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

RELATED: 10 best cheap places to travel in 2019

Hand Holding Lit Lighter At Music Concert

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden: NYC

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

Blake Shelton at Chesapeake Energy Arena: Oklahoma City

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

Jeff Dunham at BOK Center: Tulsa

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

A Microphone In A Spotlight On A Stage

Andrea Bocelli at American Airlines Arena: Miami

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

Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall: NYC

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

Crowd In A Music Show on valentines day

Dierks Bentley at Citizens Business Bank Arena: Los Angeles area

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

Crowd And Lights At A Music Concert

Panic! At The Disco at Honda Center: Orange County

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

Kelly Clarkson at Van Andel Arena: Grand Rapids, MI

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

2Cellos at Pepsi Center: Denver

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

Air Supply at Emerald Queen Casino: Seattle

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

Concert Crowd At Live Music Festival on valentines day

Cher at Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis

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

Tagged: Events, Music

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New York City has a reputation for being expensive; exploring the city can cost a lot, every hotel seems like a splurge and the only meal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg is a hotdog from a corner street vendor. And if you’re looking to really take advantage of NYC’s incomparable nightlife, expect to pay upwards of $20 in Manhattan’s more serious cocktail lounges. But hidden gems and local (i.e. more reasonable) spots are out there. The folks who inhabit the Big Apple surely aren’t paying through the nose every time they meet friends out for a drink, so you’ve got to go where they go. Here we’ve rounded up the 10 best bars in NYC that won’t break the bank. 

RELATED: 7 ways to experience Jay-Z’s New York


Clinton Hall: Financial District
Clinton Hall is singlehandedly breathing life into the FiDi drinking scene. The open-air beer hall has a sidewalk full of picnic tables, perfect for big groups to come, spread out and kick back. Feeling competitive? Try your hand at a game of giant chess and life-size Jenga. If there’s a big game, they’ve got it on TV for you. Beers are cheap and the food (like grilled cheese on a doughnut) is super Instagrammable. 

Mr. Purple: Lower East Side
High atop the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side, Mr. Purple provides killer city views in a swanky, yet chill setting. Lounge on the couches inside or grab a seat at one of the purple tables poolside on the patio. Cocktails average a hefty $16, but they’ve got several $6 beers on the menu, too. Plus, you’re getting skyline views at no extra charge. 


The Hideaway: TriBeCa
This Downtown hole in the wall is always filled in the evenings with both neighborhood locals and Wall Streeters. Go early and pony up to the window seat to spend happy hour people-watching. The Hideaway happy hour never disappoints with good deals.


Terroir: Chelsea on The Highline
While Terroir also has a TriBeCa location, the Chelsea spot is right on The Highline. This means you can sip vino and enjoy views of the coolest urban space in NYC. The wine list is fantastic and highly curated, and delicious small plates start at $4. Order a few and you can enjoy a whole meal on the cheap.

Blind Tiger: West Village
The West Village craft-beer pub has been a go-to watering hole in the neighborhood for years. With a great location off Bleecker Street, they offer an impressive selection of draft beers at acceptable prices. In a trendy neighborhood where hotspots come and go, this ale house garners an impressive loyal following.

ALSO: Don’t let the Big Apple take a big bite of your savings. Sign up for CheapCash and start saving!

The Rusty Knot: SoHo
A legit tiki bar in the middle of West SoHo, the Rusty Knot is an old school hangout, and a favorite of locals craving a vacation vibe without the vacation price tag. Drinks served with umbrellas are festive and delicious, and they’re so strong, you won’t need many. Order a Spiced Colada for $13 then switch to a $6 beer.  

Dive 75: Upper West Side
Dive 75 is easily the most beloved, fun bar on the Upper West Side. The cozy quarters are always a welcoming refuge from the streets of New York City, any time of year. A great gathering spot to meet friends, the dive bar has a plethora of fun games like, four-square and trivia, to play over a pints of beer priced as low as $6.

Half Pint: Greenwich Village
The Half Pint is a great Irish-style pub. With more than 200 types of beers from around the world, it’s a beer drinker’s heaven and the place to go for those hard-to-find favorites. During the school year, you’ll find a fun, young crowd here and some well-priced pints. 

Holiday Cocktail Lounge: East Village
Walking into this East Village watering hole, you’ll feel tiki bar vibes in a retro setting. Their signature cocktail costs $13 and is a mix of vodka, amaro, lemon juice and your choice of sparkling wine or cider. 


POD 39: Midtown East
Most rooftops in Manhattan charge wild prices for a drink with a view. They also tend to be small and cramped. None of this is the case with POD 39 atop the budget POD Hotel in Midtown East. This cool red-brick roof top, lined with pillars all around, is spacious and offers some fun drinks at normal prices, without paying a huge premium for the views. 





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

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Speakeasy bars during the Prohibition era were everywhere. And nowhere. Boozers were required to remain hush-hush, lest their favorite backdoor moonshine distillery be discovered by the police and promptly shut down. Today, we are free to enjoy a cocktail or seven wherever we please. But in choosing the perfect barstool, a sense of danger adds appeal to throwback speakeasy bars. Think secret entrances behind bookshelves and phone booths, and well-guarded passwords. Of course, it’s hard to keep secrets in the epoch of Instagram and “location services enabled,” but these seven bars have raised, well, the bar on maintaining mystery.

RELATED: 11 secret restaurants you don’t know but should

Photo courtesy of Adults Only

Adults Only (Los Angeles, CA)

Adult video stores are fairly irrelevant, thanks to the advent of the Internet. Yet this one in Los Angeles thrives off Sunset Boulevard in the ritziest, most enticing of locations: behind a Burger King. Gather your mettle (aka a Whopper), head into a storefront with “XXX” proudly displayed, and through the back sits an immaculately designed throwback to the 1920s. Woodwork and dark wallpaper conjure images of hiding from the police, and extravagantly designed, lush couches provide comfort—even if the cocktail names are unsettling: The “Money Shot,” “Rusty Trombone,” and “Dirty Sanchez” are demonstrated both in the bookstore and at the bar. And given the “Dirty Sanchez” is a sweet and spicy concoction of mezcal, sweet cucumber, and zesty serrano chili, we’ll opt for that one. For now…

Photo courtesy of @kai_____c

Angel’s Share (New York, )

So undercover it doesn’t have a website, Angel’s Share stands out amid the infinite speakeasy bar scene of New York (there are…a lot). To find it, head into a bustling Japanese restaurant in the East Village, get out of the way of servers with plates full of sushi, enter an unmarked door, and you’re in a Narnia of candlelit tranquility. Angel’s Share takes no reservations, asks patrons to keep their voices down, and the wait for even a spot to lean against the bar is typically an hour or more. Stick around. And shut up. Sipping a “Summertime,” made with jasmine-infused rum, over hushed whispers, is the epitome of calm.

Photo courtesy of @melissawv5

The Owl Bar (Baltimore, MD)

This one in Baltimore doesn’t take major sleuthing to find (or minor sleuthing, for that matter), but earns points for its history of ingenuity. A statue of the eponymous owl took up residence in the lobby of the 1902-built Hotel Belvedere (now condos) to give thirsty lawbreakers the signal. When its eyes were lit up, the hidden bar, nestled way in the back, was open for business. The Owl Bar now serves legal drinks, of course, but its classic look remains. The patterned bricks in the high walls have been preserved, as has the immaculate molding of windows and archways. The statue, too, remains.

ALSO: It’s no secret, Orbitz Rewards is the best way to earn free hotels faster!

Chapter Room (Atlanta, GA)

Congratulations! You have been accepted to Brewniversity! No SAT scores required! Atlanta‘s Taco Mac (Southern-style taco and chicken wing joint) already boasts a nice selection of craft beers, but to gain access downstairs in the Chapter Room, you must download Brewniversity’s mobile app and enroll, tuition-free. Admittance allows you access to the vaunted beer-bastion Chapter Room, located downstairs. The beer list is far more robust and international, plus the bar’s hiding an impressive list of whiskeys. Ironically, you can use technology to track how much you drink, using the app, and earn points toward nothing in particular—except to redo college drinking doppelbocks instead of Miller High Life.

Photo courtesy of @mashdpotaylor

The Drifter (Chicago, IL)

The Drifter in Chicago serves up a freshly caught red herring: It’s located in the basement of what has now become another bar called Green Door Tavern. You thought you were done drinking? Think again. Head downstairs to the bathrooms, stumble through an unassuming wooden door between the men’s and women’s rooms, and you’ll find an actual former speakeasy. The Drifter space is small but cozy; rubbing elbows with other drinkers transports you a century back in time, when liquor was at a premium and everyone wanted in. The drinks that will be served that night are pulled from a tarot card deck. So if you loved a particular cocktail, don’t expect the same next time. But always expect elaborate woodwork and—occasionally—burlesque dancers to complete the time travel back nearly a century.

Photo courtesy of @drinksanford

Hanson’s Shoe Repair (Orlando, FL)

Two decades from now, we seriously doubt anyone will remember voicemail. It’s tedious to not only leave one, but to listen. And who wants to hear voices?! Suck it up, though, and call Hanson’s Shoe Repair—a hidden Orlando bar and occasional music venue worth the inconvenience. Potential visitors call and are asked to leave a message with the time they’d like their “shoes repaired” (no promises on preventing falls while wasted) and how many pairs they’re bringing in. If all seems well, Hanson’s will provide the password for entry that night. The code changes each night, so hold onto it preciously to enjoy craft cocktails in what looks like, well, an old-timey shoe repair shop. The best part: Passwords arrive via text. The future is now.

Photo courtesy of @jeremy.pistachio

Bourbon and Branch (San Francisco, CA)

“Please speak-easy” is the first rule of Bourbon and Branch (the second rule isn’t, “You do not talk about Fight Club). This raspberry-tinted San Francisco bar—with working-man decor ranging from books to barrels—is rigid about its policies, but it’s all in the interest of providing the 20 or so patrons a relaxing, reflective experience. See, within this particular speakeasy is yet another secret room in the back, behind a bookshelf. There’s a password to enter,  “books,” and inside is an impressive library for your party to enlighten themselves and sip delicious cocktails . Just don’t order a cosmo. House rules.


Tagged: Food & drink

Steve Heisler

Steve Heisler

Steve Heisler

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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

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


Tagged: Holidays

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Before summer comes to a close, squeeze in one last feel-like-a-kid again experience. Here’s a roundup (pun intended) of America’s best carousel rides.

Carousel on the National Mall — Washington, DC

This 1940s carousel wore several hats—attraction at a Maryland amusement park and even a bargaining chip in the civil rights movement—before becoming the lighthearted tourist attraction it is today. Dubbed the Smithsonian Carousel, it sits in front of the he Arts and Industries Building in the nation’s capital.

The Carousel ride on the National Mall is an American icon. Credit Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Carousel on the National Mall is an American icon | Credit: Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr Creative Commons.

Jane’s Carousel ride — Brooklyn, NY

Take a break from the overstimulation of the Big Apple and head for this 1922 carousel inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. With typical New York swagger, its 48 horses and two chariots are housed inside a stunning glass pavilion designed by bigshot architect Jean Nouvel. Go for a ride, or reserve the entire thing for a birthday party, photo shoot or wedding.

New Yorkers are so cool, even their carousels come in chic packaging. Jane's Carousel photo courtesy of Kiah Ankoor/Flickr Creative Commons.

New Yorkers are so cool, even their carousels come in chic packaging | Credit: Kiah Ankoor/Flickr Creative Commons.

Flying Horses Carousel ride — Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Originally an attraction at New York’s Coney Island, this 1878 (!!!) landmark is the oldest platform carousel in the country. The antique attraction has been restored to its former glory, complete with an old-timey Wurlitzer organ and real horse hair on the manes and tails.

The Flying Horses Carousel ride is on the National Register of Historic Places. Credit N. Friedler/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Flying Horses Carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places | Credit: N. Friedler/Flickr Creative Commons.

The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel ride — Los Angeles, CA

For a carousel with a cause, take a spin on this attraction at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens Zoo. The 64 wooden figures and two chariots showcase endangered California wildlife that the zoo is working to save. Rides are free with zoo admission ($15 for kids and $20 for adults).

Oaks Park Carousel ride — Portland, OR

If you’re bored with the usual carousel horses, then check out the menagerie of animals on this 1911 attraction inside Oaks Amusement Park. Gate admission is free; pay $3.25 to ride the carousel or buy a bracelet for all the park rides starting at $14.

Because carousel horses are a dime a dozen, this one has elk. Oaks Park Carousel ride photo by Randy Kashka/Flickr Creative Commons.

Because carousel horses are a dime a dozen. Oaks Park Carousel photo | Credit: Randy Kashka/Flickr Creative Commons.

Pleasure Pier Carousel ride — Galveston, TX

Sure, this amusement park has rides with flashy names like Iron Shark and Pirate’s Plunge, but the double-decker carousel remains a crowd favorite. The animal options range from lion to seahorse, so you can have a different ride every time. Single-ride tickets cost $4.

Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel ride — Cleveland, OH

Here’s one you can ride year-round. The carousel that once delighted beachgoers on the shores on Lake Erie has been restored and moved to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center. The merry-go-round depicts scenes from its heyday in the mid-20th century, so folks who were around to ride it outdoors can reminisce about the good old days. General museum admission ($10 adults, $5 kids) includes two rides.

Cleveland weather can get dicey, so thank goodness this carousel ride's indoors. Credit KE Lewis/Wikimedia Commons.

Cleveland weather can get dicey, so thank goodness this carousel’s indoors. Credit KE Lewis/Wikimedia Commons.

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Tagged: Family, L.A., New York City, Seasonal

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Oh the humble diner, where comforting, hardy breakfasts and hot coffee are always on special. The perfect throwback to a mostly bygone era. Here are some of the best diners in America, by region, in no particular order.

Vintage diner photo

The best diners in the west

Bertie Lou’s Cafe — Portland, Oregon

From its menu to its walls, Bertie Lou’s shows its funky, Portland-esque style without losing that classic diner vibe. Specifically, by proudly displaying napkin drawings as fine art and offering tasty concoctions like the Bertie Crisco, an incredibly hearty sandwich of spicy chicken sausage and pepper jack between two layers of french toast. Unsurprisingly, this place is known for its delicious breakfast dishes, which also happen to be cheap—breakfast or lunch can cost you anywhere between $5 to $10.

Steuben’s — Denver, Colorado

A little bit more of an upscale and modernized take on the classic diner, Steuben’s has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives for its recreations of American regional classics. Unlike some diners on this list, Steuben’s is notable for more than just its breakfast fare. Early risers can indulge in treats like from-scratch biscuits and gravy and all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes. But the lunch and dinner menus also shine, thanks to updated takes on classic dishes, including pot roast, cayenne étouffée and meatloaf. This one’s a bit more of a splurge than the other diners on this list, but the green chili cheeseburger is well worth it.

Golden Coffee Shop – San Francisco, California

It’s not often that you can find a good meal for under $10 in San Francisco. Enter the Golden Coffee Shop: a haven for old-school classics like corned-beef hash and short stacks of buttermilk pancakes, which you can enjoy at its perfectly old-school wrap-around counter. But what really sets this apart are the Chinese essentials you’ll also find on the menu—tuck into some fried rice or chow mein if you’re not in the mood for hash browns. But we’ve got bad news for the night owls: This may sound like the perfect late-night hangout, but it closes mid afternoon. We’ve got a solid silver lining for you, though. Most dishes cost between $6 and $8.

Eggs and hash are a staple at the best diners.

True Midwestern diners

Diner Grill – Chicago, Illinois

This is what it’s all about—the diner’s diner. The diner your great-grandfather would love. The bare-bones, vintage variety that’s been slinging burgers since the 1930’s. Enter Diner Grill’s the Slinger: two hamburger patties on top of hash browns, with two slices of American cheese and two runny eggs, all of which is covered in chili. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s served with a side of toast. But if you’re not in the competitive-eating business, there’s also patty melts and egg sandwiches. You will not have a hard time keeping your check under $10 in this 24/7 former railway car diner, since most of its dishes are around $6.

Fleetwood Diner – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Open since 1949, Fleetwood Diner is known for its hip vibes and its famous Hippie Hash. What is this, you ask? Why, a mixture of homemade hash browns, grilled tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli topped with feta cheese, of course. And this dish is the perfect start—or end—to your day, thanks to the diner’s 24-hour schedule. The menu also boasts the classics, including burgers, milkshakes and omelets, as well as traditional Greek foods and salads. All reasonably priced, so you have no reason not to add that hippie hash onto your meal.

Vintage diner photos

Diners with Southern flair

Danny’s All American Diner & Dairy Bar – Tampa, Florida

Don’tdrive too fast, or you might miss this small, humble diner—which happens to serve up sandwiches that are anything but small and humble. And if you love sports, you’ll love Danny’s All American Diner’s burger-naming conventions. There, you’ll find the Roberto Clemente Burger, the Field of Greens salad and the Pitcher’s Mound sandwich. As well as the famous ‘must-have’ chili, which can be found slathered on various menu items or ordered as a side. The best part? Prices at Danny’s All American Diner & Dairy Bar are a home run, as nothing on the menu is more than $10.

Uncle Lou’s – Memphis, Tennessee

Uncle Lou’s has only been operating for a fraction of the time that some of the diners on this list have, opening in 2001, but has already made an imprint on the Memphis community. Although this diner’s main focus is fried chicken, it also serves several specialty sandwiches and desserts. Uncle Lou’s menu was created with families in mind, offering six different “meal deals” to fit various party sizes. Pro tip: This is also great if you’d like to store 35 pieces of chicken, 12 sides and 18 biscuits for yourself, for future meals. Prices at Uncle Lou’s are pretty cheap and you should be spending around $10 per person… That is, if you share (as you should).

The best diners always serve piping-hot coffee.

Seriously good Eastern diners

Square Diner – New YorkCity, New York

If you’ve ever seen Edward Hopper’s painting titled “Nighthawks,” you’ll swear it was inspired by the Square Diner, which opened in 1945 and was once known as the Triangle Diner. Its exterior is the classic train-car style, but with a unique grey roof. The interior is highly stylized and truly transports you to the diner’s heyday, with wood-paneled walls and ceiling, essential fire-engine red booths and bar ample seating. The menu is full of hardy breakfast and lunch entrees that will give you flash-backs to Grandma’s homey cooking. Eggplant Parmigiana, London Broil and even Gyros can be found on the menu. Prices range, and although it is not guaranteed you’ll eat for less than $10, it certainly can be done, which is not an easy feat in the Big Apple.

Mul’s Diner – Boston, Massachusetts

We bet creme brûlée would not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you gaze upon the big, silver lunchbox that is Mul’s Diner, where the decor screams ‘retro’ from the shiny outdoor paneling to the checkerboard tiles inside. Regardless, bottomless coffee and creme brûlée French toast are what Mul’s Diner is known to do best. Serving a variety of both sweet and savory twists on classic diner fare, Mul’s offers deliciously cheap breakfast and lunch, with only a couple items on the menu that are more than $10: The New York Sirloin and the Irish breakfast, both of which are worth the extra cost.

Vintage diner sign

The Non-Continental

Rainbow Drive-In – Oahu, Hawaii

Welcome to the place that Guy Fieri most likely sees in his dreams. Yes, Rainbow Drive-In was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and for good reason: They serve one of the cheapest and best lunches in all of Hawaii. And its food is, naturally, wildly different from anything else on this list. First of all, you can add mahi to any plate. And what are those plates, you may ask? BBQ ahi tuna, fried rice with eggs and the famous Loco Moco bowl, which is a scoop of rice topped with a hamburger patty, an egg and gravy. If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can still get cheeseburgers, chili dogs and corned beef sandwiches. Plus, you can eat them outside on the giant patio. The average price of a plate at Rainbow Drive-In is roughly $7, so start looking for a cheap flight toHawaii immediately.


Tagged: California, Florida, Food & drink, Hawaii, New York City

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When you’re in a new city and hungry for a way to explore and snack on a budget, there’s no beating the humble (or not-so-humble!) American hot dog. Grab one of these tasty sausage sandwiches, which are undoubtedly among the best hot dogs in the country, and fill yourself up without breaking the bank.


Portillo’s | Flickr CC: star5112

Portillo’sChicago, IL

No questions about it—Chicago is America’s hotdog headquarters. You’ll be spoiled for choice in the Windy City, where it seems like there’s a hot dog shop on every block. But while there are plenty of specialty options, there’s a right and a wrong way to eat a Chicago hot dog. Portillo’s simple Hot Dog ($3) gets the recipe exactly right: a steamed poppy seed bun holds a dog dressed in mustard, neon green relish, celery salt, and raw onions with a garnish of fresh tomato, a kosher pickle and a pepper. Want ketchup? You’ll get laughed out of the building.

Happy Fatz – Houston, TX

Not only is this specialty hot dog restaurant also a bakery, but it’s housed in a quaint cottage with a distinctly neighborhoody feel. Walk in and order The Clucker ($8), a dog with hash browns, bacon, grilled onions, and a fried egg topped with secret Clucker sauce. Or gnaw on a Texas Chili ($8), a frank garnished with homemade chili, melted cheddar, and Fritos. Bonus: there are giant cake slices for dessert.

Nathan's Famous, which makes some of the best hot dogs in the country

Nathan’s Famous | Flickr CC: owlpacino

Nathan’s FamousBrooklyn, New York

Look, you can eat a hot dog or you can eat The Hot Dog. Chomp into one of Nathan’s Famous World Famous Beef Hot Dogs, thatched with sauerkraut and drizzled with mustard, and you’ll be chewing on a piece of American history. That’s right—Nathan’s is 100 years old, and it’s home to the world-renowned Hot Dog Eating Contest, where contestants from around the world gather to cram these franks down their throats next to Brighton Beach.

I Dream of Weenie – Nashville, TN

Most people don’t think of Nashville as a major hot dog capital, but that’s fine with us—we want to keep I Dream of Weenie all for ourselves. This adorable vintage VW van/sausage shop is parked at Five Points and has its own tiny patio, where you can chow down on the Flamin’ Frank, an ultra-hot dog with spicy chili, cheese, jalapenos and hot salsa, or order one of their tasty daily specials (jumbo smoked sausage with BBQ-marinated onions, anyone?)

Lafayette Coney Island-detroit

Lafayette Coney Island | Flickr CC: Rex Roof

Lafayette Coney IslandDetroit, MI

You cannot have a hot dog when you’re in Detroit—you must have a coney dog (if you have any respect for yourself at all.) And if you’re looking for the best coney dogthere is, march yourself over to Lafayette Coney Island, where a Coney Island dog ($2.60) will rock your world with its meaty, chili-covered frank, chopped onions, and mustard-slathered recipe. The no-nonsense, classic diner vibes are worth a visit alone.

franktuary-bogota and bangkok hotdogs

The Bangkok (front) and Bogota hot dogs from Franktuary | Photo courtesy of Molly Lindsey

FranktuaryPittsburgh, PA

This award-winning eatery with two locations and two food trucks uses locally-sourced and ethnic condiments to create lavish, memorable hot dog experiences. Try a Bangkok Frank ($4.25), with Thai peanut sauce, carrots, red cabbage and cilantro. Or nab a Bogota Frank ($4.25), a hot dog creatively covered in pineapple sauce, slaw, potato chips, and “pink sauce.” Oh, and don’t forget to get an order of poutine while you’re there!

Dapper Dog – San Francisco, CA

Picture it: you’re in the Castro, a neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in America, and you’re hungry. The only sensible thing to do is to head to locally beloved Dapper Dog, where you can eat a specialty frank for less money than you’ll pay for…almost anything else in San Francisco. Try a Napa Dog ($6), dressed with arugula, blue cheese, diced dried apricots and apricot sauce, or go for the Banh Mi Dog ($6), which boasts sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots, chopped peanuts and sriracha mayo. On second thought, better get more than one, in case you’re hungry later! 

Pink's Hot Dogs

Pink’s Hot Dogs | Flickr CC: Ken Lund

Pink’sLos Angeles, CA

Dolly Parton, Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian—these celebrities (and dozens more) have eaten hot dogs at Pink’s in Hollywood, an iconic stand that’s been around since 1939. Soon, you’ll join the ranks of the rich and famous, when you order a Lord of the Rings Dog ($5.75), a BBQ sauce and onion-ring-topped 9” frankfurter. Also noteworthy is the Martha Stewart Dog ($7.25), a relish, onions, bacon, sour cream and sauerkraut-covered work of art. It’s a good thing!

DanDan Dog

DanDan Dog | Photo courtesy of EatsPlace

Haiyo DogWashington, D.C.

Drop what you’re doing and book a plane ticket to Washington, D.C. this instant. These hot dogs are that important. You’re about to sink your teeth into an Asian/American fusion sensation: House-baked Asian milk bread cuddles local Amish beef, chicken, or organic tofu dogs crowned with condiments such as avocado and spicy mayo or kimchi and edamame. Get the Dan Dan Noodle Dog ($6), which features knife-cut noodles and Sichuan peppercorns, or upgrade to the Shot-Dog ($12), your choice of any dog on the menu with a daily liquor shot special.

Chili Cheese Mad Dog, one of the best hot dogs in America

Chili Cheese Mad Dog | Photo courtesy of Bukowski Tavern

Bukowski TavernBoston, MA

Not only does this iconic, red-painted tavern have an enormous selection of craft beers and a Boston-y surly attitude, it also has a (bargain alert!) $1 hot dog or burger special, Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m to 8 (!!) p.m. That is ONE DOLLAR, folks. One dollar to be surrounded by Boston’s finest (and we mean the best hot dogs). In addition, Bukowski’s offers a chili cheese edition and sweet potato tots! What are you waiting for?

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Family, Food & drink, L.A., New York City, Tips & advice

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New York may be the city that never sleeps, but even the most caffeinated tourists have to take a breather sometime. We’ve found some cheap New York hotels (by this city’s standards, at least)—not hostels, but actual hotels with private bathrooms—that feature Instagram-worthy amenities and rates low enough to leave you with enough money to take a sizable bite out of the Big Apple.

* The fine print: These hotel prices are based on a one-night stay at the end of June. 

Cosmopolitan Hotel; starting at $229 a night


What: A 129-room TriBeCa hotel with high-end finishes and an onsite Starbucks.

Why: You can’t decide which part of town you want to stay in, so lodging that straddles the bustling Financial District and chic Soho is a safe bet.

Start spreadin’ the news: Every Friday morning, hotel guests are invited to take a free walking tour with stops including Wall Street and the Freedom Tower.

Nu Hotel; starting at $197 a night


What: An airy hotel whose 93 rooms boast oh-so-Brooklyn features like hardwood floors, vibrant murals and even hammocks.

Why: You’re traveling with the family, so perks like bunk beds, free continental breakfast to satisfy picky eaters and childcare (for a free) make life easier.

Start spreadin’ the news: This hipster hotel keeps things earthy, from the recycled wood furniture and free bike rentals, to the local beers in the minibar.

Aloft Harlem; starting at $297 a night


What: A 122-room hotel with the cultural cache of Harlem and the modern touches of the Aloft brand, including a news ticker over the elevators and keyless check-in (there’s an app for that).

Why: You prefer the Apollo Theater to the Theater District, Sylvia’s soul food to Restaurant Row and hole-in-the-wall jazz joints to Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Start spreadin’ the news: Too tired to go out but don’t want to “waste” a night in your room being antisocial? The hotel bar hosts DJs and karaoke nights, and there’s a pool table in the lobby.

Park South Hotel; starting at $279 a night


What: A 131-room Midtown hotel that gets high marks for its clean rooms and helpful staff.

Why: You want the convenience of being within a 10-minute walk from the Empire State Building, but without sacrificing perks like free wifi and turn-down service with chocolates.

Start spreadin’ the news: The hotel’s rooftop cocktail bar features fireplaces and spectacular city views.

Washington Jefferson Hotel; starting at $242 a night


What: A hotel with 158 small yet comfortable rooms and suites in Hell’s Kitchen.

Why: You’re all about location, location, location. The hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from Times Square and the Theater District.

Start spreadin’ the news: On Thursday mornings, hotel guests are invited to take a free walking tour of the neighborhood covering off-Broadway theaters, Hell’s Kitchen restaurants and more.

Opera House Hotel; starting at $169 a night


What: A 60-room South Bronx hotel that’s an 11-minute train ride from Yankee Stadium.

Why: For the price, you can’t pass up perks like free continental breakfast, 24/7 coffee and tea on the mezzanine level and an unheard-of 18,000-square-foot fitness center run by Crunch Gym.

Start spreadin’ the news: The newly renovated decor is a throwback to Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers, who once performed there.

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Tagged: Cheap City, USA, City, New York City

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Nothing tops a good summer concert. But sometimes jumbo shows at sports stadiums just don’t provide the ambiance you’re craving. Luckily, America has been graced with the glory of multiple breathtaking outdoor concert venues. Whether they’re built right into their surroundings or have been turned into works of art, these venues are sure to satiate that live-music-on-a-summer-night need.

 Red Rocks Amphitheater outdoor concert venue

A sunrise at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Photo: Chris Pelliccione – Flickr

Red Rocks Amphitheatre — Morrison, Colorado

Located just outside of Denver, Red Rocks consistently tops the list of coolest outdoor theaters in America. And it’s easy to see why: The open-air theater is framed by shockingly red rocks, jutting out in every direction. On the schedule for this summer are The Lumineers, The National, Bob Dylan, Odesza and more. Red Rocks hosts other events too, like yoga, fitness challenges and movie screenings. And attendees can usually expect to enjoy the show while drinking a cold one from one of Denver’s many craft breweries.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion outdoor concert venue

Chicago’s skyline provides the backdrop for Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Photo: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov – Flickr

Jay Pritzker Pavilion — Chicago, Illinois

Pritzker Pavilion has been fostering perfect views of Chicago’s skyline from its Millennium Park outpost since 2004. It has 4,000 seats, and the lawn seats roughly 7,000. Most concerts are free and BYOB—though this summer’s Flight of the Conchords and Wilco shows are worth shelling out a little money for—and Chicagoans flock here with blanket and alcohol in hand as soon as it’s warm enough to not need 8 sweaters. And a winter coat. Whether or not there’s a concert, the pavilion itself is worth visiting, if only for the photo op—a giant steel ribbon structure frames the stage, and a web of crisscrossing steel pipes stretch over the pavilion and entire 95,000-square-foot lawn. It’s more art than building. In fact, the city had to designate it as a piece of art to circumnavigate some building height restrictions. 


Nikon at Jones Beach Theater outdoor concert venue

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Photo: Rob Sinclair – Flickr

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater — Wantagh, New York

This theater is located inside a state park, and first opened in 1952 to host musicals. Back then it had a moat — performers were brought to the stage in a boat and some of the scenery floated. That all changed after the first renovation, when the moat was filled in and seats were added closer to the stage. It had to undergo another major reno to the tune of $20 million after Hurricane Sandy hit hard in 2012. It reopened in spring of 2013, and only started selling alcohol outside of VIP boxes in 2014. Meaning this summer’s headliners—Bad Company and Joe Walsh, Weezer and Panic at the Disco, and the BLI Summer Jam (with Meghan Trainor and Iggy Azalea)—will be that much more fun.


Hollywood Bowl outdoor concert venue

A shot of Los Angeles, with Hollywood Bowl in the foreground. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust – Flickr

The Hollywood Bowl — Hollywood, California 

Nestled in the Hollywood hills, the Bowl opened in 1922 and rode the wave of Hollywood fame. Frank Sinatra played there in 1943, the Beatles in 1964, and a showcase of the world’s best musicians followed. It’s been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since it opened, and has drawn famous visitors, from President FDR to Mickey Rooney. This summer’s highlights include Janet Jackson, Paul Simon, The Cure with Twilight Sad and Steely Dan

Gorge Amphitheatre outdoor concert venue

Gorge Amphitheatre. Photo: Hejl – Flickr

Gorge Amphitheatre — George, Washington

This amphitheater is often considered one of the most scenic in the world, with sweeping views of the Columbia River and the foothills of the Cascade Range as its backdrop. The land on which it sits was originally set to be a vineyard. Instead, the Gorge opened in 1986, with a mind-blowing capacity of 27,500. Since then, it’s held dozens of music festivals, one of the most notable being Sasquatch! Music Festival. Fans can actually camp at the Gorge for 24 hours on the day of the single show, or until noon the day after a festival ends. This summer, the amphitheater will also host the Paradiso Festival, the Watershed Festival and Phish.

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Tagged: California, Festivals, FREE!, New York City

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Spring break means wet T-shirt contests, Jell-O shots and beaches so overrun you can’t take a selfie without being photobombed. But it doesn’t have to.

This year, skip the usual spring break cliches by heading for one of these less-crowded American spring break beaches.


Caladesi Island State Park. Credit Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

Caladesi Island State Park, Florida: In 2008, famed coastal researcher Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman christened this Dunedin, Florida, beach America’s best. But what keeps it less crowded than nearby Clearwater Beach is that you have to take a ferry from Dunedin to get there. It’s worth it, though, for a Gulf of Mexico getaway where soft, white sand and wildlife meet modern amenities including a snack bar and gift shop.


St. Simons Island, Georgia. Credit Ralph Daily/Flickr.

St. Simons Island, GeorgiaAvoid the Florida beach scene altogether by heading one state to the north. Take a sailing lesson, try dirt track racing at Golden Isles Speedway or climb the 129 steps to the top of the historic St. Simons Island Lighthouse. Even if you don’t fish, take time to appreciate the view from the St. Simons Island Pier while you’re downtown shopping or grabbing a bite to eat.

CheapTickets-California-Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu, California. Credit Joseph Voves/Flickr.

Leo Carrillo State Park, California: This Malibu beach makes a nice retreat from the hubbub of nearby Santa Monica. Named for an actor an preservationist, the beach is home to tidepools and sea caves that set the scene for a laid-back getaway. Pitch a tent, light a campfire and forget all about finals week.

Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas: If boozy South Padre Island leaves you with a hangover, then the cure is just plain Padre Island Corpus Christi. Settle in for 70 miles of undeveloped coastline, where you’re likely to see more pelicans and turtles than rowdy coeds. Windsurfing, kayaking and camping on the beach make for a spring break you’ll actually remember.

CheapTickets-Delaware-Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach,Delaware. Credit Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue/Flickr.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware: Located about 120 miles east of Baltimore, this resort town makes for a nice alternative to the usual spring break sites. Browse the downtown boutiques or take a shuttle to Tanger Outlets for some serious retail therapy. The area also has plenty of food options to fit a college student’s budget, from Grotto Pizza to Dolle’s Popcorn, Candy and Saltwater Taffy. For cheap entertainment, check the concert schedule at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

CheapTickets-NY-Long Beach

Long Beach, New York. Credit Shinya Suzuki/Flickr.

Long Beach, New York: You don’t need Hamptons money to enjoy a beach vacation off the shores of the Long Island. Long Beach is less than an hour’s ride on the Long Island Rail Road, making it easily accessible from Manhattan. Stroll, jog or bike along the boardwalk before grabbing a meal from a pushcart vendor. By day, try surfing or beach volleyball, then change into your going-out clothes and hit up the area’s many bars.

Folly Beach, South Carolin

Folly Beach, South Carolina | Flickr CC: H. Michael Miley

Folly BeachSouth CarolinaNo mistake about it. This surf town just 15 minutes outside of Charleston oozes with Southern charm. Expect the usual water sports, fishing and nightlife you’d find in any beach town, but also saveroom for a bowl of shrimp and grits of she-crab soup.

CheapTickets-NC-Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Credit James Willamor/Flickr.

Atlantic BeachNorth CarolinaThe state’s so-called Crystal Coastmakes for a gem of a getaway. Try paddleboarding, cruise around the island on a rented bicycle or ride Island Ferry Adventures Ferry Service around to the Rachel Carson Reserve, where you might just see ponies frolicking on the shore. Now that’s what we call a wild spring break.

Pier at Grand Isle, Louisiana

Grand Isle, LouisianaWhile the majority of spring break revelers stick to New Orleans, head about 100 miles south to this haven from the Crescent City. Lounge on the seven-mile stretch of white sand beaches or get your blood pumping at Wake Side Wake Board Park, where a system of cables pulls you as you wakeboard, tube or waterski.


Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawaii. Credit Wikipedia.

Oahu, HawaiiA Hawaiian island may sound out of reach for a college student’s budget, but if you can score a cheap plane ticket, then there’s plenty of bargain fun to be had. Catch a free performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace; take a complimentary hula, ukulele or lei-making lesson at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center or remind yourself that pineapples aren’t just for cocktails when you wander through the Dole Plantation’s enormous maze. And we haven’t even mentioned the beach yet. We hear Hawaii has some pretty nice ones.


Tagged: Beach, California, Florida, Hawaii, New York City