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Free Museum Days and O.C. Art Walks

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Orange County is rich with arts and culture to explore. You may think experiencing the arts is out of reach, but the artists communities and museums throughout the county have gone above and beyond to make the arts and culture experience accessible for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a fun and educational activity for the kids to enjoy, or an inexpensive evening out on the town -- here’s a guide to free museum days and art walks in Orange County for free.

The Bowers Museum

Not only is the Bowers Museum the biggest and most popular museum in Orange County, it is dedicated to cultural education for adults and kids alike. If you’re looking to visit the Bowers on the cheap, admission is free on the first Sunday of each month and Santa Ana residents get in free on first Thursdays (proof of residency required).

Discovery Center

The Discovery Science Center might not be a cultural arts destination but it is absolutely one of the best activities for kids in Orange County. Admission is free for Santa Ana residents the first Tuesday of each month, with proof of residency. If you happen to be a Bank of American card holder, admission is free on the first Saturday of the month.

Orange County Art Museum

The Orange County Museum of Art prides itself on being an accessible way for families to experience the arts. Children 12-and-under are admitted for free every day and the museum offers free admission on the second Sunday of each month, with special activities throughout the day.

Laguna Art Museum

The Laguna Art Museum caters to a sophisticated audience. However, kids 12-and-under are admitted for free every day and general admission is free on the first Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Free Art Walks

Art walks have cropped up all over the O.C. and are a way to explore the up-and-coming artist communities. Each community has it's own style and aesthetic, but one thing is for sure, there is a wealth of talent to be discovered. Best of all, admission to the art walks are almost always free. Here are some art walks to check out around Orange County:
  • Santa Ana: Stroll through the four-block 2nd st Promenade Artist Village in downtown Santa Ana on the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On the third Saturday of each month, the Santiago Art District artists host an artwalk across the street from the Santa Ana train station from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

  • Laguna Beach: Explore the galleries and studios in Laguna Beach, one of the oldest and most famed artist communities in Orange County on the first Thursday of each month between 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and free shuttle service to participating locations is available.

  • Huntington Beach: The streets of downtown Huntington Beach come alive with art, music and poetry on the free Wednesday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Check the website for participating venues.

  • Fullerton: This popular art walk is hosted by local galleries and venues in downtown Fullerton on the first Friday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

  • San Juan Capistrano: Explore the arts in the historic downtown area of San Juan Capistrano the second Saturday of the month from March to December, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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