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The semifinal college football playoffs game at the Fiesta Bowl 2016 kicks off Saturday, December 31 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Don’t pass on the 46th annual event, where the winner will go off to compete against the winner of the Peach Bowl semifinals in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.

So, who will take home the Fiesta Bowl Trophy? That, we don’t yet know. We don’t even know which two teams will be competing. No one does—except the psychics with ESPN. But we do know how to get your tickets and where to stay when you go.

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GasLight Inn

The moment you step inside this wonderfully charming three-star bed and breakfast, you will feel at home. It’s located right in the heart of Glendale, close to Cerreta Candy Factory and Sahuaro Ranch Park. The parking and wifi are free. The building is old and enchanting. The free homemade breakfast is a touchdown. The rooms themselves are affordable, so that’s worth a few more points. And 96% of guests recommend it, so you know this is the truth.

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Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North

The indoor and outdoor pools are probably what gives this hotel its final half star (out of three and a half). You’ll be resorting near the western sect of the Arizona State University campus, just a snap away from Castle N’ Coasters and Cave Creek Golf Course…and a short five miles from Glendale. Every room has a private balcony to take in the scenic, quintessential Arizona mountain views. And of course there’s a bar and an inviting spa tub, both perfect places to pregame or come home to unwind after the big game.

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Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

Touch down on four stars of fantabulous. Freakin’. Fun. You know the perf complement to your pregame beverage at one of the delish dining establishments? A postgame facial. Or body scrub. Or…scratch that. If your veins are overflowing with excitement from the game, jump on over to the water park, and visit one or two or six or eight of the outdoor swimming pools. Yes, water park. There’s a water park here! Oh, and 8 pools. With 27 acres of waterfalls, waterslides, lazy rivers, mini golf, tennis courts, spa amenities and more, one weekend of Fiesta Bowling at Squaw Peak may not be enough time to enjoy everything this resort has goin’ on.

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Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

An official hotel of the FB (Fiesta Bowl 2016), this oasis is just about a half-hour drive to the game and proudly boasts 4 stars. This Native American-owned respite from real life celebrates the detailed architecture, design and legends of the Pima and Maricopa tribes—making it one of a kind (not just another luxury resort, even though it definitely is a luxury resort). So, besides being a drop kick away from the stadium, you and your fellow travelers can splash around in the four pools with cascading waterfalls and 111-foot waterslide (modeled after the ancient Casa Grande Ruins, duhhh). Or take riding lessons. Or challenge your friend, hubs, wife, partner to a tennis match or a race along the extensive jogging trails. You can also go on a boat ride along the 2.5-mile river that surrounds the property. There’s even an Adventure Club with daily activities for the li’l boys and girls. I mean, saying there’s something for everyone is like saying Friday is the best day of the work week. Duhhh again.

The official (and sprawling) hotel of Fiesta Bowl 2016.

Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes

Making it a football weekend with the fam? This official Fiesta Bowl 2016 hotel has precisely what you need. No ifs, ands, or buttes about it. It’s a free kick away from Sea Life Aquarium, the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona Mills Mall. It’s also close to Sky Harbor Airport, so you don’t have to trek your people and things too far after you disembark from the plane. The kiddos will heart the waterslide and two outdoor pools; you’ll love the majestic hillside backdrop and panoramic views. It’s about a thirty minute drive from the stadium, and zero minutes from affordability and cactus-balls of fun.

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Tagged: City, Family, Sports

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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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Tagged: Festivals, Florida, New York City, Seasonal

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People groan about layovers, and we can’t help but wonder why. The longer the layover, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to leave the airport and explore! With the inexpensive flights we love often come lengthy layovers—and here are a few of the best layover cities in Europe for making the most of it.

London, England

Pedro Szekely, http://bit.ly/2ckCCIc, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: London | Pedro Szekely, Flickr

Aww, poor you! Do you have a long ol’ layover in London? Just kidding! You’re so lucky—not only is London’s Heathrow a paradise for shoppers (there’s an 11,000 sq ft Harrods inside), but you’re just a 15-minute train ride on the Heathrow Express to central London. What to do with your limited time? Take it from us: Just pick an area and start walking. London is so huge that it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to plan too much, but there’s so much to see and do that any direction you pick will yield some serious treasures. A good place to start is the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral; gaze in awe at its ornate golden ceilings before heading across the street to Tate Modern for a dose of contemporary art. Afterwards, you’ve earned a snack, and the place to get it is Borough Market, where the restaurants and shops are open all week and there’s a farmer’s market on the weekends. If you’ve still got some time left, grab a pint at one of the hundreds of neighborhood pubs and just watch the world go by.

Paris, France

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Oui, you can take awhirlwind trip to Paris! Just a 45-minute train ride from Charles de Gaulle Airport will bring you to the massive Châtelet-Les Halles station, where you can store your luggage for a small fee and transfer to any neighborhood you like! Like London, Paris is too sprawling to try to conquer it in less than a day, so pick a single area to wander through and soak up the Parisian lifestyle. We recommend heading to Ile de la Citie, the hopelessly romantic island of Paris, which has the Notre Dame Cathedral at its tip. Drape yourself along the bridges and watch the boats slide by, then wander until you find a cafe (it won’t take long, we promise). Sit down, order a cafe creme, and weigh your options: Sunset boat tour along the Seine? Or postpone your flight indefinitely?

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Moyan Brenn, http://bit.ly/2czKvvi, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Amsterdam | Moyan Brenn, Flickr

Amsterdam is a fantastic city for long layovers—you’re a 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station, where you can store your luggage, and hello: This is a seriously fun city, with an active nightlife and interesting museums. If you arrive in the evening, the infamous Red Light District is a quick walk from the station; by day, don’t miss renting a bike and pedaling along the city’s beautiful canals like the locals. Make time to stop for cafes! But keep in mind: When in Amsterdam and inneed of coffee, ask for a cafe—asking for a coffee shop will get you directions to the nearest marijuana shop. And if you only have time to see one major sight, make it the Anne Frank House, the truly moving museum that chronicles one Jewish family’s experience during the Holocaust.

Istanbul, Turkey

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There’s so much shopping and dining just outside your gate in Istanbul that you may never want to leave the airport. That said, even beyond those airstrips, Istanbul is heaven for layovers. Everyone who leaves the airport has to pay a $20 visa fee, but after that, it’s simple to hop on an express bus. Once out of the airport, check it out: You’re in an ancient city, a cross between East and West, and spindly minarets puncture the skyline everywhere you look. Don’t miss sightseeing at the famous Blue Mosque, and check out the Grand Bazaar—it’s as fascinating today as it was centuries ago. Stop to have a drink of raki, Turkey’s anise-flavored national drink, and if there’s time, book a boat tour on the gorgeous Bosphorus river.

Venice, Italy

Gondolas in the canals in Venice. Surely this is the prettiest of the best layover cities.

Photo: Venice | Moyan Brenn, Flickr

If you have a lengthy layover at the Marco Polo Airport (a popular stopping point for travelers going to Asia), by all means, take the opportunity to explore Venice. From the airport, follow the signs for the water bus to central Venice, and hop on! Enjoy the sight of Venice appearing on the waterline, then exit at San Marco square for a jaw-dropping scene: Here is a majestic city plaza (once the largest in Europe!) and an ancient cathedral gorgeous enough to make you cry. Grab a gelato, take a stroll around the square, and enjoy the ambiance—pigeons rise from the crowds in startled flocks, and it seems the whole world has congregated in what was once the most powerful city in Europe and Asia. If you’re feeling posh, treat yourself to a snack at Cafe Florian, reputedly the oldest cafe in Europe, and sit surrounded by Neo-Baroque gilt mirrors and waiters in traditional tuxedos. Afterwards, take a gondola ride to see Venice as it was meant to be seen: from the water.

Madrid, Spain

Игорь М, http://bit.ly/2ckCrMT, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Types of Madrid | Игорь М, Flickr

A long layover in Madrid is so good we’re jealous. You can store your luggage at Madrid Barajas Airport and hop on an airport transfer shuttle to Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s bustling main square.Visit The Prado Museum for a chance to see one of the world’s finest collections of European art, but really, Madrid is entertaining just to walk through. There are so many tempting places to eat and drink (the Market of San Miguel! stop for tapas and wine at multiple bars!), and so many sites of historic significance—the Royal Palace of Madrid and Plaza de Cibeles among them. Meaning all you need to do is point your feet in a direction and keep moving for an adventure.

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Tagged: City, Flights, International, Tips & advice

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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, http://bit.ly/2cdRhVV, 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, http://bit.ly/2cMn85f, 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, http://bit.ly/2bYP8we, 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 http://bit.ly/2cJXl9y, 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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Tagged: California, City, Destinations, Holidays, Romance & honeymoon

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San Diego is picturesque and nearly perfect, with its blue skies, warm weather and inviting sea breeze. And there’s so much to do—the seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove, the famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. There’s unforgettable food to indulge in, blending the fruits of the sea and the flavors from the nearby border. But traveling to the storied spot is a little challenging on a budget. But don’t settle. There are a bevy of cheap hotels in San Diego that are so charming you’ll never want to leave.

*Note: All hotel rates are based on a random one-night, weekday stay in September.

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West Park Inn — $47 per night

This 48-room hotel is right next to Balboa Park, home of the famed San Diego Zoo. The rooms here may be lacking a little in the decor department, but they’re clean and have all the necessities. The courtyard, however, is where it’s at. Giant plants surround the warm patio and palms climb around the area. Take your morning coffee out here, and spend a relaxing morning listening to the trickle of the fountain and smelling the sea breeze. 

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Lodge at 32nd — $79 per night

Each of this hotel’s 25 rooms have flat screen TVs and looks more like an apartment than a hotel. The decor is very contemporary, with wood panels surrounding the check-in window and wood floors covering part of each room. The white paneled ceilings make it feel clean and beachy. It’s sleek, and you can tell that from the moment you pull into your free parking spot. It’s also mercifully close to Balboa Park — it’s on the side with a golf course.

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ITH Adventure Hostel — $33 per night

This hostel sits on the edge of Little Italy just north of downtown, and it’s colorful in more ways than one. Travelers from all over the world mingle in the hostel’s garden and on its patio. Guitars hang from the walls, and bricks are painted with things to do and suggestions for adventure. There are 10 air conditioned guest rooms, Wifi is free and the owners host a complimentary reception gathering every day. But here’s the thing: That’s not all. Besides the free internet, the daily English breakfast and onsite dinner are also gloriously free. 

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California Suites Hotel — $86 per night

This 162-room hotel is north of downtown San Diego near Clairemont, making it the perfect location for those visiting the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and the University of California – San Diego. It’s also pretty close to the picturesque La Jolla Cove. The hotel itself is beautiful—the grounds are bursting with flowers and shaded by palm trees. There’s a pool and a spa tub, and breakfast is complimentary. Some of the rooms have a little bit of a ‘90s vibe (cough, cough, the comforters), but who doesn’t like a little throwback every now and then?

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HI San Diego Downtown — $107 per night

San Diego is on point with its hostel game. The eco-friendly and eclectic HI San Diego Downtown is right in the heart of downtown, offering comfy and colorful couches, built-in bookshelves and loads of art just steps from some of the city’s best sights. Breakfast is complimentary, and the communal kitchen is gorgeous with its high ceilings and pots hanging overhead. Choose shared or private bathrooms.

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Hotel Iris — $89 per night

The decor truly defines this 79-room hotel. The art is striking: In one room, a larger-than-life portrait of a girl stares down at the guest with fierce eyes, and in another, a running zebra explodes into a trail of purple. Most of the rooms are arranged so the beds face the window, flooding the space with natural, California light. The hotel also has a pool and hot tub, although breakfast is, sadly, not complimentary here. It’s a ways out from downtown, but close to Sea World.

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Tagged: Beach, California, Cheap Tips, City

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Hello there. Do you like beer? Do you like sausage? If you’re nodding your head ‘yes,’ then it might not be a big jump to think you might enjoy an Oktoberfest celebration. But the original Oktoberfest, a festival dedicated to all things autumnal and German, is all the way in Munich! We can’t afford Munich right now!

Thank heavens we have Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. First held in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (in Cincinnati, Ohio) is America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration—more than 500,000 people visit each year! Here’s why you should stop what you’re doing and head to Ohio for the party:

Repeat after us: dachshunds in hot dog costumes.

Every year, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati opens festivities with the Running of the Wieners, this year on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. What is the Running of the Wieners? It’s 100 dachshunds in hot dog costumes streaking down the street in race heats towards their owners while thousands of people cheer. Only one dachshund can be the King of the Wiener Dogs. You want to witness this, we promise.

Photo: Flickr | David K, Hot Dog

Photo: Flickr | David K, Hot Dog

Have a drink at the glockenspiel.

The Christian Moerlein Glockenspiel is—get this—a working clock with a bar on the ground level, as well as a stage. Every hour, when the clock strikes, performers in traditional lederhosen appear to sing, dance, and toast with the crowd. Prost!

Have a drink anywhere, actually.

There are five different beer gardens at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. All of them have an enormous selection of beers on tap, and all of them have live music. Some band names this year include The Fest Meisters, Zinzinnati Bier Band, and Smittie’s Schnapps Band. Get your polka on!

Allen Burt, bit.ly/1dyVUEV, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Allen Burt, Oktoberfest in Zinzinnati

Raise a glass.

Try not to lower it! The Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Championship on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 5 p.m. is a test of strength, mental endurance, and true love for beer. All you have to do is raise your stein of beer and keep it raised longer than anyone else in the crowd to be crowned this year’s Hoisting Champion.

Become one with the brat.

On Saturday, September 17, at 3 p.m., it’s time for the greatest sausage spectacle you may ever see: The World Brat Eating Championship. Will anyone be able to defeat reigning world champion brat-eater, Joey Chestnut? Who would dare to try? Is the newest contender…you?

ljv, http://bit.ly/2cl2wz4, Attribution CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo: Flicker | ljv, Sausage Party

Demonstrate your barrel-roll and beer-stein race aptitude.

On Friday, September 16, at 6 p.m, head over to Freedom Platz on Second Street for the German Games, where live music and German dance groups frolic around contestants trying to roll a wooden barrel around a timed course or race a short distance holding two filled-to-the-brim beer steins.

Participate in the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.

You heard us. Jump in and join the official World’s Largest Chicken Dance on Sunday, September 18 at 4:30 p.m. Thousands participate in the dance each year, and in 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati chicken dancersset the world record, with 48,000 people flappin’ their arms and waddlin’ to the beat.

Jim, http://bit.ly/2bYVcuK, Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo: Flickr | Jim, Chicken Dance

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Tagged: City, Events, Festivals, Food & drink, Music, Seasonal

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Argentina is sultry with its movement, tempting with its meats and brimming with culture—and Buenos Aires is the country’s heart. The city is one of the most visited in the world, and the passion exuding from the place pulls many into residency. The birthplace of tango, Buenos Aires promises to breathe life and adventure into its visitors, no matter how long or short they may stay.

Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport

Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport near Buenos Aires. Photo: Gerardo Curiel – Flickr.

Plane, train or automobile — Unless you’re pulling a Ché Guevara and riding through South America on a motorcycle (and let’s hope you are), a flight is probably your best choice for getting to the city. Buenos Aires has two airports: Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport. You’ll likely land at Ezeiza, since most international flights go through there. It’s 21 miles southwest of the city. Be careful of the taxi cabs looking to take advantage of tourists and hop on a shuttle to the city. The Manuel Tienda León Bus Company is about $12 to downtown. Not the cheapest, but it’s reliable (and ultimately cheaper than getting taken for a ride, metaphorically).

EcoBici

EcoBici in Buenos Aires. Photo: Vcheregati – Flickr.

Cheap local transit — Biking is one of the best ways to seethe city. The city’s bike share program, EcoBici, lets you check out a bike for free for 24 hours. There are 158 km of bike lanes throughout the city — that’s almost 100 miles — making it very safe and traversable.

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A chef prepares carne asada and other meats in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Marissa Strniste – Flickr.

Come el carne (Spanish for “eat some meat’) — Even in the U.S., people associate Argentina with its delectable meats. Carne asada literally translates to grilled meat or beef, and the eateries where it’s sold are called parrillas. There is seemingly a parrilla on every corner, so swing in and dig in. If you want a set plan for dinner, check out Los Talas del Entrerriano. Chorizo is the specialty here. It’s reasonably priced and fills to the brim on weekend evenings, which is a sight to see. If you want a more tranquil atmosphere, go during the week at lunchtime. Whenever you go, go hungry — the portions are huge.

Argentina

Tango in the streets of Buenos Aires. Photo: Giulio Mola – Flickr.

Try to tango — Tango was born in the working class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the 1800s, influenced by both ancient African rhythms and music from Europe. Some say it’s a lifestyle, some say it’s infectious. Some say the whole city seems to move to the beat of tango music, at a certain time of day when the sun is setting. You can learn to tango in Buenos Aires, watch the dance or even just listen to the music. Tango is essentially unavoidable in Buenos Aires, so make sure to take it in and let it move you.

Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: David Berkowitz – Flickr.

Play in the plaza — If Buenos Aires is the heart of Argentina, Plaza de Mayo is it’s main artery. So much life flows through the city’s main plaza. It’s in the Monserrat barrio, or neighborhood, and is home to the main cathedral. It plays host to many of the protests that occur in the city, dating back to the revolution on May 25, 1810, that led to the country’s independence from Spain. The tall, white Pirámide de Mayo pays homage to that moment. Just make sure to keep a hand on your valuables when you visit the plaza — high-traffic tourist locations are thief magnets.

La Boca

A building in La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Photo: Jasmine Nears – Flickr.

La Boca — One of Buenos Aires’ 48 neighborhoods, La Boca has retained an abundance of European ambiance. Many of its early settlers came from Italy, and the area still largely belongs to the working class. It is not one to be missed. The famed fútbol stadium, La Bombonera, is there, as is the colorful, waterside street, Caminito, which was created in a once-abandoned street by artist Benito Quinquela Martín. It’s also the place to catch some impromptu tango.

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Tagged: Food & drink, International, Tips & advice

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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: GoStowe.com.

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


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 Washington.org

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 washington.org.

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 Washington.org

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 washington.org

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 washington.com

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