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Whether you’re into pumpkins or podcasts, biergartens or blues music, these fall festivals are worth falling for.

Oktoberfest Denver

When and where: Sept. 23–25 and Sept. 30–Oct.2 in Denver

There’s no shortage of German-inspired festivals this time of year, but how many have stein hoisting (only the strong survive), wiener dog races and the the Keg Bowling National Championships? You’ll also find the usual beer, brats. And if you’re in the midwest, check out Cincinnati’s Octoberfest Zinzinnati!

Los Angeles Podcast Festival

When and where: Sept. 23–25 in Los Angeles

Whether you’re commuting in LA gridlock, looking for something to listen to while you work off all the s’mores you ate over the summer, or you’re just not into the fall TV lineup, audio entertainment can be a godsend. Some of the biggest names in podcasting will gather at the Beverly Hills Sofitel for live recordings, workshops, fan meet-and-greets and more.

Zach Galifianakis, Todd Glass and Steve Agee yuk it up on a recording of Doug Loves Movies during the 2012 Los Angeles Podcast Festival. Credit CleftClips/Flickr.

Zach Galifianakis, Todd Glass and Steve Agee yuk it up on a recording of Doug Loves Movies during the 2012 Los Angeles Podcast Festival. Credit CleftClips/Flickr.

Manhattan Short Film Festival

When and where: Sept. 23–Oct. 2 in New York

You don’t have to be in Manhattan to take part in this celebration of cinema. The festival is spread across more than 250 venues worldwide, including movie theaters, museums and college campuses. In addition to meeting movie buffs from Sydney to Moscow to Cape Town, audience members get to vote on the best overall film.

National Apple Harvest Festival

When and where: Oct. 1–2 and 8–9 in Biglerville, Pennsylvania

If the phrase apple harvest doesn’t give you the fall feels, then nothing will. For two weekends in October, the town of Biglerville, Pennsylvania, celebrates the season with the ultimate apple festival: orchard tours, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, classic car show and other all-American activities. Rumor has it there will be an appearance by the Apple Queen.

Scarecrow Festival

When and where: Oct. 7–9 in St. Charles, Illinois

Don’t be scurred to check out more than 100 hand-crafted scarecrows and vote for your fave. There’s also a carnival, petting zoo, live entertainment and more in this festival held in St. Charles, Illinois, about an hour outside of Chicago.

If you only had a brain, you'd make plans to attend the Scarecrow Festival. Credit NoukSopha/Flickr.

If you only had a brain, you’d make plans to attend the Scarecrow Festival. Credit NoukSopha/Flickr.

Cranberry Harvest Celebration

When and where: Oct. 8–9 in Wareham, Massachussetts

If apples aren’t your thing, then opt for this fruit fest in Wareham, Massachusetts, not far from Cape Cod. Enjoy watching the wet cranberry harvest (it’s not just for TV commercials), cooking demos, a juried craft show, paddleboat rides, music and more.

Memphis Food & Wine Festival

When and where: Oct. 15 in Memphis, Tennessee

Squeeze the last few drops out of summer during this gastronomic gathering at Memphis Botanic Garden. Enjoy an al fresco meal curated by by local chefs, vintners, certified sommeliers, to the soundtrack of Memphis blues, jazz and rock bands, making it the most musical of these fall festivals.

Circleville Pumpkin Show

When and where: Oct. 19–22 in Circleville, Ohio

What’s a roundup of fall events without a pumpkin festival? This gathering in Circleville, in suburban Columbus, celebrates the gourd with multiple parades (babies, pets, Miss Pumpkin… you name it), carnival rides, baked goods and more.

The annual Circleville Pumpkin Show is always huuuuge, like this unbelievable pumpkin. Which cinches it as one of the best fall festivals of the year. Credit Vasenka Photography/Flickr.

The annual Circleville Pumpkin Show is always huuuuge. Credit Vasenka Photography/Flickr.

Atlanta World Kite Festival & Expo

Where and when: Oct. 22 in Atlanta, Georgia

Autumn breezes make for prime kite-flying conditions, so head to Piedmont Park in the Meadow to watch the colorful creations soar. The family-friendly event includes live entertainment, food vendors, a pumpkin decorating contest and more.

Miami Book Fair International

Where and when: Nov. 13–20 inMiami, Florida

So you’ve finished your stack of beach reads and you’re reader for something meatier to take you into fall. This event around the campus of Miami Dade College is a bibliophile’s dream, with sales galore, talks by A-list authors, a street festival and children’s area with character appearances, art projects and music stations that’ll make a bookworm out of even the most reluctant reader.


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Think Saturday, October 15, 2016 is just another ordinary Saturday? Think again! October 15th is Sweetest Day, a lesser-known, less-pressure-y version of Valentine’s Day. It’s a great (and more unexpected) day to surprise your sweetheart with a little gift, a card, or a kind gesture. But why not up the ante and whisk your beloved off for a romantic weekend getaway? We think the best Sweetest Day ideas include a suitcase for two! Here are a few of our favorite destinations for canoodling the weekend away:

Savannah, GA

The gorgeous fountains of Savannah, Georgia. This ultra romantic destination tops our list of the best Sweetest Day ideas.

Photo: Savannah | Jeff Gunn, Flickr

Here’s one of our favorite Sweetest Day ideas: Picture yourself and your love holding hands as you stroll past Forsyth Fountain, Spanish moss draped in the trees overhead like a trailing green canopy. Can you see it? It really doesn’t get more romantic than Savannah. Plus, it has all the ingredients for a terrific weekend away: historic architecture, horse-and-buggy rides clip-clopping through cobblestone streets, truly hair-raising ghost tours (hold each other close!), and the kind of restaurant scene you’lldream about later. Get gussied up and order jumbo scallops at The Olde Pink House, a pink-painted 18th-century Colonial mansion, and then walk through the Riverfront Plaza on River Street, nine blocks of shops set inside renovated historic warehouses.

Sedona, AZ

Stacy Egan,, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Sedona Rainbow | Stacy Egan, Flickr

Sedona is famous for one thing: being gorgeous. This posh desert destination rises up from the dusty road like a mirage, its majestic red rock formations glowing in the sun. You’ll love wandering Main Street, which is packed full of restaurants, bars, and New Age crystal and energy healing stores. Take your love to get your auras photographed, and book a massage or reiki cleansing session. Or grab seats on a Pink Jeep tour, which will take you right up to the bases of Sedona’s (reputedly magical) red rocks.

Sebastopol, CA

CIMG0364.jpg,, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Sebastapol | David Orban, Flickr

Never heard of it? You’ll wish you had once you get there! Sebastopol, a small town of about 8,000 people in Sonoma County, is a gem of a weekend getaway—it’s quaint without being self-consciously cute, and has an old-fashioned main street brimming with antique stores. Head to Ace Cider Pub for a juicy twist on a brewery experience, and don’t miss taking your sweetie for ice cream at the award-winning, world-famous Screamin’ Mimi’s, where the hot fudge, caramel, and waffle cones are all made onsite. The cherry on top? You’re just 90 minutes from San Francisco, if you want to keep the road-trip vibes going.

Niagara Falls, NY

bobistraveling,, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Niagara Falls, NY | bobistraveling, Flickr

Nicknamed “The Honeymoon Capital of the World”, Niagara Falls is a study in contrasts: On one hand, you’ve got the mighty natural wonder of the Falls themselves, with millions of gallons of water cascading endlessly to a picturesque end. On the other, you’ve got the town of Niagara Falls, which is like a mini-Vegas—kitsch city! Spend a night overlooking the special rainbow lights behind the Falls, and then head out the next day to see them up close on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, where you and your honey will be given matching ponchos for coordinated selfies. Afterwards, hit the town to explore the casinos, wax works museums, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibitions—tourist traps, sure, but lots of fun for the day!

Stillwater, MN

Smitty 54017's Photos, Stillwater, MN, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: St. Croix Boom Site, Stillwater, NM | Smitty 54017, Flickr

Get ready to be charmed. Voted one of the “Top 10 Prettiest Towns in America” by Forbes magazine, Stillwater is a small town on a seriously beautiful river, the St. Croix. Miles of hiking and biking trails, stunning cliff views, antique shops galore, and a downtown that seems to have been designed for sweethearts to stroll through all make Stillwater a dream weekend destination, and one of our favorite Sweetest Day ideas. Add in cute autumnal activities, such as picking your own Honeycrisp apples at Aamodt’s Apple Farm—and visiting a farmer’s market that runs through October across the street from the historic Court House—and you’ve got a Sweetest Day getaway you’ll remember forever.


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Spend a fall day at one of America’s favorite orchards, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here’s where to go apple picking this fall:


Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards: LaFayette, NY 

Come for the apple picking at this century-old farm about 100 miles west of Rochester. Stay for, well, a whole lot more. The kids’ play area is full of old-fashioned rides and games. Apple Hill Country Store & Bake Shop sells everything from local cheddar cheese to homemade fudge to apple everything, obvs. There’s even a tasting room where adults can sample apple-based wine and spirits. The place even thrives during the summer, with events ranging from lawn concerts to paint-and-sip parties to CrossFit.

Patterson Fruit Farm: Chesterland, OH

On weekends, climb aboard a wagon and head for the orchards for some choice apple picking in this Cleveland suburb.Pack a lunch to enjoy in the picnic area, or hit up the Farm Market, which sells produce, apple cider, apple fritters and such. And pencil in this year’s Fun Fest; it runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 30, with horse-drawn wagon rides, pony rides, a corn maze, pumpkin painting and more.

Stribling OrchardMarkham, VA

Located about 60 miles west of Washington, DC, this farm is nearly as old as apple picking itself. Spring for the $8 tour, which includes a talk about the orchard’s history (some of the buildings date back to the 1700s), a peek at the horses and sheep, and a 1/4 peck of U-pick apples. The orchard is located in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, so bring your good camera.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards: Parkdale, OR

About 80 miles east of Portland, this farm offers stunning views of Mount Hood. It’s also where to go apple picking in the Pacific Northwest if you’re particular about your produce—simply check out its online “ready dates” calendar so you know exactly when each variety is ripe for the picking. The calendar is also ripe with special events, from hard cider tastings to a farm-to-table dessert festival to Fiesta Days with Mariachi music and Mexican food. Because man does not live on apples alone.

Weston’s Antique Apples: New Berlin, WI

This orchard in suburban Milwaukee that offers dozens of apple varieties ripe for apple picking, but that’s just the beginning. There are plenty of special events, like this year’s Sept. 11 Historic Fest and Oct. 2 Apple Fest. And to really get rooted in orchard life, sign up for a class in pruning, grafting or pest management. But only if you’re hardcore.


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Pour your favorite pumpkin-flavored beverage into a travel mug. It’s time to hit the road and check out some jaw-droppingly gorgeous fall foliage.

The Berkshires

We could fill this entire list with places in New England, but this western Massachusetts region gets top billing for having an entire festival celebrating autumn colors—the aptly named Fall Foliage Festival. This year’s event is Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, kicking off peak leaf-peeping time, which happens during the first few weeks of October. Start your visit by attending the oh-so-quaint Fall Foliage Parade, then drive the 55-mile-long Mohawk Trail, teeming with rolling hills, gurgling streams and Native American history.

The Berkshires: This is about as "fall" as it gets. The pumpkins are not the focus of this image - just look at those rolling mountains covered in gorgeous fall foliage. Credit Ogden Gigli via Massachusetts Office of Tourism/Flickr.

The Berkshires: This is about as “fall” as it gets. Credit Ogden Gigli via Massachusetts Office of Tourism/Flickr.

Gold Coast, Michigan

Start in Traverse City, and drive for more than 250 miles of beauty along the Lake Michigan shore, through Northport and Frankfort. Stop for apple cider at Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm and in St. Joseph to ride the Silver Beach Carousel. Late September to mid-October is the best time to see these fall hues.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Begin in Roanoke, Virginia, and drive south toward Asheville, North Carolina, for a show-stopping landscape of bright yellow hickories, orange sassafras trees and brilliantly red swamp dogwoods. There’s no shortage of things to do along this 469-stretch of the national park system, from exploring the bustling Harrisonburg Farmers Market in Virginia to climbing Chimney Rock near Asheville. Mid-to late October is a good time to catch plenty of color; leaves change hues at the highest elevation first.

Maybe they should rename it the Red Ridge Parkway, thanks to all those vibrant red trees. Credit: Sarah Zucca/Flickr.

Maybe they should rename it the Red Ridge Parkway. Credit: Sarah Zucca/Flickr.

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

You could spend a week exploring the Ozark Mountain Range, which stretches through Arkansas and Missouri. But to focus your trip, head to Arkansas’ Slymore Scenic Byway, which fully lives up to its name. The 26.5-mile stretch is packed with colorful mountain views. While you’re in the area, explore Blanchard Springs Caverns and watch as pioneer life is reenacted at Ozark Folk Center State Park; the park’s live bluegrass performances make a perfect soundtrack for your trip.

The Ozarks: Don't even think about putting a filter on this gorgeousness, which features rolling, green mountains peeking out from behind some red foliage. Credit Nancy/Flickr.

The Ozarks: Don’t even think about putting a filter on this gorgeousness. Credit Nancy/Flickr.

Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Even the name sounds like a breath of fresh autumn air. This 11-mile stretch spans between two mountain ridges, surrounding drivers with golden and orange maple trees. The trip starts in the resort town of Stowe and ends, conveniently, in Waterbury—home of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour. Because it’s always ice cream season.

We'd stow away for a trip to Vermont's Green Mountain Byway - just look at that bright orange fall foliage. Credit:

We’d stow away for a trip to Vermont’s Green Mountain Byway. Credit:

Columbia River Highway, Oregon

For a fall road trip that’s not overrun with tourists, the West Coast might just be the best coast. In addition to fall foliage (and yes, it changes colors), this 70-mile stretch offers vistas of waterfalls, monuments, bridges and gorges. The route is home to several wineries, so commemorate your vacation with a souvenir bottle or two. Late October is a good time to catch the leaves in all their glory.

Wahkeena Creek and it's gorgeous fall foliage is just one of the many jaw-dropping sites along Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. Credit Ian Sane/Flickr.

Wahkeena Creek is just one of the many jaw-dropping sites along Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Credit Ian Sane/Flickr.

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Before summer comes to a close, squeeze in one last feel-like-a-kid again experience. Here’s a roundup (pun intended) of America’s best carousel rides.

Carousel on the National Mall — Washington, DC

This 1940s carousel wore several hats—attraction at a Maryland amusement park and even a bargaining chip in the civil rights movement—before becoming the lighthearted tourist attraction it is today. Dubbed the Smithsonian Carousel, it sits in front of the he Arts and Industries Building in the nation’s capital.

The Carousel ride on the National Mall is an American icon. Credit Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Carousel on the National Mall is an American icon | Credit: Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr Creative Commons.

Jane’s Carousel ride — Brooklyn, NY

Take a break from the overstimulation of the Big Apple and head for this 1922 carousel inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. With typical New York swagger, its 48 horses and two chariots are housed inside a stunning glass pavilion designed by bigshot architect Jean Nouvel. Go for a ride, or reserve the entire thing for a birthday party, photo shoot or wedding.

New Yorkers are so cool, even their carousels come in chic packaging. Jane's Carousel photo courtesy of Kiah Ankoor/Flickr Creative Commons.

New Yorkers are so cool, even their carousels come in chic packaging | Credit: Kiah Ankoor/Flickr Creative Commons.

Flying Horses Carousel ride — Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Originally an attraction at New York’s Coney Island, this 1878 (!!!) landmark is the oldest platform carousel in the country. The antique attraction has been restored to its former glory, complete with an old-timey Wurlitzer organ and real horse hair on the manes and tails.

The Flying Horses Carousel ride is on the National Register of Historic Places. Credit N. Friedler/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Flying Horses Carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places | Credit: N. Friedler/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel ride — Los Angeles, CA

For a carousel with a cause, take a spin on this attraction at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens Zoo. The 64 wooden figures and two chariots showcase endangered California wildlife that the zoo is working to save. Rides are free with zoo admission ($15 for kids and $20 for adults).

Oaks Park Carousel ride — Portland, OR

If you’re bored with the usual carousel horses, then check out the menagerie of animals on this 1911 attraction inside Oaks Amusement Park. Gate admission is free; pay $3.25 to ride the carousel or buy a bracelet for all the park rides starting at $14.

Because carousel horses are a dime a dozen, this one has elk. Oaks Park Carousel ride photo by Randy Kashka/Flickr Creative Commons.

Because carousel horses are a dime a dozen. Oaks Park Carousel photo | Credit: Randy Kashka/Flickr Creative Commons.

Pleasure Pier Carousel ride — Galveston, TX

Sure, this amusement park has rides with flashy names like Iron Shark and Pirate’s Plunge, but the double-decker carousel remains a crowd favorite. The animal options range from lion to seahorse, so you can have a different ride every time. Single-ride tickets cost $4.

Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel ride — Cleveland, OH

Here’s one you can ride year-round. The carousel that once delighted beachgoers on the shores on Lake Erie has been restored and moved to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center. The merry-go-round depicts scenes from its heyday in the mid-20th century, so folks who were around to ride it outdoors can reminisce about the good old days. General museum admission ($10 adults, $5 kids) includes two rides.

Cleveland weather can get dicey, so thank goodness this carousel ride's indoors. Credit KE Lewis/Wikimedia Commons.

Cleveland weather can get dicey, so thank goodness this carousel’s indoors. Credit KE Lewis/Wikimedia Commons.

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Washington D.C. is our nation’s capital and a living, breathing symbol of freedom as well. With its elegant monuments and extensive museum exhibits, this destination can also be considered the capital of free things to do. Add in a poppin’ night-life scene and a mixture of cultures, and you have a perfect cheap destination for the historically inclined college student (or really, anyone else). Here are the best things to do in Washington D.C., if you’re traveling cheap.

Enjoy some seriously iconic national monuments

Washington D.C. is much more than just the monuments it is famous for, but still, these historic landmarks are not to be missed—especially since seeing them is free. And they remain among the top things to do in D.C.

The city is covered in monuments, and the epicenter of it all is the National Mall. There, you can find such classics as the Washington, Lincoln and the Jefferson memorials, among many others.

A view of the Washington Monument, as seen from between the huge columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Both of these stately attractions are among the top things to do in Washington D.C.

Washington Monument seen from Lincoln Memorial. Courtesy

The Washington Memorial is one of D.C.’s most iconic views. The monument is not hard to miss, thanks to its towering height (compared to the city’s famously low skyline) and the giant reflecting pool that mirrors this tribute to our nation’s first president.

What many people don’t know is that you can see the monument from the inside as well as from the outside. That means you can climb to the top of the Washington and get an aerial view of the National Mall. The best part? Tickets for this breath-taking view can be found for free!

In order to obtain free Washington Monument tickets, you must be resilient, patient and most of all early…tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Which is why attempting to score a ticket can feel a bit like Black Friday, but it’s it totally worth it once you see that view. The tickets can be found at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, adjacent to the monument.

An evening view of the Lincoln Memorial, with people sitting on the steps in front. This attraction is one of the most popular in the city, and a must-see on your list of things to do in D.C.

Photo courtesy of

Honest Abe can always be found greeting guests at the Lincoln Memorial. While gazing at the peaceful figure, you might start to wonder if his backside is hurting after sitting inthat stone chair for so many years. His face, however, will give you no indication…

At the top of the memorial’s steps is a tile that is marked for its significance. Not only can you visit Mr. Lincoln here, you can also be a part of a pivotal event in our nation’s history, by standing where Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he gave his “I have a dream” speech to thousands of spectators.

A broke student's guide to doing Washington D.C. on the cheap

Photo courtesy of

Across the Tidal Basin sits the Jefferson Memorial, the beautiful location is great for relaxation and enjoying the greenery of D.C. This is especially true during March and April, when the Tidal Basin’s borders are colored with romantic pink cherry blossoms.

If you take the time to walk in between these three iconic monuments, you will surely come across many many others, such as several veterans memorials, the National World War II Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Try to catch a glimpse of the Commander in Chief

If you are making an impromptu stop at the President’s home, don’t expect to be invited in… However, if you are planning your trip in advance, you might have a chance to walk through the iconic home’s halls, which is by far one of th coolest things to do in D.C.

You can make a public tour request up to three months in advance through a member of Congress. Tours of the White House are free, if you are quick and lucky enough to snag a spot—the latest you can file a request is 21 days before your planned visit.

If you dropped the ball this time don’t worry, you can still take a selfie outside the mansion and visit the White House Visitor Center, at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Here, you can take an interactive touchscreen tour of the White House, view over 90 artifacts from the White House collection and see the short film, “White House: Reflections From Within.”

A broke student's guide to doing Washington D.C. on the cheap

Photo courtesy of

Your trip-planning keyword: Smithsonian

Here’s a good tip for your trip to Washington D.C.: Look for the word “Smithsonian,” as it usually equates to “free.” There are countless free museums in D.C., and all of them have something worth seeing. Best of all, most are within walking distance of those iconic monuments we discussed earlier.

These free Smithsonian museums include:

  • The Air and Space Museum, which offers a glimpse (or rather, a long hard look) into our country’s past, present and future in the fields of flight and aerospace technology.
  • The American History Museum, which houses an extensive collection of American artifacts, such as the first American flag, Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and even Kermit the Frog.
  • The Natural History Museum, which captures the natural wonders of the world, including several dinosaur fossil skeletons and hundreds of preserved animals that are sure to intrigue you and give you nightmares.
  • The National Zoo, where you can see many of the animals you saw in the Natural History Museum…but this time without the stuffing.
A broke student's guide to doing Washington D.C. on the cheap

Tian Tian the giant panda eating bamboo at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Mehgan Murphy and the Smithsonian.

Party in the eclectic D.C. neighborhoods

Washington D.C.’s neighborhoods are a mixture of diverse cultures and historical significance. The nightlife scene has really taken off in D.C. in recent years and can be found all over the city. Here is a look at the best of the best of D.C. nightlife.

The Adams Morgan neighborhood is known for its historic architecture and local boutiques by day, and its unique bars and restaurants by night. This “hipster hotspot” also features many ethnic restaurants and live music. No matter what time of day you choose to visit, 18th Street is the place to be in this neighborhood.

Want to find some of these ethnic eats for a cheap price? First, check out the Amsterdam Falafelshop for a seriously filing and unique late-night meal. A regular-sized falafel sandwich, which comes with 5 falafel balls in a large pita and as many toppings as that pita can handle, is less than $7. If empanadas are more your style, check out Julia’s Empanadas for treats that are filled to the brim with fresh ingredients. You can get a hot and juicy empanada for a mere $5 at Julia’s. What we’re getting at here is: Eating is one of the absolute best things to do in Washington D.C., and Adams Morgan is among the best places to do exactly that.

Looking for a place to chill and discover some new music? Look no further than Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe. This place offers a variety of live shows that are relatively cheap to attend—tickets can cost anywhere from free (with rsvp on their website) to $20.

If you want to combine two of life’s greatest treasures—great music and food—be sure to check out Adams Morgan Day, held on the second Sunday in September each year. This local celebration features live music and food from around the world, as well as sidewalk cafes, unique vendors, and cultural demonstrations and dances.

Logan Circle is also known for its historic architecture, and is so named for the roundabout on its southern end, and the statue of Civil War general John Logan found in the area’s park. This neighborhood’s nightlife has taken off thanks to the transformation of 14th Street NW, where dozens of restaurants, indie and national-brand shops and a hoppin’ bar scene can be found.

Here, you’ll find the legendary Black Cat, which has been offering indie bands and themed dance nights since 1993. And entry will only set you back from the gloriously cheap $0, to roughly $20 at the high end. Shows include DJ dance parties, live bands and weekly “Doctor Who” screenings, among others.

The Studio Theatre is also a place where you can catch local talent and some traveling performances, including musicals, avant garde dramas and new comedies. Although this might be a bit of a splurge, depending on the show you choose, it can be a good look into Logan Circle’s artistic draw. And you can definitely find tickets for as little as $20—just be sure to buy them in advance.

HStreet NE is a 1.5-mile stretch in Northeast D.C. that is known for its nightlife, restaurants and festivals. Rock and Roll Hotel is a local mainstay for up-and-coming indie rock bands. Tickets to shows are typically $10 to $25, and the admission to the rooftop bar is free.

If you are visiting in the summer or fall, check out Gallery OonH during its Music in the Courtyard series. The gallery offers free music concerts in the Courtyard on weekends from May 1 to October 31. The series features local musicians with genres ranging from electronic violin to zydeco, to steel bands and rock n’ roll.

H Street NE has plenty of late-night snack options for post-concert indulgences, but if you find yourself looking to recharge the next morning, take a brunch break at Bullfrog Bagels. The eatery offers fresh bagels and a deliciously simple brunch menu, which features nothing over $15.

H Street’s largest event is the annual, aptly named H Street Festival, which spans 10 blocks and attracts thousands of people each year. The September festival features musical performances and multi-cultural entertainment, art exhibits and local food trucks, making it one of the top things to do in Washington D.C. — that is, if you want a taste of local life.

A broke student's guide to doing Washington D.C. on the cheap

Night life on H Street NE. Photo courtesy of

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Let’s call camping what it is: an excuse to eat s’mores. So why not skip the tent and go straight for the good stuff? Here’s where to find that trifecta of summertime flavors, minus the bug bites. And these s’mores desserts aren’t the kind you can make ’round the campfire.

1927Smores' eponymous s'mores desserts.

1927Smores | Photo courtesy of Kris Leboeuf

Nineteen27 S’moresPortland, OR As the legend goes, the first documented s’mores recipe appeared in a Girl Scouts handbook in the year 1927. The troops would be proud of this new-millenium update: a s’mores food truck (yassss) serving handmade graham crackers with filling options like chai-spiced marshmallows, lemon curd spread and chocolate fudge. At $4 per s’more, you should be able to try them all. Scout’s honor.

Burger Tap and Shake — Washington, DC Your inner child will feel naughty indulging in the Bad Cubmaster ($8.50), a boozy milkshake of Smirnoff marshmallow-flavored vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, vanilla ice cream and graham crackers in a frosty glass. Adulthood has its privileges.

Beavers Donuts' version of s'mores desserts: tiny donuts covered in marshmallow, chocolate sauce and graham cracker dust.

S’mores mini donut | Photo courtesy of Beavers Donuts

Beaver’s Coffee and Donuts — Chicago, IL Your mom probably won’t cosign on this breakfast idea, but we can’t think of a better way to start the day: fried-to-order mini donuts topped with chocolate sauce, marshmallow sauce and a dusting of graham cracker crumbs. Pricing starts at $2 for four mini-donuts, plus $1 for toppings.

Trophy Cupcakes — Seattle, WA Martha Stewart called these Chocolate Graham Cracker cupcakes “utterly delicious,” so who are we to disagree? Sink your teeth into a bittersweet chocolate and graham cracker crust, chocolate cake and marshmallowy meringue icing. We’d give it a trophy.

Beckett's Table

Bacon Dipped S’mores | Photo courtesy of Beckett’s Table

Beckett’s TablePhoenix, AZ Your arteries may beg for mercy, but your tastebuds will thank you as you dive into the restaurant’s signature Chocolate Dipped Bacon S’mores. This s’mores dessert is just what it sounds like, with an added sinful element: peanut butter.

Bryan Street Tavern — Dallas, TX This hangout spot is the place for live music, poker and unfussy food. If your appetite is the size of Texas, finish your meal with the S’mores Pizza ($6)— a 9-inch pie of  marshmallow, graham cracker and warm chocolatey goodness baked in a stone fired pizza oven.

Paris Creperie's crepe-style s'mores desserts have all the good stuff packed inside.

Photo courtesy of The Paris Creperie

The Paris Creperie — Boston, MA Everything’s classier in French, so s’mores get a Parisian twist at this East Coast eatery: a “graham cracker infused crepe” (how do they do it?) stuffed with Nutella and marshmallows, plus more marshmallows on the outside. The treat comes in petite ($4.29) and regular ($7.99) sizes.

Frozen S’mores

Frozen S’mores at Dominique Ansel Bakery| Photo courtesy of Thomas Schauer

Dominique Ansel BakeryNew York, NY The mastermind behind the Cronut has found another way to attract droves of customers to his SoHo bakery: The Frozen S’more. It’s a honey marshmallow wrapped around homemade, Tahitian vanilla ice cream (how is that even possible?), and covered with cripsy chocolate feuilletine wafers—all torched and served on a smoked willow branch, natch.

S'mores mochi

S’mores mochi | Photo courtesy of Simply Mochi

Simply MochiSan Francisco, CA These bite-sized Japanese s’mores desserts get an all-American twist: mini marshmallows covered in chocolate and dusted with graham cracker crumbles. At just $1.40 to $2 a pop, you might as well order a bunch. Local delivery is available.


Tagged: Cheap Tips, City, Food & drink, New York City

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When it comes to the fan experience, these baseball stadiums hit it out of the park.

PNC Park

PNC Park | Flickr CC: Dan Gaken

PNC Park – If you thought Uber was the most innovative way to get to a sporting event, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you cheer on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge (which closes to traffic on game days) or idle your boat or kayak on the Allegheny River, where you can hear the roar of the crowd and maybe even catch a  stray ball. Occasional Pup Nights mean frankfurters aren’t the only dogs you’ll find in this stadium.

Jackie Robinson Rotunda in Citi Field, NYC

Jackie Robinson Rotunda in Citi Field, NYC | Flickr CC: Peter Bond

Citi Field – If the Big Apple is a melting pot, then the home of the New York Mets is where baseball fans go to feast. In countless online reviews, fansrave about the food selection: From Shake Shack to El Verano Taqueria to Hot Pastrami on Rye to more upscale eateries that require reservations, this ballpark hits a home run in the food department. As for the building itself, the stately Jackie Robinson Rotunda makes for a grand entrance (it’s so impressive that people get married there), while easy subway access and plentiful parking make getting to and from the ballpark a breeze. Occasional postgame concerts are another nice touch.

AT&T Park

AT&T Park | Flickr CC: truebacarlos

AT&T Park – The San Francisco Giants, who play here, have been crowned World Series champs three times since 2010. So there’s that. Then there’s the waterfront park itself, with its sweeping city views, award-winning design and “splash hit” home runs that land in McCovey Cove just outside the stadium. Even if you don’t want to watch the actual game, there are amusements galore in the free Fan Lot: a Superslide shaped like a giant Coca-Cola bottle, photo booth and Little Giants Park, a tot-sized replica where future sluggers can practice running the bases. And don’t even get us started on the food.

Comerica Park

Comerica Park | Flickr CC: Kevin Ward

Comerica Park – Yeah, we know, Detroit’s no San Francisco (even if it is on the up-and-up). But the home field of the Detroit Tigers is a bright spot in the city that can’t seem to catch a break. There’s a 50-foot Ferris wheel with cars shaped like baseballs, as well as a tiger-themed carousel; both are free for kids on Sundays. And when the Tigers score, a fountain on the centerfield wall comes to life with a “liquid fireworks” display of synchronized lights and music. For a more low-key experience, join the the Tiger Club, which offers a dinner buffet and access to the private Asylum Cigar Bar.

Stilt walkers in Marlins Park

Stilt walkers in Marlins Park | Flickr CC:

Marlins Park – America’s favorite pastime gets a dose of South Beach swank at this home of the Miami Marlins, and we’re not talking about the retractable roof. Tropical touches include colorful mosaic walkway lined with palm trees, a fish tank behind home plate and a sculpture that comes to life every time the Marlins score. But the party doesn’t really start until you’re inside the 21-and-up Clevelander Marlins Park. Take a dip in the bar’s pool, dance to the sounds of celebrity DJs and marvel at the stilt walkers. Just remember to keep an eye on the actual, you know, game.

Racing Sausages in Miller Park

Racing Sausages in Miller Park | Flickr CC: relux

Miller Park – Raise a glass to this home of the Milwaukee Brewers, whose fans take baseball tailgating to football-like levels. Inside the retractable-roofed stadium, the feast continues with everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to nachos on a stick. You can even cheer on your favorite meat during the sixth-inning Famous Racing Sausages showdown. And of course there’s beer. Lots and lots of beer. Periodic post-game concerts add to the fun.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park | Flickr CC: Peter Ciro

Fenway Park – Even if you don’t know a double play from a double header, you’ve probably heard of the <ahref=”” target=”_blank”>Boston Red Sox, indisputably one of the coolest baseball stadiums in America. The legendary team’s stadium opened in 1912, and the original architecture, hand-painted scoreboard and storied bar under the field keep the history alive. Sure, the seats are small and the food options are just average, but this is about tradition, people. Sing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning, argue with the rowdy fans in your section, and then head into the neighborhood after the game for a selection of wicked good eats.


Tagged: California, City, Family, Florida, Food & drink, New York City, Sports, Uncategorized

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Yes, everyone knows Cannes and Sundance. The behemoths of the film-fest world aren’t exactly accessible for most of us, though, and they don’t always showcase the freshest material. Here’s where to go to see film’s bright up-and-comers, for a lot cheaper than the French Riviera…

Marfa, Texas

Marfa, Texas

Citizen Jane Film Festival — Columbia, MO

When it is: November 3–6, 2016

Why to go: In 2010, Lena Dunham opened the Citizen Jane Film Festival with her feature-length dramedy, Tiny Furniture, which she wrote, directed and starred in. And the female filmmaker-driven Citizen Jane Film Festival has only grown since then, offering four days of the often-overlooked female perspective in films. Expect narrative and documentary shorts and features, as well as animated, experimental and dance shorts.

Cucalorus Film Festival – Wilmington, NC

When it is: November 2016 (Dates TBD)

Why to go: Cucalorus is so dedicated to celebrating the art form of film that it eschews any hint of competition. Instead, you can expect to engage in the creative exchange of ideas, predominantly through daring films, music videos, documentaries, shorts and panels—many of which have gone on to earn Oscar nominations. And the festival’s screenings are held not just in theaters, but in music venues, bars and breweries as well. Between films, check out art installations and performances, and hopefully another Bobcat Goldthwait production—the cult actor once presented his found-footage horror film here.

Fantastic Fest – Austin, TX

When it is: September 22–29, 2016

Why to go: Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is practically a nerd’s paradise—before or after your movie, you can play vintage Donkey Kong arcade games and buy vinyl reissues, t-shirts and TMNT toys. So it’s a natural choice for a film festival focused on horror, fantasy, sci-fi and action films. The fest also draws some seriously big names. It’s held the world premiere for films like Apocolypto, There Will Be Blood and Zombieland. And, as such, Darren Aronofsky, Tim Burton, Bill Murray and Jemaine Clement have all been spotted here, presumably downing a burger and some seriously good cocktails while watching themselves act on the theater’s silver screens.

True/False Film Festival – Columbia, MO

When it is: March 3–6, 2016

Why to go:

There are documentary film festivals, and then there’s Columbia’s True/False Film Festival. Each documentary and nonfiction film challenges audiences to think critically, and supports the festival’s mission to push the boundaries of creative nonfiction. Between screenings, enjoy presentations, debates and the March March, a Carnival-like parade. So grab your favorite old Halloween costume and hit the streets—afterwards, you can enjoy the city’s many parks and the Museum of Art and Archaeology.

Chicago Underground Film Festival — Chicago, IL

When it is: June 1–5, 2016

Why to go: If you want a clean break from the mainstream, the Chicago Underground Film Festival is for you. Proud to be ‘defiantly independent’, it collects and screens films from every corner of the world, pushing the boundaries of the artistic, aesthetic and all-around fun aspects of indie filmmaking. Meaning there’s a huge variety in the kinds of films you’ll catch here: Alternative music films, political agitprop, formal experimentation and, of course, the always-popular avant-garde. Oh, and every evening the fest spills out into Chicago’s beautiful streets. So even if you skip the festival’s nightly parties, events and concerts, you’ll still never run out of things to do.

Outfest Los Angeles — Los Angeles, CA

When it is: July 7–17, 2016

Why to go: Gender, sexuality, LGBT culture—these are the often-overlooked stories heard at Outfest. And get ready to experience the full spectrum of voices here, not just those deemed tame enough for prime time. The filmmakers celebrated here promote acceptance and equality for all people around the world through honest and compelling shorts, features and documentaries. You can also get a taste of the city’s vibrant LGBT scene with official after parties and drag shows.

 Napa Valley Film Festival — Napa, CA

When it is: November 9-13, 2016

Why to go: Love wine? Head west, young (wo)man, to the Napa Valley Film Festival. In true wine-country style, more wineries participate than films. Sure, the art itself is a big draw, but so is the fact that you can enjoy wine tastings, cooking demos and posh parties between the 125 screenings. All of this is scattered through four beautiful, walkable villages: Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Keep your eyes peeled for a celeb or two—last year’s celebrity guests included John Travolta, and they regularly screen films with big Hollywood names.

Pan African Film Festival – Los Angeles, CA

When it is: February 4–15, 2016

Why to go: Get your glamor on while tearing down harmful cultural stereotypes at the Pan African Film Festival—it includes a fashion show for African fashions created by sister festival, the PAFF Artfest. Besides that, you can attend red-carpet screenings, a spoken word segment, and a New Media Fest, which highlights new web series and TV pilots. Celebrate the unique stories of filmmakers of African decent all the while by watching more than 150 films that’ll make you laugh, cry, and question everything about society.

Cinequest Film Festival — San Jose, CA

When it is: March 1-13, 2016

Why to go: Silicone Valley’s San Jose is rapidly becoming famous for another kind of industry entirely—film. But the Cinequest Film Festival’s location is entirely strategic, blending the area’s innovation with cutting-edge film arts. The digital film festival has helped propel innovations like film distribution via the internet, movies shot entirely on iPhones, and digital exhibition into the limelight. Last year, this festival even beat out the likes of SXSW and Tribeca as USA Today’s Best Film Festival.

Marfa Film Festival – Marfa, TX

When it is: July 13-17, 2016

Why to go: Once a year, the remote corner of Texas known as Marfa explodes into the limelight as scores of film buffs flock to the dessert to see shorts, feature films, music videos and experimental works. All films are screened one at a time, instead of concurrently, so you can catch every single one. You can also watch classics outside, on a massive screen beneath a blanket of stars. The whole festival kicks off with an early-bird pool party, and just gets better from there. Past events have included experimental indie arcade games and performances by Chrysta Bell.

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Tagged: California, City, Festivals, L.A., Uncategorized

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It plays out like a scene in a movie: You pack your things and hit the open road with the hopes of reaching out and touching fame, fortune and glory—if only for a moment. Following your favorite band across the country is certainly an adventurous pastime, meaning it can also get expensive pretty quickly. But with a little knowhow and the hook-up with some cheap tickets, you can pull it off and still have enough in your wallet to get home. Here’s how:

cheap tickets-following a band

Strategize carefully

Following a band across the country shouldn’t be done on a whim—otherwise, you may run out of gas, get stranded, or show up to a sold-out show empty-handed. Before you hit the road, you need a plan.

Snag those tickets – for cheap!

The concert tickets should come first, and CheapTickets makes it easy to get into your favorite band’s shows without hurting your wallet. Your safest bet may be starting in your hometown. For example: If you’re a Carrie Underwood fan hailing from Jacksonville, FL, grab tickets to the first stop of her tour for $68. Then, it’s only a short jaunt to Duluth for the second show. Repeat this pattern until you’ve had your fill of Ms. Underwood’s sultry crooning.

Pick your plane, train or automobile

Transportation’s just as important as the concerts themselves. Do your research and see if a cheap car rental or a cheap flight is a better fit for your touring aspirations. You’re not stuck with one or the other throughout the entire duration of your tour, unless you drive your own car.

Budget well —you’ll need that money later

Life on the road can be filled with all sorts of unseen expenses. You’ll likely end up needing a last-minute hotel room in a strange city at least once. But if you budget accordingly and plan your hotel stays in advance, you’ll have plenty of cash left over for any proverbial bumps in the road.

Set aside some cash for (a little) frivolity

Let’s face it—no matter how many band t-shirts you already have, you’ll probably be aching to pick up some new merch. So get yourself something that’ll help you remember this experience! And besides, all budgeting and no play makes for a less-than-stellar trip.

Eat smart

You’ll need lots of energy for traveling, cheering and dancing your butt off, so make sure you can afford to eat enough. If you’re worried about your food budget, grab a few boxes of granola bars and other snacks before you leave home to cheaply tide you over between meals.

Pack light

Unless you’re hitting the road in a caravan, you’ll want to pack light. Even if you plan on touring for a few weeks. This is doubly true if you’re flying, so don’t bring anything more than a carry-on bag. If you need to wash your clothes in a pinch along the way, your hotel room’s sink or tub is the way to go. But if you’re feeling extra fancy, there’s always the laundromat.

Don’t forget that camera

Following a band on tour is probably a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, unless you plan on becoming Beyonce’s personal assistant. So remember to have fun, make great memories, and update your Instagram often—you know, to remind everyone of how jealous they should be.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Music, Tips & advice, Uncategorized