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Speakeasy bars during the Prohibition era were everywhere. And nowhere. Boozers were required to remain hush-hush, lest their favorite backdoor moonshine distillery be discovered by the police and promptly shut down. Today, we are free to enjoy a cocktail or seven wherever we please. But in choosing the perfect barstool, a sense of danger adds appeal to throwback speakeasy bars. Think secret entrances behind bookshelves and phone booths, and well-guarded passwords. Of course, it’s hard to keep secrets in the epoch of Instagram and “location services enabled,” but these seven bars have raised, well, the bar on maintaining mystery.

RELATED: 11 secret restaurants you don’t know but should

Photo courtesy of Adults Only

Adults Only (Los Angeles, CA)

Adult video stores are fairly irrelevant, thanks to the advent of the Internet. Yet this one in Los Angeles thrives off Sunset Boulevard in the ritziest, most enticing of locations: behind a Burger King. Gather your mettle (aka a Whopper), head into a storefront with “XXX” proudly displayed, and through the back sits an immaculately designed throwback to the 1920s. Woodwork and dark wallpaper conjure images of hiding from the police, and extravagantly designed, lush couches provide comfort—even if the cocktail names are unsettling: The “Money Shot,” “Rusty Trombone,” and “Dirty Sanchez” are demonstrated both in the bookstore and at the bar. And given the “Dirty Sanchez” is a sweet and spicy concoction of mezcal, sweet cucumber, and zesty serrano chili, we’ll opt for that one. For now…

Photo courtesy of @kai_____c

Angel’s Share (New York, )

So undercover it doesn’t have a website, Angel’s Share stands out amid the infinite speakeasy bar scene of New York (there are…a lot). To find it, head into a bustling Japanese restaurant in the East Village, get out of the way of servers with plates full of sushi, enter an unmarked door, and you’re in a Narnia of candlelit tranquility. Angel’s Share takes no reservations, asks patrons to keep their voices down, and the wait for even a spot to lean against the bar is typically an hour or more. Stick around. And shut up. Sipping a “Summertime,” made with jasmine-infused rum, over hushed whispers, is the epitome of calm.

Photo courtesy of @melissawv5

The Owl Bar (Baltimore, MD)

This one in Baltimore doesn’t take major sleuthing to find (or minor sleuthing, for that matter), but earns points for its history of ingenuity. A statue of the eponymous owl took up residence in the lobby of the 1902-built Hotel Belvedere (now condos) to give thirsty lawbreakers the signal. When its eyes were lit up, the hidden bar, nestled way in the back, was open for business. The Owl Bar now serves legal drinks, of course, but its classic look remains. The patterned bricks in the high walls have been preserved, as has the immaculate molding of windows and archways. The statue, too, remains.

ALSO: It’s no secret, Orbitz Rewards is the best way to earn free hotels faster!

Chapter Room (Atlanta, GA)

Congratulations! You have been accepted to Brewniversity! No SAT scores required! Atlanta‘s Taco Mac (Southern-style taco and chicken wing joint) already boasts a nice selection of craft beers, but to gain access downstairs in the Chapter Room, you must download Brewniversity’s mobile app and enroll, tuition-free. Admittance allows you access to the vaunted beer-bastion Chapter Room, located downstairs. The beer list is far more robust and international, plus the bar’s hiding an impressive list of whiskeys. Ironically, you can use technology to track how much you drink, using the app, and earn points toward nothing in particular—except to redo college drinking doppelbocks instead of Miller High Life.

Photo courtesy of @mashdpotaylor

The Drifter (Chicago, IL)

The Drifter in Chicago serves up a freshly caught red herring: It’s located in the basement of what has now become another bar called Green Door Tavern. You thought you were done drinking? Think again. Head downstairs to the bathrooms, stumble through an unassuming wooden door between the men’s and women’s rooms, and you’ll find an actual former speakeasy. The Drifter space is small but cozy; rubbing elbows with other drinkers transports you a century back in time, when liquor was at a premium and everyone wanted in. The drinks that will be served that night are pulled from a tarot card deck. So if you loved a particular cocktail, don’t expect the same next time. But always expect elaborate woodwork and—occasionally—burlesque dancers to complete the time travel back nearly a century.

Photo courtesy of @drinksanford

Hanson’s Shoe Repair (Orlando, FL)

Two decades from now, we seriously doubt anyone will remember voicemail. It’s tedious to not only leave one, but to listen. And who wants to hear voices?! Suck it up, though, and call Hanson’s Shoe Repair—a hidden Orlando bar and occasional music venue worth the inconvenience. Potential visitors call and are asked to leave a message with the time they’d like their “shoes repaired” (no promises on preventing falls while wasted) and how many pairs they’re bringing in. If all seems well, Hanson’s will provide the password for entry that night. The code changes each night, so hold onto it preciously to enjoy craft cocktails in what looks like, well, an old-timey shoe repair shop. The best part: Passwords arrive via text. The future is now.

Photo courtesy of @jeremy.pistachio

Bourbon and Branch (San Francisco, CA)

“Please speak-easy” is the first rule of Bourbon and Branch (the second rule isn’t, “You do not talk about Fight Club). This raspberry-tinted San Francisco bar—with working-man decor ranging from books to barrels—is rigid about its policies, but it’s all in the interest of providing the 20 or so patrons a relaxing, reflective experience. See, within this particular speakeasy is yet another secret room in the back, behind a bookshelf. There’s a password to enter,  “books,” and inside is an impressive library for your party to enlighten themselves and sip delicious cocktails . Just don’t order a cosmo. House rules.

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Tagged: Food & drink

Steve Heisler

Steve Heisler

Steve Heisler

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Although we all long to cheer along at some certain summer games as a USA athlete claims the gold, the sky-high costs of getting to Rio will keep most of us away. Fortunately for all of us bound to the states, we can visit the beautiful relics of of the 1996 games in Atlanta. And what better time to revisit the ghost of greatness at Olympic Park than when the real games are in full swing, a continent away? Here’s what to do in Atlanta in August.

Plane, train or automobile — The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is so big it has its own zip code, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a flight in from wherever you’re roaming. With seven concourses, you’ll appreciate the decision you made to stay in Atlanta instead of trying to catch a connecting flight. Plus, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (or MARTA) frequently runs trains between the airport’s domestic terminal and the city for $2.50 a ride.

MARTA

A stop on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Photo: Veggiefrog – Flickr.

Cheap, local transit — Relay, Atlanta’s bike-share program, just launched in June. It’s still getting off the ground — there are 100 bikes downtown, and they plan to have 500 across the city by the end of the year. But it’s a great option for your touring needs, especially since traffic is notoriously congested in the city and those Uber rides can really rack up. It’s $8 for an hour-long spin on the bikes. Turn to the MARTA for your other transportation needs.

 

Centennial Olympic Park

The fountains at Centennial Olympic Park. Photo: sporadic – Flickr.

Oggleat the Olympic Park — Atlanta turned a 21-acre chunk of the Olympic Park into the Centennial Olympic Park after the 1996 games. Twenty years later, an estimated 3 million people visit the park annually to see the fountain of Olympic rings and former stadiums. There are free events and festivals held throughout the year, like the Wednesday WindDown concert series and the Park Market. The 20th Anniversary Celebration was held in July, but there are still plenty of sights to be seen here nevertheless.

 World of Coca-Cola Museum.

A statue at the World of Coca-Cola Museum. Photo: Jenn Durfey – Flickr.

Check out the Coke — For the low, low price of $16, you can fully immerse yourself in the World of Coca-Cola. At the museum, you’ll find the vault holding the secret formula for Coke, and learn about the 125-year history of the beverage. You’ll even learn more about the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and sample more than 100 Coca Cola beverages from around the globe.

 

Perch at the pub — While there are probably many bars and restaurants that will be streaming the Olympics for the full two weeks, there are also a plethora of organized viewing parties that would be worth your time to check out. Join Atlanta United FC to watch the U.S. Women’s Soccer team compete in the quarterfinals of the Olympics on Friday, Aug. 12 at Rí Ra Irish Pub.

 

Chill off with some coffee — We admit it, Atlanta is a little too close to the equator to be comfortable outside all day in August. But it’s cheaper this time of year, and you have things like the single-origin iced coffee at Dancing Goats Coffee Bar to cool you off. Dancing Goats has a couple locations, but try branching out to the one in Decatur. You’ll be happy you stopped in this sleepy commuter town, which boasts indie boutiques, live music and a much more relaxed vibe.

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Tagged: City, Flights, Food & drink, Sports, Tips & advice

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Everyone knows the opening theme of “Star Wars.” Whether you heard the first triumphant brass notes in ‘70s theater seats or while couching it in front of your flat screen, it probably sent a shiver of excitement down your neck. When “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens on Dec. 18, those thrilling notes will undoubtedly be met with cheers and clapping.

Without the music of John Williams, “Star Wars” wouldn’t be the phenomenon it is today. Darth Vader wouldn’t be as terrifying without the ominous notes of “The Imperial March.” Nor would Han Solo’s entrance be as memorable without the loopy “Cantina Band” playing over the den of Tatooine’s most dangerous gangsters and thieves.

shutterstock_212595580

If you want to really geek out on a night of galactic symphony, check out these two events featuring the music from the films:

1. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays the music of John Williams

If you can’t wait until December to hear the iconic music of “Star Wars” ringing through an auditorium, the Atlanta Symphony Hall will blast you with music from a galaxy far, far away. Tickets start at $165 for the event on Nov. 28. This show makes for a greatearly Christmas present for “Star Wars” super fans. Not only will the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra be playing the most famous scores from “Star Wars,” they’ll also be tributing Williams’ pieces from other great movies such as “Harry Potter,” “Indiana Jones” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

2. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays music from Episodes I-VI

For “Star Wars” fans in Pittsburgh looking for something to do before heading to the midnight premiere of “The Force Awakens,” this symphonic overture of the movie scores is the perfect appetizer to the big show. Tickets to the performance on Nov. 17 start as low as $34 (if they were any cheaper, you’d have to smuggle yourself in on the Millennium Falcon).

Tagged: City, Music, Tips & advice, Uncategorized

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

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With so many factors constantly threatening to throw off your itinerary when you travel, the last thing you need is an added uncertainty surrounding your arrival to the airport. These airports and transit systems make it easy for the traveler needing to get from the airport to the city center cheap and fast.

 

Courtesy of Rhys A.

Courtesy of Rhys A.

O’Hare International Airport — Chicago, Illinois

Although O’Hare is known for its delays and overcrowded terminals, getting there is one thing you won’t have to worry about. The Blue Line on the Chicago Transit Authority’s El train goes from O’Hare and stops all along the way, eventually ending up right downtown. The train runs every couple of minutes and it only costs $2.50 for a ride. Midway, Chicago’s other airport, is also connected to downtown by the Orange Line, and just as easily accessible.

Courtesy of SimonRahn.

Courtesy of SimonRahn.

El Prat Airport — Barcelona, Spain

The RENFE train runs from the airport to downtown about every 30 minutes. It’s a nearly 25-minute ride through the Catalan countryside. Get off at Sants Estacio, Passeig de Gracia or the Clot stop, and then you can take the city Metro to wherever you specifically want to go. If you are heading to the airport, you’ll want to catch the train at any of those stations and get off at the Aeropuerto stop. Pretty simple. Tickets for individual journeys cost just over 2.

Courtesy of Ron Reiring.

Courtesy of Ron Reiring.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — Minneapolis, Minnesota

You can take your pick how you get to this airport: bus, train or bike. In such a physically fit city, authorities felt it necessary to connect Terminal 2 to a bike path that leads to downtown Minneapolis. (There’s also a 1.4-mile walking path inside Terminal 1). Light rail trains run every 10 minutes during peak hours, when fares are $2.25, and 15 minutes during off hours, when fares are $1.75. The trains connect to 17 locations, including downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul and the nearby Mall of America.

Courtesy of Thomas Depenbusch.

Courtesy of Thomas Depenbusch.

Cologne Bonn Airport — Cologne, Germany

The train from Cologne’s city center to the airport drops passengers off right in the middle of the airport at the Intercity-Express (ICE) station. When heading downtown, take the S-train right to the city center. The ride will take about 20 to 30 minutes and stop four orfive times before arriving right downtown. The cost is about €2.60.

Courtesy of Josh Hallett.

Courtesy of Josh Hallett.

Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport — Atlanta, Georgia

In an airport that is so big it has it’s own zip code, getting to and from it without hassle is key. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (also known affectionately as MARTA) runs trains between the airport and other stops throughout Atlanta frequently, starting at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. on weekends until 1 a.m. every night. If you’re heading to the airport, it’ll drop you right inside the domestic terminal. Rides are $2.50.

Tagged: City, Flights, International, Last minute travel, Tips & advice

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We all know the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. But in the travel industry, there are only three seasons that matter: peak, shoulder and off. Here’s why you should care.

woman-looking-at-map-cheaptickets

What’s the diff?

Peak season, or high season, is when a destination is the most popular. Peak season varies by destination, often depending on the weather. For instance, Eastertime is peak season for Florida because theme park-loving kids are on spring break and the weather is just hot enough, but not yet too miserable, for a frolic on the beach. On the flip side, the December holidays are prime time for Colorado; plenty of snow on the ski slopes, time off from work and school and the prospect of spending a cozy holiday around the fireplace make this Western state a popular choice in the winter months.

So that’s peak season. Off season, or low season, is just the opposite: the time of year when a destination sees the fewest tourists. And shoulder season is the transitional time between peak and off seasons.

Why is off season great for cheap traveling?

Three words: supply and demand. When demand drops, so do prices on everything from airfare to hotel rooms to attractions. Even food prices can decrease, with many cities holding restaurant weeks during the off-season.

Bonus: off season means fewer crowds, shorter lines, easier restaurant reservations and less stressed service people.

Why might traveling during off season not be a great idea?

For starters, the weather can get dicey. There’s a reason why folks don’t flock to the Caribbean during hurricane season. If you can’t resist a bargain but are concerned about Mother Nature wreaking havoc your trip, then consider buying traveler’s insurance. Also have a backup plan—say, a museum—for when it’s too yucky to go outside.

In addition, be prepared to miss out on some things. During off season, shops and restaurants may have limited hours, tours may operate on a modified schedule, and some businesses or events might shut down all together. If your must-do becomes a can’t-do, then ask a local for some off-the-beaten-path ideas for fun. And don’t be afraid to request a discount. 

So when’s the off season for some popular U.S. destinations? Here’s the scoop.

Atlanta: April and May. If you’ve got Georgia on your mind this time of year, then try to nab tickets for prestigious Masters Golf Tournament in April or one of the many music festivals happening in May.

Chicago: November to February. The Windy City lives up to its name during the colder months, but there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had. Take in the view from the top of the Willis Tower, explore the Art Institute of Chicago or catch a show at Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Dallas: February to April. Now’s the time for Dallas Blooms, a three-month extravaganza of color and scent at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. History buffs can also take advantage of smaller crowds at the Sixth Floor Museum inside the infamous Texas School Book Depository, site of the JFK assassination.

Denver: January to April. There should still be plenty of snow for the ski slopes. Or enjoy outside-the-box activities like the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in January or the giant March pow wow featuring Native American drummers, arts and crafts and more from across the country.

Las Vegas: June and July. Roll the dice on a hot Vegas vacation, with summertime events like the Brews and Blues Festival and World Series of Poker. If the steamy weather gets to be too much, you can always catch a show indoors.

Los Angeles: September and October. The weather’s always ripe for being out and about, so enjoy smaller crowds at popular attractions like the Getty Center and Universal Studios Hollywood, not to mention a bumper crop of arts festivals.

Miami: June to August. When the weather heats up, so do the deals in this sultry South Florida city. August and September are Miami Spice, two glorious months of restaurant deals and foodie-related events. Summer is also a great time to take advantage of beach hotel packages.

New York: January and February. You’ll always find plenty of tourists in the City that Never Sleeps, but after the ball drops in Times Square, things slow down a bit. Check out events that are somewhat under the radar to tourists, like the Three Kings Day Parade in early January or the New York Jewish Film Festival in February.

Orlando: July to September. As summer vacation winds down, the deals heat up in this theme park capital. Take advantage of restaurant deals during Magical Dining Month or drive to nearby Cocoa Beach while the crowds are away.

San Francsico: October to March. Not all California cities are created equal, weatherwise. With averages temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, it’s perfect football-watching weather for a 49ers game, cozy up on a blanket during the monthlong San Francisco Shakespeare Festival in September or join in the merriment of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.

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Tagged: Beach, Caribbean, Cheap Tips, Florida, New York City, Off-season, Seasonal, Tips & advice

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Long layovers can be a real drag, but they certainly don’t need to ruin the trip. Venturing out of the airport can add leaps and bounds of enjoyment to your travels, and it’s pretty easy to keep the cost down on your hiatus from the terminal. Just make sure you plan ahead and pack whatever you may need for the adventure in your carry-on, and you should be all set for an enjoyable day away from the airport monotony.

Here are five ideas for cheap getaways outside of some major airports:

Courtesy of Ally Marotti

A scene from Hollywood Beach near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Courtesy of Ally Marotti

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This one is easy — spend the day on the beach. Have the cab driver take you to Hollywood Beach. It’s not the closest one to the airport, but it’s the most happenin’. In about 15 minutes, you go from drab airport life to the tropics. Watch the sunrise over the ocean and grab breakfast beachside at Broadwalk Restaurant and Grill. There are plenty of dining options, ice cream shops and convenience stores along the boardwalk if you need anything like sunscreen. Listen to the Cuban music and bask in the sun during your layover, and make sure to grab a piña colada at Greek restaurant Sahara International.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)Chicago, IL

If you don’t have a layover at O’Hare, it’s highly likely your flight out of Chicago will end up getting delayed. O’Hare is an airport known for its delays, partly because it doesn’t have enough gates, and partly because Chicago weather is entirely unpredictable. Lucky for budget-conscious travelers, there’s a train that goes right downtown for only $2.50. The Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train runs between downtown and the airport constantly throughout the day, and it’s only a 40-minute ride either way. Check out the sights, sounds and food Chicago has to offer for the day rather than sitting in the airport bitter about the delay. For free activities, head to one of the city’s beaches or walk along the recently renovated Riverwalk along the Chicago River. If you’re there on a summer evening, there are free concerts at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Mondays and Thursdays, and free movies there on Tuesdays. For cheap eats, head to the French Market in the West Loop–it’s got everything from meatballs to lobster rolls.

A view from the Jackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

A view from theJackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta airport is one of the busiest in the world, and so big it has its own zip code. If you have a layover or delay here, make sure it’s actually long enough for you to safely get out, back and to your terminal on time, as there’s usually some shuttling involved. If you are so bold to step into the unknown, take the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train, which costs $2.50 for a one-way ticket and will get you downtown in about 20 minutes. Once you’re there, head over to the Jackson Street bridge between Cain Street and Highland Avenue for a photo opp (pics or it didn’t happen). Stroll along the recently completed Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile loop around the city of railroad tracks-turned-walking paths lined with restaurants and shops. Sample some of that southern cooking while you’re at it.

A T-Rex at New York City's Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A T-Rex at New York City’s Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)New York City, NY

New York City buses transport travelers from the airport to Manhattan for $2.75 each way. The M60 bus goes express to all LaGuardia terminals and drops passengers off near West 106th Street and Broadway. The Q70 Limited or Q47 will drop you off in Queens or Midtown. If you’re willing to pay a little more, the NYC Airporter bus departs every 30 minutes and runs between the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central Station and Penn Station for $13. For a close to free day in Manhattan, stroll through Central Park and end up at the Museum of Natural History. They ask for an optional donation at the entrance. If you still have time and are craving some panoramic views of the city, swing by Salvation Taco. It shares a lobby with Pod Hotel 39 on East 39th Street between Lexington and 3rd avenues, has a great and reasonably priced rooftop bar full of Mexican beers and Spanish wines. You can get a beer and a great view for $8.

 

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Los Angeles, CA

 Los Angeles International Airport often acts as the gateway to Asia and Hawaii, and many a layover is whiled away among its terminals. But if you’ve got the time and you remembered to stick your swimsuit in your carry on, why not soak up some Vitamin D? Dockweiler State Beach is less than a five-mile drive from the Los Angeles airport. It extends south of Marina del Rey harbor, and is operated by Los Angeles County, so there are no entrance fees. You can take public transit there, but it’ll probably be quicker to just grab a cab. Dockweiler beach is known for its hang gliding and plane watching (since it’s so close to LAX), and offers a beautiful view of the sunset. There are fire pits on the beach that anyone can use, so if you have the time and money, swing by the store on the way and grab some hot dogs and all the fixins for s’mores for a true taste of summer.

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Flights, Florida, L.A., New York City, Tips & advice

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Vote for your favorite city in the CheapTickets All-American Barbecue Smackdown

Like the best barbecue, this competition is going to get messy. Claim your city as a BBQ boss! Go to our Facebook to vote for your favorite barbecue destination in the CheapTickets “All American Barbecue Smack Down” through June 29, 2015. Vote and you’ll be entered to win a trip for two to your favorite all-American destination. The best barbecue city gets bragging rights for a whole year.

CTIX BBQ CTANo purchase necessary. Contest open only to legal residents of the United States (including the District of Columbia) who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Click here for complete contest rules.

The CheapTickets top 10 BBQ cities

You could just take our word for it. If your fingers have an overwhelming need to be covered in sauce, don’t worry–we’ve taken it upon ourselves to search for America’s best barbecue cities. Our booking and survey data reveals the top 10 cities for BBQ in the United States, with Memphis, Austin and newcomer San Antonio topping this year’s finger-licking list.

CTIX BBQ graph

Think outside the pit with these top BBQ picks

Any ‘cue enthusiast knows that there’s more to the perfect BBQ than ribs and sauce. Don’t get us wrong, it’s important, but we want to think outside the pit to honor those that go the extra delicious mile. Within the top five BBQ cities, we’ve sniffed out two leaders per BBQ category.

BEST SANDWICH

Order the Z-Man at Joe’s Kansas City BBQKansas City, Kansas

Behind every legendary sandwich is a legendaryregular. This one’s name is Mike Zarrick, a local sports talk radio jockey who goes by the name Z-Man. This mouth-watering mammoth is made with “sliced smoked brisket, smoked provolone cheese, a couple of onion rings, and a bit of barbecue sauce all on top of a Kaiser roll.” In 2013, it was speculated that the Z-Man sandwich helped the KC Royals get back on a winning streak, so have yourself a Z-Man before heading to Kauffman Stadium to root for the home team.

Z-man sandwich; Photo courtesy of Joe’s Kansas City BBQ

Z-man sandwich; Photo courtesy of Joe’s Kansas City BBQ

Runner up: The Cochon De Lait Po’ Boy at Walker’s Southern BBQNew Orleans, Louisiana

This sandwich puts all other po’ boys to shame. It is the po’ king. Make Walker’s Southern BBQ your first stop in NoLa, because it’s only three miles from the airport, but a 10-mile trek from Bourbon Street. French for ‘suckling pig,’ the Cochon De Lait is tender pulled pork in a tangy house-made sauce topped with coleslaw. The Walkers open at 10:30 a.m. for lunch and close when they sell out, so get there early.

MOST UNUSUAL BBQ DISH

Order the BBQ Spaghetti at The Bar-B-Q ShopMemphis, Tennessee

Even BBQ purists will be asking fora second heap of noodles topped with smoky, tender pork and a uniquely tangy sub-breed of spaghetti sauce. Though it has become a Memphis staple, this dish is best consumed at The Bar-B-Q Shop where they still use the original recipe from the previous owner and inventor of BBQ spaghetti. What goes better than spaghetti and kids? Bring your brood after a day at the Memphis Zoo, less than a mile away.

BBQ spaghetti; Photo courtesy of Yelp

BBQ spaghetti; Photo courtesy of Yelp

Runner up: The Brisket Ramen at The Granary ‘Cue & BrewSan Antonio, Texas

Come for the Brisket Ramen and stay for the handcrafted brews. Chow down on this Asian-cue fusion of “smoked shoyu broth, brown ale noodles, onsen egg, ‘cue shallots, and collard greens,” and wash it down with The Granary’s rotating seasonal beer like a black IPA. The Granary is set in San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery Community, which is the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling the riverfront and people watching.

BEST FIXINS (A.K.A. SIDES)

Order the Blue Cheese Coleslaw at Kerlin BBQAustin, Texas

Austin has an undeniable cool factor, so it’s only fitting that it’s also home to the best cool, creamy ‘slaw that ever graced a plate of BBQ. You can forget counting coleslaw as a healthier side option to mac ‘n’ cheese, because this fixin’ is loaded with creamy blue cheese and mayo. Go on a clear day, because you’ll be eating outside. Kerlin BBQ is a no-thrills operation (think stationary food truck and picnic tables) in Austin’s hipster hood: East Austin. You don’t have to have a mustache or cool leg tattoo to get in—just order the ‘slaw, and they’ll know you can hang.

Blue cheese coleslaw; Photo courtesy of Yelp

Blue cheese coleslaw; Photo courtesy of Yelp

Runner up: The Sweet Potato Casserole at The Big Bib BBQSan Antonio, Texas

All good BBQ famously mixes the savory with the sweet, but the folks over at Big Bib BBQ are probably still wondering if their Sweet Potato Casserole belongs on the dessert menu or the sides menu. This dish is so sweet it’s essentially a sweet potato cake. Work up a good appetite before devouring this fixin’ with a hike along the Salando Creek Greenway just across the highway from Big Bib.

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Tagged: City, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, Holidays, Seasonal

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

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Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

By Derek Brown

Stomach turning, scream inducing and heart racing roller coaster rides are as much of a summer tradition as barbecues and beaches.  Every year there’s a race to build faster, more exhilarating and technologically-advanced rides.  From coast to coast, 2011 is no exception. Continue reading

Tagged: California, Family

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cheap flights
CheapTickets and Northwest Airlines are offering cheap flights for the holidays. So if you want to go home for Thanksgiving or plan a Christmas getaway, check out sale airfares like these:

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul to Boston: $287
  • Detroit to Baltimore: $183
  • Indianapolis to New York: $177
  • Milwaukee to Austin, TX: $251
  • Memphis to Orlando: $205

These cheap flights don’t include taxes and are good for travel November 20 – January 5, 2009.

So whether you want to visit cousins in Kalamazoo or ring in the New Year in New York, CheapTickets and Northwest have cheap flights to help you celebrate the holidays. But hurry, sale ends November 26.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, Flights, FREE!, Limited-time Offers

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By Heather Leisman

Our Deal of the Day this week is in Atlanta, a city that combines Southern charm with hip urban attitude.

One of the Atlanta hotels we’re highlighting is the Regency Suites Hotel. This three-star hotel is offering 25% off regular rates. I found discounted rooms for $129 a night November 1-2.

Check out my video for more about what makes the Regency Suites Hotel our pick among Atlanta hotels.

CheapTickets resources:

Heather Leisman is senior director of merchandising for CheapTickets.

Tagged: City, FREE!