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Sure, you could opt for a romantic, candlelit dinner when February 14 rolls around. But if you really want to wow your sweetheart this year, nothing says “I love you” like two tickets to see their favorite performer. It’ll be much more memorable than giving them flowers (again) and could be the start of a new V-Day tradition! Here are 11 awesome shows happening on the lover’s holiday, with easy-to-snag seats available on CheapTickets.

RELATED: 10 best cheap places to travel in 2019

Hand Holding Lit Lighter At Music Concert

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden: NYC

Date night in New York City doesn’t get much more New York-y than Billy Joel. Sure, thousands of other fans will be swaying along to the Grammy winner’s hits, but when Joel performs “Just The Way You Are,” it’ll feel like he’s personally serenading just you and your date.

Blake Shelton at Chesapeake Energy Arena: Oklahoma City

Everyone’s favorite judge on The Voice (sorry Adam Levine) is the headliner here, but it’s a packed bill that also includes Lauren Alaina, The Bellamy Brothers, Trace Adkins and more. Yep, there’s a country crush for every member of the family. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, don’t be surprised if Shelton’s sweetheart Gwen Stefani makes a surprise appearance.

Jeff Dunham at BOK Center: Tulsa

Quirky couples who appreciate a good laugh will surely get a kick out of comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who’s introducing new characters (including a puppet who works as Trump’s Twitter advisor) in his new show. And if you’re feeling lonely on this lover’s holiday and need a laugh, just remember that at least your date’s not a puppet. Talk about a funny valentine…

A Microphone In A Spotlight On A Stage

Andrea Bocelli at American Airlines Arena: Miami

Record producer David Foster has often said Bocelli’s voice is the most beautiful in the world. So if you’re gonna go big—like take your relationship to the next level big—go with the kind of voice that will not only make you appreciate opera, but also might inspire a proposal.

Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall: NYC

Anita Baker is an iconic R&B singer. Radio City Music Hall is an iconic venue. Baker’s smooth jams like “Sweet Love” and “Giving You the Best I Got” are iconic love songs. Long story short, attending this concert means you’re going to have an iconic Valentine’s Day.

Crowd In A Music Show on valentines day

Dierks Bentley at Citizens Business Bank Arena: Los Angeles area

This country singer recently scored his 18th number one single with the song “Burning Man,” which means he’s probably in a celebratory mood. So if you and your significant other are also in a festive mood (celebrating a milestone in your relationship, perhaps?), this would be a fun concert to attend.

Crowd And Lights At A Music Concert

Panic! At The Disco at Honda Center: Orange County

Here’s a fun fact about Panic! At The Disco: Brandon Urie is the only remaining member of the band. The other guys performing are just touring musicians who allow Urie to shine in the spotlight all on his own. If you’re also feeling single and fabulous, and are craving a solid early 2000s pop-punk moment, pull a Urie and show up solo.\

Kelly Clarkson at Van Andel Arena: Grand Rapids, MI

The original American Idol winner can definitely belt out the kind of love songs that make you soon, but it’s her single gal (and guy) anthems that really get the crowd going. Turning Valentine’s into a “Galentine’s” Day? Grab your besties and rock out to “Since U Been Gone.”

2Cellos at Pepsi Center: Denver

Want to wow your date with an unexpected show that’ll blow them away? 2Cellos should do the trick. The two guys behind this duo are selling out arenas, but they’re still under the radar. If you happen to be on a first date at this show, watching them rock out on songs like “Smooth Criminal” will make a good first impression—and set the bar for future dates.

Air Supply at Emerald Queen Casino: Seattle

If you’re in the mood for a chill night out, the smooth sounds of this ‘80s soft-rock duo will set the tone for a chill February 14. Fingers crossed the set list favors more love songs like “Every Woman in the World”) over breakup tunes like “All Out of Love.”

Concert Crowd At Live Music Festival on valentines day

Cher at Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis

Since Cher’s career spans decades, there’s a song in her catalogue for just about every type of relationship, from true love (“I Got You Babe”) to a bitter break up (“Strong Enough”). Add into the mix the ABBA covers she’s performing (to promote her latest album Dancing Queen), and there’s definitely a song here for every type of couple.

Tagged: Events, Music

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Stuck in the Mile High City without an equally sizable vacation budget? Colorado’s capital is surprisingly affordable, even with a dense population of breweries, outdoor spaces and aliens (okay, maybe…). Read on for a few quirky and cheap options to kick off your Denver trip.

 RELATED: Try these cheaper alternatives to pricey, popular destinations

Explore the parks on a shared bike

Denver is a city with sprawling paths, winding bike trails, and generally chill traffic, with drivers who are used to seeing people move around on two wheels. (However, let us be your mother for a second: Helmets are cool, wear ‘em.) If you’re on a budget but need a ride, consider hopping on a Denver B-cycle, Denver’s shared bike program. It’ll take a little planning since it requires “docking” your ride regularly, but $9 gets you a whole day of unlimited 30-minute rides across the city. For $15, you can get a whole month of rides.

Find some new reading material

Wanna figure out what to do in Denver? Learn from the locals who know the culture best. Go deep underground—at least in the literary sense—at the Denver Zine Library. The non-profit only allows those who have visited three times to check out their one-of-a-kind literary works, but fans can browse to their hearts content at the Curtis Street location, open 11am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Denver arts scene

Denver arts scene | Trover photo by Krystalvation

Explore the local art scene

The first Friday of every month (5:30pm-9:30pm to be exact) is prime time for art lovers as multiple neighborhoods (see a full list here) open their doors to art fans. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your Monets from your Matisses, the carnival-like atmosphere and free-to-browse policies provide plenty of entertainment to fill your evening and fuel your conversations.

Kombucha in Denver

Kombucha | Photo courtsey of Laura Studarus

Get your non-alcoholic buzz on at American Cultures

At American Cultures kombucha bar, $14 gets you a flight of four different varieties of their on-tap fermented beverages. Preference is given to local vendors, and flavors change when they run out—giving probiotic fans a reason to go daily to get their fix. The spot is located in the Denver Highlands, a shopping and café-friendly hub about a mile outside the center, and makes the perfect stop for anyone who’s averse to the bar scene. In addition to kombucha floats, the tap room plans on offering an after-work mixed drink menu.

Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill

Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill | Trover photo by Bill Dillard

…Or get your actual drink on

Happy Hours got their name for a reason, as it’s been scientifically proven that overpaying for booze really bums people out. (Note: We are not scientists.) Take your vacation to a kitschy place (not a slam—umbrellas in your drink totally rock) at Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill featuring $5 deals 4–6pm Tuesday through Saturday. For the truly uninhibited (or shameless—again, no judgement), Café Brazil offers a free caipirinha on Tuesdays to anyone willing to do a one-minute dance for the bartender. Want something a bit more low key? Lady Jane offers $4 beers, $5 shots and $7 cocktails 4–6pm daily.

ALSO: Save even more on hotels when you sign up for CheapCash—it’s free to join!

Coors Field in Denver

Coors Field | Trover photo by Dan Rose

Go to a Rockies game

Even if your relationship with most athletic endeavors is to dismissively refer to it as “sportsball” (guilty) there’s a certain charm to hitting up a baseball game. Coors Field, aka home to the boys in purple, hosts several non-game pleasures, including a centerfield waterfall and pine trees, a line of purple seats indicating the actual mile-high mark, and their dinosaur mascot that occasionally graces fans with his/her presence. And hey, good news—tickets start at $14, with a $6 concession stand credit. Which means more money for peanuts and Cracker Jacks.


Molly Brown House in Denver

Molly Brown House | Trover photo by Krystalvation

Meet Molly Brown

One of Denver’s arguably most interesting residents was Molly Brown, a socialite who found herself on the right side of history when she survived the sinking of the Titanic only to encourage the rescue boat to turn around and look for survivors, only to later assist with the rebuilding of France post World War I, and still find time to shoehorn in a career as an actress. (She once called herself “The daughter of adventure,” a title which she clearly took to heart.) Even if you’re not visiting Denver on a historical mission, visiting her well-preserved Capitol Hill home offers a fascinating insight to her legend, and will only set you back $12 and a half-hour tour time.

Cereal bar in Denver

Cereal Box | Photo courtesy of Laura Studarus

Have a magically delicious morning

Got a sweet tooth…or a whole mouth of sweet teeth? (Umm…hi!) Take a trip out to the Cereal Box, a—yes, you guessed it—cereal-only restaurant whose menu is made up of 120 varieties from around the world. Pour yourself a custom bowl, or have your cerealogist compile one of their custom mixes, decorated with Pop Tarts, whipped cream, sprinkles, candy and flavored milks. Gulp it down in their Saturday-morning-personified dining room, then let the sugar take you where it will. Bowls run between $4–$8.

Red Rocks Amphitheater at sunrise, near Denver Colorado

Red Rocks Amphitheater at sunrise, near Denver Colorado

Surround yourself with Red Rocks

Just outside of Denver, in the suburb of Morrison, is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a concert venue built into the side of the mountain that many consider to be one of the most beautiful venues in the country. No one playing that catches your musical fancy? No problem. Red Rocks offers tours ($8 in season, $12 during off season). The behind-the-scenes action includes everything from the geology of the area to a chance to stand on the stage and appreciate the view everyone from Nine inch Nails to James Taylor have taken in. Do it because you love rock. Or rocks. Or because you rock. (Sorry.)

Denver Airport

Denver Airport | Photo courtesy of Laura Studarus

Hunt for secrets at the airport

Got time to kill at the airport? Why not uncover a secret world order? According to sizable population of conspiracy theorists, Denver International Airport is the home to a secret plot led by Freemasons, or maybe the Illuminati, or could it be the lizard people? Take a walk around a decide for yourself if this is in fact a bunker meant to house the world elite during the apocalypse. Or the site where aliens made contact. Hard to say for sure, but with the spooky ambience it’s hard not to imagine something is going down. Grab an Instagram with the gargoyle in a suitcase at baggage claim, wave to the red-eyed demon horse out front (morbidly the statue fell on its creator, killing him), ponder the Freemason stone, or hunt for hidden Illuminati meanings in Leo Tanguma’s eyebrow-raising murals. Then, go forth and spread your own rumors.


Tagged: City, Destinations, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

Laura Studarus

Laura Studarus

Laura Studarus

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Labor Day weekend may mark the unofficial end of summer, but it should be by no means depressing! That extra day off gives us a chance to squeeze in one more summer vacay, filled with barbecues, fireworks and plenty of All-American goodness. It’s a time to get outside, to explore, to cook out, to see a new city — and some cities know how to celebrate the end of summer much, much better than others. Here are the towns that top our list of best places to make the most of your Labor Day getaways.



Fireworks over the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: Chris Miller – Flickr

Catch some serious fireworks in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Queen City knows how to celebrate Labor Day: Riverfest, a big fireworks show that draws people from the whole tristate area to the surprisingly scenic Ohio riverfront. The show starts at 9:05 p.m. Sunday, but stake out your place and find somewhere to park early, because both the Kentucky and Ohio sides of the river are always packed full by showtime. Some restaurants along the river, like Moerlein Lager House, the Beer Sellar and Bar Louie host viewing parties, but get your tickets in advance. And check out a Reds game while you’re in town — they’re home all weekend. For food, try Eli’s BBQ along the river, Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria in Newport, or one of the many eateries in Over-the-Rhine.


The lit-up, nighttime skyline of Chicago, which is one of the best Labor Day getaways of 2016.

The Riverwalk in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Photo: MK Feeney – Flickr.

Live your best life (and Labor Day getaway) in Chicago, Illinois

Winters in Chicago come on hard and fast, and everyone there knows it, so the locals squeeze every last drop out of summer. On your Labor Day getaway, the beaches will still be popping, the outdoor patios at all the best restaurants will still be buzzing, and you can enjoy America’s pastime one more time since the White Sox are in town. You can grab a drink on a rooftop patio or stroll along the Riverwalk while the nights are still warm enough to do so. The Chicago Jazz Festival is also takingplace over Labor Day weekend in Millennium Park, and it’s free.


Get your nature and city fixes in Denver, Colorado

One could argue that any time of year is a good time to visit Denver, and you’d be right, but Labor Day is one of the best. The dry heat of summer is starting to break, and some of the aspens in the mountains are beginning to turn some gorgeous shades of yellow. September in the Rockies means less chances for natural disasters — wildfire risk has dropped, monsoon season has died down — which makes for some great hiking. And in the city, cooler September weather means more enjoyable craft brews on patios, and uninhibited views ofthe mountains. Downtown’s Civic Center Park is also hosting A Taste of Denver, so make sure you show up hungry.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Lee Cannon – Flickr.

Show off your dance moves in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philly throws a giant two-day Made in America Music Festival during your perfect Labor Day getaway. And what better time to not only be in a patriotic place, but dance your butt off at a patriotically-named fest? It’s the fourth year for the festival, which is held on multiple stages throughout the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Jay-Z curates the lineup, meaning it’s a must-see. Coldplay and Rihanna are headlining this year, with performances from Chance the Rapper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and more. Make sure to get your tickets now.



Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Steve – Flickr.

Get back to basics in Midwestern Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Time for your Labor Day cookout. The weekend wouldn’t be complete without a barbecue, so why not center your trip around some smoked meat? Milwaukee is throwing the Big Gig BBQ on Sept. 4, and it’s bigger and better than any backyard barbecue you’ve ever been to. There will be brisket, ribs and BBQ from 10 of the best local and national grillers. And in a city that’s home to storied beerslike Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz and MillerCoors, it’s safe to say you’ll have some quality hydration with your grub.

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Tagged: Family, Festivals, FREE!, Holidays, Music

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

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

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport. Photo: Timothy Vollmer – Flickr.

Plane, train or automobile

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

RTD light rail

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

Cheap local transit

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

Denver Civic Center

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

Forage the food trucks

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


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

Hit the trails

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

Denver farmers' market

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

Frequent a farmers’ market

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

Wynkoop beer

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

Wind down at Wynkoop

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

ice cream

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


Scream for ice cream

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

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

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You don’t need white tablecloths or an overpriced meal to impress a date. This year, leave the predictable date itinerary behind—here’s what to do (while saving some dough) on Valentine’s Day in some of America’s coolest cities.

Sample wine, cheese and theater in Austin

Your romantic day begins with a challenging, thought-provoking play at Austin‘s Zach Theater: Tribes ($29+). The story of a deaf man understanding the nature of community and belonging will give you plenty to talk about as you walkover to nearby House Wine and settle in for some of its namesake libation. This place is about as unpretentious as it is intimate—meaning you can relax and nibble on cheese plates, artisan pizza and s’mores in the dining room or patio. The staff will happily explain the wine list and offer suggestions as you two crazy kids giggle and blush, wiping melted marshmallows from your face. Best of all, you can get 10% off or BOGO dessert if you show them your ticket stub.


Get artsy—then down-home—in New York

It’s not that often that you can do something in New York for literally $0. But welcome to Greater New York, MoMA PS1’s annual exhibit, which explores our contradictory desires for nostalgia and the new. See the works of emerging and established artists in this Long Island City mainstay before heading down to Williamsburg’s The Commodore. Once tucked into the low-key, no-frills bar, indulge in a little post-art-show conversation over a Tom Collins ($6) and a fried chicken plate with biscuits and hot sauce ($12). If the date’s going well, wander a few blocks to St. Mazie for some cheap-for-New-York cocktails ($10 apiece) and maybe even some live music.

Experience the refined and at-ease sides of Chicago

Joffrey’s Bold Moves marries visual art, groundbreaking musical compositions and history into a trio of visually stunning ballet performances. It’s also quite cheap for a production of this quality—tickets start at $58. Afterwards, you and your hungry date can head to Furious Spoon in Wicker Park for one of the city’s best bowls of ramen ($7–$12). After downing the last of your thick, savory tonkatsu broth, wander across the street to Revel Room. This dark, trendy bar will create an intimate setting for the last leg of yourdate. Toast to a successful evening—and the fact that (s)he is okay with watching you shamelessly slurp down noodles—with a craft beer ($5–$10) or a house cocktail ($10).


Start your romancing early in Boston

This Valentine’s Day, start the festivities early, and with a kick! Sample some Spanish brunch options like breakfast lamb bocadillo ($13) and churros con chocolate ($8) at Jamaica Plain hotspot Tres Gatos. Then, head into Chinatown and the brisk outdoors for the Chinese New Year Parade to see lion dances, firecrackers and catchy drum beats as performers flood the streets. But your date isn’t over yet—make sure you dress warm, because it’ll be cold on the nearby Frog Pond ice rink. If you don’t have skates of your own, fear not (and channel any worries into not falling down). You can rent skates onsite for $12.

See Atlanta’s wild side

Craving a creative way to celebrate with your sweetheart in Atlanta? Start with a good, hearty lunch at bartaco. Then, after having your fill of shrimp bahn mi rice bowls ($8), al pastor tacos ($2.50) and mushroom mole tamales ($5), head on over to the High Museum of Art for the cheekily named heARTS in the City scavenger hunt ($50 per couple). From 1:00-4:00 p.m., you can scour the museum—filled with pieces by Georgia O’Keefe, Gerhard Richter and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec—to solve puzzles and complete challenges. Along the way, you’ll run into some tasty snacks, too.


Pull out all the stops in Denver

Planning an old-fashioned, romantic date for your Valentine? Denver’s the perfect town. After enjoying an intimate feast at Osteria Marco—think butternut squash pizza with gorgonzola ($13) and meatball sliders ($7)—enjoy an intimate murder at Murder for Two, a ‘musical murder mystery’ whose intrigue and twists are playing out on the Garner Galleria Theatre’s stage. After this two-man ensemble solves the crime, harnessing only their wit and a piano, cab it over to The Bar Car for a sexy yet laid-back nightcap amid this beautiful, antique-inspired bar and its jukebox of ‘80s hits. We recommend the the Irish mule, made with a hardy splash of Jameson ($8).

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Tagged: Holidays, New York City, Romance & honeymoon, Tips & advice, Uncategorized

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New York City is the jewel in New Year’s Eve’s crown, and the west coast offers unforgettable nightlife peppered with celebrity spottings to ring in the New Year. But the flyover states are not to be overlooked. People throughout the middle chunk of our country know how to party, and each place offers experiences a little bit more novel than watching the ball drop. Plus, the odds of spending significantly less during your celebrations than you would spend on either coast are very much in your favor. Here is our list of five flyover cities that offer unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebrations, in no particular order.


16th Street in Denver

16th Street in Denver | Flickr CC: Yuya Sekiguchi

Denver, Colorado — How better to celebrate the New Year than with a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains? The 16th Street Mall downtown is sure to be bustling, with parties spilling out of every hotel and fireworks shooting off overhead. Find a brewery in the home of craft beer to spend your night. The Five Points neighborhood, just north of downtown, offers plenty of places worthy of saying goodbye to 2015.


Short North lights

The arches over the Short North in Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Becker1999 – Flickr

Columbus, Ohio — It should come as no surprise that a city dominated by one of the nation’s largest public universities knows how to ring in the New Year right. Take your pick of spots to celebrate in the Short North, a cultured strip of bars and restaurants along High Street between downtown and Ohio State’s campus that blends all types and ages into your choice of celebrations.


Lousiville New Year's Even

A bourbon flight in Louisville. Photo: Surlygirl – Flickr

Louisville, Kentucky — Head to Louisville and soak your New Year’s celebrations in bourbon and southern hospitality. The Derby isn’t the only thing Louisville does right. The city celebrates with fireworks and parties at nearly every bar, but The Highlands neighborhood has a strip of eclectic bars that can’t be missed. Make sure to check out Holy Grale, a gastropub in an old church, and The Back Door, a late-night bar with copious pool tables and the best bar food south of the Mason-Dixon Line.


Chicago New Year's Eve

The Chicago River at night. Photo: Patrick Emerson

Chicago, Illinois — The great thing about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Chicago is that you can make it whatever you want. Go swanky and buy tickets to a downtown black-tie affair in advance, or hit up a club (you can find them in nearly every neighborhood) that stays open until 4 a.m. and dance your way well into 2016. Get tickets to a party at a restaurant like Beatrix in River North and spend your evening dining well, or a bar in Wrigleyville and enjoy all-you-can-drink perks with a more raucous crowd. Watch fireworks from Navy Pier, go to a party at a hotel, or stay in with friends and hit up neighborhood bars after the ball drops.

Honky tonk in Nashville

A band performs at Legends Corner Bar in Nashville. Photo: Grant Wickes – Flickr.

Nashville, Tennessee — Nashville is a great place to go out and experience life any time of year, whether you’re soaking up the music scene or enjoying some southern cuisine, and the city does not disappoint on New Year’s Eve. Hit up a honky-tonk Downtown or in Midtown and embrace those country vibes.

Tagged: City, Holidays, Tips & advice

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All is calm, all is bright. In some cases, really bright.

Here are seven of some of America’s most over-the-top holiday light displays.


St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau.

St. Augustine, Florida: During Nights of Lights, the 450-year-old city illuminates its landmarks with white lights in a display that’s been called one of the world’s 10 best. The festivities include a bunch of special events, such as carriage and boat tours, outdoor concerts and more.

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado | Flickr Creative Commons: Amy Aletheia Cahill

Denver, Colorado: Denver Botanic Gardens sets the scene for a classy holiday with Blossoms of Light. The flora becomes even more inviting when it’s illuminated with thousands of lights, including a spot named the Romantic Gardensfull of aromatic plants and plum trees. (Can you say marriage proposal spot?) There’s also live entertainment on select nights, and visitors can purchase 3-D HoloSpex glasses to enhance their view of the lights.

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia | Flickr Creative Commons: Taber Andrew Bain

Richmond, Virginia: On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s annual list lovingly named the Tacky Lights Tour. Houses must have at least 40,000 lights to make the list; some are tasteful, some downright tacky. The newspaper alerts homeowners that they’ll be included, so when you embark on a self-guided tour of the eyesores, you’ll be laughing with them—not at them.

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada: There are drive-through light shows… and then there’s Glittering Lights at Sin City’s Motor Speedway. Roll down your windows, turn up your windows and cruise around the 2.5-mile track that proves the Vegas Strip isn’t the only part of town that glistens.

Christmas in Los Angeles

Christmas in Los Angeles, California | Flickr Creative Commons: Loren Javier

Los Angeles, California: Come to see the stars, but stay to see the lights. Downtown L.A. Walking Tours offers a nightly Holiday Lights Tour showcasing how the City of Angeles celebrates the season. Stops include the Broad Museum, Grant Park with its illuminated fountain, Nutcracker Village at California Plaza and more.

CheapTickets-Clifton Mill-Ohio-Christmas-lights

The lights of Ohio’s Clifton Mill combine old-school technology with new-school glitz. Photo by Tina Lawson/Flickr Creative Commons.

Clifton Mill, Ohio: Millions of lights brighten up this 19th-century the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges. The decor includes a Santa Claus Museum, light show synchronized to music on the old covered bridge, 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights and more. Legendary Lights is located about 40 miles southwest of Columbus.


Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the holiday lights. Photo of Austin’s Trail of Lights by Mark Scott/Flickr Creative Commons.

Austin, Texas: The city’s Trail of Lights gets more elaborate every year. Zilker Park’s display now includes a 155-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree, ferris wheel and carousel. It’s one of the largest holiday events in Austin, with live performances, a lighted tunnel and more.

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Tagged: City, Family, Festivals, Florida, Holidays, L.A., Las Vegas, Seasonal

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Football season’s in full swing, and that means three things: beer, good food and tailgating. If you’re willing to go where the game takes you, here are the best NFL cities for enjoying all three without breaking the bank.

Tampa, Florida


If you love fishing and football, Tampa may be the NFL town for you. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers—and their massive pirate ship, complete with animatronic parrot—play at Raymond James Stadium, tucked in right next to Al Lopez Park and its fishing ponds. Old Tampa and Hillsborough Bays are also close, offering dolphin cruises and watersports galore—all with a hefty dose of Florida’s famously free vitamin D, which makes for some pretty pleasant tailgating.

Denver, Colorado


Ever heard of a little team called the Broncos? They hail from Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where you can tailgate indoors at onsite bars like the Mile High Cross Bar and the 50 Yard Bar. Later, drop exactly zero dollars to take a brewery tour, explore the famous Red Rocks or pay tribute to your favorite locals at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Walking in the 100-million-year-old footsteps of dinosaurs at Dinosaur Ridge is also a very free, very worth-it option.

Indianapolis, Indiana


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Monument Circle, the Dallara IndyCar Factory…all these attractions are great, but this town’s main draw is, and will always be, the Colts. But since you’ll need to do something after the game anyway, you can take a totally free stroll along Lockerbie Square’s historic cobblestone streets or browse the clever insights and turns of phrase found in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

Baltimore, Maryland


The city that brought us Billie Holiday, John Waters and the Star Spangled Banner is also home to the Ravens. Their M&T Bank Stadium is just a stone’s throw from one of Charm City’s darkest attractions—the house where Edgar Allen Poe grew up. Baltimore also offers heaps of free things to do, including the beautiful Basilica and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Once most businesses have closed up shop for the night, head to the historic Fell’s Point or Canton districts for some live music.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Pittsburgh nails the trifecta of American pastimes: gambling, sausage, and, of course, football. After working up an appetite by watching the Steelers dominate at the deliciously named Heinz Field, you can enjoy some cheap, German eats at Deutschtown or check out the Andy Warhol Museum and ToonSeum, dedicated to the art of cartoons. Best of all, the Rivers Casino is a few blocks from the stadium.

Cleveland, Ohio


 You can pick up your Cleveland Browns jerseys and hoodies at the FirstEnergy Stadium pro shop before the game, and show your love to the locals afterwards while digging into some cheap, satisfying eats and beer at the many bars and restaurants around the stadium. Once you’ve had your fill, hit up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum or the always-free Cleveland Museum of Art to see works by Goya and Mondrian.

Green Bay, Wisconsin      


It doesn’t get more iconic than the Green Bay Packers, and their eponymous city dishes out as much competitive spirit as it does good, cheap fun. Scarf down some pork-belly tacos and venison sloppy joes at Lambeau Field’s onsite eatery before checking out the Packers Hall of Fame. Or head to New Zoo for some inexpensive thrills—here, you can feed friendly giraffes and play on an aerial adventure course.

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Tagged: City, Florida, Sports

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It’s fall in the Rockies. The aspen groves have turned yellow and are beginning to lose their leaves, the air is growing even brisker and the mountain peaks are becoming snow-capped again. But the days remain just as bright and full of sunshine as ever, and the mountains are beckoning. So head to Colorado Springs for your fall getaway and immerse yourself in autumn’s beauty.

This distinctive architecture has one awards for Denver International Airport. Courtesy of Timothy Vollmer.

This distinctive architecture has one awards for Denver International Airport. Courtesy of Timothy Vollmer.

Plane, train or automobile — Although Colorado Springs does have its own airport through which you may be able to find some dirt cheap fares, your best bet is probably coming in through Denver International Airport. It’s a major hub and has won awards for its design, so make sure to check that out as you pass through. The Springs (as the locals call it) is about an hour drive south on Interstate 25.

Downtown Colorado Springs. Courtesy of Phillip Stewart.

Downtown Colorado Springs. Courtesy of Phillip Stewart.

Cheap local transit — Colorado Springs does have a bus system, and a daily pass on the Mountain Metropolitan Transit is $4 a day. The frequency, however, is a little sporadic, and you’ll want a car to get you up into the mountains at some point during your stay, so you may have to splurge a little on a rental. You can justify the spending by all the free activities you’ll be doing (like hiking). Biking is certainly an option, but be realistic about adjusting to the altitude. You’ll want to save energy for the hikes.

Courtesy of Tucker Hammerstrom.

Courtesy of Tucker Hammerstrom.

Admire the aspens — Aspens becomedownright beautiful in the fall. The leaves extending from their white branches turn golden and illuminate the entire area with their glow. Aspens grow in groups, and many trees can spring up from the same roots. It contributes to that overwhelming quality of Aspen forests. Catamount Trail, which is about a 25-minute drive from the Springs off of Highway 24 near a tiny town called Green Mountain Falls, is a great hike for taking them in.

Manitou Springs. Courtesy of John Lloyd.

Manitou Springs. Courtesy of John Lloyd.

Meander in Manitou — Nestled right up against the mountains is Manitou Springs, a little hippy town that draws travelers in with its one-of-a-kind souvenir shops and adorable cafes. Oh, and it’s breathtaking scenery. Wander through the streets and enjoy a beer in the shadow of Pikes Peak. Drink from the fountains along the sidewalks flowing with water from mountain springs. If you are feeling adventurous, you can board the Cog Railway and it’ll take you right up to the top of Pikes Peak. (If you do decide to do this, note that Pikes Peak is more than 14,000 feet tall, so make sure you’re dressed for it. The Cog Rail cost $37 for adults.)


Beer. Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Beer. Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Release your inner school girl — As the birthplace of craft beer, Colorado doesn’t disappoint in its libations. Bristol Brewing Company is a prime example. They’ve turned the old Ivywild School into a brewpub. The beer is good and reasonably priced and the food options aren’t too shabby either. Try a flight for only $7 and sit out on the patio if weather allows.


Courtesy of Thomas's Pics.

Courtesy of Thomas’s Pics.

Be scared silly — Is that the chill of fall in the air, or was it an apparition passing by? Blue Moon Haunted History Tours offer haunted walking and cemetery tours of Manitou Springs for $15. They will incite fear with tales of the the spirits of tuberculosis patients that flocked to Manitou for a cure and died outside the gates of the sanitorium. They’ll wile you with legends of the curses Native Americans put on the town after Victorians arrived and began bottling the sacred waters.

Go off roadin’ — But not really, since you don’t want to damage that rental. Old Stagecoach Road is made of dirt and is totally dusty, but that is all part of the allure. You’ll drive into the mountains on the one-lane road and feel that thrill of excitement when you go around a bend and can’t tell if someone else is coming from the other direction. Dozens of hikes branch off of Old Stagecoach, and you’ll likely find some that are pretty secluded.


Apples. Courtesy of Vijay Chennupati.

Apples. Courtesy of Vijay Chennupati.

Play among the pumpkins — Pumpkins and apples are the quintessence of fall, and you can pick your own at Third Street Apples. The farm is in Penrose, which is about a 40-minute drive from Colorado Springs, but it’s a beautiful drive with a mountain backdrop. Apples are $1.39 per pound and pumpkins are 55 cents per pound.

The Garden of Eden on the Catamount Trail. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

The Garden of Eden on the Catamount Trail. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Hit the trails — The best part about Colorado is all the room there is to play. And it’s all free. Explore and hike and enjoy nature. There’s nowhere else like Colorado in the world, and there’s nothing as liberating as hiking through its trails. Just avoid the state parks, because they charge entry fees.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Off-season, Seasonal, Tips & advice

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At some airports, time in the terminal is a little more burdensome than at others. Maybe it’s because the nearby food options suck, or because the weather around that airport is always bad, so hope of ever making it home begins to slip slowly away. One thing is for sure: a good view always makes time in the terminal go a little quicker, whether your flight is delayed or not.  And some airports boast views that are downright breathtaking. When debating layover options, make sure to route through one of these airports.

View of the Front Range from Denver International Airport. Courtesy of Ken Lund.

View of the Front Range from Denver International Airport. Courtesy of Ken Lund.

Denver International Airport — Colorado

DIA has won awards for its design, but the view of nature surrounding it is much more breathtaking. Althoughit is positioned more than a half hour’s drive outside of Denver, the airport still features fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, you will likely only see the views if you’re in Terminal West. Terminal East faces toward flat, desolate eastern Colorado.

The view from Honolulu International Airport. Courtesy of Robert Linsdell.

The view from Honolulu International Airport. Courtesy of Robert Linsdell.

Honolulu International Airport — Hawaii

If touching down in paradise doesn’t leave you in enough state of bliss, check out the view out the airport window. The airport is sandwiched between Mãmala Bay and Oahu’s iconic Diamond Head Crater, just beyond Waikiki Beach. If you can peel your eyes away from that glory, check out the Honolulu skyline and nearby Pearl Harbor.


Courtesy of Hideyuki Kamon.

Courtesy of Hideyuki Kamon.

Vancouver International Airport — British Columbia, Canada

Another view dominated by mountains and sea. The airport is positioned just on the coast of the Salish Sea, and the snowcapped North Shore Mountain range overlooks it all. It is probably safe to assume all the Winter Olympic athletes that converged in the city in 2010 drew most of their inspiration from this view.


A look at Bora Bora's main island from the airport. Courtesy of Michael Stout.

A look at Bora Bora’s main island from the airport. Courtesy of Michael Stout.

Bora Bora Airport — French Polynesia

Flying into any island of tropical paradise is going to be, well, paradise, and Bora Bora is no exception. The lack of land available for runways forces airports to be built in beautiful locations on the islands. This one, also called the Motu Mute Airport, was built on an islet in a lagoon, and a boat transport is necessary to get to the main island.


The Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau airport. Courtesy of Sam Beebe.

The Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau airport. Courtesy of Sam Beebe.

Juneau International Airport — Alaska

More people have their pilots license than drivers license in Alaska, a state in which it is impossible to escape nature’s beauty. So one might just assume that all of Alaska’s airports are beautiful. They probably are, but let’s focus on Juneau’s airport. The Mendenhall Glacier seems to decend on it, with Mount Juneau rising stoically above.


Courtesy of EandJsFilmCrew.

Courtesy of EandJsFilmCrew.

Boston Logan International Airport — Massachusetts

Although the view from Boston’s airport might not be quite as striking as the mountain and paradisiacal scenes some of our other airports have offered, this one offers a nice blend of urban vistas and nature. It is in East Boston and surrounded by water on three sides, so travelers can see the sailboats on Boston Harbour and the downtown skyline.


A view of São Paulo from the air. Courtesy of Roger W.

A view of São Paulo from the air. Courtesy of Roger W.

São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport — Brazil

São Paulo is a city that seems to go on forever, especially if you are taking it in by air. On the ground at the airport, travelers can see that huge city sprawling in front of them. Although they may not be experiencing the hustle and bustle of city life quite yet, it looms before them.

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Tagged: Beach, City, Flights, Hawaii