There’s no time like summer to live like a tourist in your own town, soaking up a little art, culture and air-conditioning at local museums. It’s even better when you can do it on the cheap.

Mesa’s Arizona Museum for Youth and Arizona Museum of Natural History are free the first Sunday of every month — a deal sweetened by the fact that the downtown museums are so close to each other, you can tour both in one day.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art — a particularly good spot for a date or to bring teenagers — is free noon to 8 p.m. every Thursday. At 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays, there’s a free tour of the museum that helps guests of all ages get more out of their visit. The young@art gallery features work by high schoolers.

At Phoenix Art Museum, admission is free 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the first Friday of each month. First Fridays usually feature fun “extras,” too, such as live music, a cash bar and a performance, film screening or lecture.

For more nearby museums, and their admission rates, go to www.azcama.org.

If you go

Arizona Museum for Youth: 15 N. Robson St., Mesa. (480) 644-2467 or www.arizonamuseumforyouth.com

Arizona Museum of Natural History: 53 N. MacDonald, Mesa. (480) 644-2230 or www.azmnh.org

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art: 7374 E. Second St., (480) 874-4666 or www.smoca.org

Phoenix Art Museum: 1625 N. Central Ave. (602) 257-1222 or www.phxart.org

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or azajac@evtrib.com

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