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We get it. Summer is not about planning. In fact, some of the season’s best moments happen spontaneously: the last-minute backyard barbecue that turns into an epic event, the late-night bonding sesh around the campfire, the water fight that breaks out when you’re hosing down the car in your driveway.

But some summer fun does require planning. With a little forethought, you can pencil in one of these events to be the cherry on top of your coolest summer ever.

RELATED: The 12 best food festivals in the US

Step inside some of Canada’s most intriguing buildings during Doors Open Toronto. | Flickr Photo: Tsai Project

Doors Open Toronto: Toronto, ON (May 26–27)

One weekend a year, visitors are given the chance to explore some of Toronto’s coolest buildings that aren’t normally open to the public. Enjoy walking tours, lectures, music and more—all for free. For 2018, the theme is “Film: The Great Romance,” giving participants an opportunity to check out historic theaters, media studios and buildings featured on the screen.

MoMA at NGV: Melbourne, Australia (June 8–October 7)

Hot weather not your thing? Bypass summer all together when you head Down Under, where the Southern Hemisphere’s winter ushers in this contemporary art exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, in partnership with New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Flickr CC: sophie

Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest: Cannon Beach, OR (June 9)

This weekend of all-American festivities includes pro and amateur sculpting contests, a parade, a 5k run/walk and a nighttime bonfire on the beach in a Pacific coastal town about 80 miles west of Portland.

Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival: Atlanta, GA (June 15–18)

While many cities celebrate this holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States, the cradle of the US Civil Rights Movement does so in high style, with a weekend of music, speakers and parade floats with themes like black history and natural hair.

The Jazz Age Lawn Party is the cat’s pajamas (but don’t actually wear pajamas. | Flickr Photo: Aaron Dahlstrom

Jazz Age Lawn Party: Governors Island, NY (June 16–17 and August 25–26)

Two weekends during the summer, take a trip 800 yards from Lower Manhattan—and a century back in time—as crooner Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra transport you to a world of brassy music, flapper costumes and Charleston contests. With Prohibition no longer in effect, this party really is the bee’s knees.

Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture: Flagstaff, AZ (June 30–July 1)

See more than 100 Native American artists, musicians, dancers and lecturers—a summer tradition dating back to the 1930s.

ALSO: Earn CheapCash on these trips and more—sign up today!

Essence Festival: New Orleans, LA (July 5–8)

Part urban music fest, part beauty expo, part empowerment seminar, this year’s stage welcomes Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, the Roots and other A-listers.

California State Fair: Sacramento, CA (July 13–29)

Carnival rides and food on a stick come standard, but where else can you catch a concert, watch horse races, cool off in a water park and audition for Wheel of Fortune?

Guanajuato International Film Festival: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (July 20–29)

Forego the latest movie reboots in favor of this cinematic event that includes innovative flicks, workshops and talks by some of Latin America’s most prominent filmmakers.

This session of Miami Salsa Congress is officially called to order. Photo credit: Sam Litvin/Flickr.

Miami Salsa Congress: Miami, FL (July 25–29)

Music is serious business in South Florida, as exhibited by this festival attracting the world’s best salsa musicians, dancers and DJs for nonstop concerts, workshops and even—because it’s Miami—pool parties.

Come out of your shell at the Maine Lobster Festival | Photo: MaineLobsterFestival.com

Maine Lobster Festival: Rockland, ME (August 1–5)

Strap on a bib and head to this crustacean celebration that includes a seafood cooking contest, live music, a fine art show, parade and more.

End of the Road: Dorset, England (August 30–September 2)

Close out your summer at this aptly named music festival whose lineup is as enchanting as the event’s fairy garden setting. This year’s headliners include St. Vincent, Vampire Weekend, Feist and Yo La Tengo.

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Tagged: California, Festivals, Music, New York City, Seasonal

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When it comes to the fan experience, these baseball stadiums hit it out of the park.

PNC Park

PNC Park | Flickr CC: Dan Gaken

PNC Park – If you thought Uber was the most innovative way to get to a sporting event, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you cheer on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge (which closes to traffic on game days) or idle your boat or kayak on the Allegheny River, where you can hear the roar of the crowd and maybe even catch a  stray ball. Occasional Pup Nights mean frankfurters aren’t the only dogs you’ll find in this stadium.

Jackie Robinson Rotunda in Citi Field, NYC

Jackie Robinson Rotunda in Citi Field, NYC | Flickr CC: Peter Bond

Citi Field – If the Big Apple is a melting pot, then the home of the New York Mets is where baseball fans go to feast. In countless online reviews, fansrave about the food selection: From Shake Shack to El Verano Taqueria to Hot Pastrami on Rye to more upscale eateries that require reservations, this ballpark hits a home run in the food department. As for the building itself, the stately Jackie Robinson Rotunda makes for a grand entrance (it’s so impressive that people get married there), while easy subway access and plentiful parking make getting to and from the ballpark a breeze. Occasional postgame concerts are another nice touch.

AT&T Park

AT&T Park | Flickr CC: truebacarlos

AT&T Park – The San Francisco Giants, who play here, have been crowned World Series champs three times since 2010. So there’s that. Then there’s the waterfront park itself, with its sweeping city views, award-winning design and “splash hit” home runs that land in McCovey Cove just outside the stadium. Even if you don’t want to watch the actual game, there are amusements galore in the free Fan Lot: a Superslide shaped like a giant Coca-Cola bottle, photo booth and Little Giants Park, a tot-sized replica where future sluggers can practice running the bases. And don’t even get us started on the food.

Comerica Park

Comerica Park | Flickr CC: Kevin Ward

Comerica Park – Yeah, we know, Detroit’s no San Francisco (even if it is on the up-and-up). But the home field of the Detroit Tigers is a bright spot in the city that can’t seem to catch a break. There’s a 50-foot Ferris wheel with cars shaped like baseballs, as well as a tiger-themed carousel; both are free for kids on Sundays. And when the Tigers score, a fountain on the centerfield wall comes to life with a “liquid fireworks” display of synchronized lights and music. For a more low-key experience, join the the Tiger Club, which offers a dinner buffet and access to the private Asylum Cigar Bar.

Stilt walkers in Marlins Park

Stilt walkers in Marlins Park | Flickr CC: TigerDirect.com

Marlins Park – America’s favorite pastime gets a dose of South Beach swank at this home of the Miami Marlins, and we’re not talking about the retractable roof. Tropical touches include colorful mosaic walkway lined with palm trees, a fish tank behind home plate and a sculpture that comes to life every time the Marlins score. But the party doesn’t really start until you’re inside the 21-and-up Clevelander Marlins Park. Take a dip in the bar’s pool, dance to the sounds of celebrity DJs and marvel at the stilt walkers. Just remember to keep an eye on the actual, you know, game.

Racing Sausages in Miller Park

Racing Sausages in Miller Park | Flickr CC: relux

Miller Park – Raise a glass to this home of the Milwaukee Brewers, whose fans take baseball tailgating to football-like levels. Inside the retractable-roofed stadium, the feast continues with everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to nachos on a stick. You can even cheer on your favorite meat during the sixth-inning Famous Racing Sausages showdown. And of course there’s beer. Lots and lots of beer. Periodic post-game concerts add to the fun.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park | Flickr CC: Peter Ciro

Fenway Park – Even if you don’t know a double play from a double header, you’ve probably heard of the <ahref=”http://www.cheaptickets.com/events/performers/boston-red-sox-tickets” target=”_blank”>Boston Red Sox, indisputably one of the coolest baseball stadiums in America. The legendary team’s stadium opened in 1912, and the original architecture, hand-painted scoreboard and storied bar under the field keep the history alive. Sure, the seats are small and the food options are just average, but this is about tradition, people. Sing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning, argue with the rowdy fans in your section, and then head into the neighborhood after the game for a selection of wicked good eats.

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Tagged: California, City, Family, Florida, Food & drink, New York City, Sports, Uncategorized

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

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

Courtesy of Ally Marotti

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

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

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

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

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

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)Chicago, IL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)New York City, NY

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

 

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

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

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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Money doesn’t grow on your tree pose. Fortunately, major cities across the country host free yoga classes through summer—perfect for traveling warriors who want to avoid the $10 to $25 per-class fee that’s standard at most yoga studios.

Plus, most of these yoga sessions are held outdoors in iconic cosmopolitan settings, which is ideal for travelers who want to combine a little mind-body-spirit TLC with sightseeing.

New York City

What: Bryant Park YogaWhere: Bryant Park

When: Tuesdays 10-11 a.m. and Thursday 6-7 p.m., through Sept. 18, 2014

Work your downward dog under shady trees, surrounded by towering Manhattan skyscrapers in this summer series presented by Athleta. Mats are provided. Walk-ins are welcome, but visitors are encouraged to pre-register online.

Bryant Park Yoga -Photo by Bryant Park Corporation (1)

Bryant Park

What: Summer in the Square

Where: Union Square

When: Thursdays 7-8a.m. (South Plaza) and 7-8 p.m. (North Plaza)

Find solace in one of New York’s great public spaces in the morning or evening. A limited number of mats are provided, so participants are encouraged to bring their own. Families can enjoy Yoga StoryTime with Karma Kids from 10-11 a.m.

Credit: Union Square Partnership

Union Square. Credit: Union Square Partnership

What: Wanderlust 108

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn

When: Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014The meditation and yoga portion of this bigger “mindful triathlon” event is free for those who register online by Aug. 15, 2014. With celebrated yoga teachers Seane Corn and Elena Brower leading the group, complemented with music by MC Yogi, it’s sure to be an energetic gathering in Brooklyn.

Credit: Jake Laub

Wanderlust 108 in Brooklyn. Credit: Jake Laub

Boston

What: Summer Yoga at Frog Pond

Where: The Boston Common Frog Pond

When: Thursdays, 6-7:15 p.m., through Aug. 28, 2014

Enjoy an all-levels vinyasa yoga flow in Boston’s most historic park. The class meets behind the Frog Pond Carousel. Bring your own mat, and check for weather-related cancelations on the Facebook page.

Chicago

What: Everybody Free Yoga

Where: Venues all over Chicago

When: Varying times through Sept. 6, 2014

This summer initiative spearheaded by Moksha Yoga Center, Chicago’s largest yoga studio, offers free yoga at parks, beaches and festivals throughout the city. Among the offerings: Saturday morning yoga at Millennium Park and Candlelight Yoga at Foster Beach during full moons. Check the website for a complete schedule.

Millennium Park Credit: Jen Pagonis

Millennium Park. Credit: Jen Pagonis

What: Yoga Rocks the Park

Where: Northside Preparatory High School

When: Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

Part of a bigger grassroots initiative to bring yoga into parks across the country, the Chicago event is free to those who register online. Sponsored by YOGA SIX, the class will include live music.

Washington, D.C.

What: Yoga in the Park

Where: Dupont Circle

When: Wednesdays, 6-7 p.m., Through Oct. 1, 2014

Hosted by lululemon Logan Circle, this is an all-level class in the heart of one of DC’s trendiest ‘hoods. Check the Facebook page for weather updates.

Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park

What: Yoga in the Park 2014

Where: Meridian Hill Park

When: Sundays, 5-6:30 p.m., Through August

Get your OM on in this gorgeous 12-acre park in the Columbia Heights-Adams Morgan neighborhoods of northwest DC. Hosted by Bikram Yoga Dupont, this all-level class celebrates its 10th summer season.

Miami

What: Yoga in the Park

Where: Bayfront Park (Tina Hills Pavilion)

When: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-7:15 p.m.; Saturdays, 9-10:15 a.m.

Free yoga is offered year-round at this park overlooking Biscayne Bay and hugged by Miami’s luxurious high-rises and palm trees. Participants should bring their own mats.

Bayfront Park in Miami

Bayfront Park in Miami

Las Vegas

What: Blissfully Free Sundays

Where: Barefoot Sanctuary
(located inside Whole Foods Market at Town Square)

When: Sundays at 4:30 p.m., through 2014

After a weekend of partying hard on The Strip, detox with a mellow yoga class suitable for beginners at Barefoot Sanctuary — the only yoga studio on the Las Vegas Strip, inside the Whole Foods Town Square.

Barefoot Sanctuary located along the Las Vegas Strip

Barefoot Sanctuary located along the Las Vegas Strip

What: Sunday Morning Yoga

Where: lululemon, Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall

When: Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

lululemon is always a great go-to for free yoga since most stores offer no-cost classes on weekends. The Las Vegas location extends classes to the public on Sunday mornings. Mats are provided, but arrive early to snag a spot.

Dallas-Fort Worth

What: DFW Free Day of Yoga

Where: Throughout Dallas-Fort Worth

When: Aug. 31 & Sept. 1, 2014

If you’re in Dallas-Fort Worth for the Labor Day Weekend, take advantage of free yoga across the city at more than 170 participating studios on Sept, 1. A free group class will also take place at the Fort Worth Water Gardens on Sunday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m.

Los Angeles

What: Runyon Canyon Free Daily Yoga

Where: Runyon Canyon Park (Fuller Avenue entrance)

When: Everyday, see schedule

It’s tough to find free yoga in Los Angeles. But no-cost classes are offered at Runyon Canyon not just once a week – but several times daily! The classes, which get stellar Yelp reviews, are appropriate for all levels. Donations are accepted and appreciated.

Runyon Canyon Park. Credit: Ryan Vaarsi

Runyon Canyon Park. Credit: Ryan Vaarsi

San Francisco

What: Yoga in Golden Gate Park

Where: Golden Gate Park (Big Rec Baseball Field)

When: Sundays at 11 a.m.

Hold your tree pose amidst the trees in one of San Francisco’s most beautiful parks. While the class is technically free, teachers accept donations to benefit the Purusha Seva Project. Sparing a few bucks is good for karma, after all.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

What: Rooftop Yoga by Kari Gregg

Where: Lombardi Sports’ Rooftop

When: Sundays at 11 a.m.

Enjoy yoga under the skies atop a rooftop in San Francisco’s hip Nob Hill neighborhood. Bring your own mat for this 60-minute all-levels class and leave with a smile – plus, a 20-percent-off coupon for in-store merchandise.

Lombardi Sports Rooftop in Nob Hill

Lombardi Sports Rooftop in Nob Hill

Seattle

What: Gentle Yoga

Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall Lawn

When: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., Through Aug. 20, 2014

Breathe and gently stretch your body in this Hatha yoga class suitable for beginners. Drop-ins are welcome, but bring your own yoga mat.

Olympic Sculpture Park. Credit: Robert Wade

Olympic Sculpture Park. Credit: Robert Wade

What: Summer at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

Where: Olympic Sculpture Park

When: Saturdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Through Aug. 25, 2014

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) combines the outdoors with art and yoga for a weekly summer yoga practice in its Olympic Sculpture Park. Bring your own mat and check the Facebook page for more information and weather-related cancelations.

Tagged: California, City, Events, FREE!, Las Vegas, Last minute travel, Sports, Tips & advice