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It’s no secret that America has a love affair with Halloween. This beloved holiday inspires countless festivals and celebrations throughout the country every year, and each location has its own special brand of Halloween style… However, certain cities go the extra mile to make their haunted celebrations especially memorable. Here is our list of the four best Halloween festivals to fulfill your ghostly fantasies, in no particular order.

The Village Halloween Parade, New York City, NY

When: October 31, 7 p.m.
Where: On 6th AvenueNorth of Spring Street to 16th Street, New York City
Why it’s worth the trip:
The Village Halloween Parade is known for its huge community involvement and some serious theatrical aspects, which are to be expected when visiting NYC in the first place. All marching to live music from more than 50 bands, hundreds of haunting puppets, dancers and artists participate in this decades-old tradition. Not to mention the thousands of costumed civilians who join the parade each year, and are highly encouraged to do so.

This celebration is unique for how inclusive it strives to be, inviting Halloween enthusiasts of all walks of life, or death (get it?), to join in the fun. Need more convincing? This is a free event!

Here are the three steps you need to take to participate:

1. Wear your costume (duh)… Your most creative, creepy or crazy costume, to be exact.
2. Join the crowd at 6th Avenue and Canal Street.
3. Arrive between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. or risk missing the festivities entirely.

A common scene at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City: Revelers march in droves across the city, dressed head-to-toe in costumes, transforming the streets of New York into one of the best Halloween festivals in the country.

A common scene at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City, one of the most inclusive and best Halloween festivals. Photo credit: Joe Buglewicz. Provided by: NYC & Company

The Festival of the Dead, Salem, MA

When: The entire month! October features countless events here. The beset of the best take place towards the end of the month: the Witches’ Halloween Ball, Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo and The Dinner with the Dead.
Where: At various locations in Salem… Which, if you didn’t know, is where the infamous witch trials occurred in the 1600s.
Why it’s worth the trip:
Because of the city’s historical significance, the best part about Salem’s Festival of the Dead is its odd brand of authenticity. But if you’ve ever been curious about modern-day witchcraft—and who isn’t?—this is the place to be. According to the festival’s official website, the Festival of the Dead is “an annual event series that explores death’s macabre customs, heretical histories, and strange rituals.”

And although the entire month of October offers up such “strange rituals”—among them, seances and graveyard conjures which, let’s be honest, sound awesome—the festivities closely surrounding All Hallows Eve are considered the main attractions. These include the official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, Mourning Tea, the Dumb Supper and the Salem Witches’ Magic Circle.

The Halloween Ball is perhaps the biggest draw, taking place on October 28. Held in the historic Hawthorne Hotel, it offers way more than your typical Halloween party—besides the costume contests, live music and performances, you’ll be treated to psychic readings, drum circles and ancient ‘magical’ rituals, among other things. And that, folks, is what makes this one of the best Halloween festivals around.

You can dance with the devil on the dance floor at the Witches' Ball, a highlight of the Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts.

The dance floor at the Witches’ ball during the Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts. Photo credit: Chad Champeaux, provided by Destination Salem

Krewe of Boo Parade and other festivities in New Orleans, LA

When: Halloween is celebrated throughout the month of October in New Orleans, but the celebrations truly pick up the two weeks before the actual holiday.
Where: At various locations in New Orleans
Why it’s worth the trip:
Of course we had to include the American capital of voodoo and hauntings on our list of best Halloween festivals. After all, the famously devilish New Orleans always brings the ghosts to the party for this yearly blowout, which is second only to Mardi Gras in the city.

And while ghost tours in the city are offered all year round, they’re particularly creepy during the Halloween season (naturally). You can catch one such tour in the French Quarter, or in Uptown and the Garden District. You can also visit the world-famous cemeteries, which feature eery above-ground tombs and boast hundreds of ghost-encounter stories.

The annual Krewe of Boo parade has been welcoming the spirit world since 2007, and each year it grows in size. One thing is certain: Be prepared to catch flying swag thrown from the elaborately designed floats, or risk getting hit in the head. The parade typically begins at Elysian Fields and progresses through the French Quarter, passing through N. Peters and Decatur Streets, to Jackson Square, and then towards theWarehouse District, and all the way up to the Convention Center. And don’t miss the official after-party at Howlin Wolf. Naturally, it’s a costume party, so unless you want to look like a complete dud, wear something flashy.

On Halloween proper, head to the streets—literally. On All Hallows Eve, the French Quarter comes alive with street parties, most notably in the Faubourg Marginy. And while you’re here, you might want to stop by a voodoo shop or two… Just be careful with that purchase…

The terrifying and fun parade floats alone are enough reason to attend the New Orleans Halloween parade. The city's sordid and mysterious past only fuels the party, making it one of the best Halloween festivals anywhere.

One of the many parade floats at the New Orleans Halloween parade. Photo credit: New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Long Beach, CA

When: September 30 through October 31. Dark Harbor is open 7 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Where: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach
Why it’s worth the trip:

Located on, and near, an already infamously haunted ship, it’s no wonder that the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is considered one of the best Halloween festivals in the country, offering a combination of interactive haunted house and themed carnival. Plus, tickets start at $20 online, meaning you can almost surely afford to get in, at least.

The inspiration for this frightening festival, the RMS Queen Mary, took her maiden voyage in 1936 and is the final resting place for souls from that era, or so it is said. Some sources say there are as many as 150 known spirits on the ship, and they have no intention of leaving. So the best thing you can do is show them a good time and hang out with them this October. You can even stay on the ship if you’re feeling very, very brave.

But that’s not all—Dark Harbor also offers some of the spookiest haunted mazes around. They’re so detailed that you may actually find yourself questioning what’s real and what’s fake…making it one of the best Halloween festivals, period.

Don't be surprised if you make a new friend or two at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor. Photo provided by The ACE Agency and Queenmary.com

Don’t be surprised if you make a new friend or two at the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Photo provided by The ACE Agency and Queenmary.com

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Tagged: Holidays

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Hotel Deals for New York
The Westin New York Grand Central
NY, USA
Apr 22 - Apr 22, 2019
per night from
$ 496.34
$ 186.52

If you’re making plans to head to the Big Apple, but you’re worried about spending too much in a notoriously expensive city, don’t stress! We’ve got some tips to help you stretch your dollar the farthest while still having a blast in the city that never sleeps.

Don’t take a cab from JFK to Manhattan.

Don't taxi from JFK to Manhattan - always opt for the subway instead!

Let’s start this trip out on the right foot. While cabs are the most convenient option, the flat rate from JFK to Manhattan is $52—that’s a lot of money just to get to your hotel! Instead of a cab, take the Airtrain directly from JFK to the subway—the Airtrain is $5, and the entrance to the subway system is $2.75. Oh look, you just saved $44. Nice!

Actually, take the subway everywhere.

m01229, http://bit.ly/2catHMh, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Forget taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber. The subway is hard to beat in NYC—it’s one of the best public transportation systems in the country, and tourists and locals alike use it daily. Even if you’re only going tobe in New York for a few days, the $31, 7-day Metrocard is worth it. You get unlimited rides, which will be very handy for zipping all over the city to see the sights. Bonus: the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which is an aerial tram that connects Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side, is a cheap (and fun!) skyline tour on the MTA that costs as much as one subway ride. Score!

Revel in ambiance.

Paul Hudson, http://bit.ly/2c6iXQF, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Central Park | Paul Hudson, Flickr CC

Some of the best things to see and do in New York Cityare 100% free. Take a long walk through Central Park (duh), gawk at the neon displays in Times Square, and take in high culture at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday nights (free entrance from 4-8 p.m.) You can take a free ferry to Governor’s Island, kayak for free at the Downtown Boathouse, and take the Staten Island Ferry for free, if you’re looking for some water views. Oh, and guess what else? All public parks are equipped with free wi-fi! Is NYC…a secret free paradise?

Street food is your friend.

Britt Reints, http://bit.ly/2cEaHFb, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: New York City 214 | Britt Reints, Flickr CC

It may seem obvious, but this one of the best cheap NY tips: Those ubiquitous hot dog stands? There’s a reason those are everywhere—the hot dogs are delicious and cheap. The pizza places advertising $1 slices? They’re great—fold up a slice like the locals do and chomp as you walk. Macbar has outrageously tasty, generous portions of specialty mac n’ cheese for under $9 a plate, Vanessa’s Dumplings will give you eight basil-and-chicken dumplings for $4.99, and GaiaItalian Cafe has big $5 paninis with mozzarella and tomatoes dripping out the sides. In short: you’ve got cheap eating options.

Skip the Ritz.

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There’s no need to stay at a high-end hotel in Manhattan—there are actually plenty of hostels where you can stay for way under $50 a night! If hostel living isn’t quite your style, check out the options for under-$100 rooms on Cheaptickets—the Bowery Grand Hotel has rooms for $72 per night, and New World Hotel in the East Village is $79 per night. Step away from the $350-a-night hotels!

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Tagged: City, Food & drink, FREE!, New York City, Tips & advice

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It’s Christmastime. In towns big and small all over America, people are gathering around Christmas trees as they are illuminated for the first time this year. Some of those trees are iconic, adorning Christmas ornaments and postcards, but for some of them, their glory lies in their story. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a dime to take in their majesty, save for the cup of hot chocolate you’ll likely buy on your way. Take a look at this list of some of America’s best public Christmas trees.

The Iconic Tree:

Rockefeller Center Tree

Rockefeller Center Tree | Flickr CC: Shinya Suzuki

Rockefeller Center, New York City — This is about as iconic as you can get when it comes to Christmas trees. New York City’s massive tree overlooks the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza and has made it into many a classic Christmas movie scene. Something that really makes this tree iconic though, is its origins. The New York Times did a story earlier this month that revealed the history of the tree, noting that hard-working Italian immigrants first pushed a tree up in 1931 after a long day of constructing the city into what we know it as today.

 

Millennium Park Christmas tree

Chicago’s Christmas tree sits in front of the city’s skyline at Millennium Park. Photo: Ally Marotti

Millennium Park, Chicago — Chicago’s giant public Christmas tree usually sits in the middle of the German Christmas market, Christkindlmarket, in Daley Plaza in the heart of downtown, but this year it was moved to Millennium Park. Now it rises above Cloud Gate (aka, the Bean) in front of Chicago’s skyline.

  

Gifted trees:

Boston Christmas Tree

Boston Christmas Tree | Flickr CC: Eric Kilby

Boston Christmas Tree — A tree has been lit in Boston each year since 1941, and since 1971, each tree has come from Nova Scotia. Illuminated in Boston Common, the tree is gifted to the city each year by Nova Scotia as a thank you for assistance provided during the 1917 Halifax explosion, which destroyed much of the city. Boston sent help immediately, although their train was delayed by a blizzard. Still, the Nova Scotians never forgot.

 

Union Station Christmas tree

The Christmas tree inside Union Station in Washington D.C. is a gift from Norway. Photo: Chris Gladis – Flickr

Union Station, Washington D.C. — Norway gifts a Christmas tree to Washington D.C. each year as a symbol of friendship with the U.S. and as a thank you for the help the U.S. provided to Norway during World War II. The tree is displayed in Union Station, and the Norwegian Embassy chooses a theme with which to decorate the tree each year. In 2013, when the theme was Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” the tree was fashioned with dozens of tiny reflective versions of the shrieking man in Norway’s most famous painting. This year’s theme is Norwegian music.

 

Public Square Park, Nashville — The Christmas tree in downtown Nashville is often gifted to the city by residents. This year, Tammie Myles donated 42-foot Norway spruce to honor her parents. It will be decorated with 5,000 lights. This idea of individuals donating Christmas trees is common throughout the country, especially when the trees or activities surround them feature some sort of charitable aspect. Local Christmas tree farms will often donate trees for display near the courthouse.

Big trees in small squares:

Rittenhouse Square Christmas tree

The Christmas tree in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. Photo: Marc Cappelletti – Flickr.

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia — Rittenhouse Square is one of five original open spaces in Philadelphia planned by William Penn. It is about two short blocks long on eachside, and in December a 30-foot Christmas Tree rises out of its center. It makes the little historical park even cozier.

 

Cincinnati's Christmas tree

Fireworks go off at the tree lighting ceremony in Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: 5ch4r7z – Flickr.

Fountain Square, Cincinnati — The Christmas tree dominates downtown Cincinnati’s Fountain Square each December, and shadows the temporary ice skating rink that is assembled nearby each year. The smaller size of the square, which is mostly enclosed by the city’s skyscrapers, makes the tree seem even bigger and more festive.

When the trees don’t move:

Town Square Lighting, Jackson Hole — Instead of decorating one giant tree, Jackson Hole sets Town Square ablaze with multiple tree lightings. Fitting in with its outdoorsy M.O., the town does not cut down any trees for its Christmas celebrations, so it earns a spot on our list for being environmentally aware.

Coeur D' Alene, Idaho

Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho | Flickr CC: Tracy Hunter

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — A nearly 200-foot grand fir at Coeur d’Alene Resort is decorated with tens of thousands of lights and at one point set the world record for the tallest living Christmas tree. The star on top is 10 feet alone.

Sardy House Tree, Aspen — This is the 31st year the owners of the Sardy House illuminate the large fir tree on the corner of Main and Aspen streets in Aspen. (New owners spent $250,000 to amp up the lighting in 2006). It is strewn with 10,000 LED lights hooked up to a system that can emulate everything from fireworks to a cascading waterfall. The glory of using a live tree? The lights stay on year-round and can be used during other holiday celebrations.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Festivals, FREE!, Holidays, New York City, Seasonal

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Since the beginning of the format, movies have been inextricably tied to music. Energy packed opening theme songs propel the film into motion and soaring orchestras enhance the emotional impact of poignant scenes. On the other hand, movies have the ability to catapult an otherwise unmemorable song into the limelight. These three movies that changed the music scene did so more than the rest: not only were they elevated by their soundtracks, they also left a lasting impact on the music scene, changing it for the better.

1. “Live and Let Die”
The James Bond franchise has long been associated with iconic music. Each film’s opening credits feature a powerful track by one of the top performers of the day. Some are hits, while others are less than killer. The verdict is still out on Sam Smith’s song for “Spectre,” but there are more than 50 years of Bond music to listen to and evaluate. Rolling Stone called “The Man With the Golden Gun” the absolute worst song of the bunch, due to its creepy unambiguous lyrics.

Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” however, is absolute lyrical gold. The New Orleans-based Bond film of the same name was the first Bond flick to feature a rock and roll track, and it absolutely delivered. If you want to get away for the weekend and rock out in the French Quarter with the femme fatale or MI6 agent in your life, you don’t need to break Her Majesty’s royal bank. Scoring cheap rock concert tickets and being suave go together like olives in a dirty martini.

2. “This Is Spinal Tap”
The cult classic mockumentary “This is Spinal Tap” wasn’t an immediate hit, but since its release on home video, the fictional band has gained quite the following. The stars of the film have gone from faking British accents on screen to releasing actual full-length albums. They’ve even performed live for packed houses around the globe. In an interview with The Wrap, one of the film’s stars, Christopher Guest, said that the band has even played Carnegie Hall, any musician’s dream.

Spinal Tap’s “Smell the Glove” tour might not have gone so well, but you can follow their route down the west coast by seeing some live shows in venues between Seattle and San Francisco.

3. “School of Rock”
This Jack Black comedy introduced 70s and 80s rock and roll to an all-new audience. Both in the film and in theaters across the country, kids were introduced to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and The Clash, among other heavy hitting classic rock bands. It’s been 12 years since the film’s release, meaning that all of the child actors have grown up, some of whom have made big careers in show business.

Give a nod to the kids of Horace Green Prep by nabbing some cheap classic rock tickets in a city near you. For those about to rock on the cheap, we salute you!

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: California, City, Music, New York City, Uncategorized

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

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Spending so much on a Halloween costume that you have to dip into your travel fund? Now that’s scary. Fortunately, these DIY costume ideas leave plenty of cash for your next wanderlust fix while letting everyone know that travel is your idea of a treat.

Parisian mimeA striped shirt and a beret are all you really need to channel your inner Marcel Marceau. If you want to go all out, add a scarf, white gloves and some pale makeup.

Credit dresscorilynn.com.

Credit dresscorilynn.com.

Venetian gondolier: If you’d rather apply that striped shirt to a costume that doesn’t render you mute for the evening, then try this Italian idea. A straw hat, red sash, red scarf and oar (cardboard if you must) complete the look.

Credit: littlepim.com.

Credit: littlepim.com.

Waldo and Carmen Sandiego: Where in the world is this adventure-seeking couple off to? Anywhere they want. Striped shirt, hat and glasses for him. Red trench coat, yellow scarf and hat for her. Done.

Credit Ashley Baccam.

Credit Ashley Baccam.

Travel bug: Here’s the perfect getup for a witty wanderer. Drape yourself in an old map, and attach pipe cleaners to a headband for homemade antennae. For bonus points, complete the look with a set of store-bought wings.

Credit kianablaire.com.

Credit kianablaire.com.

Pizza rat: There are so many dignified costume ideas around the Big Apple—Statue of Liberty, a firefighter, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But no. This is the year of the pizza rat. Remember that New York City rodent who was caught on video carrying a slice of pizza down the stairs of a subway station? No need to get fancy with the costume. A simple gray sweatsuit, mouse ears and oversized slice of pizza made from poster board will do the trick.

Credit: halloweencostumes.com.

Credit: halloweencostumes.com.

Royal family: The family that dresses up together, stays together all night. To make like Queen Elizabeth, just hit up a thrift store (or your grandma’s closet) for some matronly duds and a matching handbag. For the royal guards, embellish a red jacket, step into some black pants—er, trousers—and for the hat, glue some black fleece to a cardboard tube, and affix with a gold cord. Bloody brilliant.

Credit costume-works.com.

Credit costume-works.com.

Tagged: Holidays, International, New York City, Uncategorized

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Forget pumpkin carving and apple picking, your wish list of things to do this fall is a bit more ambitious. You are hoping to catch that once-in-a-blue-moon soccer game, or hit up an Oktoberfest at a legit brewery. You want to attend a huge charity concert in Central Park, and see a world religious leader speak. Sure, sure, you’ll check out the beautiful foliage along the way. You just need a little help getting there—financially that is. Cheap Tickets has your back. Check out the event ticket part of Cheaptickets.com, and use the promo code TICKETS10 for 10% off.

Global Citizen Festival

Great Lawn in Central Park

New York, New York

Sept. 26, 12 p.m.

Tickets start at $152

Bird's-eye-view of the 2014 Global Citizens Festival. Courtesy of Anthony Quintano.

Bird’s-eye-view of the 2014 Global Citizens Festival. Courtesy of Anthony Quintano.

Headliners of this annual festival include Beyoncé, Coldplay (sold!), Pearl Jam and Ed Sheeran. If that’s not star-studded enough, tack on a list of hosts that includes Stephen Colbert, Salma Hayek, Hugh Jackman, Kerry Washington and Olivia Wilde. Proceeds go toward the eradication of extreme poverty.

 

Austin City Limits  

Zilker Park

Austin, Texas

Oct. 2-4, 9-11

Three-day pass starts at $415

Iggy Azalea performs at Austin City Limits. Courtesy of Ralph Arvesen.

Iggy Azalea performs at Austin City Limits. Courtesy of Ralph Arvesen.

Leave it to Austin City Limits to pack in the most musical goodness into two weekends as humanly possible. Acts such as Drake, Foo Fighters, Alt-J, Hozier, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, A$AP Rocky, and Walk the Moon will be gracing the stage, just to name a few. It’s important to save money on the ticket purchase since hotel rates will likely go up during these two weekends as well.

 

Oktoberfest

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Chico, California

Oct. 4-7

Tickets start at $104

Courtesy of Steven Guzzardi.

Courtesy of Steven Guzzardi.

Don your lederhosen and raise your glass for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest celebration. This is the first year the festival will span three days, and a fabulous alternative to forking out the cash to travel across the pond to Germany. Prost!

 

CONCACAF Cup: United States vs. Mexico

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, California

Oct. 10, 6 p.m.

Tickets start at $156

U.S. Men's National Team in 2013. Courtesy of Erik Drost.

U.S. Men’s National Team in 2013. Courtesy of Erik Drost.

 More than 90,000 fans are expected to turn out for this high-stakes clash against the U.S. Men’s’ National Team and Mexico. A win here will be the USMNT’s ticket to the Confederations Cup in Russia, which will let the team scope out the stage they’ll be entering in World Cup 2018. Teams that make it to the Confederations Cup always have an advantage in the subsequent World Cup, and the USMNT is gunning for it.

 

An American in Paris

The Palace Theater

New York, New York

Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

Tickets start at $71 (check out a matinee for a cheaper show)

An American in Paris. Courtesy of James Joel.

An American in Paris. Courtesy of James Joel.

The story of an American World War II veteran in Paris trying to make a name for himself as a painter, who falls in love with a French girl. Gene Kelly made the musical famous with the 1951 movie, and Broadway will bring it to life again this fall. Critics are saying it’s not to be missed.

 

Ohio State University vs. Michigan

Michigan Stadium

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Nov. 28, time TBA

Tickets start at $137 

Courtesy of Scott Stuart.

Courtesy ofScott Stuart.

If you can score tickets to this game, you’re the envy of tens of thousands of Ohio State and Michigan fans. In fact, if you’ve spent too much money on other fall events, you’ll do yourself a favor and resell these tickets. But if you care at all about college football, this game is not to be missed. The OSU/Michigan rivalry is heralded as one of the thickest competitions in the sport, transcending generations.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Limited-time Offers, Music, New York City, Sports

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As if we needed an excuse to indulge, Aug. 10 is National S’mores Day. Indulge your inner child with one of these remixes of the classic summertime treat.

Sandpearl S'mores Martini

Photo courtesy of Diamond Public Relations

Campfire Martini

Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida, is known for its nightly s’mores on the beach. And exclusively for National S’mores Day, the hotel has dreamed up a cozy cocktail of Godiva, Nutella, Frangelico, Svedka Vodka and Crème de Cocoa, garnished with a skewer of mini marshmallows. Let’s toast to summer.

S’mores Bacon on a Stick

If anybody can pull this off, it’s someone nicknamed “the Pig Guy.” New York barbecue guru Thomas Perone serves up thick-cut bacon that’s covered with semi-sweet chocolate, crushed graham crackers and marshmallows. To the delight of your taste buds and protest of your arteries, this treat is available at the Pig Guy NYC stand inside the Mets’ home stadium, Citi Field, in Queens.

S’muffins

Cupcakes are soooo 2011. The latest feel-like-a-kid-again confection is the S’muffin—a tart with a graham cracker base that’s topped with a roasted marshmallow and embedded with goodies like caramel or Crème de Menthe, all dipped in chocolate. Order yours online from Gotta Have S’more, or stop by one of the Los Angeles-area locations.

S’mores Doughnut

It’s a s’more. It’s a doughnut. It’s everything. Beaver’s Coffee and Donuts in Chicago gets the party started with made-to-order, miniature buttermilk doughnuts. Then come the drizzled chocolate and marshmallow sauces, followed by a dusting of graham cracker crumbs. Breakfast never sounded so sweet.

Tagged: Florida, Food & drink, L.A., New York City

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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:

shutterstock_214759690

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

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Long layovers can be a real drag, but they certainly don’t need to ruin the trip. Venturing out of the airport can add leaps and bounds of enjoyment to your travels, and it’s pretty easy to keep the cost down on your hiatus from the terminal. Just make sure you plan ahead and pack whatever you may need for the adventure in your carry-on, and you should be all set for an enjoyable day away from the airport monotony.

Here are five ideas for cheap getaways outside of some major airports:

Courtesy of Ally Marotti

A scene from Hollywood Beach near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Courtesy of Ally Marotti

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This one is easy — spend the day on the beach. Have the cab driver take you to Hollywood Beach. It’s not the closest one to the airport, but it’s the most happenin’. In about 15 minutes, you go from drab airport life to the tropics. Watch the sunrise over the ocean and grab breakfast beachside at Broadwalk Restaurant and Grill. There are plenty of dining options, ice cream shops and convenience stores along the boardwalk if you need anything like sunscreen. Listen to the Cuban music and bask in the sun during your layover, and make sure to grab a piña colada at Greek restaurant Sahara International.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)Chicago, IL

If you don’t have a layover at O’Hare, it’s highly likely your flight out of Chicago will end up getting delayed. O’Hare is an airport known for its delays, partly because it doesn’t have enough gates, and partly because Chicago weather is entirely unpredictable. Lucky for budget-conscious travelers, there’s a train that goes right downtown for only $2.50. The Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train runs between downtown and the airport constantly throughout the day, and it’s only a 40-minute ride either way. Check out the sights, sounds and food Chicago has to offer for the day rather than sitting in the airport bitter about the delay. For free activities, head to one of the city’s beaches or walk along the recently renovated Riverwalk along the Chicago River. If you’re there on a summer evening, there are free concerts at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Mondays and Thursdays, and free movies there on Tuesdays. For cheap eats, head to the French Market in the West Loop–it’s got everything from meatballs to lobster rolls.

A view from the Jackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

A view from theJackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta airport is one of the busiest in the world, and so big it has its own zip code. If you have a layover or delay here, make sure it’s actually long enough for you to safely get out, back and to your terminal on time, as there’s usually some shuttling involved. If you are so bold to step into the unknown, take the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train, which costs $2.50 for a one-way ticket and will get you downtown in about 20 minutes. Once you’re there, head over to the Jackson Street bridge between Cain Street and Highland Avenue for a photo opp (pics or it didn’t happen). Stroll along the recently completed Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile loop around the city of railroad tracks-turned-walking paths lined with restaurants and shops. Sample some of that southern cooking while you’re at it.

A T-Rex at New York City's Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A T-Rex at New York City’s Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)New York City, NY

New York City buses transport travelers from the airport to Manhattan for $2.75 each way. The M60 bus goes express to all LaGuardia terminals and drops passengers off near West 106th Street and Broadway. The Q70 Limited or Q47 will drop you off in Queens or Midtown. If you’re willing to pay a little more, the NYC Airporter bus departs every 30 minutes and runs between the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central Station and Penn Station for $13. For a close to free day in Manhattan, stroll through Central Park and end up at the Museum of Natural History. They ask for an optional donation at the entrance. If you still have time and are craving some panoramic views of the city, swing by Salvation Taco. It shares a lobby with Pod Hotel 39 on East 39th Street between Lexington and 3rd avenues, has a great and reasonably priced rooftop bar full of Mexican beers and Spanish wines. You can get a beer and a great view for $8.

 

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Los Angeles, CA

 Los Angeles International Airport often acts as the gateway to Asia and Hawaii, and many a layover is whiled away among its terminals. But if you’ve got the time and you remembered to stick your swimsuit in your carry on, why not soak up some Vitamin D? Dockweiler State Beach is less than a five-mile drive from the Los Angeles airport. It extends south of Marina del Rey harbor, and is operated by Los Angeles County, so there are no entrance fees. You can take public transit there, but it’ll probably be quicker to just grab a cab. Dockweiler beach is known for its hang gliding and plane watching (since it’s so close to LAX), and offers a beautiful view of the sunset. There are fire pits on the beach that anyone can use, so if you have the time and money, swing by the store on the way and grab some hot dogs and all the fixins for s’mores for a true taste of summer.

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Flights, Florida, L.A., New York City, Tips & advice

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When you look at a place with fresh eyes, even the mundane becomes extraordinary. Everyday modes of transportation become Instagram-worthy when tourists ride them. Here are five cities where the public transport deserves its own spot on your itinerary.

New York, New YorkIn the city that never sleeps, every hour is rush hour. The Big Apple’s subway system is one of the fastest, and cheapest, ways to get around — so much so that even some politicians and celebs join the huddled masses on the train. New York’s subways have inspired music from Duke Ellington’s legendary Take the A Train to J.Lo’s album On the 6, and they provide riders with endless entertainment — from people-watching to struggling musicians looking to make a buck.

On New York's subway platforms, the musicians almost make up for that questionable smell. Almost. Photo by David Shankbone/Wikipedia.

On New York’s subway platforms, the musicians almost make up for that questionable smell. Almost. Photo by David Shankbone/Wikipedia.

 

London, England: In the United States, nothing screams “tourist!” like riding a double-decker bus. But across the pond, these two-story vehicles are models of efficiency, carrying everyday commuters to work, school and home. Americans who wouldn’t be caught dead on a bus in the States gladly board these iconic red buses for a photo op.

Afraid of looking like a tourist if you ride a double-decker bus? No worries, mate. Photo by John Clouston/Flickr Creative Commons.

Afraid of looking like a tourist if you ride a double-decker bus? No worries, mate. Photo by John Clouston/Flickr Creative Commons.

La Paz, BoliviaLike other places in South American — including Medellín, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Bolivia sought to relieve traffic congestion by turning to a higher power, literally: Gondolas. The first line of electric gondolas went up in May, connecting La Paz to El Alto, and it’s already a hit with both commuters searching for a quiet, stress-free ride, and tourists awaiting the breathtaking view from the top.

It's not a ski resort. This is one way to get around in Bolivia. Photo by TheGamerJediPro/Wikipedia.

It’s not a ski resort. This is one way to get around in Bolivia. Photo by TheGamerJediPro/Wikipedia.

 

Bali, IndonesiaCountless soul-searchers have recreated the itinerary outlined in Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir-turned-movie Eat Pray Love, which (spoiler alert!) culminates with the author meeting her future husband in Bali. Whether or not you find your soulmate, you’re sure to fall in love with Bali’s tropical landscape and long to explore the rest of the country. An easy way to start is to take the public ferry from Bali to the nearby island paradise of Lombok. The journey takes four of five hours, but the schedule often runs on island time — so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Eat, pray, love... and then ride. Photo by Frank Douwes/Flickr Creative Commons.

Eat, pray, love… and then ride. Photo by Frank Douwes/Flickr CreativeCommons.

San Francisco, CaliforniaForget Rice-A-Roni. Cable cars are the real San Francisco treat. The tradition dates back to the mid-19th century, and these cars are still one of the most affordable ways to get around the city. As the car winds its way through San Francisco’s steep streets with the help of underground cables, take in views of colorfully dressed denizens, blue bay water and Victorian-style homes (Cue the Full House theme music.)

Cable cars: The real San Francisco treat. Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr Creative Commons.

Cable cars: The real San Francisco treat. Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr Creative Commons.

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Tagged: California, International, New York City