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

With more than 50% of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated, it’s finally time to put on some real clothes and get back out into the world. But with every state seemingly at a different level of reopening, and many events still canceled or postponed, what is there to do? We’ve got a list of nine great events, from music festivals to immersive art exhibits, to make this summer one to remember.

RELATED: 10 destinations that are huge bargains this summer

Lollapalooza: Chicago

Concert Crowd At The Music Festival

Chicago’s biggest and best-known music fest is making its triumphant return to Chicago’s Grant Park this summer. Featuring Miley Cyrus, Foo Fighters, Post Malone and Tyler the Creator, plus more than 170 other artists, the festival runs July 29– Aug 1. Full vaccination or a daily negative COVID test are required. Get your advanced festival tickets here.

Book your Chicago hotel soon. 

Austin Asian American Film Festival: Austin

The Austin Asian American Film Festival (June 4–20) features tons of short form, documentary, and feature length new Asian and Asian-American films. The two-week event’s centerpiece film is Mei Makino’s coming of age story, Inbetween Girl. The film follows teenage artist Angie Chen as she navigates the fall out of her parents unexpected divorce. Tickets for both virtual and drive-in screenings are on sale now.

Book your Austin hotel right here.

Smorgasburg: New York City

A table of fresh picked berries and peppers at a local mid-west farmer's market.

“The largest weekly open-air food market in America,” Smorgasburg is starting their reopening small. Two of their four locations—World Trade Center and Jersey City—are currently open. There’s dozens of vendors across the two locations and seating for up to 500 at Jersey City. The New York Times calls Smorgasburg “the Woodstock of eating.”

Find a great NYC hotel here.

Cinespia: Los Angeles

Having traded headstones for headlights at a drive in near the Greek Theater in LA, Cinespia will be screening the best in cinema all summer long. Grab some friends, load up the car, and head out for a night of film under the stars. Upcoming films include Beauty and the Beast and Thelma & Louise.

Find a fantastic Los Angeles hotel here.

Pride in the Park: Chicago

Group of Friends Jumping, Laughing and showing Positive Vibes at the Gay Pride Waving Colourful Rainbow Flags in the Middle of the Busy Street

The first major event in Chicago this year, Pride in the Park is kicking off the summer festival season. Held once again in Chicago’s Grant Park, the fest runs June 26 and 27 and will be headlined Saturday by Tiësto and Sunday by Chaka Khan and Gryffin. With the city’s Pride Parade holding off until October, Pride in the Park looks to be Chicago’s one big summer event to celebrate the LGBTQIA community. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required.

Browse great Chicago hotels here. 

Breakaway Music Festival: Grand Rapids, MI

Like so many other festivals, the multi-city EDM/Hip Hop festival Breakaway was forced on a year long hiatus in 2020. This summer, they’re bursting back on the scene with their first American dates August 26-27 at Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park. Featuring the likes of Illlenium, Quinn VCII, Gryffin, Big Wild and Chelsea Cutler, this is a can’t miss for electronic and pop fans.

Book the perfect Grand Rapids hotel here.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience: Various cities

Van Gogh epitomizes the romantic, tortured artist. Unappreciated in his time, it was only in the decades following his death that his works gained their much-deserved notoriety. The Van Gogh immersive exhibition presents the artist’s works in all their vibrant, colorful emotion as never seen before. Tickets are on sale for several major cities around the US, but selling fast! Get your advance Van Gogh Immersive Experience tickets here.

Find fantastic hotel deals right here.

National Mall and Smithsonian Museums: Washington, DC

Hand holding a Polaroid of the Lincoln Memorial during a sunny summer day

Though the Washington Monument and US Capitol Building remain closed for tours, a day on the National Mall is always one well spent. Visit the Lincoln Memorial, grab a picnic on the sprawling grassy areas, and then head for the myriad Smithsonian Museums—an easy walk from the Mall. Eight of the Smithsonian Museums are currently open, including the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, the Renwick Gallery and the National Gardens, and the remainder are gradually reopening. All museums require are free, but require an advance reservation.

Get a good DC hotel deal here.

Food Truck Wednesdays: Miami

Come out to Miami’s Pelican Harbor every Wednesday from 5-10pm for a weekly festival showcasing the best food trucks South Florida has to offer. Enjoy outdoor seating, free parking and a location that’s hard to beat.

Snag a Miami hotel deal here.

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Chicago, Destinations, Events, Festivals, Florida, L.A., Music, New York City, Texas, Texas, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

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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It may seem like craft beer festivals are a dime a dozen these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. Certain craft celebrations still separate themselves from a crowded field in ways that make them not just a fun diversion if you happen to be in the area, but bucket list-worthy attractions any beer lover should consider planning a whole trip around. When you’re putting your 2020 calendar together,* keep these 9 exceptional beer gatherings in mind.

*Dates and prices are approximated based on 2019 data, so keep tabs on the relevant websites for updates.

RELATED: America’s 7 hottest neighbeerhoods (that’s beer neighborhoods)

Extreme Beer Festival: Boston, MA

(Late January, early February: $75–$100)

Beer Advocate has been hosting this celebration of boundary-pushing brews (each brewery is tasked with creating an “extreme beer”) since 2003, and given how many boundaries have been pushed since that time, it’s no wonder this Boston fest continues to be one of the most interesting annual looks into where the industry is going.

Bonus: Yes, it’s touristy to have a drink at Boston’s Bull & Finch, the bar that inspired Cheers, but if you like beer and you’re in Boston, don’t you also kind of have to pay homage to Norm?

WakeFest Invitational: Miami, FL

(Mid February: $60-$350)

Standout Miami brewer J. Wakefield has evolved its anniversary celebration into quite the event, drawing 120 breweries from around the nation who reliably put their best foams forward at this popular shindig. Expect to taste plenty of rare, sought-after suds, fill up at a sea of food trucks, dance like no one’s watching (if that’s how you roll) and have a generally fantastic time.

Bonus: For most of the country, Miami weather in February doesn’t require much of a sales pitch.

Savor: Washington, DC

(May: $135–$175)

The food quality at beer festivals can vary (which is why you often see attendees subsisting on a pretzel necklace), but there’s nothing to worry about with Savor, which feels more like something out of a Top Chef episode than a typical beer fest. The 90-plus breweries in attendance work up specific food pairings for their beers on offer: think barrel-aged stouts with coconut-chocolate macaroons and fruited sours with curry squash samosas. You won’t leave hungry.

Bonus: DC has plenty of tourism opportunities that other cities simply do not: The Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the chance to yell at your congressman … The possibilities are endless!

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Firestone Walker Invitational: Paso Robles, CA

(June: $90–$200)

2020 will be the ninth iteration of this Paso Robles event from industry heavy hitters Firestone Walker, which draws in some of the biggest worldwide names in brewing among the event’s 50 entrants, not to mention an always impressive lineup of brews from the hosts themselves. If the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the biggest names in brewing with a little live music providing the soundtrack sounds appealing, this is for you.

Bonus: If your beverage interests aren’t limited to beer, you’re smack in the heart of wine country.

Green City: Brooklyn, NY

(June: $100-$300)

Arguably no brewery in the country has distinguished itself in the recent East Coast IPA boom the way Other Half has, so it’s no surprise the festival they throw in Brooklyn in celebration of all things hoppy has emerged as a must-do. More than 70 breweries participate, and if you have people in your party who aren’t necessarily hopheads, fear not, as they also have other styles on offer. There’s also professional wrestling. And a pig roast. Truly something for everyone!

Bonus: The outer boroughs are home to NYC’s best beer gardens. Read all about them here.

Modern Times Festival of Dankness: San Diego, CA

(August: $50)

While the East Coast has attracted much of the IPA notoriety in recent years, beer drinkers shouldn’t forget their roots, and the industry-sweeping influence the West Coast IPA wrought on contemporary beer palates. So get yourself to San Diego for this celebration of the preeminent beer style in one of America’s preeminent beer cities, with a festival lineup that can hang with absolutely anyone.

Bonus: Need some grub to wash down those suds? The fest location in Waterfront Park is just a stone’s throw from the buzzy Little Italy Food Hall, featuring six food stations and an outdoor patio.

The Great Taste of the Midwest: Madison, WI

(August: $60)

Along with GABF, Great Taste is one of the country’s OG beer festivals (having debuted just one year later in 1983) and it’s aged like a fine wine. Or barrel-aged stout, to be more on-topic. The lakeside location in Madison is gorgeous in late-summer and the 190-plus Midwest breweries in attendance represent some of the industry’s best—no wonder tickets sells out in a hurry. If you struck out, it’s worth noting that local bars run all kinds of exciting tap takeovers and other events the night before on “Great Taste Eve,” so you can still have yourself a fine time.

Bonus: Few American states understand beer drinking with the depth that Wisconsin does. If you don’t make reckless bratwurst and cheese curd consumption a part of your visit, you’re doing it wrong.

Great American Beer FestivalDenver, CO

(Sept 24–26: $85 per session; $70 for Brewers Association members)

The granddaddy of all beer festivals is truly an experience every beer lover should have at least once, and having started in 1982, it predates many of its attendees and competitors at this point. The sheer scope of the Denver event remains unparalleled (nearly 10,000 different beers entered in 2019), and the level of interaction and access you can have with the brewers is also second to none. Make a weekend of it and make use of the GABF app—with so many beers to try it’s likely that your memory of what you tasted will be a little hazy by that third day.

Bonus: Tack a hike onto the end of your trip to mitigate some of the health aftereffects from your weekend of revelry.

Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers: Chicago

(November: $85)

Barrel-aged beer has become one of the singular objects of beer geek obsession in recent years, and FOBAB (as it’s typically abbreviated) has become the preeminent celebration of them since debuting in 2003. The Chicago event has grown to feature hundreds of breweries tapping rare and unique beers that’ve spent time developing additional character in bourbon barrels, wine barrels, rum barrels—you name it, they’re trying it. It’s a coveted ticket, so be sure to keep an eye on the website for the 2020 release date.

Bonus: If things break right you might catch a Bears, Bulls, or Blackhawks game while you’re in town. If they don’t, you might catch a flight cancelled in a fall snowstorm. Live on the edge!

Tagged: Food & drink

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

Matt Lynch

Matt Lynch

Matt Lynch

Latest posts by Matt Lynch (see all)

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CheapTickets-MiamiBeach-yoga

Miami’s Third Street Beach Yoga offers pay-what-you-can classes twice a day, 365 days a year. Credit: Dalia Colon.

Miami the land of hot sun and hot bodies—and that’s no coincidence. Ocean views and year-round sunshine make outdoor sweat sessions a breeze, and with the city’s abundance of free and cheap exercise classes, you don’t have to choose between physical and fiscal fitness. If your new year’s resolution involves shedding some pounds, then a winter getaway to South Florida may be just the ticket.

Make a run for it. Jogging on sand is harder than it looks, so you’ll burn some serious calories when you go for a run on South Beach. Make your own route—it’s about 2 miles from First Street to 23rd Street on the sand—or link up with a group like South Beach Run Club, which gets together for weekly runs.

Nama-stay in shape. Sun salutations in the sun? Tree pose under an actual tree? Striking a yoga pose on the beach beats a sweaty yoga studio any day. You can find free or pay-what-you-can yoga classes in Miami every day of the week. Because

Give laziness the boot. Nothin’ like a military veteran to whip you into shape. Thanks to a grant from Cola-Cola Troops for Fitness, local vets teach free beach boot camps at six Miami-area parks.

Get in the zone. Skip the pricey gym membership and let Miami-Dade County parks give you a workout. Several of the parks feature Fitness Zones with a series of exercise equipment for a challenging al fresco training session.

Just dance. From salsa on South Beach to Zumba classes all over town, your workout will feel more like a party than a grind.

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Tagged: Beach, Florida, FREE!, Sports

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

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We all know the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. But in the travel industry, there are only three seasons that matter: peak, shoulder and off. Here’s why you should care.

woman-looking-at-map-cheaptickets

What’s the diff?

Peak season, or high season, is when a destination is the most popular. Peak season varies by destination, often depending on the weather. For instance, Eastertime is peak season for Florida because theme park-loving kids are on spring break and the weather is just hot enough, but not yet too miserable, for a frolic on the beach. On the flip side, the December holidays are prime time for Colorado; plenty of snow on the ski slopes, time off from work and school and the prospect of spending a cozy holiday around the fireplace make this Western state a popular choice in the winter months.

So that’s peak season. Off season, or low season, is just the opposite: the time of year when a destination sees the fewest tourists. And shoulder season is the transitional time between peak and off seasons.

Why is off season great for cheap traveling?

Three words: supply and demand. When demand drops, so do prices on everything from airfare to hotel rooms to attractions. Even food prices can decrease, with many cities holding restaurant weeks during the off-season.

Bonus: off season means fewer crowds, shorter lines, easier restaurant reservations and less stressed service people.

Why might traveling during off season not be a great idea?

For starters, the weather can get dicey. There’s a reason why folks don’t flock to the Caribbean during hurricane season. If you can’t resist a bargain but are concerned about Mother Nature wreaking havoc your trip, then consider buying traveler’s insurance. Also have a backup plan—say, a museum—for when it’s too yucky to go outside.

In addition, be prepared to miss out on some things. During off season, shops and restaurants may have limited hours, tours may operate on a modified schedule, and some businesses or events might shut down all together. If your must-do becomes a can’t-do, then ask a local for some off-the-beaten-path ideas for fun. And don’t be afraid to request a discount. 

So when’s the off season for some popular U.S. destinations? Here’s the scoop.

Atlanta: April and May. If you’ve got Georgia on your mind this time of year, then try to nab tickets for prestigious Masters Golf Tournament in April or one of the many music festivals happening in May.

Chicago: November to February. The Windy City lives up to its name during the colder months, but there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had. Take in the view from the top of the Willis Tower, explore the Art Institute of Chicago or catch a show at Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Dallas: February to April. Now’s the time for Dallas Blooms, a three-month extravaganza of color and scent at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. History buffs can also take advantage of smaller crowds at the Sixth Floor Museum inside the infamous Texas School Book Depository, site of the JFK assassination.

Denver: January to April. There should still be plenty of snow for the ski slopes. Or enjoy outside-the-box activities like the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in January or the giant March pow wow featuring Native American drummers, arts and crafts and more from across the country.

Las Vegas: June and July. Roll the dice on a hot Vegas vacation, with summertime events like the Brews and Blues Festival and World Series of Poker. If the steamy weather gets to be too much, you can always catch a show indoors.

Los Angeles: September and October. The weather’s always ripe for being out and about, so enjoy smaller crowds at popular attractions like the Getty Center and Universal Studios Hollywood, not to mention a bumper crop of arts festivals.

Miami: June to August. When the weather heats up, so do the deals in this sultry South Florida city. August and September are Miami Spice, two glorious months of restaurant deals and foodie-related events. Summer is also a great time to take advantage of beach hotel packages.

New York: January and February. You’ll always find plenty of tourists in the City that Never Sleeps, but after the ball drops in Times Square, things slow down a bit. Check out events that are somewhat under the radar to tourists, like the Three Kings Day Parade in early January or the New York Jewish Film Festival in February.

Orlando: July to September. As summer vacation winds down, the deals heat up in this theme park capital. Take advantage of restaurant deals during Magical Dining Month or drive to nearby Cocoa Beach while the crowds are away.

San Francsico: October to March. Not all California cities are created equal, weatherwise. With averages temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, it’s perfect football-watching weather for a 49ers game, cozy up on a blanket during the monthlong San Francisco Shakespeare Festival in September or join in the merriment of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Beach, Caribbean, Cheap Tips, Florida, New York City, Off-season, Seasonal, Tips & advice

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

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One of the truest ways to experience a city is to taste it, and that tour de taste should probably start with a bite of the city’s most iconic food. Pizza by the slice in the Big Apple, a Chicago-style dog in the Windy City, a Po’boy in New Orleans — restaurants that serve these traditional tastes are stops not to be missed on your travels. Tasting the culture of a city does not need to drain your wallet, either. Here’s a look at some joints that serve some of the most delicious iconic foods in cities around the country for less than $10:

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Pizza by the slice in New York City

Joe’s Pizza – 7 Carmine St. or 150 E. 14th St.

Slice of cheese: $2.95

You can’t visit New York City and not eat a piece of pizza bigger than the it’s plate. Joe’s has been using the same recipe to concoct their New York Style pizza since owner Joe Pozzouli immigrated to New York City from Naples, Italy (which is where pizza was invented) in the 1950s. Grab a slice of plain cheese for $2.75, or get a slice with any topping for $3.50.

Courtesy of Manguzmo.

Courtesy of Manguzmo.

Po’boy sandwich in New Orleans  

Parran’s – 3939 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, Louisiana

Fried catfish po’boy: $9.95

Po’boys are so iconic in New Orleans, they’ve got a whole festival dedicated to them. The Oak Street Po’boy Festival only lasts a day, but dozens of types of po’boys are available to satisfy your taste buds. If you don’t land in New Orleans on that one day of the year, swing by Parran’s in Metairie and sink your teeth into a traditional New Orleans seafood po’boy. Served on french bread — soft in the middle with a crispy outside crust — stuffed to the brim with fried catfish, and topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, this sandwich sings New Orleans. Creole sauce is optional.

Courtesy of Simon Shek.

Courtesy of Simon Shek.

Clam Chowda in Boston

Boston Chowda Co. – Three locations in Boston

Bowl of clam chowder (8 ounces): $3.99

New England clam chowder is a warm and delicious delight, guaranteed to thaw your bones on a chilly day in Boston. Or just satisfy the intense craving for seafood that takes over when you are near the northeastern Atlantic. Boston Chowda Co. has three locations and draws folks from all over with their traditional soups. Spring for the bread bowl if you are craving the carbs, or set the more traditional oyster crackers afloat in your stew. Bonus: This joint also serves lobster rolls, another New England classic, although the price at $16.99 isn’t quite as sweet.

Courtesy of  star5112.

Courtesy of star5112.

 Chicago-style dog in Chicago

Portillo’s – Multiple locations

Hot dog: $2.85

With any iconic food, variations on the classics are common, as goes the story with Chicago-style hot dogs. The city is teeming with awe-inspiring chefs, many of whom put their own spins on the classics, eventually developing cult followings. Hot Doug’s, for example, used unusual meats such as fois gras to top his dogs. Founder Doug Sohn’s customers would fork out a pretty penny for those dogs, and when the stand closed in October, lines stretched for blocks. Months later, his recreations keep springing up in places like Wrigley Field and Goose Island Beer Co.-sponsored events. But before you start branching out, swing by Portillo’s for a classic, Chicago-style dog. With everything includes mustard, relish, finely chopped onions, kosher pickle, sliced red tomatoes and sports peppers piled onto a steamed poppy seed bun in true Chicago fashion. Wash it down with one of their famous cake shakes (they literally put a piece of cake in the blender).

 

Courtesy of  Jeffreyw.

Courtesy of Jeffreyw.

Cuban sandwich in Miami

Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop – 186 NE 29th St, Miami, FL 33137

Sandwich cubano: $4.35

Miami is overflowing with authentic Cuban food, so picking a place to settle in for a classic Cuban sandwich should not be too difficult if you are in a rush. Seeking out Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, however, is worth your time. A sandwich cubano, with ham, pork and cheese, is only $4.35, and that’s one of the higher-priced items on the menu. They serve breakfast and have specials every day of the week, except Sunday when the shop is closed, and there’s a take-out window so customers can stroll right up.

 

Courtesy of Krista.

Courtesy of Krista.

Carolina-style barbecue in North Carolina

Lexington Barbecue – 100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington, NC

BBQ sandwich: $3.90

The sauce that douses Carolina barbecue is a little sweeter than most, probably to satisfy that southern palate that’s so fond of sweet tea and other delicacies. Pulled from a pig shoulder or whole hog, Carolina barbecue sauce is usually mustard-, vinegar-, or tomato-based. It’s often served with a side of coleslaw, although most places just slap the slaw right on the sandwich. Lexington Barbecue does just that. They use only pork shoulder and cook it over hickory or oak coal. The space has grown from a small diner and maintains that down-home feeling. Oh, and hush puppies are only $1.70 so do yourself a favor and tack on a side of those bad boys.

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

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

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Miami Beach is full of views that’ll make your jaw drop, from cotton candy sunrises to perfect beach bodies to–unfortunately–sticker shock at many restaurants. For the first day or two of your visit, you’ll be happy to subsist on Cuban bread, cafecitos and sunshine. But when you’re ready for a real meal, check out these Miami Beach eateries that’ll fill you up and still leave you with enough cash for a top-shelf mojito.

1) Huahua’s Tacqueria: There’s no shortage of Latin food in South Florida, but this self-described “fast casual gourmet taco shop” juxtaposes classic Mexican fare with gringo staples. Think mac ‘n queso, portobello tacos with spicy tofu crema, fried chicken tacos with jalapeno cornbread, and taco salad on a bed of romaine, cabbage and kale. Most items are under $10; there’s also a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring $1 off nachos, $3 beers and $4 margaritas. Bonus: Huahua’s is located along Miami Beach’s swanky Lincoln Road shopping district, where the people-watching is as delicious as the food.

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2) Spris Pizza: At this thin-crust pizzeria — also on Lincoln Road — the early bird catches the deal. Every day from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the price you pay is based on the time that you order. Place your order at 5:15 p.m., and you’ll pay $5.15. Order at 6:15 p.m., and you’ll pay $6.15. You get the idea. Choose between three popular pies. Spris makes pizza in only one size; it’s enough to fill up one or two people, depending on how hungry you are.

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3) La Sandwicherie: Body-conscious beachgoers don’t always eat carbs… but when they do, they nosh on fresh ingredients sandwiched between a baguette or croissant at this French-owned cafe. With most menu items under $10, this eatery’s sandwiches include dignified ingredients like smoked salmon and Brie — natch. There’s also a nice selection of salads, a juice bar with enticingly named concoctions like Miami Cool and Bayside Breeze, and desserts that feature that most continental of delicacies: Nutella.

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4) Go-Go Fresh: Cheap food doesn’t have to mean prepackaged. From house-made vegan soups to veggie burgers with made-from-scratch ketchup, this place’ll have you eating and feeling like South Beach’s beautiful people. Try the baked-to-order empanadas, with fillings like beef and chimichurri or guava and cream cheese. Each costs just $2.75, and two should fill you up.

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5) Doraku Sushi: Overpriced Japanese food? Slow your roll. Every day, this popular sushi spot offers two happy hours with discounts on food, drinks and desserts. Snag lunch deals from noon to 3 p.m., and separate dinner specials from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Among the offerings are $5 draft beers and $6 spicy tuna rolls.

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6) Joe’s Take Away: Locals, celebs and tourists flock to Joe’s Stone Crab for a sit-down seafood dinner. But the restaurant’s adjacent carry-out counter serves a fried chicken that’s definitely not an afterthought. For $6.95, take home a flavorful half bird that’s crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and large enough to feed a family. A la carte side dishes are available to round out your meal.

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, City, Florida, Food & drink

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

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With approximately 800 miles of beaches, Florida offers plenty of free fun in the sun. But when you’ve gotten your fill of vitamins D and “sea,” consider these other amusements that don’t cost a dime.

SummerJazz on the Gulf via Pat Shapiro

SummerJazz on the Gulf via Pat Shapiro

Catch a free concert: Year-round warm weather means perennial outdoor concert season, so pack a picnic basket and a blanket. Options range from the Florida Orchestra’s Pops in the Park concerts in St. Petersburg and Tampa, to the SummerJazz on the Gulf series in Naples, to Springing the Blues in Jacksonville. In South Florida, free is chic, as with the New World Symphony Wallcast concerts projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall in Miami Beach SoundScape. Sounds like music to our ears.

Southermost Point via nathanmac87 at Flickr Creative Commons

Southermost Point via nathanmac87 at Flickr Creative Commons

Get the picture: The best souvenirs also happen to be the cheapest: photographs. Florida is home to some prime photo ops, so grab that selfie stick and start making your Facebook friends jealous. Begin your shutterfest in St. Augustine, where you can catch the free ferry to Fort Matanzas National Monument in all its 16th-century glory. Then make your way down to Sarasota‘s Ringling Museum of Art on a Monday for free admission to its gorgeous estate. And finish up in Key West with a quintessential photo at the Southernmost Point buoy marking 90 miles to Cuba.

Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area stretch of the Florida Trail via Winnie Lo

Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area stretch of the Florida Trail via Winnie Lo

Take a hike: Keep that camera handy for a jaunt along the Florida National Scenic Trail. The 1,300-mile path stretches from the Everglades all the way up to historic Fort Pickens. Some parts of the trail are more developed than others, but plenty are suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels looking to get up close and personal with the Sunshine State’s flora and fauna.

Wynwood Walls via Phillip Pessar at Flickr Creative Commons

Wynwood Walls via Phillip Pessar at Flickr Creative Commons

State of the art: Warm weather is perfect for evening art walks, where you can gallery-hop and sometimes enjoy free wine and entertainment. If you’re in Miami, definitely head to Wynwood – a trendy neighborhood with a concentration of vibrant, larger-than-life murals. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday evening, stop by Wood Tavern for two free tacos — no catch.

Gulf of Mexico via Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Gulf of Mexico via Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Celebrate the sun: Floridians take our sunsets quite seriously. Whether we’re sitting on a beach, out for an evening stroll or even just stuck in traffic, we take a moment to appreciate the ever-changing cotton candy skies. There are even formal events to mark the end of the day. Two of the best-known take place at Mallory Square in Key West and Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. Both events feature live entertainment, vendors and a family-friendly atmosphere against the backdrop of the setting sun.

Story by Dalia Colon

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, City, Family, Florida, Food & drink, FREE!, Music, Seasonal

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

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Cheap City, USA is a CheapTickets blog series where we show you that any city can be enjoyed on a budget if you know where to look. In this breakdown of Cheap City, USA, we take a look at Miami.

Key Biscane

Key Biscane

Miamis most prized possession: the beach

Sun-worshipers flock to Miami’s picture-perfect white sand beaches and tranquil aquamarine waters. Not only is the beach one of Miami’s most famous attractions, it’s free — you only have to pay for parking.

Key Biscayne: This secluded island paradise is just a few miles from downtown, yet worlds apart. Check out Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park with its historic lighthouse — it’s the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. The vistas from above are simply breathtaking.

Sunny Isles Beach: With it’s laid-back casual vibe, Sunny Isles Beach is a great spot for families. Visit the Newport Fishing Pier for great fishing and spectacular water views.

Sunny Isles

Sunny Isles Beach

South Beach: Take a stroll along Ocean Drive and you’ll find Art Deco buildings with alfresco cafés on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Stretching from 1 Washington Avenue to around 21st Street, this is the party beach with the funky multi-colored lifeguard stands that you’ve seen on TV.

South Beach

South Beach

Go for a walk on the wild side

There’s so much to do in the 1.5 million acre Everglades National Park. Made up of warm mangrove waters and sawgrass prairies, this giant river (yes, it’s a slow-moving river not a swamp) is home to a rare community of tropical plants and animals. You might even see manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and more than 350 species of birds.

Everglades-Kara-Franker

Thecombination of fresh, salt and brackish waters makes Florida Bay the only place on earth where alligators and crocodiles (in this case, the rare American crocodile) live together.

Take a self-guided or ranger-led tours at the Visitor Center at the park’s southeastern entrance, or journey deeper into the Everglades for a more extensive experience in the Florida wilderness. To the north, the Shark Valley entrance to the park offers one of the best places to observe wildlife in a natural habitat. A 65-foot observation tower provides a spectacular bird’s eye view.

Everglades-Alligator-Kara-Franker

Local art scene

From eclectic street art to upscale contemporary art galleries, there are a number of free art walks hosted across the city.

Wynwood: Famous for it’s vibrant graffiti art painted by internationally renowned street artists, Wynwood is truly one of Miami’s most unique and artistic neighborhoods. Art walks happen every second Saturday of the month between 6 and 10 p.m.

Wynwood. Image by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Wynwood. Image by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Little Havana: Experience Miami’s rich Cuban heritage at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays) in Little Havana. Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, cigar rolling and domino games on bustling Calle Ocho. And make sure you stop by Café Versaille for Cuban coladas and pastelitos. The event is held on the last Friday of every month from 7 to 11 p.m.

Cafe Versailles. Photo by Jeremy Franker

Cafe Versailles. Photo by Jeremy Franker

Coral Gables: Head to picturesque Coral Gables with it’s tree-lined streets and elegant boutiques. Dubbed “The Great Gables Gallery Stroll,” wander through a myriad of local art galleries on the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m.

Free concerts and Miami’s museums

In Miami Beach is the New World Symphony Center, where the New World Symphony broadcasts free, live concerts on a soaring 7,000-square-foot “Wallcast.” Additionally, the City of Miami Beach Arts in the Parks program shows free movies on the wall on select Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

New World Symphony

New World Symphony

The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami (MOCA) offers free live jazz concerts on the last Friday of every month at 8 p.m.

A number of museums in Miami offer a number of free days throughout each month:
Peréz Art Museum Miami — free on the first Thursday and second Saturday of the month
Bass Museum of Art — free on the last Sunday of the month
Gold Coast Railroad Museum — free on the first Saturday of the month (except in March)
HistoryMiami — free on the second Saturday of the month
Jewish Museum of Florida — free every Saturday
Lowe Art Museum — free the first Tuesday of the month
Miami Children’s Museum — free the first Friday of the month
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) — free the first Sunday of the month
Miami Science Museum — free the first Friday of the month
Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum — free every Friday night
The MDC Museum and Galleries of Art & Design — always free
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum — always free
Bay of Pigs Museum — always free

Perez Art Museum. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Perez Art Museum. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

People-watch on SoBes two best Catwalks

People-watching is hands down one of the best free activities in sun-drenched Miami. The most important thing you need is a camera. Watch people strut the catwalk known as Ocean Drive, where you’ll find bikini-clad beach bunnies, iron-pumping hunks and everyone in between.

Or visit pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road, lined with alfresco cafés and trendy boutiques. This lively magnet for entertainment and shopping is another great place to people watch, especially if you want to mingle with the locals.

Ocean Drive. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Ocean Drive. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Story by Kara FrankerA purveyor of the coastal life and a self-admitted beach addict, Kara is a travel writer based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @KaraFranker.

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, City, Florida, Food & drink, FREE!, Last minute travel, Music

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Kara Franker

Kara Franker

Kara Franker

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By Maria Mora

Miami’s nightclub scene and upscale shopping districts are no doubt legendary, but even in these bottle service and label-conscious parts, it’s still surprisingly easy to find cheap Miami hotels. Unlike many cheap Florida hotels, Miami hotels stand outfrom chains and typical rest area hotels near attractions. Thanks to cheap Miami flights, there’s no excuse not to book a Florida vacation at one of these favorites: Continue reading

Tagged: Florida

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Cheap Miami hotel idea No. 1: The rooftop sundeck at Chesterfield.

By Maria Mora

The nightlife scorches, the beaches picturesque and the shopping as luxe as a Gucci bag. We can only be talking about one place: South Beach, the capital of East Coast opulence. While the lifestyle caters to more Cristal than Coors Lite, it’s still surprisingly easy to find cheap Miami hotels in the land of Ferraris and supermodels. With specials at hotels like The Majestic Hotel, Chesterfield Hotel and RED South Beach Hotel — all at under $150 a night — these properties beckon cheap conossieurs to take the ultimate Miami vacation. So go ahead–take your beach vacation now, and don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and stilettos.

Tagged: Beach, Florida, Tips & advice

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