Dallas–Fort Worth is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, and it has an art scene befitting its size. Dallas is home to the largest urban arts district in the country, and Fort Worth’s Cultural District boasts its own collection of world-class museums. Between the two cities, there are ample opportunities for locals and visitors to enrich their days with art — and frugal aficionados can often do so for free, with many venues offering no-cost admission, either daily or on certain days of the week. Here are 10 free museums to visit in Dallas-Fort Worth.
We can’t explain why this incredible museum doesn’t charge for admission; all we can do is appreciate it. The DMA’s collection encompasses more than 25,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing cultures from around the world. Special exhibits are in constant rotation, so there’s always something new to see. And beyond physical artworks the museum also hosts a full slate of programming, including concerts, lectures, readings and dance performances.
Trammell Crow made billions as a real estate developer, and his work has influenced skylines in Dallas and across the country. But art lovers know him best for the Crow Museum of Asian Art. Opened by Trammel and Margaret Crow in 1998, it contains pieces sourced from the Crows’ travels through China, Japan, India, Korea and Southeast Asia, displayed in galleries and in a tranquil sculpture garden. They began collecting in the 1960s, with most works sourced through private deals and auctions. Today, it’s one of the most robust Asian art collections in the country, and because the Crows wanted to share their interest in Asian art with the public, admission is always free.
Opened in 1972 and fresh off its 50th anniversary, the Kimbell displays a celebrated collection of portraits and other art, including selected works from big names like Monet, Matisse and Picasso. Special exhibitions typically include a fee, but the Kimbell’s permanent collection is always free to view — and it’s more than enough to keep you busy.
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The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, better known by the more succinct and memorable Samurai Collection, is the only museum outside of Japan to focus solely on samurai artifacts. It opened in 2012 and comprises nearly 1,000 objects, including full suits of samurai armor, horse armor, helmets, masks and weaponry. It’s located above Saint Ann restaurant, so get some lunch and make an afternoon of it.
Located in Fair Park, the African American Museum is one of the country’s preeminent destinations for African American art and cultural materials. It opened in 1974 and moved to its current space in 1993. Exhibits are varied and ever changing, but the museum continues to display one of the largest African American folk art collections in the United States.
Free every Friday, the Modern was founded in 1892 and is the oldest museum in Texas. Its mission has changed over the years to display the most important artists and works of our time — in this case, that means the 1940s to the present day. In addition to its art-filled galleries, the spacious, modern building also features outdoor sculptures, a reflecting pond, a theater and a better-than-expected restaurant.
Located at Southern Methodist University, the Meadows opened in 1965 to house the private collection of philanthropist, oil financier and Spanish art enthusiast Algur H. Meadows. Today, it’s one of the country’s premier museums dedicated to Spanish art and culture, with displayed works from Picasso, Dali and other greats. Meadows is only free on Thursdays after 5 p.m., so your window for glimpsing gratis art is small. But it’s worth a visit to the museum nicknamed “Prado on the Prairie.”
Founded in 1961, the Amon Carter Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit the finest examples of American art, and it features works from the 1700s to present day. Stroll its halls to view paintings, photos, drawings and sculptures, and don’t miss works from Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two of the greatest artists from the American west.
Another ode to American art, the Sid Richardson Museum in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square features paintings by Remington and Russell, as well as other works depicting the American west. The museum also hosts lectures, workshops and hands-on studio experiences like Tea & Talk, an aptly named session in which visitors sip tea and discuss art.
This Design District space is part gallery and part museum, with exhibitions that change regularly. Operating under the mantra “always different, always free,” the DC presents unique, modern artwork, films and other media from a diverse range of artists. Admission is free, but there is a suggested $10 donation if you’re feeling generous.
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