The giant collection known as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) is always free. Every day it's open, it's totally free. When you walk in the front doors at 2400 3rd Ave. S. in uptown Minneapolis, you won't be charged a cent. However, it is in good taste to consider a donation that matches your budget.
Now let's talk art. The three-story space is host to contemporary art, photography, prints, drawings, paintings, furniture, decorative arts and sculpture. Globally inspired sections showcasing art from Africa, Asia and the Americas are impressive. Famous names like Chuck Close, Rembrandt and Matisse can be found in every corner of the massive museum. And did you hear it's all free?
There are some exceptions. MIA usually has a world-class, traveling exhibit hosted in its Target Galleries space. These special exhibits are ticketed, meaning they're not free. They are relatively small compared to the entire collection, making them non-essential if free is more important to you than comprehensive. And if you want to catch a Children's Theater of Minnesota show in their attached performance space, that will also set you back a few dollars.
Otherwise, it is very easy to spend an entire day browsing the free art at MIA and still not see it all. And when it comes to dinner time, don't bother with the over-priced bistro in the museum itself. Take a short walk a few blocks west to Nicollet Ave, where you will suddenly find yourself in the middle of Minneapolis' famous Eat Street. Find delicious food at bargain prices at local staples like Quang Restaurant, Bad Waitress Cafe and Harry Singh's Caribbean Cuisine.