- Free Things to Do
Free to See: 10 U.S. Arts and Culture Events
Check our list of great—and free—art and culture events around the U.S.
This monthly festival celebrates the unique arts and culture of Miami's Little Havana. Watch street performers, join in a domino competition, explore art fairs and galleries, or try salsa dancing. Free tours of Little Havana are also available, but mojitos and cigars afterward will cost extra.
First Friday Art Walks
Denver's Art District on Santa Fe opens its doors wide on the first Friday of every month—all you have to do is walk in. First Friday Art Walks combine the best of the city's visual arts galleries with music and performance arts to highlight a vibrant creative community.
Chicago Cultural Center
This former central library, with its two stained-glass domes, is a magnificent building well matched to the full calendar of outstanding free events taking place inside. Free music and films, dance and theater performances, art exhibitions, and lectures are all here.
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen Center for the Arts is an internationally known center for young artists of all persuasions—and a boon to Michigan arts lovers. Interlochen presents a summer festival and a performing arts series during the school year. While top talent events are ticketed, each of the sessions offers many free events, from music and drama to visual arts showings.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
St. Louis, Missouri
Laumeier's mission is to simultaneously engage St. Louis with sculpture and nature. They achieve that end by displaying more than 70 contemporary outdoor sculptures linked by a walking trail. The site also features an indoor gallery and an amphitheater for special performances.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco, California
This San Francisco hub for contemporary art and popular culture hosts galleries with an eclectic and ever changing roster of adventurous exhibitions. On the first Tuesday of every month the galleries are free. Or enjoy YBCA by buying a ticket to a film, theater, dance, or other event and get free same-day access to the galleries.
Art in the Parks
New York City, New York
No one arts organization is big enough to blanket New York City with public art work, so the city collaborates with a large group of experimental and traditional artists to bring their work to public spaces. The art springs up in flagship parks and traffic islands, neighborhood parks and playgrounds. See their online guide to what's where.
Downtown Art Walk
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Los Angeles, California
The artsy heart of downtown Los Angeles—on Spring and Main Streets between 2nd and 9th—tends to be a lively place, and the second Thursday of every month is absolutely abuzz during Art Walk. The many gallery owners here set the vibe with welcoming music and drinks. When several thousand Angelenos arrive, impromptu performance art is added to the mix with everything from street music to spoken work performances.
St. James Court Art Show
From humble beginnings more than 50 years ago this show has grown into a national favorite with more than 750 exhibiting artists and some 300,000 attendees. And it's still held in the same charming, Victorian historic district of Old Louisville, which is itself worth the price of admission—especially since the price is free.
Open Studio Weekend
On Memorial Day weekend artists and craftspeople all over Vermont open their studios to the public for a celebration of Green Mountain creativity in the visual arts. More than 226 sites were on last year's tour, and 300 painters, jewelers, potters, sculptors, carvers, glass blowers and other artists/artisans welcomed the public.