London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it also boasts many of the world’s best free museums. The city is a great stop for the budget minded traveler. You can literally spend a week exploring its world-class museums, parks and gardens while not spending a single dollar on admission.
London Millennium Bridge
Having lived in London as a poor foreign exchange student suffering the hardships of 10-dollar pints and sky-high rent, I got to know my museums really well, especially the Tate Modern. I loved walking from St. Paul’s Cathedral across the Millennium Bridge to the South Bank of the River Thames where the Tate is located. From the bridge you can enjoy the best views of the city, and an incredible approach to the former Bankside Power Station. This gem of a building houses the Tate Modern. It’s the ideal space for the massive modern art installations that make the museum famous.
London Tate Modern
Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC, USA):
Washington DC, perhaps inspired by London, charges no admission to its vast system of national museums. I have spent many a day wandering around the National Mall, a park in middle of Washington DC, checking out the various free galleries that make up the Smithsonian Institute. Amongst them is the Natural History Museum where you can stand side-by-side ancient Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons and giant Serengeti Elephants. A short walk across he Mall is the National Air & Space Museum, which houses the pioneering aircraft in flight and space exploration.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum
Getty Center (Los Angeles, USA):
The Getty Center in Los Angeles is perched atop a hill in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles. As you can imagine, it has spectacular views of the city and ocean. Visitors ride a tram from the parking lot to the 1.3 billion dollar museum complex, which is as famous for its architecture and gardens as it for the art. If you’re in L.A., perusing the galleries and lounging in the gardens of the Getty Center is great way to spend an a sunny afternoon.