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Four hours by car from Miami, Key West—aka the southernmost city in the continental United States—is another world, full of colorful characters, history and a culture all its own, a place where almost anything goes. And what better way to immerse yourself in it than to spend some time at some of its finest local watering holes. Whether you’re parading up and down Duval Street, witnessing buskers entertain with comedic and, at times, daring feats as the sun sets in Mallory Square, or sipping libations from the deck of a catamaran while sailing from the harbor, there are plenty of memorable ways to raise a glass to this charming island city. Here are some of our favorites.

RELATED: 7 off-the-beaten path Florida beach towns you’ll love

Best place to watch the sunset: Half Shell Raw Bar

For an island vibe just off the water, this harbor-side hangout can’t be beat. In 2022, Half Shell Raw Bar will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Prior to opening in 1972, the building housed a shrimp warehouse in this once rough-and-tumble part of town. Today it’s an expansive bar and restaurant that smacks of Old Key West, decorated with patron-donated license plates (the first hung to cover a bullet hole—the result of an argument between two fishermen—to mark the shooter’s spot at the bar). Dine at wooden picnic tables on fresh seafood, including a wide array of oysters, served during lunch and dinner seven days a week, Don’t miss deals on seafood and half-off well liquors, house wine, and beer during the 4:30–6:30pm daily happy hour. Once you’ve finished your meal you can throw any remaining seafood morsels to the fish waiting in the water below.

Best place to people watch: The Bull & Whistle

There is no better place to people watch in Key West than on Duval Street, the main drag through town. Seek respite from the throngs of tourists and locals at the ideally situated Bull & Whistle on the corner of Duval and Caroline streets—three bars in one that serve all walks of life. On the first floor, The Bull is an open-air bar with a street side view of the action, accompanied by nightly live music. On the second floor, The Whistle offers pool tables, darts, pinball, foosball, and a wrap-around balcony on which to enjoy a warm breeze and the views below. Meanwhile, a DJ provides nightly music on the clothing optional rooftop bar, known as the Garden of Eden (camera, cell phone use, and lewd behavior prohibited).

Best place to hang out with locals: Virgilio’s

Also on Duval Street, but a bit more subdued in tempo and decor, Virgilio’s is a classic cocktail lounge, tucked behind La Trattoria Restaurant, which serves hearty Italian fare. Sip a selection of sublime martinis, like the Raspberry Chocolate Bomb, Caramel Apple and Pineapple Pizazz while enjoying live music and late night dancing. Opt to sit in the covered space or beneath the leaves of the giant tree growing in the center of the outdoor patio. Every Monday martinis are $7 during happy hour from 6pm until close.

Best place for a lively atmosphere: Sloppy Joe’s

Sloppy Joe's bar, Key West, Florida

Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Key West, Florida

Sloppy Joe’s is a must on every visitor’s list, with a long history serving those stopping in Key West. The bar opened on December 5, 1933 a block down the road, moving on May 5, 1937—patrons, seats and all—to its current location, when owner Joe Russell learned the rent would be raised a dollar. Hemingway frequented the place, and encouraged the name Sloppy Joe’s after another of his favorite watering holes, the Jose Garcia Havana Club in Cuba. Sloppy Joe’s is open for lunch and dinner daily, with live music during three sets throughout the day—switching from guitar to a nightclub vibe later in the evening. Tourists flock to this crowded spot to dine on bar fare including Sloppy Joe nachos and sip libations like Sloppy Ritas (the house margarita) amid Hemingway memorabilia and flags donated by customers from all over the world. The bar even hosts a Hemingway lookalike contest annually in July, with pictures of former contestants on the wall. Shop for souvenir merchandise in the adjacent store.

Best place for live music: The Green Parrot

Green Parrot Bar, Key West, Florida

They say sooner or later everyone winds up at the Green Parrot and it’s no wonder, as its known for an eclectic mix of live music offerings, including “soundcheck” sets Friday–Sunday from 5:30–7pm, allowing an early bird crowd to experience the same talent at a reasonable time of night. In addition to live music, a 100-CD vintage Rowe jukebox fuels the interests of every manner of music enthusiast. The building dates back to 1890, first as a grocery store and then as a bar since WWII, catering to the navy customers from a submarine base down the street. When the navy closed the base in the ’70s (only to reopen it several years later) the place was renovated and became a hippy bar until it was sold in 1983. Friendly, no nonsense bartenders serve a mix of locals and tourists from 10am–4am in an expansive space, void of frills but adorned with colorful, donated artwork. Past celebrity clientele includes John Goodman, Michael Keaton, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Best bar with outside seating: Smokin’ Tuna Saloon

Join the lively crowd of visitors and locals at this popular hangout, boasting several sets of live music seven days a week, performed on the courtyard stage. Enjoy a full menu of fresh seafood, including a raw bar serving up more than 90 “personalities” of oysters. Wash them down with tasty libations such as a Cucumber Mint Cooler or a Smokin’ Dirty Banana. The Mercantile opens at noon, while the bar and restaurant open at 2pm. Smokin’ Tuna is home to the annual Key West Songwriters’ Festival, held in May and drawing big name talent—the largest festival of its kind in the world and the largest country music festival outside of Nashville.

Best bar with a colorful history: Captain Tony’s Saloon 

Captain Tony’s is such a signature spot, and arguably the oldest bar in Key West, that it’s been featured in several Jimmy Buffet songs. Along with Buffet (who got his start here), Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Shel Silverstein frequented this saloon–a casual dive bar owned by the late Tony Tarracino. The larger-than-life owner’s storied life included work as a shrimper, fishing boat captain, gunrunner, casino operator, and mayor of Key West. The building was built in 1851 as an icehouse that doubled as the city morgue, housed a telegraph station in the 1890s, a cigar factory in 1912, and later a bordello, before becoming the site of the original Sloppy Joe’s Bar from 1933 to 1937. The 428 Greene Street location remained a bar, purchased by Captain Tony in 1958. The ceiling is covered with donated ladies’ bras while business cards plaster the posts around the bar framed by stools painted with the names of famous patrons. A “hanging tree” grows in the middle of the place, where 17 people were once hanged, which may explain why many say it’s haunted. Captain Tony’s jewfish still hangs above the door. Come here for live music, pool, and cold beer.

Tagged: Destinations, Florida

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Suzanne Carmel

Suzanne Carmel

Suzanne Carmel

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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips. 

Turning 21 is a huge milestone for young Americans. It’s no doubt an exhilarating time, but with all the going out options it can be hard to know where to start. Never fear! We’ve got the top 10 neighborhoods nationwide for bars, food, culture, and all the other nightlife you can handle.

RELATED: These are the best beach bars in America

East village: New York City

First up on this list is the birth place of New York punk: East Village. While CBGB, the bar that started it all, has been closed for years, a mix of classic institutions like Mona’s (cheap Guinness Thursdays!) and new favorites such as Maiden Lane keep the drinks, bites and music flowing. When you need a good meal to bust the next morning’s hangover, stop by Yellow Rose for some central Texas–style tacos. Or you could head to Punjabi Grocery and Deli for some fantastic $1 samosas.

Where to stay: Four Points SoHo Village

Pacific Beach: San Diego

Don’t forget your surfboard and bathing suit when you’re heading out for this never-ending beach party. We’re hitting up Shore Club to start the night with $5 beers and ocean views; afterward, The Local Pacific Beach has you covered with Big Ass Nachos and frozen piña coladas until 2am. To bust the hangover the next morning, you can’t beat Kono’s egg burritos.

Where to stay: Beach Haven

Little Five Points: Atlanta

You like weird? Good, because L5P, as the locals call it, has all the weird you can handle. Topping just about everyone’s list is Vortex. Housed in a skull with glowing vortexes for eyes, this 21+ joint serves up killer burgers alongside an impressive list of local brews, 22 single malt Scotches and a selection of moonshine. While we wouldn’t fault you for just holing up at Vortex, if you do make it out, shops like Criminal Records and vintage shop Junkman’s Daughter are well worth the trip, as are too many other stand out bars in this neighborhood to name.

Where to stay: The In-town Spot

Bardstown Road: Louisville

More a thoroughfare of great bars, music and food  than a neighborhood, Bardstown Road just about reigns supreme for a night out in the Upper South. We’re starting at Bambi, because on Bardstown Road you have to start at Bambi. If you’re really feeling it, you could even attempt the Bambi walk. About 20 bars, 3 miles, you have to get a drink in each one. No water, no virgin this or that. A drink at every. Single. Bar. If that’s a little more booze than you’re ready for, Shakespeare themed The Bard’s Town is serving up Midsummer Night’s Greens, To Bean (Or Not To Bean) burgers and the First Folio Fish to help soak up all that alcohol. And if you prefer your drinks outdoors, hit up the Holy Grail, a bar in a converted centuries-old church that has one of the best beer gardens in town.

Where to stay: The Heart of Louisville Apartment

Rainey Street: Austin

Largely made up of Craftsman style houses turned bars, Rainey Street has something for the casual or serious bar goer any time of day. Craft Pride showcases an extensive selection of Texas beer and wine, not to mention a killer BBQ food truck and live music out back. What happens when you stack seven shipping containers on a street corner? Nightlife entrepreneur Bridget Dunlap tried it when she created the obviously named Container Bar and found out you get a really cool layout with plenty of open space to chill, drink and listen to live music. If you’re looking for food, head on over to Bangers for sausages ranging from classic bratwurst to duck, bacon and fig, all on a bun. They’ve also got housemade pickles and local watermelon.

Where to stay: Homewood Suites Downtown Austin

Adams Morgan: Washington, DC

Known best for its nightlife, DC’s Adams Morgan is full of can’t miss spots for 20 somethings. Splurge on a meal at the Michelin starred Tail Up Goat before getting your evening look together at the universally recommended Meep’s Vintage. Drinks like the Desert Falcon and Faloodeh Swizzle are on hand at Middle East inspired Green Zone or head to the two level Town Tavern; it’s a lowkey turn-of-the-century pub on the ground floor, DJ driven dance floor up top.

Where to stay: The LINE Hotel DC

Logan Square: Chicago

Just a quick CTA Blue Line ride away from Chicago’s bustling downtown is something of a haven for 20 somethings. Logan Square is packed full of good pizza, cheap beer, arcade bars and concert venues. Get off the Blue line at California and walk across the street for a PB&J Special—that’s a big slice of pizza, a can of PBR, and shot of Jameson for $10—from the cash-only Boiler Room. Another cool deal here: Use the ATM in the bar and bring your receipt to the bartender for a free shot. Not in the mood for pizza? Get in on the Hong Kong street food lunch specials from Friendship Chinese before you catch a show at Concord Music Hall. After the show head to Logan Arcade for beers and arcade games until 2am.

Where to stay: The Robey

RiNo: Denver

Known locally as RiNo, Denver’s River North neighborhood is full of old warehouses and factories hosting art spaces for the city’s creatives. Head over to 2424 Larimer Street on Fridays for the RiNo Art District Night Bazaar. Featuring over 40 vendors selling craft cocktails, beer, fashion, and food trucks, it’s a can’t miss. If it’s not Friday, stop by Our Mutual Friend’s vibrant store front for a local brew or six. For food in RiNo, we’re headed to Osaka Ramen and then going to tour the artist studios and galleries at the Dry Ice factory.

Where to stay: The Charming Cowboy S

Belltown: Seattle

Belltown is almost tailor made for the newly minted 21 year old. Right on the water front, it’s one Seattle’s most walkable neighborhoods and full of coffee shops, restaurants, little boutiques and, yes, all the nightlife you could ask for. Start your day off right with the Bitchwich Combo Deal from Biscuit Bitch. Then take a wander through the Olympic Sculpture Park before heading to the renowned 5 Point Café where happy hour happens 4–6pm, a burger’s $3.50 and you get $2 off draft pints. Then, play some skeeball while sipping some excellent cocktails at Rabbit Hole ‘till midnight.

Where to stay: The Belltown Inn

Downtown: Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina, is something of a hidden gem across the board. The city has 10 colleges and universities, and a significant student population that keep the nightlife rocking all year long. Don’t miss the Raleigh Beer Garden where you can sample a world-record holding 350 different beers on tap. Go back to the roaring ‘20s at the Green Light, listed as one of Thrillist’s best secret bars in the world (it’s tucked behind a book shelf at the Architect Bar and Social House). Meanwhile, State of Beer has you covered for all your sandwich needs and, of course, even more beer. Get some local fashion at Edge of Urge or across the street at Unlikely Professionals, which also has a full beer/wine bar.

Where to stay: Raleigh Marriott City Center

Tagged: California, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Chicago, City, Destinations, Food & drink, New York City, seattle, Texas, Top 10 list, Types of Travel, Washington DC

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Zach Cunning

Zach Cunning

Zach’s love of travel has led to him walking Roman roads along the Camino de Santiago, bartending throughout South America, surfing the Atlantic coast of Morocco and teaching backpackers everywhere the fine art of shaking up the perfect margarita. When he’s not traveling, Zach lives, works and studies in Chicago.
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We get it: The goal of leaving home is to experience as much of life as possible, to treat yourself and unwind. But when the budget gets tight, the tough get creative. Looking for a bit of luxurious relaxation on a shoestring? Here are eight options that will add a little something special to your travels without impacting your bottom line too much.

RELATED: 5 hot springs in gorgeous natural settings

Boulder Dushanbe Tea House: Boulder, CO  

Every civilized society starts their adventures with a cup of tea, which is exactly why you should hit up the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. The ornate landmark was originally built in Tajikistan by hand, without tools, and then later shipped piece by piece to Colorado and re-assembled along Boulder Creek. Take in the colorful carvings that surround you while you sip their signature Teahouse Chai, or dive into the depths of cheese tea (topped with milk foam and cream cheese). Hours and seating are currently limited due to Covid, so be sure to make a reservation.

Sykes Hot Springs: Big Sur, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Yes, hot tubs are awesome, but when spas aren’t in the budget, nature finds a way. Areas like Big Sur are known for their geothermic activity, meaning you can cheaply find a place to soak away your troubles. Just be sure to consult an official map before you dip—there’s a fine line between stress relief and accidental boiling.

Hike the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop: Portland, OR

If you’re tired of thoughtless people invading the imaginary six-foot force field you’ve conjured around you, then your concept of luxury might have more to do with getting away from it all. In that case, hit the trail at Portland’s Multnomah-Wahkeena. The 4.9-mile hike offers views of stunning waterfalls, plenty of chances to peep Oregon’s fairytale worthy foliage, viewpoints over the Columbia River, and significantly more big-leaf maples than people.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Brooklyn, NY

…Or maybe the great outdoors isn’t exactly your bag. Which is exactly why you should plan a trip to a botanical garden like Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Not only does their bite-sized natural goodness allow you the pleasure of being surrounded by a wide variety of plants your black thumb would likely kill instantly, they usually offer fun bonuses like in-house cafes and classes. And thanks to the location, you’ll never be too far away from city life.

Land’s End Labyrinth: San Francisco, CA

Overlooking the water at the end of Land’s End Park in San Francisco, is an ankle-high labyrinth. While there’s no Goblin King hiding in the center, the monument is meant to evoke peace, love and enlightenment. Go and practice your yoga breathing—or sneak a peek during the solstices, when the artist Eduardo Aguilera often drops by to light his small stone swirl with candles. (Note: It can be a bit tricky to find, so grab directions before you go.)

See the sky in a dark sky park: Big Bend National Park, Texas

Remind yourself how big and magical the world really can be with a visit to Big Bend in Texas. Not does the park feature a wealth of rugged hills and intricate ecosystems, at night this International Dark Sky Park, makes for cinescope-worthy star viewing. Join one of their night sky viewing programs to learn exactly which constellation you’re gawking at—or pack a picnic and make good on the romantic date you’ve been meaning to take.

Chicago Food Truck Fest: Chicago, IL

Food trucks are awesome because they offer a chance to sample local favors—even if your budget is more 7-Eleven than Michelin Star, plus there’s no need to go inside a restaurant. Bonus for those who can never make up their minds: A lot of them offer smaller sized options, meaning you can mix and match offerings to your heart’s content. For the ultimate offering, hit up the Chicago Food Truck Fest, which takes place Fridays April through September in Daley Plaza downtown (check for possible Covid closures). Bring your appetite and munch your way through favorites like 5411 Empanadas, Chubby Wieners, and Firecakes Donuts. Not in Chicago? No problem. Thanks to the National Food Truck Directory, you can track the schedule and offerings of over 8,500 trucks nationwide.

Post-pandemic tip: Hit the Korean spa in your city

If you’re in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago or Tacoma, you’re in luck. While their European-style competitors tend to project a sense of high-priced elitism, Korean spas are rooted in the bathhouse tradition—meaning you’ll get the same hot tubs and saunas at a more wallet-friendly rate. Add a treatment like their traditional scrub (where you’ll lose what feels like a pound of dead skin (along with what’s left of your inhibitions), or relax in the mixed-gender jimjilbang resting area.

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Chicago, Destinations, L.A., New York City, Texas

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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There is nothing like a European vacation. Open air cafes, lavish food options, and oh—the people watching! Of course, reality doesn’t always meet expectations, particularly when it comes down to the stress of finding time, access or money all at once. Since it’s not always feasible to jet off every time you’d like to (how many visits to Paris a year are too many visits?), might we suggest Quebec City as a wallet-friendly alternative? Between its cobblestone streets, impressive architecture, and shop signs not written in English (time to flex your high school French), it’s got all the signifiers of the elsewhere you’re craving. And thanks to a generally low cost of living, you won’t break the bank to get your fix. Read on for more reasons to explore the Great White North’s most stylish capital (and of the world’s safest cities). Bon voyage!

RELATED: These 7 National Parks are why we’re obsessed with Canada

Carb out on the “national dish”

Quebec is so riddled with shops offering poutine, it’s shocking to know that the French fry/cheese curds/gravy combo wasn’t popularized until the 1950s. You’ll find plenty of restaurants offering high-end versions and pricy add-ons, but why deviate from the dish’s greasy spoon roots? Snack Bar St-Jean, open from 11am-4am, offers 13 different kinds of poutine in three different sizes—making anytime right for carb o’ clock.

Put your walking shoes on

Quebec is a walking city, which is handy because it means some of the best experiences come for free. If your sweet tooth is acting up, start by grabbing an ice cream on the Place Royale. Then window shop for antiques along Rue Saint-Paul, and embellish your Instagram with a snap of the huge optical illusion street art, “Fresque des Québécois.” Still have rubber left on the bottoms of your Keds? Check here for additional (free) strolling inspo.

Become a bookworm

The only English-language library in the city is located in the newly open Morrin Centre. Even if you’re not in the market for some vacation reading material (sorry—only locals have checking out privileges) it’s worth seeing the building. Architecture and history buffs will appreciate the regularly-scheduled tours of the former jail-turned-bibliophile-paradise. And everyone will enjoy the overall Beauty and the Beast-style grandeur.

Embrace your inner nature boy (or girl)

Feel the need for green? (Not the smoke kind—although it is legal here.) Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, located 7 miles outside the city, is where Quebec keeps its natural wonders, including the truly stunning Montmorency Falls. View this wondrous water display from the stairs and bridge alongside it, or stay high and dry while getting the best seat in the house via the aerial tram.

Shop local

Who needs plastic keychains and magnets? We all know they’re bad for the environment and straight-up overpriced. Instead of schlepping home a questionably designed piece of official tourist merch, consider making a stop at Métiers d’Art du Quebec, where local artists sell their work directly to the public. Spending money on something you know you’re going to use (or eat), and directly benefiting the livelihood of a local artist? Now that’s a travel memory worth making.

Soak your cares away

Fact: Sometimes in order to really disconnect while traveling you need to put down your phone. And goodness knows you can’t take your phone in a sauna or hot tub. To that end, be sure to pay a visit to the nature-embracing Spa des Nieges. They’ve got discount deals every day of the week (including Wednesday when ladies are half off, Thursdays when students are 2 for 1, and free access on your birthday.) So you really don’t have a reason not to turn yourself into a zenned out prune.

Experience the festival free-for-all

The Quebecois festival like it’s a verb. There are cultural celebrations happening every month—so chances are you’ll find something to do, usually at a free or extremely reasonable price. Local favorites include pop fest Festival d’été de Québec in July, Québec Gourmet Table in November, and Québec Winter Carnival in February.

Cheers…we mean “à votre santé”

Start at Saint-Jean and Grande-Allée in the Upper Town. Point your feet in a direction of your choosing and start walking. Stop when you’ve hit a bar that’s to your liking, or with drink specials to your wallet’s liking. This is Canada, home of expert drinkers. You’ve got this. Don’t overthink it.

Sleep luxuriously

Sure you could take the cheapest route and go hostel (if that’s the case, Auberge Internationale de Québec, Auberge de la Paix and Auberge Maison Roy will treat you right). But if you’re looking for something a bit more private, Québec City is a great place to find boutique hotels at chain prices. For privacy and location, try Auberge Saint-Pierre, a 38-room establishment in Quebec’s Old Quebec neighborhood and within walking distance to most major sites. Particularly great if oversized showers and tubs, exposed brick walls, on-site spas, and down comforters are on your list of sexy vacation musts—even if you’re just trying to impress yourself.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, Types of Travel

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Thanks to Disney, Orlando has long been considered a kid’s paradise. But it’s also an adult wonderland, filled with speakeasies, fabulous museums and Instagram walls that have nothing to do with our friend, the mouse. Here are 7 reasons adults will love Orlando.

RELATED: The best Disney vacations to fit every budget

Wine Bar George

Orlando, Florida

Wine Bar George

Wine by the ounce? Check. The Sunshine State’s only master sommelier-led wine bar? Check. A candlelight atmosphere perfect for date night? This one checks all our boxes. Wine Bar George is a Disney Springs bar that’s actually affordable, thanks to its ingenious option of offering more than 140 top wines by the ounce. We couldn’t love this place more.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Orlando, Florida, museum

Photo | Courtesy of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, FL

Who knew that Florida boasts the largest collection of Tiffany works and how much do we love a museum with a $6 entrance fee? Maybe if the city stopped bragging so much about their rides (perhaps justifiably), they’d have time to talk about this museum, which is outrageously good. It’s in Winter Park, about a 30-minute drive from Orlando, and it’s totally worth a day trip. In addition to this museum, Winter Park has the most adorable collection of boutique shops and restos. Get caffeinated at Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., where they draw the totally Instagrammable heart on your latte, and then head to the farmers market (if you’re visiting on a Saturday). Then, wander the walkable streets, which are perfectly lovely.

Wall Crawl

Orlando, Florida

Wall Crawl Orlando

It’s time for something Instagrammable, and Orlando has created the perfect backdrop. Opened summer 2019 in the Parramore neighborhood on Church Street, Wall Crawl ($25 for 60 minutes) is an indoor spot that has more than 20 walls filled with those fabulous Instagram walls. They’re colorful, there are props—including a very cute unicorn—and backdrops ranging from beach scenes to a chic living room. Not so confident in your own photo skills? They will provide professional photogs, and you can purchase those pics starting at $6.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

HIlton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Florida, hotels

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

We love the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resort because it’s surrounded by Walt Disney World and has a free shuttle to the parks, but it’s not one of those super Disney-focused spots. In fact, if you never left the hotel you wouldn’t know you were in Disney World. Plus, with rooms going for less than $200/night most nights, it’s much less expensive than other Disney properties. Another reason we’re obsessed with it? It shares its amenities with neighboring Waldorf Astoria, so you can use their fancy hotel, fancy bar, fancy everything without spending extra.

Epcot

Yes, it’s packed with kids. But it’s also got drinks from around the world, and that’s why we love it for adults. Try the avocado margarita at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico (trust us), the wine and cheese tasting in Germany and the bellini with raspberry puree and limoncello in Italy. If you love wine, try the Wine Walk: $20 for six 2-ounce pours in Germany, Italy and France.

Daytona International Speedway

race track

Race day

This is where legends are made, and you can walk or ride in their footsteps behind the scenes. It’s about an hour away from Orlando, and it’s open year-round. If you’re there in the off-season, take a tour (starting at $19), which will bring you right onto the track. Or get tickets to the actual race.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic is a 20,000 sq. ft interactive museum that contains the second largest piece of the Titanic ever recovered, plus 300 recovered artifacts and costumed interpreters. It also recreates a cabin, a cafe and the grand staircase. It’s almost mandatory to do the Kate and Jack pose here.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Florida

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Living la dolce vita is easy as pie when you make room on your itinerary for one of these annual events that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth. Just in time for National Dessert Day on Oct. 14, we’ve rounded up a list of ways to get your just desserts all year long.

RELATED: 12 best food festivals in the US

Chocolate-Covered February: Hershey, PA

Strawberries covered in chocolate on a pink

When you’re at the epicenter of the chocolate universe and it’s the sweetest month of the year, you celebrate all day, every day. The birthplace of the Hershey Company warms up winter with more than 90 chocolate-themed events throughout the city, including hands-on workshops, wine-and-chocolate pairings, decadent spa treatments and more.

LA Cookie Convention: Los Angeles

cookies, dessert

If you thought everyone in LA was on a diet, then a visit to the West Coast’s largest baking and pastry convention in February will prove you wrong. Marvel at creative confections in the decorators’ showcase, designed by professionals, amateurs and even kids. And because it’s LA, expect the stars to come out. The upcoming 2020 convention includes appearances by Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman, YouTuber Rosanna Pansino of Nerdy Nummies, vampire slayer/foodie Sarah Michelle Gellar and more.

Flan Fest: Tampa, FL

flan, dessert

Flan fans flock to the historic Ybor City district every February for this festival celebrating the custardy dessert and the Latino immigrants who popularized it in Florida. Bakers compete for a cash prize and bragging rights, while attendees enjoy flan samples, live entertainment, a children’s area and more.

Claremont Pie Festival: Los Angeles

pie, dessert

If you’re planning a trip to Southern California, this daylong pastry party 40 minutes east of downtown LA will be the icing on the cake. Highlights of the March event include a baking contest, pie eating contest, demos and more. A classic car show and retro fashion show are the cherry on top.

National Pie Championships: Orlando

pie, dessert

Grab a slice of life at this April event that’s as American as, well… you know. The competition includes divisions for pros, amateurs and commercial bakers, and there’s a pie party that’s open to the public.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival: Atlanta

Top view of colorful ice cream cones on yellow backgound. Summer concept

With a nickname like Hotlanta, how could the ATL not have its own ice cream festival? Each July, visitors descend on Piedmont Park for a day of ice cream eating contests and cooking demos. You’ll have almost as much fun burning off the calories with the festival’s wellness activities, which include yoga, double dutch, hula hoop competitions and more.

Eli’s Cheesecake Festival: Chicago

cheesecake, dessert

After surviving brutal winters, Windy City denizens deserve a sweet treat. Famed cheesecake purveyor Eli’s offers guilty pleasures in spades, especially during its annual July celebration. Among the most recent festivities were live music, a classic car show, a cheesecake eating contest, cheesecake walk and something called Cheesecake Bingo. There’s also a Zumba party to dance off the damage.

Dessert Goals: NYCLos Angeles

cupcake, dessert

A sweet tooth can strike at anytime, just like this bi-coastal festival that happens every few months. At themed events, indulge in cake pops, mochi ice cream, macarons, artisanal toaster pastries and whatever else the cool kids can dream up. Costumes and Instagram posts are highly encouraged.

Tagged: California, Chicago, Destinations, Festivals, Florida, L.A., New York City

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In the beginning of California winemaking, tasting was almost always free. Then, in an attempt to attract more serious tasters, some wineries in Sonoma and Napa decided to charge a fee and discovered that people still came in droves. (In return, the wineries would often include a complimentary tasting glass or apply the tasting fee to a bottle of wine.)

Meanwhile, the lesser known Alexander and Anderson wine valleys typically offer lower tasting rates. (In general, two-for-one coupons are sometimes available around town, and you can often get free a tasting if you join a winery’s wine club.) Though very few wineries now offer outright free tastings, here are 10 that do. Always check ahead for current policies, and be polite when you taste. Remember, wineries like to sell you a bottle or two, which you can always use for a picnic on site or with dinner later.

RELATED: 5 essential leaf-peeping destinations (and where to stay in each)

NAPA VALLEY

Sutter Home

Photo | Carole Terwilliger Meyers

The second-oldest winery in Napa Valley (est. 1947), this old-time winery is famous for starting up an appreciation for pink-colored White Zinfandel in 1971. The winery now also produces premium Chardonnays and Cabernets. Currently the only free wine tasting in Napa Valley, visitors can also stroll through a surrounding garden known for its collection of roses and dwarf Japanese maples.

SONOMA VALLEY 

Adastra Wine & Art

Located across from the town plaza, this bright tasting room represents an organically-farmed vineyard in the Carneros region of Napa. It offers a complimentary tasting of two wines. An Estate Tasting featuring five wines is $15, and wines are also offered by the glass. The colorful contemporary fine art by Rey Isip is a nice touch.

Highway 12 Winery

Some wineries don’t have the space to accommodate an on-site tasting room. Though the production facility for Highway 12 Winery is located elsewhere in town, it operates this tasting counter within The Corner Store—a small gift shop located across from the town plaza. A free tasting of three wines is offered, and for $10 you can try five wines from the reserve list.

ALEXANDER VALLEY

Alexander Valley Vineyards

This family-run winery is comfortable, unpretentious and 75% solar powered. The focus is on Zinfandel, but it is also known for Chardonnay and Sangiovese. Tasting is free, but reserve wines can be tasted for a $15 fee that is waived with a purchase. Free tours of the property and wine caves are available, and picnicking facilities are provided.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Photo | Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Located on a vineyard-covered hill, this winery is named for the famous movie director—who also owns it. Several of Coppola’s Oscars, Don Corleone’s desk from “The Godfather” and the actual automobile used in the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” can be viewed in the Movie Gallery. A complimentary splash of two wines is served in traditional Italian Trattoria glassware, and more extensive tastings and a tour are available for a fee. This facility also has a restaurant, two swimming pools with lifeguards, and four bocce courts.

ANDERSON VALLEY

Balo Vineyards

Photo | Carole Terwilliger Meyers

This biodynamic-farmed winery will entice you to spend most of a day here. After a complimentary tasting of some very good Pinots and maybe a Riesling, purchase a bottle of your favorite to enjoy in a shaded picnic area, and perhaps play some bocce ball on one of the two available courts. Note: Balo Winery is changing ownership and will be closed during renovations; call before visiting.

Handley Cellars

An interesting collection of folk art is displayed in Handley Cellars’ tasting room. You can view it during a free sampling of six wines (the winery is known for its tasty Pinot Noirs). You’ll need a reservation for either a cheese pairing ($25) or a free tour of the winery. Picnic tables are provided in a shady sculpture garden, and you can recharge your electric vehicle at a free charging station.

Husch Vineyards

Though open only since 1971, this relative baby in the industry is the oldest winery in Anderson Valley. Tasting takes place inside a charming vintage pony barn covered with climbing roses. A free tasting of up to six selections includes the popular Mendocino Chardonnay and Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Sheltered picnic tables invite lingering, as does taking a complimentary self-guided tour through the vineyards.

Navarro Vineyards

Known for its Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer varietal grape juices—which children get to sample—and its Alsatian-style wines that include several Gewurztraminers, this winery is situated within a striking Craftsman-style redwood building. Tasting is complimentary, and its wines are available only at the winery. Picnic facilities are provided on a deck overlooking the vineyard and under a trellis amid the grapevines.

Yorkville Cellars

This scenic family-operated winery is surrounded by vineyards and is apparently the only winery outside of France to grow all eight of the main Bordeaux grapes. A basic tasting is available at no charge, but for a fee you can play “Name That Varietal” as you taste all six of the Noble Red grapes originally from Bordeaux (the winery’s unique Richard the Lion-Heart blend includes all six).

 

Tagged: California, Destinations, Food & drink

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Carole is a Berkeley-based travel writer who most especially enjoys cultural and culinary travel. She contributes to an assortment of publications and is the author of 18 books. Carole oversees two websites, berkeleyandbeyond.com and webcamtraveler.com, and she blogs at travelswithcarole.blogspot.com.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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Do you long for the days of vinyl records, mid-century furniture with clean lines and organic curves, and the wild fashions of the ’60s? If you’re in the mood to slow down and take a trip back in time, then you’ll love the vintage vibe of a California retro road trip. This coastal drive down memory lane begins in the Bay Area and includes vintage shopping, nostalgic accommodations and plenty of Old California fun as it winds down to LA before ending in Palm Springs—a retro jackpot! Put down your smart phone, gas up the VW and hit the road!

RELATED: 10 hotels for when you’re young, broke and fabulous!

San Francisco Bay Area

Buffalo Exchange San Francisco

Image courtesy of Buffalo Exchange

SHOP: Buffalo Exchange

Head to the Upper Haight (aka Haight-Ashbury) neighborhood of San Francisco to enjoy some true vintage shopping at Buffalo Exchange. Here you’ll find a wide collection of stylish one-of-a-kind “recycled” clothing that will bring back styles of eras gone by. Sort through the racks to find that hidden gem you can’t live without. 

Tommy's Joynt San Francisco

Image courtesy of Tommy’s Joynt

EAT: Tommy’s Joynt

This iconic eatery is a San Francisco must. Half bar, half restaurant, Tommy’s Joynt overflows with kitschy bar memorabilia, tables are covered in red-and-white plaid tablecloths, lighting is dark and the food is a hit. Dig into a hardy meat sandwich, buffalo stew or broiled steak, and wash it down with a pitcher of draft beer. 

The Phoenix Hotel

Image courtesy of Phoenix Hotel

STAY: Phoenix Hotel and Hotel Del Sol

Located in the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood, the legendary Phoenix Hotel is the perfect vacation spot for those who want to rock ’n’ roll all night. It has long been a favorite stopover for bands on tour (with free tour bus parking), and Kurt Cobain and Neil Young have both apparently stayed here. Browse the large record collection, try the push button in-room phone, or pick up a Polaroid camera from the lobby shop. Another alternative is the brightly colored boutique Hotel Del Sol in the Cow Hollow/Marina neighborhood. Walking distance to the Bay, where you can take in picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Hotel del Sol is a family-friendly retreat from the hustle and bustle of the City.

West Wind Drive-In Theater San Jose

Image courtesy of West Wind Drive-In

PLAY: West Wind All Digital Drive-In, San Jose

A retro road trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a drive-in movie theater. West Wind All Digital Drive-In in San Jose combines the nostalgia of a drive-in theater with modern digital technology. Rather than handling the bulky speaker on your car window, you just tune in to an FM station to hear the movie through your car stereo; plus, movies are shown through digital projectors, providing a crisp image. Enjoy a double feature movie with an intermission so you have time to load up on goodies in between movies.  

 

The Central Coast

Punch Vintage

Image courtesy of Punch Vintage

SHOP: Punch Vintage, Santa Barbara

If you’re looking for mid-century home decor and stylish vintage clothing, Punch Vintage is the place to go in Santa Barbara. Pick up some antique jewelry, an old school camera, records, retro bar stools, stylish cat eye sunglasses and much more. You’ll love finding unique pieces to take home as souvenirs.

Joe's Cafe

Image courtesy Joe’s Cafe

EAT: Joe’s Cafe, Santa Barbara

Joe’s Cafe, located in Santa Barbara, is an American steakhouse with a long history of serving up large portions of steak and seafood, an extensive weekend brunch, and plenty of other comfort foods. Go for dinner, and stay for the nightlife and strong cocktails.

The Kinney Hotel

Image courtesy The Kinney San Luis Obispo

STAY: The Kinney San Luis Obispo or AutoCamp, Santa Barbara

Newly opened and located near Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (about 95 minutes north of Santa Barbara), The Kinney San Luis Obispo beckons guests to put down their smart phones and enjoy some retro games in the game room. Try your luck at skeeball, arcade games, oversized Scrabble or shuffle board. The vintage decor includes vintage boxing gloves and old school jerseys hanging in the common areas. For those who just have to post to Snapchat or Instagram, check out the nearby Bubblegum Alley—and maybe use the Li-Fi filter for a flashback feel. Rather stay in an Airstream? AutoCamp in Santa Barbara offers modern AirStream accommodation, meaning it has the full nostalgic feel, but with all the modern amenities. 

 

Los Angeles

Wasteland Vintage Clothing Los Angeles

Image courtesy Wasteland

SHOP: Wasteland

For fashionistas looking for gently used designer and vintage clothing, it doesn’t get any better than Wasteland. Located on Melrose Avenue, the carefully curated collection attracts customers who are in search of stylish clothes at reasonable prices. Walk through the doors and become inspired by throwback looks that are sure to outlive current trends. 

Tiki-Ti Los Angeles

Image courtesy Tiki-Ti

DRINK: Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge

With only a dozen bar stools, but nearly 100 tropical drinks to choose from, the Tiki-Ti has been a popular Polynesian-themed watering hole in LA for nearly 50 years. Order an Uga Booga, Swamp Water or Laka Nuki to put you in the “hang loose” spirit.

Foxy's restaurant

Image courtesy Foxy’s Restaurant

EAT: Foxy’s Restaurant, Glendale

At Foxy’s, you’ll step back to the ‘60s and enjoy salads, sandwiches, burgers and Southwestern dishes next to a cozy fire or on the sunny patio. The family-friendly restaurant serves up platefuls of homemade food at reasonable prices. 

Ace Hotel Los Angeles

Image courtesy Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

STAY: Ace Hotel DTLA or The Standard Hollywood

Rooms at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles are decked out with mid-century modern decor and a Smeg retro refrigerator, while some rooms include an acoustic Martin guitar or record player. Spin some vinyl tunes with a collection of records from Amoeba Music or listen to some live music in The Theatre, an immaculately restored grandiose 1920s movie palace. From the shagged lobby, blue astro turf pool deck, mid-century modern exterior and interior design and furniture, The Standard Hollywood is a classic nod to times gone by. 

 

Orange County

Sound Spectrum Laguna Beach

Image courtesy Sound Spectrum

SHOP: Sound Spectrum, Laguna Beach

A Laguna Beach establishment since 1967, Sound Spectrum still stocks hundreds of vinyl records, as well as CDs, reggae memorabilia and vintage music posters. Flip through the stacks of vintage and new releases to find your favorite artist from the ‘60s, ‘90s or today.

Balboa Fun Zone Newport Beach

Image courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

PLAY: Fun Zone, Newport Beach

Enter the Fun Zone on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, which has been providing tech-free entertainment for 80 years. Take a spin on the Ferris wheel, play Pac Man or skeeball in the arcade, or enjoy bungee jumping. Be sure to take a 5-minute boat ride to Balboa Island to try an iconic chocolate-covered frozen banana.

Watson's Soda Fountain & Cafe Orange

Image courtesy Watson’s Soda Fountain & Cafe

EAT: Walton’s Soda Fountain & Cafe, Orange

Established in 1899, Watson’s Soda Fountain & Cafe in Orange is like stepping back—way back—in time. Enjoy an authentic, delicious ice cream soda, as well as classic comfort foods such as buttermilk pancakes, patty melt and tater tots. Stop by the candy counter for some old fashioned sweets, play a tune on the juke box or shop for retro memorabilia. 

Disneyland Hotel

Image courtesy Disney

STAY: Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim

It doesn’t get any more classic than the Disneyland Hotel, originally built in 1956. With themed signature suites that match the park attractions, such as Adventureland, Big Thunder, Fairytale, Mickey Mouse Penthouse and Pirates of the Caribbean, kids (and adult Disney fanatics) will love the attention to detail that the rooms provide. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into a Disney character’s actual abode. Plus, you get early entrance to the park!

 

Palm Springs

Gypsyland Palm Springs

Image courtesy Gypsyland

SHOP: Gypsyland

Palm Springs has plenty of choices for vintage clothing and furniture shopping, including Gypsyland. Here you’ll find gently used band T-shirts, large collars shirts, leather and suede items, flower covered frocks, and an assortment of mid-century furniture and home decor. Look for the pink poodle-headed mannequin. 

Norma's Parker Palm Springs

Image courtesy Parker Palm Springs

EAT: Norma’s at the Parker Palm Springs

Located in the gorgeously retro Parker Palm Springs Hotel, Norma’s serves breakfast all day with menu items such as gourmet doughnuts, chocolate French toast, crab Louie, and burgers. Dine on the colorful patio with comfortable booth seating or enjoy indoor seating with mid-century modern decor.

Caliente Tropics Palm Spring

Image courtesy Caliente Tropics by Ewasko_-336-

STAY: Caliente Tropics Hotel

Boasting tropical tiki charm, the updated 1960s Caliente Tropics Hotel is the perfect desert getaway for those looking to lounge poolside while sipping a Mai Tai. The rooms are decorated with vintage Polynesian posters and floral bedding. It was once the playground for Old Hollywood, where guests included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Tagged: California, Destinations

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Sharael Kolberg
Sharael, founder of Family Travel Channel (familytravelchannel.com), has been writing about travel since 1995. Her work has appeared in Sunset magazine, Outside magazine, ForbesTravelGuide.com, MSN.com, and many others. Follow her on Twitter @FamTravChannel, FB and Instagram @FamilyTravelChannel. See more of her work at Sharael.com.
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There’s no better way to end a long day, or week, than getting together with friends to catch up and unwind, and clink frosty mugs in appreciation of good company—and good beer, whether its your favorite IPA, lager, stout or whatever else cures what ales you (get it?). According to the Brewers Association, there were more than 7,000 craft breweries in the U.S. at the end of 2018—and that number keeps growing. To help narrow down where to raise a glass, we’re highlighting seven of the hottest beer neighborhoods, or neighbeerhoods, in America, where the sudsy adult beverage is appreciated every day of the year. Indulge all you like, but remember to stay safe by booking a CheapTickets hotel deal for the night and calling a ridesharing service.

RELATED: The ultimate music lover’s guide to Seattle

Trover photo by Jenn B

Ravenswood: Chicago, IL

This North Side neighborhood in the Windy City features the area’s largest concentration of breweries, pretty much making it a one-stop shop for craft beer fans. In fact, a two-mile stretch of the neighborhood has been dubbed “Malt Row” because it’s where six breweries, including Begyle, Dovetail, Half Acre and Empirical Brewing, all reside. Many of them offer scheduled tours as well as in-house tap rooms where you can sample the goods. Plus, the ‘hood is home to lauded brew pub Band of Bohemia and beer bars like Wolcott Tap and Gideon Welles, so you should have no problem quenching your thirst with some suds.

North Park: San Diego, CA

It wouldn’t come as a surprise if beer becomes the official beverage of San Diego. The Southern California city is home to more than 140 breweries. While many of them of them are located on Highway 78 (aka “Hops Highway”) and scattered throughout the city, many beer aficionados flock to the city’s North Park area. 30th Street in the hip ‘hood has become known as “Craft Beer Boulevard” thanks to the plethora of beer bars scattered throughout the strip. Standouts include Belching Beaver Tasting Room (home of the Peanut Butter Milk Stout), Toronado (considered by many to be one of the top beer bars in the country) and Waypoint Public.

Trover photo by Hayley Gallagher

Ohio City: Cleveland, OH

The city of Cleveland recently designed a Cleveland Brewery Passport for tourists and locals, and you can expect to get a majority of stamps soaking up the suds in Ohio City. The trendy ‘hood, which is just west of downtown, is home to an ever growing list of breweries including Nano Brew Cleveland, Market Garden Brewery, Forest City and the recently opened Bookhouse Brewing. Pubs such as Bar Cento and Bier Markt round out the brewski offerings. When it comes to Buckeye State beer, Ohio City rocks.

ALSO: Earn travel rewards on you brewery-hopping adventure when you sign up for CheapCash!

Trover photo by Tony Creech

Golden: Denver, CO

Checking out the beer scene in this part of Colorado doesn’t mean you’ll be sipping IPAs in dark tap rooms. Treat yourself to a self-guided walking tour of the breweries in Golden, and you’ll also enjoy mountainscapes, as well as views of Clear Creek. And just like the surrounding nature, the breweries here will leave you awestruck, too. This is the region Coors calls home. It’s the largest single-site brewery in the world, and it’s cool to compare how beer is made at such a level of mass production, compared to the smaller breweries nearby. Those microbreweries—all within walking distance of each other—include Golden City Brewery (prepare to make a pit stop in the beer garden) and Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.

Urban Farm Fermentory | Trover photo by Fun – travelog

East Bayside: Portland, ME

East Bayside has recently become one of Portland’s hippest neighborhoods, and that’s largely due to the fact that so many beermakers have set up shop here. The compact ‘hood is close to downtown and the Old Port areas of Portland, so it’s an easy stop on a day touring the whole city. When you’re ready for a frosty adult beverage, the offerings here include Rising Tide Brewing Company, a popular local brewer which offers tours and pours in its tasting room. Lone Pine Brewing Company is another nearby local favorite. And if you’re the kind of drinker who craves a cider, Urban Farm Fermentory has your back with that and kombuchas as well.

Trover photo by Mark Rentz

Ballard: Seattle, WA

If you have a favorite beer hailing from Seattle, chances are it’s made in the Ballard neighborhood. Ballard is becoming known as the city’s destination for beer because it boasts around 11 breweries in just a two-mile radius. Hitting up every brewery in the ‘hood might be an impossible feat in one day (without passing out), but definitely make time to check out Maritime Pacific Brewing, the oldest one in the bunch—dating all the way back to 1990. Other must-visit spots include Stoup Brewing, which features a lively patio and the Jolly Roger Taproom, features a full food menu—which you’ll need after a long day of sampling beers.

Station Inn | Trover photo by Christina Blust

The Gulch: Nashville, TN

Located a little bit south of downtown Nashville, The Gulch has become a trendy destination for Nashville’s young professionals. And since the craft beer trend isn’t going away anytime soon, the hip ‘hood offers plenty of places to enjoy a locally-made beer. Yazoo Brewing Company is a massive brewery and taproom with limited hours (its closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays). In addition to offering tours and pours, Jackalope Brewing Co is a fun destination on Thursday nights when it hosts a weekly trivia competition. As for beer bars in the area, you can’t go wrong with Hops & Crafts, Pour House and Station Inn. And yes, because this is Nashville, expect live music at many of these hotspots.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Chicago, City, Destinations, Food & drink, seattle, Top 10 list, Types of Travel, Uncategorized

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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When you think about traveling to California, you might think San Francisco, Sonoma, LA and San Diego. Sacramento, on the other hand, will probably only come up if you’re taking a capitals quiz. Things have changed a lot, though, in recent years, as the Golden State’s capital city has developed a thriving farm-to-fork food scene, some fresh cultural attractions and even a few unforgettable bars (one with real live mermaids!). Read on to see why now is the time to give Sacramento a chance.

RELATED: This is the California beach road trip you’ve always dreamed of

 

Central Farmers Market | Flickr CC: Robert Couse-Baker Central Farmers Market | Flickr CC: Robert Couse-Baker

Get fresh at the Central Farmers Market

While Central Farmers Market has been feeding locals for decades , its influence on Sacramento dining has definitely skyrocketed as of late. As the largest California Certified Farmers Market in the state, it’s the place to snap up some of the best fruits and veggies anywhere, plus spot top chefs from near and far.

Indulge in Farm-to-Fork dining

About five years ago, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the city’s first homegrown and African-American mayor, declared Sacramento the nation’s “Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Seems a fair assessment considering most of the food in in town comes from within 25 miles of the city. Much of the rest comes from within 150 miles. That said, expect to find fresh, local, seasonal, sustainable and artisanal food at every turn. Among the many standouts are Federalist Public House & Beer Garden, Hock Farm, Grange Restaurant & Bar and Ella’s.

Sample away at the Farm-to-Fork Festival

Get a true taste of the city at Sacramento’s annual Farm-to-Fork Festival. More than 80 vendors of local food, wine and beer gather on the city’s Capitol Mall in September while exhibits from farms, live music, cooking shows, butchering competitions and other activities round out the offerings. The event is free and attracts more than 50,000 people annually.

Low Brau | Photo courtesy of @rnjewels Low Brau | Photo courtesy of @rnjewels

Stay cool in the Midtown neighborhood

On weekends, the place to be is Midtown, where you’ll find a hip set hanging out at restaurants, coffee shops, bars and indie shops. There’s a smaller farmers’ market here on Saturdays, too, plus the popular patio at Low Brau, the locally-made art at Kennedy Gallery, and your very own artistry at the Painted Cork, where you can create a masterpiece over a bottle of wine or beer.

Crocker Art Museum Crocker Art Museum | Flickr CC: Nathan Hughes Hamilton

Explore the museums

While the Sacramento History Museum, California State Railroad Museum and California Automobile Museum are all worth checking out, art enthusiasts will appreciate the collection at the Crocker Art Museum. The impressive array of work here includes Californian and American, European, Asian, African and Oceanic art, as well as international ceramics and 1,500 master drawings.

Dive Bar | Photo courtesy of @divebarsacramento Dive Bar | Photo courtesy of @divebarsacramento

Imbibe in the nightlife

Did you think Sacramento was a sleepy little town? Maybe at some point it was but now there’s plenty keep you out, including the fascinating Dive Bar. Head here to marvel at the huge aquarium above the bar, and catch a glimpse of the mermaids swimming in it! Rumor has it they never show before midnight, so arrive late.

ALSO: Save big on your next vacay with CheapCash—it’s free to sign up!

Catch a major concert or game

Locals are especially pumped, though, about the new Golden 1 Center, the state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex, that is a big piece of downtown’s revitalization. Superstar artist Jeff Koons recently unveiled his towering sculpture at the entrance of the Center, which is the new home of hoopsters the Sacramento Kings. Word is that the arena is the most technically advanced and sustainable in the country. With a farm-to-fork menu, the fans will have some of the best stadium eats anywhere. Executive Chef Michael Tuohy plans to take arena food to a new level.

 

Old Sacramento | Flickr CC: Jack Snell Old Sacramento | Flickr CC: Jack Snell

Revisit California history

Make your way to Old Sacramento, where you can visit several museums such as Wells Fargo, and the automobile and railroad museums mentioned above. The Old Sacramento Underground Tour departs from this area, as well, and offers a peak into the past when the streets were raised in the 1860s and 1870s to protect the city from flooding. The area is also home to boutiques, art, antique shops, carriage rides, Hornblower cruises, train rides, and plenty of restaurants and bars.

Photo courtesy of the Citizen Hotel

Stay in style

There’s no shortage of great places to stay in Sacramento. Opt for a bed and breakfast, or go for a big hotel such as the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade, Hyatt Regency and Four Points by Sheraton, plus the historic Citizen Hotel. Once you’re rested up, head out and knock off a few more of those incredible restaurants off your list! And then, repeat.

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Tagged: California, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, Events, Family, Festivals, Types of Travel

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

CheapTickets Blog Editors

CheapTickets Blog Editors

CheapTickets editors are a diverse group of writers and bloggers who live and work all over the world and who have a passion for student-friendly budget travel coursing through their veins. Whether it's finding the most Instagrammable yurt in the Coachella Valley or uncovering dirt cheap eats in expensive cities like Tokyo and Paris, our writers take the road less traveled to uncover the world's best deals and destinations.