No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix (Photo courtesy of Act One)

By Teresa K. Traverse

June 28, 2023

Whether you’re on a tight budget or simply looking to go out without shelling out a ton of cash, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of attractions all over Arizona that offer free admission with an Act One Culture Pass.

Act One partners with more than 100 state libraries, and lets library cardholders check out culture passes to a variety of museums and cultural destinations. You must have a library card—which is free to obtain—to check out passes. 

More than 500,000 passes are offered every year. Check with your local library to see what’s available. Tickets cannot be reserved. You can pick up culture passes at the libraries listed on the Act One Partners website.

Metro Phoenix 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Location: 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

General admission: $16.95-$29.95

Youth (ages 3-17): $14.95-$16.95

Children (under age 3): Free 

See more than 50,000 plants in a variety of outdoor displays at the 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden. The Garden also frequently hosts events like the Devour Culinary Classic food festival and the Luminarias featuring live holiday music coupled with flickering candles lighting up the outdoor walkways. Receive free admission to the Desert Botanical Garden on the second Tuesday of every month. 

Heard Museum 

Location: 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Save 10% by purchasing tickets online in advance. 

Adults: $22.50

Seniors (age 65 and older): $18

Students with ID: $9

Children ages 6-17: $9

Children age 5 and under: Free

Indigenous people with tribal ID: Free

The Heard Museum is dedicated to Native American culture and features 12 galleries, complimentary guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, a modern art gallery, a cafe, and a retail shop. 

Phoenix Art Museum 

Location: 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Tickets purchased onsite incur a $2 surcharge.

Adults: $23

Seniors (age 65 and older): $20

College students with ID: $18

Children ages 6-17: $5

Children age 5 and under: Free 

The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Southwest. The Central Phoenix museum is home to more than 20,000 objects in nine different areas. The art museum showcases paintings, textiles, photographs, and Thorne Rooms, elaborate replications of historic rooms found in America and Europe.

General admission is pay what you wish at the museum every Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. Please note that special exhibitions require tickets. The museum does not participate in First Fridays, but still does have free admission four times a year as part of its PhxArt AfterHours program. The remaining 2023 dates are Sept. 1 and Dec. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. During these AfterHours celebrations, look forward to live music, art-making workshops, food and drink experiences, and other entertainment. 

S’edav Va’aki Museum (formerly the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park)

Location: 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults (ages 18-54): $6

Seniors (age 55 and older): $5

Children ages 6-17: $3

Children age 5 and younger: Free

Mere minutes from downtown Phoenix is the S’edav Va’aki Museum. This is a 1,500-year-old archaeological site includes two short outdoor trails: one interpretative trail and a 0.5-mile trail that’s about the importance of water. The indoor museum features exhibits that are about the Hohokam tribe that originally inhabited this area and the Sonoran Desert.  

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art 

Location: 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Save $2 on admission when you book online. Timed admissions are required. 

Adults: $10 

Students: $7 

Guests age 18 and younger: Free 

Located in downtown Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is devoted to contemporary art, architecture, and design. 

Superstition Mountain Museum

Location: Tonto National Forest at 4087 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $7

Seniors (age 65 and older): $6

Students ages 11-17: $4

Children 10 and under: Free admission with paid adult

Located in the foothills of its namesake, the Superstition Mountain Museum chronicles the history of these mountains that are steeped in mystery. See props from Western films, the Apache people that once called this area home, trains and how they helped settle the West, and the importance of mining. 

A few on-site venues include the “Elvis” Chapel that was part of the Apacheland Movie Ranch and was also used in the Elvis Presley Western “Charro!”  

Tucson Area

Amerind Museum 

Location: 2100 N. Amerind Road in Dragoon, roughly one hour east of Tucson, between Benson and Willcox 

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:
Adults: $12

Seniors (62 and older): $10

College students with ID: $10

Youth (ages 10-17): $10

Children (under age 10): Free

Indigenous people with tribal ID: Free

The Amerind Museum is a museum, art gallery, and research center dedicated to preserving Native American history and their contemporary lives. The museum, which has been around since 1937, also hosts events and exhibits that frequently rotate. Cochise County residents with ID receive free admission on the first Sunday of each month. 

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Location: 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

General admission (ages 13-64): $29.95

Seniors (age 65 and older): $27.95

Youth (ages 3-12): $19.95

Children (under age 3): Free

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s mission is to help foster love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. The 98-acre museum is almost entirely outside and features a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. Visitors can look forward to two miles of walking paths spread out on 21 acres, 242 animal species, more than 56,000 individual plant specimens, and what the museum claims to be one of the most comprehensive regional mineral collections. Be sure to dress for the weather. 

Reid Park Zoo

Location: 3400 Zoo Court, Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $10.50

Seniors (age 62 and older): $8.50

Children ages 2-14: $6.50

Children age 1 and younger: Free

See more than 250 animals ranging from zebras to Southern white rhinoceros hailing from around the world at Tucson’s Reid Zoo Park. The zoo also has daily activities for kids in addition to keeper chats and training demos. Check the daily schedule posted at the front plaza for more. Interested parties can also adopt an animal or volunteer at the zoo. The zoo also offers discounted rates to families and individuals in the WIC and SNAP programs. 

The University of Arizona Museum of Art

Location: 1031 N. Olive Road, Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

General admission: $8

Seniors (age 65 and older): $6

Students and childrenr: Free

The University of Arizona Museum of Art is home to a variety of permanent collections along with rotating exhibitions. See art from a variety of genres that spans many centuries. Look forward to seeing work from artists like Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock and a collection of about 300 paintings, prints, and sculptures from the Great Depression era. 

One painting of note: After being stolen from the museum in 1985, Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre” was restored and has been back in display since October 2022. Read more about this fascinating story here

Tohono Chul Park

Location: 7366 Paseo del Norte, Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adult: $15

Senior (age 62 and older): $13

Students with ID: $13

Children ages 5-12: $6

Children age 4 and younger: Free 

Take home views of the Santa Catalina Mountains as you wander the 49 acres of Tohono Chul Park. Tohono Chul is home to gardens, galleries, and a bistro. The cultural institution seeks to help those connect with the wild beauty, art, and culture inspired by the Sonoran desert. Tohono Chul has recently opened the Children’s Museum Oro Valley intended to connect with younger guests. The children’s museum is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday. 

Tucson Botanical Gardens 

Location: 2150 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $15

Seniors (age 62 and older): $13

Students with ID: $13

Children ages 4-17: $8

Children age 4 and younger: Free 

Guests can wander throughout the Tucson Botanical Gardens to see over a dozen gardens that celebrate the natural life of the surrounding desert. Walk through Aloe Alley, the Cactus & Succulent Garden, and the Children’s Discovery Garden and Herb Garden. One highlight here are the tropical butterflies you can see at the Cox Butterfly & Orchard Pavilion. The gardens also host a variety of classes and events. 

Tucson Museum of Art 

Location: 140 N. Main Ave., Tucson

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $12

Seniors (age 65 and older): $10

Students with ID: $7

Children ages 13-17: $7

Children age 12 and younger: Free

The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block takes up an entire city block in historic downtown. The museum is home to art in a variety of genres like Latin America, American West, Asian, and Contemporary. Of note is that the museum has more than 4,000 works of Latin American art that span more than 3,000 years. The museum also offers tours, programs, art classes, and a store. Admission is pay what you wish on the second Sunday of every month. 

Northern Arizona 

Arcosanti

Location: 13555 S. Cross L Road in Mayer, about one hour southeast of Prescott

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

General admission: $22

Students with ID: $17

Children ages 12 to 17: $13

Children age 12 and under: Free

The brainchild of noteworthy architect Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti is an experimental town, a bronze bell foundry, and an architectural wonder. Arcosanti is a blend of architecture and ecology known as “archology” that seeks to blend into the desert environment surrounding it. Visitors can take daily tours to learn more about this one-of-a-kind place. 

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Location: 21 N. Frontier St. in Wickenburg, about one hour northwest of Phoenix

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $12

Seniors and AAA members: $10

Children ages 17 and under: Free

The Desert Caballeros Western Museum celebrates Western culture and history. See Western art, historic photos documenting the history of Wickenburg and Central Arizona, and a variety of rotating exhibits. You can listen to interviews with town residents about their memories on the museum’s site. The museum also hosts events like Cowgirl Up!—a celebration of top Western female artists. 

Museum of Northern Arizona 

Location: 3101 N. Ft. Valley Road, Flagstaff

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

General admission: $15

Native Americans: $10

Children ages 10-17: $10

Children age 9 and under: Free 

The Museum of Northern Arizona celebrates the diverse history of the Colorado Plateau. The museum is home to collections featuring fine art, jewelry, archeological items such as pottery, dolls, and baskets, plant and animal specimens like fossils, and archival materials. The museum has a Family Guide for those visiting with children. 

Sedona Heritage Museum

Location: 735 Jordan Road in Sedona

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $7

Children age 12 and under: Free 

Housed in the former homestead of the Jordan family—one of the original pioneer families of Sedona—the Sedona Heritage Museum seeks to preserve and celebrate the rich history of Sedona. The setting also features Sedona’s most prominent attraction: its red rocks. See replicas of the Jordan home in addition to exhibits about ranching, cowboys, early settlers, and the city’s past as a thriving orchard town and as a movie-filming destination. The museum hosts a variety of events year-round.

Sharlot Hall Museum 

Location: 415 W. Gurley St. in Prescott 

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $12

Seniors ages 65 and older: $10

Students: $6

Youth (13-17): $5

Children (12 and under): free

Sharlot M. Hall was a pioneer woman who wanted to preserve the history of Arizona, and Prescott’s Sharlot Hall Museum is dedicated to carrying out the life’s mission of its namesake. The open-air museum on 4 acres features recreations of historic buildings, the 1864 territorial governor’s mansion, and vintage cars. 

The Arboretum at Flagstaff

Location: 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road, Flagstaff

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $12

Children ages 5 to 17: $6

Children 5 and younger: Free

The open seasonally Arboretum at Flagstaff is a showcase of high-desert plant species. The 200-acre arboretum features flowers coupled with a mountain backdrop and numerous trails where you can traverse the lush grounds. Peak bloom season is from June through August. September and October is when to see fall colors in Flagstaff. The arboretum also hosts concerts, yoga, bird-watching walks, and other events. The Arboretum is located off of a Forest Service dirt road that can be tough to navigate if there’s inclement weather. 

Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Museum

Location: 460 Finnie Flat Road, Camp Verde

No-Cost Cultural Delights: How to Visit These 20 Arizona Sites for Free
(Photo courtesy of Act One)

Cost for Additional Tickets:

Adults: $10

Seniors ages 65 and older: $5

Children under 18: free

Students with ID: free

Native Americans: free 

The Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Museum’s name says it all. Expect to see a variety of archeological artifacts that document the history of Northern Arizona. See exhibits featuring ceramics, meteorites, and a wall mural by a Hopi artist. The museum is home to a large collection of pieces from noted Western painter and Rimrock resident Paul Dyck.

READ MORE: Cool Off at These 8 Metro Phoenix Pools That Offer Day Passes

Author

  • Teresa K. Traverse

    Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix, Arizona-based writer and editor. Her work also has appeared in national print outlets including Weight Watchers, Bust and Parenting magazines and on sites like Tripadvisor, Wine Enthusiast, SFGate, Brides, Rachael Ray Every Day, Bustle, Racked, ForRent.com, WeddingWire, Refinery29, The Daily Meal, Oxygenmag.com, USA Today and Fast Company. She's the managing editor of Sedona Monthly. In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading magazines and spending quality time with her long-haired Chihuahua, Rocket. Visit teresaktraverse.com to check out more of her work.

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