You don't have to go to Singapore or Hong Kong to find inexpensive museums. More than one-third of museums in the American Assn. of Museums' latest poll don't charge admission, and more than two-thirds have free days. It pays to call or check Web sites before a visit. And despite typically higher prices in big cities, the average nonmember fee in the poll was $5 -- not bad compared with the price of movies, pro sports and concerts.
At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which recently increased its regular adult admission to $9 from $7, you can go free from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 5 to 8 p.m. other days (except Wednesdays, when it's closed). Unless you want to go to its latest blockbuster, "Old Masters, Impressionists, and Moderns" (closing Monday), which charges $17 weekdays, $20 weekends, plus $6 for an audio tour.