collected over the years by Minnesota Masonry.

Don’t be a mason-dummy, explore the history of Freemasonry! From the Fraternity’s formation in England in 1717, to the rise of anti-Masonic sentiment and the evolution to a world-wide fraternal order, find out the real origins of Masonic ritual and legend.

This is a unique museum you need to check out.

The Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center is just one of the fun things to do in Bloomington. Check out some of the other great things to do by clicking here.

Special Free Museums Days in the Minneapolis

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Location: 10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
When: FIRST Sunday of Every Month
More Info

The Minnesota Children’s Museum is a place where kids can learn and explore. The place is filled with all kinds of hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. I like to think of it as a giant playground where kids don’t know they are learning.

Free Admission to the Childrens Museum is on the First Sunday of the month thanks to the generous sponsorship of Securian Financial for the St. Paul location only.

Information on the Free Museum Day can be found by clicking here.
What to take a peak inside? Check out Minnesota Children’s Museum | Powerful Play in Action

Rainy Day in the Twin Cities. Your kids will love the Minnesota Children's Museum. It just reopened with all new activities! Check out some of the great new things to do.

Walker Art Center

Location: 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
When: FIRST Saturday of Every Month
More Info

The Walker Art Center focuses on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time. It is located right next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

For more information on the free day, click here.

Other Ways to get Free Tickets to Museums in Minneapolis

smART Pass

Libraries in the Twin Cities have partnered up with different cultural organizations to provide some great discounted and free tickets to a bunch more museums.

Throughout the year they partner with different museums, nature sites, performance groups, and theatres. Through them, you can get free or discounted admission to these.

American Swedish Institute
Bloomington Symphony Orchestra
Classical Actors Ensemble
Cross Community Players
Firefighters Hall and Museum
Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
Hennepin History Museum
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Minnesota Fringe
Mixed Blood Theatre
Open Window Theatre
Park Square Theatre
Pillsbury House and Theatre
Rosemount Area Arts Council
Sandbox Theatre
Schubert Club
Second Act Players of Rosemount
Stages Theatre Company
SteppingStone Theatre
Teatro del Pueblo
The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
The Singers
Theatre Mu
Theatre Coup d’Etat
Walking Shadow Theatre Company

The SMART Pass is available for those with Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Washington County, and Saint Paul Public Library Cards.

They limit the number of tickets in most cases to two per library card, per intuition, per year. Check out their website for more details on how to get on free museums Minneapolis.

Get your ticket through smART Pass by clicking here!

Smithsonian Museum Day

In honor of the Smithsonian, museums around the country are offering free admission to participating museums. On the Third Saturday in September, over 33 museums in Minnesota will be allowed free entry. 

You must reserve your ticket ahead of time. Check out Smithsonian for more details.

Bank of America’s Museums on Us

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card holders can visit more than 200 of the most popular cultural centers worldwide for free, the first full weekend of every month.

In the Twin Cities, that includes the Mill City Museum near the Stone Arch Bridge, Historic Fort Snelling, the James J Hill House, and the Minnesota History Center.

Got a 6th Grader?

Minnesota 6th graders during the school year can get free admission to any MNHS site and museum. It’s good only for the 6th grader but still something to take advantage of for your family.

Other Discounted Deals

Half Priced Deals

If your museum isn’t on the list, check out Groupon. You can sometimes get half-price deals on places like the Museum of Russian Art with $5 admission and the Hennepin History Museum membership discount.

Get your discounted ticket by clicking here!

Limited Income

If you have any type of government assistance, you may qualify for discount admission to museums as well.

Places like the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Zoo, Minnesota Children’s Museums, the Minnesota Historical Society Museums including the Mill City Museums,

The Bell Museum of Natural History and the Bakken Museum. They have free admission and discounts as steep as $1 per person for those that qualify.

To qualify you usually need a document listed below:

  • EBT card
  • Medical assistance card (includes MinnesotaCare)
  • Section 8 document
  • WIC folder or card
  • Supplemental Security Income verification
  • Social Security Disability Benefits verification
  • Free/reduced school meal approval
  • RCA card (Refugee Cash Assistance)
  • General Assistance verification

Check out the Museum’s website for more details.

The Bell Museum in St Paul

Museums with free days in the past

In the last couple of years, a lot has changed. Unfortunately, current events have put a hold on some free admission days museums have offered in the past.

Because I’m forever an optimist, I decided to keep them on the list. Keep an eye out on their website for updates.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Kids get in Free with Paid Adult (always)

Wander the paths and check out what’s in bloom at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It’s a great place to take pictures and or get some fresh air.

Every Thursday in the winter and the Third Monday from 4:30-8pm during the summer you can get in for free. Every time I go, I find a new trail to explore. MN Landscape Arboretum’s | Amazing Spaces Places and Escapes
*** Program Paused ***

Upside Down Tree House

What’s your Favorite?

Now’s your chance to share, what is your favorite free museum in Minneapolis? I think mine is probably either the Minneapolis Institute of Art or the Children’s Museum in St. Paul. Post your favorite in the comments and tell us why. I would love to hear about your experiences!

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