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

The Big Apple can be such an overwhelming city that it feels like each New York city guidebook is telling you about the hundreds (if not thousands!) of things you should be doing. I can’t disagree with the fact that that there is plenty to keep you busy while you’re in New York, but as a native New Yorker, I feel obligated to remind you that there are a few things you should avoid doing. Whether these are assumptions you should break, neighborhoods you should or shouldn’t avoid, or transportation methods you shouldn’t be afraid of, here are 5 things NOT to do in New York City!

RELATED: 8 great outdoor lounges and beer gardens in New York

1. Assume all New Yorkers are cold and heartless

As a lifelong New Yorker this one stings to admit, but I suppose that it’s possible that New Yorkers perhaps have a reputation for being some combination of cold, brusque, or flat-out rude.

While this might occasionally be true, let me assure you that not ALL New Yorkers are this way. Please don’t assume this, as many New Yorkers are not only very proud of their city and eager to help newcomers, but also genuinely cheerful people always ready to make new friends.

So, whether you’re looking for directions or just to start up a conversation in a bar, remember that many New Yorkers can be friendly, and happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

2. Exclusively use credit or debit cards

Plastic has become king throughout the world, and New York is no exception. However, while debit and credit cards will give you absolutely no trouble throughout most of New York, there are certain enclaves—particularly downtown and in the outer boroughs—whose businesses, bars, and restaurants remain cash only.

Regular people hanging out in a coffee shop, having drinks, doing work, meeting friends, etc.

Specifically, Brooklyn’s Bushwick and Manhattan’s East Village—the latter being a particularly popular nightlife spot for locals and tourists alike—are known for their cash-only businesses.

And, if you have leftover cash toward the end of your trip, you can always tip with cash even when you pay with credit card. Trust me, your bartender/waiter/driver will greatly appreciate it!

3. Be afraid to venture outside of Midtown…

Times Square. Broadway. Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center. Radio City Music Hall. Bryant Park.

Yeah, I get it.  It would be pretty hard for me to leave Midtown Manhattan, too!

However, even though your hotel and top Manhattan bucket list items may be (fairly) focused around Midtown, don’t be afraid to venture outside of it, either.

If you head north of Midtown, you have the quaint beauty of the Upper East and Upper West Sides (not to mention Central Park!), and, if you head South, you have the galleries and restaurants of Chelsea, the shopping of SoHo, the history of the Financial District, and plenty more!

4. …or Manhattan!

I can totally understand if your New York trip is so short that you feel it would be a disservice to leave Manhattan, but trust me when I say the outer boroughs of New York – Staten Island, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens – have plenty to offer.

If you’re a big-time sports fan, then venturing outside Manhattan may be a requirement, as both baseball’s Yankees (Yankee Stadium, the Bronx) and Mets (Citi Field, Queens) call the outer boroughs home.

Brooklyn Bridge taken from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

If you’re simply looking for adventure outside Manhattan, Brooklyn is probably your best bet as some of the city’s hottest food festivals (Smorgasburg, East River State Park), nightlife & shopping (anywhere in Williamsburg!), and pizza (Roberta’s, Bushwick) lie in the heart of Brooklyn!

5. Be afraid to use public transportation

I get it. With the proliferation of yellow cabs (not to mention ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft…), why would you ever consider New York City’s much-maligned public transportation?

Young woman going down steps to subway entrance in the city

Well, there are two main reasons. From a financial perspective alone, (each subway ride is $2.75, while the average cab ride in New York is at least $15-18), taking the subway can free up a lot of extra spending money, and it’s not like New York is cheap!

More importantly, though, a dirty little secret about New York transportation is that, in many cases, taking the subway is actually quicker than taking a car.

Yup, that’s right! A good rule of thumb is that if your subway commute doesn’t require transferring trains, it’s almost always quickest to just forget the cars and head underground!

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

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

Sher Jordan

Sher Jordan

Sher Jordan

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

Few things are more mesmerizing and awe-inspiring than watching a waterfall. Across these United States, there are plenty of places to see the beauty of tons of cascading water dropping majestically from great heights. Plus, getting to a waterfall can often be done by hiking, walking, or merely parking your car, so you should be able to find falls that suit almost every level of accessibility. Next time you’re looking for a gorgeous, calming view, put these popular waterfalls on your travel list.

RELATED: 9 travel myths you shouldn’t believe

Niagara Falls: Canada and New York

Luna Island / New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Lining the U.S. and Canadian border, this world-famous attraction includes three waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. On the American side, head to the Cave of the Winds, which by elevator goes down into Niagara Gorge to observe the falls from the Hurricane Deck. And go for a cruise on the Maid In The Mist, a long-time favorite boat ride along the gorge’s waters.

Find hotels near Niagara Falls here.

Kent Falls: Connecticut

Courtesy Connecticut Office of Tourism

These waters within Kent Falls State Park in Litchfield County cascade down from a mountain stream of Kent Falls Brook, a tributary of the Housatonic River. Divided into upper and lower waterfalls, the falls are accompanied by a steep and winding trail that can be hiked up to see more vantage points. Kent Falls State Park also has a small covered bridge overlooking the brook, large grassy fields, and picnic tables and barbecue fire pits.

Book a great place to stay near Kent Falls here.

Salt Creek Falls: Oregon

Based in Willamette National Forest, the Salt Creek Falls are said to be Oregon’s second-highest single drop waterfall (after Multnomah Falls) with a surge of 50,000 gallons per minute. What also makes visiting these falls awesome is that they have a wheelchair-accessible observation platform just 50 yards from the parking lot and has railings that accommodate wheelchair sightlines. There are two trails to take: One is a loop gravel trail with interpretive signage and many vantage points, while the other is a steep trail from the platform to the base of the falls.

Find your accommodations near Salt Creek here.

Gorman Falls: Texas

Earl Nottingham, TPWD

These waterworks in Central Texas are located in Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, which is about a two-hour drive northwest of Austin. Considered to be a “living” waterfall, Gorman Falls is noted as getting bigger due to its water having a high concentration of carbon dioxide that runs through the area’s limestone deposits. Get there on a three-mile round trip hike via a route that includes rocky terrain that leads up to the 70-foot tall spring-fed sight.

Book a lovely hotel near Gorman Falls here.

Burney Falls: California

As the centerpiece of McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County, just over an hour’s drive north from Redding, Burney Falls is a neat example of a waterfall. A short walk from a parking lot, these 129-foot falls are fed by underground springs and flow at 100 million gallons daily. Go along a shared traffic one-mile loop trail (you may come across horses and other people) where you can hike up to view the top of the falls.

Your hotel in Burney Falls awaits right here.

Ruby Falls: Tennessee

Chattanooga CVB

This one has a neat twist. It’s the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the U.S. that’s open to the general public. Discovered by accident in 1928, these falls are located 1,120 feet beneath the summit of Lookout Mountain, a natural tourist attraction in Chattanooga. You’ll reach them first by descending 26 stories by elevator and then be led by a guided walk along a cavern path where you’ll also spot unique cave formations.

Find a great place to stay near Ruby  Falls here.

Minnehaha Falls: Minnesota

In Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, this 53-foot urban waterfall reflects its location’s name, which comes from the Dakota language and means water. Visitors can take the stairs to view the falls in two different ways: walking up to witness the falls from above, where the waters descend from Minnehaha Creek or taking them down the bluff to view the falls from the bottom and then following the creek as it winds its way to the convergence with the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.

ʻAkaka Falls: Hawaiʻi

Hawaii Tourism Authority / Kazuya Kajita

At ʻAkaka Falls State Park, on the northeastern Hilo Coast on the island of Hawaiʻi, you can not only see ʻAkaka Falls but also another waterfall. Reach both of them via a short (0.4-mile) uphill trail through a lush tropical rainforest that’s full of wild orchids, bamboo groves and other vegetation. Along the way, see Kahuna Falls, Hawaii’s tallest sheer drop waterfall, and also ʻAkaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge.

Turner Falls: Oklahoma

Courtesy of Chickasaw Country

Set in the heart of Chickasaw Country’s Arbuckle Mountains, these waterfalls in Southcentral Oklahoma are quite the centerpiece at Turner Falls Park. The 77-foot waterfall drops into a natural swimming pool, and visitors to the park can have some playtime in the water within multiple designated swimming areas. They can also head out on hiking trails and explore the park’s three caves.

Looking Glass Falls: North Carolina

Flowing through the Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina, Looking Glass Falls gets its name association from Looking Glass Rock. During winter, water from a creek freezes on the rock’s sides and then glistens in the sunlight like a mirror or looking glass.

Sitting Bull Falls: New Mexico

New Mexico TRUE

Located within a canyon in Lincoln National Forest, Sitting Bull Falls is a series of waterfalls fed by springs and with a 150-foot-high drop. Its Recreation Area also provides fun times, with cabanas with picnic tables, charcoal grills, and a paved trail through the canyon ending at the falls.

Tagged: California, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Hawaii, Texas, Texas, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

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

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

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

RELATED: 10 destinations that are huge bargains this summer

Lollapalooza: Chicago

Concert Crowd At The Music Festival

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

Book your Chicago hotel soon. 

Austin Asian American Film Festival: Austin

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

Book your Austin hotel right here.

Smorgasburg: New York City

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

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

Find a great NYC hotel here.

Cinespia: Los Angeles

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

Find a fantastic Los Angeles hotel here.

Pride in the Park: Chicago

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

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

Browse great Chicago hotels here. 

Breakaway Music Festival: Grand Rapids, MI

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

Book the perfect Grand Rapids hotel here.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience: Various cities

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

Find fantastic hotel deals right here.

National Mall and Smithsonian Museums: Washington, DC

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

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

Get a good DC hotel deal here.

Food Truck Wednesdays: Miami

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

Snag a Miami hotel deal here.

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

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

Zach Cunning

Zach Cunning

Zach’s love of travel has led to him walking Roman roads along the Camino de Santiago, bartending throughout South America, surfing the Atlantic coast of Morocco and teaching backpackers everywhere the fine art of shaking up the perfect margarita. When he’s not traveling, Zach lives, works and studies in Chicago.
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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

If there’s one thing you retained from English lit class, it’s that setting is one of the key aspects of a story. So it’s understandable that authors often invoke hotels, which open up a world of possibilities and allows for different types of characters to enter/exit. If the hotels below sound familiar, it’s probably because you read about them in a notable novel. Whether it’s a psychedelic romp at a Vegas Strip resort or a Roaring 20’s rager at New York’s. Plaza Hotel, visit for yourself to experience these hotels that appear in many of your favorite novels and short stories.

RELATED: This is the ultimate cross-country National Parks road trip

Hotel del Coronado: San Diego

Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California

Hard to tell if you’re in sun city or the Land of Oz at this iconic hotel, which served as the inspiration for The Wizard of Oz. In fact, author Frank L. Baum was a frequent guest at “The Del” in the early 1900s, and it inspired his vision of Emerald City. Located steps from the ocean on Coronado Island  near downtown San Diego, its opulence has to be seen to be believed. You’ll want to admire the crown-shaped chandeliers designed by the author himself, as well as the hotel’s signature red turrets, and never once want to click your heels and go home.

Book Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton here!

Circus Circus: Las Vegas

Circus Circus, Las Vegas

Take a trip to the wild side with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a drug and alcohol-fueled piece of gonzo journalism. In the book, author Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney zig zag across the Mojave Desert in the early 1970s, eventually making their way to Sin City. As they trash one hotel room after another, Thompson name-checks numerous Vegas hotels (most of which are now gone), including still-standing Strip icon Circus Circus. Today the carnival-like resort is an affordable and kid-friendly North Strip option featuring circus acts, arcade games, a rollercoaster, and of course, a casino. For extra credit, see if you can spot the author in the film version of the book.

Book Circus Circus Hotel, Casino & Theme Park here!

The Plaza Hotel: New York City

Plaza Hotel, NYC, New York

Built in 1907, The Plaza Hotel was a popular haunt of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, and the author famously set the climactic confrontation scene in his literary masterpiece The Great Gatsby inside one of the hotel’s guest rooms. Today, The Plaza offers the Fitzgerald Suite, a chic space overflowing with Jazz Age energy. Bookshelves proudly showcase the complete works of both husband and wife, and chandeliers clink like champagne glasses. You may also know that The Plaza is home to fictional resident Eloise, a children’s book character whose precociousness has inspired its own suite with pink decor by designer Betsey Johnson.

Book The Plaza Hotel in New York here!

 

Heathman Hotel: Portland, OR

Heathman Hotel, Portland, Oregon

You may be ashamed to admit it, but any reader worth their blindfold and paddle has indulged their curiosity at least a little a bit after reading Fifty Shades of Grey by E. l. James. Portland’s Heathman Hotel is a key player in a few of the scenes from this erotic novel, including a steamy elevator sesh. Located near legendary Powell’s Books, the Heathman is also known for its epic library, which at two stories high houses more than 2,700 books, including many signed first editions. So whether you are looking to appease your inner bookworm or explore your debaucherous side, check this hotel out. Just be sure to remember your safe word.

Book The Heathman Hotel here!

 

The Pontchartrain Hotel: New Orleans

The historic Pontchartrain Hotel, situated in the Garden District of New Orleans, is where famed playwright Tennessee Williams often stayed. So it’s no wonder that this timeless hotel, conveniently located along the tree-lined St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, inspired A Streetcar Named Desire, which he penned while staying there. Raise a glass of champagne and toast to another of Williams’ plays at the Hot Tin-Rooftop Bar, with its stunning views of the Mississippi River and downtown. The hotel underwent a major renovation about five years ago, which updated its amenities while maintaining its flapper-era origins.

Book The Pontchartrain Hotel here!

Baron’s Cove: Sag Harbor, NY

Baron's Cove, Sag Harbor, New York

The Hamptons may be considered a playground for the rich and famous, but Sag Harbor, a small hamlet perched at the end of Long Island, was once a hotspot for literary geniuses, including John Steinbeck, Herman Melville, and Langston Hughes. With his wife Elaine and his fluffy French Poodle Charley by his side, Steinbeck was a frequent guest at the original Baron’s Cove resort, and began the journey that he documents in his road trip travelogue Travels with Charley in Sag Harbor. This luxurious harborside inn feels like home, and with their “Travels With Charley” package, you can pamper your pup with his own dog bed and treats.

Book Baron’s Cove here!

Hotel Monteleone: New Orleans

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana

A favorite of writers such as Truman Capote, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway, Hotel Monteleone is one of only three hotels in the United States to have received the prestigious Literary Landmark designation. And for good reason: It has served as the backdrop in more than 170 novels and stories. The revolving Carousel Bar has been memorialized in short stories by Hemingway (“Night Before Battle”) and Eudora Welty (“The Purple Hat”), and with its Literary Suites pays homage to six Southern authors. Stroll through the memorabilia-filled lobby and sidle up to the bar, sipping your drink as you rotate around the room.

Book Hotel Monteleone here!

 

Tagged: Beach, California, Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York City, Types of Travel

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

Danielle Bauter

Danielle Bauter

Danielle Bauter

Latest posts by Danielle Bauter (see all)

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Once you’ve done the statue and shops, it’s time to get to know the real New York—the one where people tired of living in cramped quarters come out to celebrate perfect fall weather in the most perfect way: with alcohol and fresh air. Here 10 great spots in New York for outdoor lounges and beer gardens.

RELATED: 6 cheap New York hotels you’ll actually love

Traditional beer gardens

There’s no shortage of German-style beer gardens in the city. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Bohemian Hall & Beergarden
(29–19 24th Ave; Astoria, Queens)
One of the oldest and largest outdoor drinking venues in New York, this popular outdoor spot serves Czech beers and grilled treats.

2. Radegast Hall & Biergarten
(113 N 3rd St.; Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
This Williamsburg beer hall and garden serves up grilled sausages and a nice variety of Czech and German beers on tap.

3. Zum Schneider
(107 Ave C at 7th St; Manhattan, New York)
Modeled after a Bavarian bierhaus, this restaurant and beer garden in the East Village serves German fare and imported beers with a side of live music.

Friends in public park drinking cold beer

Drinking in the wild

Enjoy a little urban nature while you imbibe at these top outdoor spots.

4. The Roof garden at the Met
On top of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
(1000 5th Ave; Upper East Side, Manhattan)
End your day at the museum with a drink at this great spot overlooking Central Park.

5. Boat Basin Cafe
(West 79th St & the Hudson River; Upper West Side, Manhattan)
This casual cafe, housed  within the walls of the historic 79th Street Boat Basin, overlooks the Hudson River.

6. Loeb Boathouse at the Central Park Boat House
(East 72nd St and Park Drive North; Upper East Side, Manhattan)
There’s no place like Central Park in fall, and there’s no place in Central Park like this cafe on the lake where you watch row boats and gondolas meander across the lake, just like they have for more than 150 years.

Pools & views

These are for hotel guests only, but you can’t beat them for their view or for their outdoor pools, a rarity in Manhattan.

7. The Pool Deck at The Empire Hotel
(44 W 63rd St; Upper West Side, Manhattan)
The rooftop at this Upper West Side hangout near Lincoln Center boasts two bars, a fireplace, retractable roof and 360-degree views of the city.

8. Plunge at the Hotel Gansevoort
(18 9th Ave; Meat Packing District, Manhattan)
Anyone can drink at the lounge at this Meatpacking District hotel, but it’s a separate area from the guest-only pool.

Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

Tagged: City, Tips & advice

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

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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

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

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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. 

IMG_5287.jpg.jpeg

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.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-08-at-3.38.40-PM-e1435425935289.png

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Tagged: Food & drink

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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 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

Tagged: Holidays

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

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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.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

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

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