8 Best Entry-Free Museums In Austin, Texas

free museums in austin
| 4 min read

It’s always a lovely experience to walk around a museum. Even lovelier are the museums in Austin, Texas–and many of them are free admission or free on certain days and times. That’s what makes Austin such a fascinating city to explore with friends and the whole family. Known for its many attractions, eclectic music, lakes, and parks that are perfect for biking, hiking, swimming or boating, Austin is a great destination for culture and history, too. Simply plan each day and visit each museum for an exciting journey through Texas history, heritage, culture, arts, science, and technology. Read on further to know more about the best entry-free museums in Austin, Texas.

1. Elisabet Ney Museum

Elisabet Ney Studio, 1892
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Phillip Barnhart used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Step into a bygone era, back to 1850s, when the iconoclastic German sculptor, Elisabet Ney moved to Austin. Elisabet Ney Museum is her historic home and studio that showcases her portrait collections and artworks and her legacy. For art enthusiasts, this museum is a brilliant exploration of the famed Ney’s sculptures in bronze, marble, and plaster, plus medallions, tools, and personal effects. Further, this museum also features works of other contemporary artists within the building and on its grounds. In fact, the museum enjoys many historic designations and admission is free.

Elisabet Ney Museum

Address: 304 E 44th St, Austin, TX 78751, United States

Website: Elisabet Ney Museum

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

Price: Free

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2. Austin Nature & Science Center

Austin nature center entrance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Larry D. Moore used under CC BY-SA 3.0

For nature lovers and science enthusiasts, Austin Nature & Science Center, located in West Zilker Park, is a brilliant way to spend the day. The 80-acre (323,749-square metre) nature centre is packed with various educational exhibits that will wow the whole family. From replicas of fossils and dinosaur tracks to wildlife collection and excavation sites, there’s plenty to see, explore, and do indoors and outdoors. Highlights at the museum include rotating educational exhibits, sand-filled dino pit with bones ready for excavation, small model cave, and activity programmes. Kids are encouraged to go on outdoor trails with an eco-detective kit that leads them to surprising finds.

Austin Nature & Science Center

Address: 2389 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States

Website: Austin Nature & Science Center

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm

Price: Free (1 USD per person for organised groups in On-Your-Own-Tour)

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3. Austin History Center

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LoneStarMike used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fancy a trip down memory lane in Austin? The Austin History Center features interesting historical and photographic archives of Austin that chronicle its history from founding days to present time. Look out for the special themed exhibits on several topics exclusive to Austin that take place during the year. As part of the local history division of Austin Public Library, the museum shares information on local government, other institutions and establishments, and figures. After all, the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future. This free-entry museum is a great historical archive for the future.

Austin History Center

Address: 810 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Website: Austin History Center

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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4. Texas State Capitol

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LoneStarMike used under CC BY 3.0

Be the history buff you always thought you’d be at Texas State Capitol, where the entire building and visitor’s centre is dedicated to showcasing Texas history and Texas politics in action. Located in downtown Austin, the structure houses the offices and chambers of Texas legislature and Governor of Texas. In fact, Texas State Capitol offers free half-hour tours which bring guests on a journey through the history of the building and its impressive halls which lead to plenty of photo opportunities. Better yet, the 22-acre (89,031-square metre) grounds boasts spacious surroundings where guests can admire the 20 monuments on display.

Texas State Capitol

Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Website: Texas State Capitol

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 8pm

Price: Free (tours)

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5. Texas Military Forces Museum

M114 M728 Texas Military Forces Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pi3.124 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In museums, nothing is lost–it is just rediscovered. Such discoveries take place at Texas Military Forces Museum which attracts children and military enthusiasts alike. This museum encompasses 45,000 square feet (4,181 square metres) of space that display military uniforms, weaponry, tanks, artillery, air crafts, helicopters, and much more. What’s fascinating is the history of Texas Military Forces dates back from 1823 until today. Not to be missed are the living history events, battle re-enactments, and other special programs held for the general public during the year.

Texas Military Forces Museum

Address: 2200 W 35th St building 6, Austin, TX 78703, United States

Website: Texas Military Forces Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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6. Harry Ransom Center

Harry Ransom Center
Source: Photo by user bill_comstock used under CC BY 2.0

What an amazing find for writers and artists! Harry Ransom Center is dedicated to the study of the arts and humanities . Most impressive is the permanent exhibits that include the world’s first photograph and original Gutenberg Bible. Equally impressive are the hands-on activities, learning opportunities, and exhibitions on art, culture,and creative writing. The centre also provides classroom experiences for students to make a personal connection with history and be involved in research opportunities.

Harry Ransom Center

Address: 300 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78712, United States

Website: Harry Ransom Center

Opening hours: Mon - Wed, Fri: 10am - 5pm; Thu: 10am - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 5pm

Price: Free

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7. O' Henry Museum

O. Henry Museum - Austin, Texas - DSC09196
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

Walk into the wonders of a historic house as you enter O’ Henry Museum, the former home of William Sydney Porter, the famous short story writer known as O’ Henry. Within the museum are various period pieces that include the acclaimed writer’s past correspondence, drawings, and unpublished manuscripts. This is also an opportunity to see his original photographs, furniture, decor, and housewares that reflect the heritage of ages past in Austin. Best of all, the preserved Victorian house has a brand new layout with newly installed text panels to provide a more informative self-guided tour.

O' Henry Museum

Address: 409 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Website: O’ Henry Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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8. Susanna Dickinson Museum

Susanna Dickinson Museum - Austin, Texas - DSC09166
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

Explore the history of Texas at Susanna Dickinson Museum, the former home of a survivor of the Battle of the Alamo. Inside the historic home are various collections of period pieces, rare family artefacts, and furniture. Best of all is the huge library of over 500 books on Texas history and children’s books made available to guests for their reading pleasure within the premises. Further, the museum offers guided tours and well-planned programmes that explore the rich culture and heritage of Texas. In fact, there are exciting opportunities that connect learners of all ages to history.

Susanna Dickinson Museum

Address: 411 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Website: Susanna Dickinson Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

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Make your trips to museums in Austin truly unforgettable

Real museums are places where time is transformed to space. Such are the beautiful and well-maintained museums in Austin, Texas where history and culture comes alive. From arts appreciation to military weaponry and Victorian heritage to dinosaur explorations, each museum is unique in its own way. Best of all, admission is free, making it the ultimate value for money and an educational and entertaining museum adventure for everyone.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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