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Cheap Right Now gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

July is the perfect month to channel your inner Jack Kerouac and head for Denver. The city is known for its 300 days of sunshine each year, which essentially means that it lacks any sort of humidity. Which, in turn, means good hair days. Plus, Denver is spilling over with culture, good food and great beer. And best of all, the Rocky Mountains are just a hop, skip and a jump away. Here’s what to do in Denver in July.

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport. Photo: Timothy Vollmer – Flickr.

Plane, train or automobile

Unless you’re down for a cross-countryroad trip (which is almost always the best choice), flying into Denver International Airport is the most efficient way to get here — plus the airport has won awards for it’s design, so it’s worth seeing. From there, catch the SkyRide bus, or the University of Colorado A Line of the RTD (Regional Transportation District) downtown for just $9.

RTD light rail

An RTD light rail train rides through Denver. Photo: Nan Palmero – Flickr.

Cheap local transit

The RTD runs a light rail service around and through most of the city, and can take you out into the neighborhoods for some localized exploration. A one-day pass is $5.20, and that’ll get you on the buses too. Otherwise, the Denver B-cycle bike-share program has 88 stations throughout the city and is $7 for a half hour of use.

Denver Civic Center

Food trucks gather at Denver Civic Center three times a week. Photo: Rex Brown – Flickr.

Forage the food trucks

Denver seemed to jump on board the food truck train before the rest of the country, and its robust offering of delicacies just keeps getting better. Follow popular mainstays like Quiero Arepas, Manna from Heaven and Waffle Up on social media to track them down, or go to the gathering at Civic Center Park Tuesday throughThursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Denver Biscuit Co’s biscuits and gravy, while incredibly messy, are particularly notable —it’ll be hours before you’re hungry again, and they’re just $9.50 when served with a protein-filled egg. 

Flatirons

The Flatirons near Boulder, Colorado. Photo: Cara Jo – Flickr.

Hit the trails

Your first priority upon arrival should be finding a place to either eat or hike. And since we just covered the former, here’s what to do for the latter: You’ll have to drive a ways outside of Denver, but it’ll be well worth it. There are dozens of hikes you could choose, but all offer a heavy dose of that fresh, cool mountain air. Try the Flatirons around Boulder, about a 40-minute drive from Denver.

Denver farmers' market

The Cherry Creek Fresh Market. Photo: Paul Swansen – Flickr.

Frequent a farmers’ market

There are farmers’ markets all over the city, but try the one on Old South Pearl Street between Florida and Iowa avenues. There’s fresh produce, savory spices and plenty of delectable treats, and some food trucks usually show up as well. The South Pearl neighborhood is incredibly cute, so stop at one of the coffee shops, like Steam Espresso Bar, on your way to the market. Afterwards, if you saved room for dessert, wander over to Duffeyroll Cafe for some dreamy cinnamon rolls.

Wynkoop beer

A flight of beer at Wynkoop Brewing Company. Photo: Bill Selak – Flickr.

Wind down at Wynkoop

Wynkoop Brewing Company was Denver’s first brewpub, opened in 1988. Gov. John Hickenlooper, who many call the father of craft beer, was one of the guys who started it. Back then, the neighborhood wasn’t nearly as hip as it is now, but Wynkoop helped revitalize the LoDo neighborhood, which has since built up around it. So swing in, grab a bite to eat and try some delicious beer (and toast to old Hickenlooper while you’re at it).

ice cream

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream. Photo: stokes 91 – Flickr.

 

Scream for ice cream

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream near Washington Park is not to be missed. The delicious flavors are homemade right on site, and they change throughout the summer, but the menu usually includes such gems as pineapple cheesecake, malted milkball and lemon ginger. The line usually stretches out the door—it gets pretty hot in Denver in July, meaning plenty of people are eager to cool off with a sweet treat. But worry not, there are plenty of benches to sit on while enjoying your just rewards and fitting in somechoice people-watching.

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Tagged: Cheap of the Month, City, Food & drink, Off-season

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Steeped in German heritage and drenched in beer, Milwaukee is probably one of the best places to hang out with your dad on Father’s Day. There’s cheese and sausage, beer and fishing, and whole boatload of history. The city’s industrial past still seems to seep from its pores, and you can sense it the second you see the skyline. But it’s also breathtaking, especially as the sun starts to dip below the horizon and turn the waters of Lake Michigan into a palette of pastels. Summer weekends here are fairly close to magical (and your dad will probably think so too)—and being that it’s cheap right now, it’s the perfect time for Milwaukee travel.

 

Milwaukee from the air

Milwaukee, Wisc. on the shore of Lake Michigan from 38,000 feet in the air. Photo: Ron Reiring – Flickr CC

Plane, train or automobile — General Mitchell International Airport serves the Milwaukee area and is only five miles south of downtown. There’s also the option of flying into Chicago and driving up — the drive is less than two hours if you don’t hit traffic. There’s also an Amtrak station. Driving in may be the best option, though, because it means you can tool around the city or beautiful Wisconsin countryside.

 

Milwaukee bus

Milwaukee County Transit System Bus. Photo: Vincent Desjardins – Flickr CC

Cheap local transit — Pay only $3 for a 30-minute ride on a Bublr Bike, or get a pay-as-you-go pass and pay only $2 per 30-minute ride. This is the best way to see the city, especially with the weather being so nice this time of year. If you must take the bus, Milwaukee County Transit System charges $2.25 a ride if you pay in cash.

 

Lakefront Brewery

A flight of beer at Lakefront Brewery. Photo: Connie Ma – Flickr CC

Book a brewery tour — The options for brewery tours are seemingly endless in a city known for its beer. Just make sure you plan ahead, because some require you to book a tour, and some stop touring by mid-afternoon. You could go traditional with MillerCoors (it’s free and comes with three beers), or more craft with Milwaukee Brewing Company (it’s $10, and includes samples and a pint glass). Lakefront Brewery also has a good $7 tour, rife with samples.

 

Usinger's in Milwaukee - Milwaukee travel and food

Usinger’s Sausage in Milwaukee. Photo: Dan Perry – Flickr CC

Bulk up on some brats — Few meals are as quintessentially ‘dad’ as sausage, beer and cheese. Luckily there’s no meal that’s more Milwaukeean, making Usinger’s Sausage and Smoked Meats quite the historical mainstay. The 136-year-old, family-owned company sells its brats and sausages all over town, but nothing beats visiting the shop downtown on Third Street. For more instant gratification, head across the street to Old German Beer Hall or Milwaukee Brat House to sample the goods without having to cook them yourself.

 

Fly fishing

A local fisherman fly fishing the Milwaukee River by the Kletzsch Park waterfall in April 2013. Photo: Nick Bragg – Flickr CC

Fetch some fish to fry — Sink your lines in the Milwaukee River at Caesar’s Park, less than three miles south of town. With patience and a little luck, you might be feasting on salmon, steelhead and brown trout. So kick back, crack open a beer and try your hand at catching dinner while you bond with dear old dad. If you want to get a little farther away from it all, you can also access the Milwaukee River from Kern Park, Estabrook Park or Kletzch Park.

 

Milwaukee Polish Fest

Milwaukee Polish Fest. Photo: Matthew Juzenas – Flickr CC

Find a festival — June is festival season in basically every city in America, and Milwaukee leads the parade. There’s Taco Fest on June 6, PrideFest the weekend of June 10, Polish Fest the weekend of June 17, Beer Lovers Festival June 18, and that’s just the beginning. Most parishes have festivals throughout the summer, and Milwaukee has a rich Catholic history, so there’s a bunch of them. You could probably stumble upon a festival without even trying.

 

Miller Park - Milwaukee travel and sports

Bond over baseball — This one’s a classic for a reason—take your dad to a Milwaukee Brewers game, settle in with some beers and Cracker Jacks, and enjoy the ride. Even if you’re not that into the team — or the sport, for that matter — there’s always good people watching, and it’s a great way to absorb some Vitamin D and just enjoy being out in the sun. If you want to up the ante with a little rivalry and drama, the Brewers play the Mets, the Nationals and the Dodgers at home in June.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, Holidays, Tips & advice

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Airports wrote the book on overpriced food. Not getting your fill before you go through security, or not packing enough non-liquid snacks, could mean breaking the bank before you even take off. In the event that you didn’t have time to pack your own grub, traveling on a budget means crossing your fingers and hoping the airline you chose has some complimentary goodies for you. If you really played your cards right, those free treats will actually taste good. Here’s a list of the five best free airplane snacks around. 

Delta serves branded Biscoff cookies. Courtesy of m01229.

Delta serves branded Biscoff cookies. Courtesy of m01229.

1.) Biscoff cookies — The popularity of this delicious little cookie spread like wildfire in the U.S. after airlines began serving it. Until then, it was a treat reserved for Europeans, best enjoyed dunked in coffee. It’s like a gingerbread/shortbread fusion, not too indulgent and just sweet enough. Delta serves a version that has its logo embossed on the cookie, and it should go splendidly with the Starbucks it now serves on all flights. And we can all thank our lucky stars that plenty of retailers in the U.S. now carry Biscoff, so we can get that airplane delight without traveling.

 

Courtesy of Faisal Akram.

Courtesy of Faisal Akram.

2.) Free alcohol — Now here is a rarity. Horizon Air and Skywest, sister carriers of Alaska Airlines, serve complimentary free craft beer and wine on nearly every flight. This is a service those first-class flyers are used to, but it’s novel to us plebeians. The crew picks one craft beer and one wine to serve on each flight. The libations are local to Alaska. United Airlines also offers complimentary house wine and beer for economy passengers on flights between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

 shutterstock_142818424

3.) Pretzels — When you reach peak altitude, there’s really only three food groups that matter: salty, sweet and alcoholic. The pretzel is the Sultan of Salt. After you’ve dished out $6 for a beer, getting a free little packet of these munchies will feel like Christmas morning. ‘Free’ being the key word here. Delta has your back once again for these complimentary noshes. 

 

Terra Blues Potato Chips. Courtesy of Urbanfoodie33.

Terra Blues Potato Chips. Courtesy of Urbanfoodie33.

4.) Blue chipsJetBlue has created a bit of a cult following for Terra Blues Potato Chips. Every flier gets a personal-sized bag of the chips, made from naturally blue potatoes. They are a bit salty and nutty, and you can feel good about them since they are all natural. Or at least a little better than you would after other airline snacks.  

Courtesy of Daniella Segura.

Courtesy of Daniella Segura.

5.) Peanuts — We’d be remiss not to give this classic in-flight snack a shout out. Peanuts are nearly as synonymous with flights as they are with baseball. In the days of yore they were almost always free available. Now you’ll only be lucky enough to get these little packages salty goodness of select airlines like Delta. Peanuts are also a healthier option than it’s rival, pretzels. Hearty? Not really, but at least eating them will kill five minutes while you stare out the window.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Flights, Food & drink, FREE!

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There are a few good reasons to have a cold brewski in March. Once everyone has recovered from their St. Patrick’s Day bar hops, it’s the NCAA college basketball tournament that dominates television screens in sports bars across America. In a matter of weeks, 64 teams will be whittled down by 54 single-elimination games. It’s madness. We collected data from sports bars in the 14 cities where these mad matches take place in 2015 to compare the cost of beer. Here’s what we found:

06_MarchMadnessBeer_v03[1]

Oregon may not be favored in the tourney, but when it comes to the cost of a cold one, Portland is #1 in all three beer categories. If you’re into local brews, Indianapolis and Jacksonville hold a close second. Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Syracuse hold the next best price for imported beer, like Heineken and Stella. No surprise to any big city dwellers, L.A. had the most expensive beer in all three categories. If you’re heading to a tourney game, keep these stats in mind and choose your winning beer wisely.

Story by Ally Marotti

Graphic by Ramiro Olmos

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, City, Florida, Food & drink, Infographics, Sports