Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Live on the cheap.
I’m a culture junkie. Whether it’s an art museum or a history center, I want to check it out, and every time it houses a new temporary exhibition, it draws me in again. . The downside of my addiction: Admission fees add up quickly.
To get my fix without breaking the bank, I use a few tricks to get free and cheap tickets to my favorite places at home and when I travel. Even though I haven’t found a way to access all the sites for free yet, thanks to these tips, I have cut my expenses by more than half.
Get a free pass to your library
You can consult more than books in many libraries. Some allow you to check out a pass for free admission to national and local historic sites and museums. Check with your library before spending money on a ticket to a museum or other cultural attraction!
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Every September, Smithsonian Magazine sponsors a day of free admission to more than 1,000 museums across the United States for 2022, museum day will take place on Saturday, September 17.
Blue Star Museums
With the Blue Star Museums program, active-duty service members and their families enjoy free admission to more than 1,500 museums across the United States. The offer is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year.
Bank of America Museums About Us
If you’re a Bank of America cardholder, you get free access to more than 225 participating cultural institutions on the first full weekend of each month as part of its Museums about us program. The free entry offer is only valid for the cardholder.
Most museums offer a free day. Some, like the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, limit free admission to residents of a specific city or county, while others allow anyone to enjoy exhibits for free. Call your local museum or check their website for details.
Some museums are free all the time. The National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) are two that offer free admission to exhibitions (with the exception of some special exhibitions).
Save with special passes
With programs like CityPASS and Go to town, you can save 50% on admission to museums and attractions in major metropolitan areas. You’ll have to visit all the attractions within a certain amount of time (about a week), but this is a good option if you want to explore a city’s high-priced attractions for less.
Use the reciprocal benefits of membership
I buy memberships for attractions I visit frequently, then use the reciprocal benefits of membership to get free admission to other art museums and history centers when I travel.
Check social media
Don’t neglect social media. Find the museum’s Facebook and Twitter pages and keep an eye on them for one-day sales and offers for their fans. Some museums also offer discounts when you register with Foursquare.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.