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

Hotel developers are continuing to take their swimming pools to new heights—as in, sharply designed rooftops oases. In placing them atop their properties, hotel guests can not only lounge by the water but also relax while soaking up incredible skyline views. But before you pull out your swimsuit, note that these pools are only open to registered guests. Also, due to the pandemic, pool access in some instances requires an advanced reservation after your hotel booking is confirmed.

RELATED: 8 eco-friendly hotels that don’t cost a fortune

The William Vale: Brooklyn

The William Vale

A luxe property in hip Williamsburg, the Vale Pool is recognized as the longest outdoor hotel pool in Brooklyn and features private poolside cabanas and daybeds by reservation. The hotel’s guests can sunbathe and order drinks, as well as food from a light bites menu by Chef Andrew Carmellini of NoHo Hospitality.

W Miami

W Miami

Containing what’s known as the WET deck, this Marriott property features a spacious terrace that runs along a 90-meter rooftop complete with a lounge area, rooftop cafe, and an infinity pool. The centerpiece of this 15th-floor rooftop is the 300-foot infinity pool that runs down its center and is shrouded by lounge chairs and greenery. Yet another private pool and lounge are located on the 50th floor, providing unparalleled ocean views. 

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis / Christian Horan / Four Seasons

Among the amenities at this prime resort in Missouri, the Sky Terrace may be its greatest highlight. It’s described as a modernist take on rooftop splendor complete with an outdoor pool, splash pad, private cabanas, and al-fresco dining. The Sky Terrace is located eight stories above the Mississippi, providing unparalleled views of the Gateway Arch, city, and the river.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt: Austin

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt / Credit: Whit Preston

This property’s fourth floor pool deck is an urban oasis with shaded cabanas letting guests soak up a scene encompassing vistas of Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin. Its indoor and outdoor spaces blend seamlessly, too, so guests won’t miss a beat from a stage featuring live music performances at the adjacent restaurant and bar, Geraldine’s. At night, an oversize outdoor fireplace brings forth a camp-fire scene.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

This Las Vegas Strip resort has what’s known as the Pool District, which consists of three swimming pools that include the Chelsea Pool and The Boulevard Pool. While The Chelsea Pool is at Level 14 in The Chelsea Tower, The Boulevard Pool is the top act with panoramic Vegas views. At the Boulevard Pool, cabana or daybed reservations include a built-in food and beverage minimum. During the summer, the pool’s marquee becomes a screen for the property’s Monday night movie series. 

New Orleans Marriott

New Orleans Marriott

Located in the heart of New Orleans between the historic French Quarter and bustling Warehouse District, this 4-star hotel features two expansive rooftop pools atop 800 rooms and suites. Located adjacent to one another, the pools are heated and surrounded by exotic plants and flora. Take a few laps or a quick dip before basking in the sun, while enjoying sweeping views of downtown New Orleans and the city skyline.

The Rally Hotel: Denver 

Image courtesy of The Rally Hotel

Opened in March 2021, this Denver newcomer has its plunge pool located within a skybridge roof deck full of dramatic views. Guests can marvel at the vast scenery, with the Rocky Mountains to the west; the Mile High City Skyline to the east; and, to the north, Coors Field. 

TWA Hotel at JFK Airport: Queens

The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport/ Credit: Eric Laignel

Located across from Terminal 5 at JFK Airport, Eero Saarinen’s 1962 TWA Flight Center has gained a second life as a hotel, with one perk being its rooftop infinity pool and observation deck overlooking a runway. There’s a pool bar menu involving aviation-themed cocktails along with wines and bubbly drink options. 

The Graduate Richmond: VA

The Graduate Richmond

This hotel’s rooftop pool, which is open May through mid-November, offers sweeping views of downtown Richmond to be taken in while relaxing in lounge chairs. At Byrdhouse, its restaurant and bar, guests can sip on cocktails and munch on shareable snacks and apps—from veggie egg rolls and fried byrd sliders, to smoked jumbo wings, and the signature Graduate Smashburger.

Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

Creating a beach resort atmosphere in downtown Nashville, the rooftop pool at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville feels like an island paradise in the midst of Music City. Guests can swim in and soak up views of the Nashville skyline from the fourth-floor pool deck. Its Fins Bar offers live local music every Thursday–Saturday. Along with an extensive lineup of boat drinks, brews, and the hotel’s namesake margaritas, the menu has a great selection of lite bites, sandwiches, flatbreads, salads, and Tennessee favorites, including pulled pork and blackened shrimp.

Hotel Cerro: San Luis Obispo, CA

Hotel Cerro

While hotel pools often have citywide views, this Californian property in San Luis Obispo has a rooftop pool terrace that embraces the natural splendor of its surrounding hillside.  Complimented with lounge chairs and cabanas, the pool at Hotel Cerro has a menu that includes salads and sandwiches, light lunches and fresh cocktails during the daytime. At night, the pool can be used for private events and gatherings. 

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa: GA

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa

This four-diamond resort along the Savannah River has a cool backdrop, in that its rooftop pool faces the waterfront. Guests can not only look over at the river but might also watch ships passing to and from in the Port of Savannah. The pool is also heated and paired with a hot tub. Order from poolside beverage and lunch service, plus rent a poolside cabana for privacy or relax in a hammock.

Sonesta Philadelphia Ritterhouse Square

Sonesta Philadelphia Ritterhouse Square

This hotel boasts the city’s largest heated outdoor hotel pool, and is located within the Philly neighborhood that it’s named after. Available only to guests, lounge chairs are first come, first served, but there are also red single sofa seaters for relaxing across from the water.

Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town: AZ

Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town

This Hilton property’s Star Well & Being Spa has a rooftop pool with background views of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains.  An adults-only oasis, the pool is only open to those who have either paid for spa access for the day as a guest of the hotel, or to those who’ve had a treatment that day.

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, Las Vegas, New York City, 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. 

The past 12 months have been the year of FOMO. We’ve all been stuck inside thinking about what we wish we could have done when we had the chance. Well, it’s time to stop fixating on what you should have done and start planning what you will do this summer. Everyone has a list of things they want to try, and we say there’s no time like the present to take back summer. Ready… set… go!

RELATED: 9 fantastic events that are definitely happening this summer

Take up surfing

A young Black surfer walks along a scenic rocky coastline looking for surf. He is carrying his surfboard on his way to go surfing

You know this has been on your bucket list for a while. You keep fantasizing and making halfhearted plans, but it’s just never the right time. This summer, get to it. As you consider beach towns, this is also the opportunity to browse their local surf shops.

DO IT While waves can be found on each coast (and even the Great Lakes!), Santa Cruz (the name you’ve seen on a trillion sweatshirts) is a great place to try the sport in California. Cowells on the west side offers long, smooth cruises that are ideal for beginner surfers. Additionally, there are plenty of options for surf lessons offered around town where they will take you to less competitive locations.

Find a great deal on a Santa Cruz hotel right here.

Take an epic road trip

Aerial shot of a car with a roof box on a road on a ridge above Calf Creek in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah at sunrise.

After being stuck inside, glued to a laptop screen for a whole year, a change of scenery is overdue. If you’re one of the many sitting in stale sweatpants on Zoom calls shoulder to shoulder with your roommate or significant other, it’s time to take a summer escape.

DO IT In whichever region of the country you may reside, there are plentiful options for an epic road trip. That said, there is something otherworldly about Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, which takes in a diverse range of geography beginning with Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument’s deep canyons as you pass along the “Hogs Back.” You will then be presented with pine groves and meadows of Boulder Mountain before returning to the deserts of Capitol Reef.

Find a great place to stay near Utah’s natural wonders here.

Go skinny dipping

Photo courtesy of Travis County Parks

Suns out, buns out! This is something you’ve flirted with for years and, let’s be honest, you know you want to do it. Plus, imagine all your new followers you’d get, should you be daring enough to post on Instagram. All you really need is a lake or some form of water.

DO IT If you’re a free spirit visiting Austin, Texas, go au naturel at Lake Travis just 30 minutes from downtown. The lake, nicknamed “Hippie Hollow,” has a long history of being a nudist hot spot. Pick your swimming buddies of choice, and leave the bathing suits at home!

Find the perfect place to stay in Austin here.

Take an overnight hike

Atmospheric mountain landscape with vivid orange tent on hill under night starry sky. Tent glow by orange light with view of snowy mountains in starry night. Overnight in nature in great mountains. (Atmospheric mountain landscape with vivid orange ten

It’s time to ditch your Zoom cardio classes. It is also time to cross an amazing hiking experience off your bucket list. Hiking during daylight is good and all, but an overnight hike is the perfect way to get all the baggage of the last 12 months out of your system.

DO IT Luckily, you can do a hike no matter where you live. But if you are fortunate enough to live near the Rockies, the options are limitless. The 11-mile hike to Kings Lake is the perfect backpacking adventure to satisfy your outdoor craving and offers the perfect mountain scenery along with wild flours and alpine lakes. Picture the moon bouncing off the cool mountain lakes or the sun rising over snow-capped peaks. It almost makes us want to throw our computer across the room right now and give in to the freedom of nature.

 Find your ideal Rocky Mountain abode right here.

Watch the sunrise

Photo Courtesy of Acadia National Park

Sunsets are played out. Yes, they’re pretty, but all you need to do to see one is stay up past 7pm, which is an easy feat so long as you’re not 105. Instead, add watching the sunrise to your bucket list.

DO IT Quite literally the proclaimed first place to see the sun each day is Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine which is accompanied by deservedly panoramic ocean views that can be taken in from its peak. Let the first rays of light in the United States shine down upon you while knocking back a beer or wine.

Book your Acadia National Park hotel right here. 

Take a craft beer crawl

Female bartender pouring craft beer on tap in a glass

We could all use a drink. That said, many city bars are tentatively beginning to open their doors. To make up for lost time, a bar crawl is long overdue.

DO IT In Chicago, bar crawlers have an abundance of options to suit their beer preferences, plus great public transit. For those looking to take in local flavors, breweries and craft beer bars worth visiting include Marz Brewing, Pipeworks Brewery, Goose Island, Revolution Brewing, Map Room, Hopleaf, Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar, and Half Acre. If you  want to walk from one tap room to the next, hit up “Malt Row” in the Ravenswood neighborhood, where you’ll find about 10 different breweries and distilleries within blocks.

Get a good deal on a Chicago hotel here.

Book a cabin in the woods

Vietnamese woman in her late 20's reading a magazine on her blue leather couch in a cabin with a fire

You know how you and your friends have always been talking about getting out of the city? What better way to make up for lost time socializing than booking a place with your crew away from work, stress and civilization. Maybe this place even has iffy phone service, perfect for cancelling out all distractions and being in the moment.

DO IT Woodsy cabins are everywhere, but CheapTickets offer tons of great options at great prices. Picture your crew taking a hike through rolling hills, riding ATVs, or jumping in a cold lake. At night, kick back on the front porch after having a few too many, while looking at the stars. All the trauma of the past year will feel like a distant memory.

Right this way to your fantastic cabin getaway!

Bungee jump—in tandem

A man jumps from a cliff into the abyss.

Afraid of heights and maybe a committed relationship, as well? It’s almost a cliché to face a fear of heights by literally diving head on into them with nothing but a bungee cord between you and the chasm below. There is also no way to feel closer to someone than experiencing sheer terror together (just kidding!) But seriously, try it; it’s fun.

DO IT In Arizona, Navajo Bridge Highway 89A between Bitter Springs and Jacob Lake, offers an excellent example, almost cliché, of an ideal bridge to take a nosedive off. Picture the sun beaming off your face as you take in the magnificent desert landscapes while you plummet into the gorge 450 feet below. Prices at this particular location range from $250- $350 per jumper. More info can be found here.

Find a cool place to stay in Arizona here.

Tagged: Beach, California, Chicago, City, COVID-19, Destinations, Food & drink, Romance & honeymoon, Seasonal, Texas, Texas

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. 

2021 might well be the best year ever for summer travel jobs. In addition to the fact that the industry is roaring back thanks to vaccine rollouts, nothing serves better as an antidote to a year’s worth of Zoom classes or work meetings than a summer working in the real world.

Combining employment with exploration, these jobs are all perfect for discovering a new destination, no matter where your interests or skills sets lie. Likewise, while these jobs tend to be best for students, they’re ultimately perfect for anyone with the flexibility to pack up and move somewhere for a few weeks or months. And with tens of thousands of vacation rental options available, CheapTickets is the place to book your home away from home.

RELATED:  7 vacation rentals that are perfect for working remotely

Be a lifeguard on Florida’s best beaches

Everyone wants to hit the beach in the summer, and not just for the sun, surf and gorgeous views. The beach is as much a social destination as it is a recreational one, particularly once you’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19. Whether on the shores of Miami’s South Beach or at Gulf Coast beaches in Clearwater or Panama City, the lifeguard’s chair will make you both easy to approach and impossible to ignore.

Next steps: The best way to get a job as a lifeguard in Florida is to apply directly with the city or other jurisdiction where you want to work. Here is an example of a listing from the city of Miami. Note: You may need to be lifeguard certified as a lifeguard.

Go green on an organic Oregon farm

Of course, summer travel jobs aren’t only for beach bums and sun chasers. Another awesome destination to work during your break from school is the Pacific Northwest, and particularly Oregon. While some of these jobs pay a salary and others simply offer room and board, one thing is for sure: The only thing better than acquiring priceless skills you can use the rest of your life? Weekend trips to the Oregon Coast!

Next steps: Although you can apply directly with individual farms, this may be an arduous process if you aren’t familiar with different Oregon farms. Instead, farming organizations such as Beginning Farmers might be a better bet. Another option is joining WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms), an org that links potential visitors with organic farming opportunities worldwide.

Bet on a Vegas casino job

Sin City might be known as a place to play, but it takes a lot of work to keep the lights on. One great way to live la vida Vegas and expand your horizons in the process is to work in a casino. Whether you try your hand at dealing or simply serve or bartend, just remember not to spend all your cash at work. The house always wins, as you’ll no doubt learn by the end of the summer.

Next steps: It’s a good idea to have a specific hotel, resort or casino in mind before applying for a Las Vegas summer job. Once you do that, apply directly. This application to work at off-Strip M Resort gives you an idea of what to expect.

Earn your hospitality chops in Alaska

Alaska is poised to come back in a big way this summer, as airlines increase their flights to the Last Frontier, which has opened its borders to all travelers who are vaccinated or test negative for Covid-19. Whether you want a career in hospitality or simply want to try something new, opportunities are numerous: Volunteer in a hostel in Sitka, man the front desk at a resort in Denali or (fingers crossed) work on one of the cruise ships that will hopefully soon return.

Next steps: Dedicated job boards for prospective Alaska summer workers are your best friend. For example, Alaska Tour Jobs is one of the largest and most detailed collections of such positions.

Pick blueberries in Maine

Next up on the list of summer travel jobs is another that takes you outside. This one is in beautiful Maine, whose pleasant days, cool nights and refreshing Atlantic sea breezes make it irresistible. That’s before you even consider the beauty of its many blueberry farms, or the fact that you’ll almost certainly get to taste the literal fruits of your labor.

Next steps: The website Live and Work in Maine aggregates listings from local employers, including blueberry farms (this one spotlights Wyman’s), as many of these have neglected or non-existent websites.

Apprentice with Utah’s adventure class

Utah punches far above its weight as a travel destination, whether you hike through its stunning National Parks, or enjoy the sublime beauty of Salt Lake City, one of the most beautiful and unique US state capitals. While there are many places in Utah to work for the summer, a particularly attractive one is the adventure capital of Moab, famous for skydiving, rock climbing, and its proximity to Arches National Park.

Next steps: Researching individual tour companies, most of which are small, independent businesses, is the best way to get your foot in the door.  Not all offer seasonal employment, but some (such as Adrift Adventures) are more open to the idea than others.

Wait on New York royalty in the Hamptons

In spite of its ubiquity in media, the Hamptons is a relatively well-kept travel secret. On one hand, many people assume they’d never be able to visit because of its high-flying (and high-dollar) patrons. On the other hand, so much of the Hamptons are rustic farmhouses, wind-swept beaches and other bits of bucolic scenery. Live both these realities when you work in a restaurant or hotel here. Wink and smile at celebs when you’re on the clock, and go off the Hamptons’ beaten path in your free time.

Next steps: The East Hampton Star, one of the most popular local newspapers in the Hamptons, maintains a job board. Click here to check out some of the most current opportunities!

In summary, whether you end up pursuing one of these summer travel jobs, or have simply seen a seed of inspiration grow inside you, one thing is for sure: You won’t be staying in the same place once temperatures heat up. Working in a different city or state is the best of all worlds. It puts money in your pocket, work experience on your resume, and friends and memories into your heart for a lifetime. The challenge now? Stop daydreaming and start applying. (Pro tip: Buy yourself a plane ticket as a present for landing your dream gig!)

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Destinations, Florida, Las Vegas, New York City, Seasonal, Tips & advice, Types of Travel

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

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It’s shaping up to the be the summer of Katy Perry. Her new album, Witness, is out June 9 and tickets for autumn’s Witness: The Tour, just went on sale. (You can score great seats right here.)

Perry was born and raised in Santa Barbara and in honor of this quintessential “California gurl’s” pop culture moment, we decided to comb through her catchiest lyrics and come up with a list of Perry-inspired things to do in the Golden State. If you’re wondering where you can live just like Perry, this is the list for you.

RELATED: The California beach road trip you’ve always dreamed about

Flickr CC: Eric May

1. Lyric: “So put your rose-colored glasses on/and party on”
Song: Chained to the Rhythm

The video for Perry’s smash ode to happily living in a bubble takes place in an amusement park, and if you’re going to spend a day wearing (figuratively speaking, at least) rose-colored glasses, there’s no better spot than the happiest place on Earth: Disneyland. We much prefer the OC amusement park (and corresponding Disney’s California Adventure) to Six Flags Magic Mountain where Perry filmed the video for Chained. The thrill rides there pale in comparison to Disney’s escapist fantasies like It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.

2. Lyric: I kissed a girl and I liked it…
Song: I Kissed a Girl

When it comes to lady-on-lady smooching in the City of Angeles, you should head to Akbar, a queer taproom and dance club tucked away in the arty Silver Lake neighborhood. The bar skews higher on the boy side (think a 70/30 ratio), but you’ll find plenty of canoodling ladies on busy weekend nights. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, hit up alterna-strip club Jumbo’s Clown Room where the dancing ladies will pay you plenty of attention, regardless of who you like to kiss.

Venice Beach, California, beach

Venice Beach, CA | Flickr photo by JD Lasica

3. Lyric: “Daisy dukes/bikinis on top…we’ll melt your popsicle”
Song: California Gurls
This song was practically written for the Venice Beach crowd. The L.A. beachfront neighborhood features a two-and-a-half mile pedestrian-only promenade filled with kooky performers, psychics, artists and other kinds of vendors. And yes, you’ll definitely see plenty of California girls in their Daisy dukes and bikini tops as you stroll along the sun-drenched boardwalk.

Santa Barbara

4. Lyric: “Santa Barbara, chique, at La Super Rica, grabbing tacos, checking out hotties”
Song: This Is How We Do
You don’t need to be a detective to decipher this lyric from Perry’s 2013 hit. The singer gives a shout out to her hometown of Santa Barbara, and once explained (via a tweet) that it’s also inspired by her OG crew and their parties. And there’s even a reference to her favorite taqueria: La Super Rica. The Santa Barbara hot spot is known for its fish tacos, tamales and, yes, good-looking crowd. Fun fact: This restaurant was also a favorite of famed chef Julia Child, but it’s unknown whether or not Child checked out the hotties.

ALSO: “Witness” big savings when you sign up for CheapCash!

5. Lyric: “So Let me get you in your birthday suit/it’s time to bring out the big balloons”
Song: Birthday

Spending time in your birthday suit isn’t a big deal when you visit Just Float in Pasadena. The sensory deprivation spa—the world’s largest float therapy center—is where guests strip down and zone out while floating in a dark, salt water tank. The 60-minute session encourages relaxation in a way that helps recharge mind and body. In Birthday, Perry promises to have us spinning like a disco ball. And floating can sometimes have the same effect—in a good way, of course.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

6. Lyric: “Boy, you’re an alien/your touch, so foreign/it’s supernatural/extraterrestrial”
Song: E.T.
If you’re looking for an out of this world experience, San Diego’s Air & Space Museum is the place to go. You won’t see (and hypothetically fall in love with) any aliens, but the museum does feature an area devoted to spacecrafts including a display of the Apollo 9—which is one of only two Apollo Command Modules flown in space that’s on display west of the Rocky Mountains. And, of course, in Los Angeles, there’s the Griffith Observatory, when you can not only check amazing views of the city, but also see the stars through state-of-the-art telescopes.

Golden State Warriors, basketball, California

Golden State Warriors | Flickr photo by Keith Allison

7. Lyric: “I am the champion, and you’re gonna to hear me roar”
Song: Roar

If you’re in the mood to see some champions, head up north and check out a Golden State Warriors game. The San Francisco basketball team was the 2015 NBA champs, and recently won the NBA Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. It’s so much easier to root for the home team when they’re actual winners.

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Tagged: California, Destinations

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

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Before you trade in that student ID for a corporate badge, here are seven safe, affordable destinations where the dress code is nothing but casual. From hiking volcanoes to snorkeling with technicolor underwater life to kicking back with a cold beer, we’ll keep it easy on the wallet.

RELATED: 9 gorgeous hostels in Europe starting at $9

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland
The post-graduation month of June is a great time to visit the land of fire and ice, where the temperature is pleasant and the days are long. Reykjavik is a hotspot for thrill-seeking Millennials with a long list of never-ending adventures like snowmobiling, glacier hiking and even descending into a volcano. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate that it’s a small, walkable city, but hop-on/hop-off buses are another great way to get around. Reykjavik Excursions offers “bus passports” with routes all around and outside of the city, including the Ring Road, a scenic loop of the island.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s abundant natural landscape offers tons of free outdoor activities like hiking through the cloud forests and the coffee plantations of Monteverde—and you’ll probably even spot a few monkeys. If you want to experience the death-defying zipline through the forest, it will cost you a pretty penny, so save your money and take the local bus to Playa Tamarindo, where you can surf all day and party all night. The Tiquicia Lodge in capital city San Juan offers great budget accommodations with breakfast included. Plan to eat at sodas, local family-run restaurants that serve a hearty plate of Costa Rican cuisine for just a few bucks.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

Thailand
After you’ve sprung for the big-ticket airfare, Thailand becomes an incredible bargain. Look to Phuket, a beach lover’s dream with more than 36 sandy beaches, where all you need is a comfy towel and snorkel. Tint at Phuket Town, a great budget hotel, offers free internet for uploading all those great photos and checking in on social media. Tasty street food vendors let you fill your belly on a dime. If you’re looking for an inexpensive day trip, take the ferry to Phi Phi Island or visit the marine national park at Phang Nga.

RELATED: 14 songs you’ll only know if you’re a backpacker.

Grindelwald switzerland

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Switzerland
Spend a week in picturesque Grindelwald in the Jungfrau Region, where the only gear you need are hiking shoes. While Switzerland overall can be pretty pricey, the Mountain Hostel won’t break your budget, and it’s the perfect jumping off spot for the region’s multitude of challenging hiking trails. Make sure to visit Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge with walking paths and waterfalls. You’ll need to purchase a Swiss Pass to explore the area via trains and cable cars. If you’re able to indulge a bit, add the world-famous Top of Europe Tour to your pass, a cogwheel train that takes you to the highest station in Europe that will leave you with views that last a lifetime.

Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Australia

Great Barrier Reef
Put all those science credits to use and visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world. You might be surprised to hear that snorkeling the reef is not only cheaper, but offers the same breathtaking experience as a more expensive scuba dive. Half Day Tours and Reef Trip both offer budget tours that will transport you to the best areas. Don’t worry if you blow your budget on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can spend the rest of your trip taking advantage of the great free offerings in this part of Queensland. On the Esplanade right in the center of Cairns, there’s a picturesque lagoon that’s a great place to cool off and wile away the day listening to live music. Just a short drive away you’ll find Stoney Creek Falls, a free secret hideaway nestled within the rainforest with fresh water swimming holes, rock jumps and waterfalls. Because this is backpacker central, budget accommodations abound.

ALSO: Adulting 101: Booking your flight on CheapTickets and automatically earning CheapCash towards a hotel!

Yellowstone National Park | Flickr photo courtesy of Always Shooting

U.S. National Parks Tour
If airfare isn’t in your post-graduation budget, gas up your car, grab a backpack and head west. If you’re looking to rough it and experience the great outdoors, the Northern Rockies are the place to go. Plan to spend a couple of days in each park, starting at the local park ranger station where you can take advantage of free daily guided walks to get a lay of the land. Grand Teton National Park has more hiking trails than you can conquer and is dotted with lakes, canyons, and peaks. Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, offers a different kind of wild life than you saw in college—you’ll see everything from bears to buffalo. Stay at the historic, yet budget-friendly, Old Faithful Inn (book early), the largest log structure in the world, where you can actually watch Old Faithful erupt from the cafeteria. End this epic adventure at Glacier National Park and spend the night in an authentic tepee at the Lodgepole Gallery and Tipi Village on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Florida Keys, Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway | Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

The Florida Keys
Margaritaville awaits you along this 113-mile stretch of highway where you’ll see some of the most picturesque beaches, dotted with kitschy roadside attractions and old-school seafood shacks. Trade in your travel itinerary for flip-flops because the Keys give casual a whole new meaning. Plan to just drive and stop on a whim anywhere along the route and chances are you’ll find a roadside stand where you can snorkel, kayak or just enjoy a cold beer.

You might want to park and walk across the famous Seven Mile Bridge that connects the Middle Keys with the Lower Keys because the turquoise blue waters make the perfect backdrop for a selfie. Drop your gear at the Seashell Motel & Hostel in Key West and head for the beach to swim with sea turtles, nurse sharks, parrot fish, and spiny lobsters all along the shallow reefs. If you’re not burned out on history, visit Ernest Hemingway’s home from the 1920s and see the colony of six-toed cats.

Tagged: Florida, Top 10 list

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

Beth Graham

Beth Graham

Beth Graham

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It’s that time again. The music, the scene, the nonstop partying: The music festival.

The great and glorious Lollapalooza kicks off tomorrow at 4 p.m., one day earlier than ever before. Which means only one thing for Chicago: One extra day of massive blow-out parties, must-see after shows, concerts, food, new friends, art and anything-goes after parties. And this year promises to one-up last year’s lineup, with names like Flosstradamus, The Last Shadow Puppets, Radiohead, Disclosure and LCD Soundsystem.

If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, there’s still time to catch the event of the season. But if you can’t drop everything and fly to sunny Chicago right now, here are 8 more seriously good summer music festivals you can still make before it starts to get cold again.

shutterstock_184911035

City Folk Festival

When and where: September 15–18 in Ottawa, Ontario

The New Pornographers, Dropkick Murphys, Marlon Williams and Charlotte Cardin will all be at City Folk Festival, so naturally you should too. They’ll all be hitting the stage with the beautiful Lansdowne Park as their backdrop. And because indie rock goes best with a cold craft beer, local hangout Beau’s Brewery will be onsite providing plenty of the good stuff. Plus, there’ll be food, and plenty of it. Notably, the festival is vegan-friendly so everyone can chow down in harmony. Don’t forget to stop by the affiliated Marvest for some seriously local music, food and drink. Everything is sourced from within 100 miles.

Backwoods Camping and Music Festival

When and where: September 1–5 in Stroud, Oklahoma

This is what road trips are made for: Stroud, Oklahoma is a small town just off the fabled Route 66. In this small, unassuming destination you’ll find adorable diners, throwback hotels and the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival, along with the treehouse parties, ferris wheel, waterslide, public art and music that go with it. This crossover festival hosts rock, indie and EDM alike, so plan to stage-hop to catch A Silent Film, Hippie Sabotage, Audien and The Young Vines.

Ohana Music Festival

When and where: August 27–28 in Dana Point, California

The two-day Ohana Music Festival benefits local nonprofit the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which works with the state’s parks to preserve California’s stunning coastline. So it’s only fitting that the entire thing is basically one big beach party. And the lineup boasts some serious heavy hitters, among them Eddie Vedder, Lana del Ray, Elvis Costello, Cat Power and Band of Horses. Grab some craft cocktails and artisan eats between sets, or wander through the Doheny State Park (where the festival is held) to explore grassy plains, dig your toes in the sand or swim in the beautiful Pacific. Preferably not after you’ve been drinking. This one’s not a camping festival, so get those hotel reservations now.

Imagine Music Festival

When and where: August 26–28 in Hampton, Georgia

You can get your EDM, circus, costume-party, camping and dance-party fixes all in one place this year: Atlanta’s Imagine Music Festival, an uninhibited two-day romp through the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Or, more specifically, the ‘Imaginarium’, a fictional (obviously), ancient lost city. This fable makes room for a whole host of spiritual and oddball activities like drum circles, acro yoga, Qi Gong, art installations, live painting, a pool party, aerial cirque performers and a central fire. Local food vendors will keep everyone fed and watered. Oh, and there’s music, too: Come for The Disco Biscuits, Zeds Dead, Adventure Club and Dillon Francis. Stay for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival

When and where: August 20–21, 2016 in Wantagh, New York

Think back on it, and maybe you’ve heard of artists like Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, Rachel Platton and Fetty Wap. The name of this festival—taking place at the iconic Nikon Jones Beach Theater—pretty much says it all: This is the festival to go to if you want to dance to tracks that dominate the airwaves. It is called the Billboard Hot 100, after all. And you’ll be treated to one seriously pretty backdrop—the Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York. It offers more than 6 miles of Atlantic beach and miles of hiking trails.

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

When and where: August 5–7, 2016 in San Francisco, California

Folks, the fabled Outside Lands is a Golden Gate Park mainstay—which means you’ll get to drink, dance and party amid a Japanese tea garden, museums and botanical gardens. Joining you, and providing the tunes, will be some of the most famous musical acts in the world: Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Lana del Ray and LCD Soundsystem. In case that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be plenty of laughs—Natasha Leggero and John Mulaney headline the comedy stage, which is likely somewhere between all the public art installations, musical stages, the future-minded Eco Lands, and more food, beer, cocktail and wine vendors than you could reasonably visit during the three-day affair.

Wrecking Ball

When and where: August 13–14 in Atlanta, Georgia

This one’s an indie kid’s dream. Atlanta festival Wrecking Ball may only be in its second year, but that hasn’t stopped it from drawing the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Thursday, Motion City Soundtrack and Anti-Flag. If that’s any indicator, genres run the gamut from post-hardcore and punk to emo and indie rock. Plus, there will be tons of beer, and the city’s food trucks will swarm upon the festival to satisfy hungry festival-goers. Best of all, it takes place in the much beloved Masquerade, a tri-level music venue where infamous acts like Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Motorhead and Nirvana have all graced the stage. And if you’ve ever wanted to see this venue in all its glory, take note: Wrecking Ball is Masquerade’s very last blowout before the venue moves from its original location, so get those tickets now.

Wefest

When and where: August 4–6 in Detroit Lakes, MN

Country music lovers, take note: Eric Church, Kid Rock and Tim McGraw are headlining this year’s WeFest. And they’re joined by some lesser-known hard hitters, including Montgomery Gentry, Maiden Dixie and an obscure up-and-comer named Steven Tyler (maybe you’ve heard of him?) who will be performing with the Loving Mary Band. Camping is the name of the game at this Detroit Lakes, MN fest (though there are some hotels nearby, if camping’s not your thing). And they’ve got 10 different campgrounds for different strokes— among them, there’s an Accessible one, a few for families, and several for the rowdy young kids. But fear not: There’s still modern plumbing and restrooms for all. And the concerts themselves? They’re held at the outdoor amphitheater at the gorgeous Soo Pass Ranch.

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Tagged: California, Events, Festivals, Music

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Summer is finally upon us, and with it comes concert season. Here are our top picks for must-see concerts this summer. Enjoy.

Beyonce

Beyonce live in Amsterdam. Photo: Diariocritico Venezuela – FlickrCC

Beyoncé — The Formation World Tour

It should come as no surprise that Beyoncé tops the list (not that this list is in any particular order). Seeing Beyoncé in the flesh will change you. And hearing her songs from #Lemonade live will likely ruin you to every other concert out there. She has photos from some of the early shows up on her website, and they promise her well-known flashy outfits, her usual barrage of killer backup dancers, and a few surprises. This tour is scheduled to hit Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and plenty others this summer, before going international.

The National

The National Photo: Ashton Flickr CC

 The National

The National’s tour this summer is peppered with festivals, which just proves that they really know their audience. The low-key vibes this Cincinnati band gives off were practically made for spending warm summer nights belting the hits outdoors. Their equally relaxed sets are also a welcome break from the showy concerts that tend to dominate summertime. The National are playing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre at the end of July, and there’s probably no better place to see them. Otherwise, catch them in New York City, Berkeley, Calif. Or Eau Claire, Wisc.

 

Coldplay

Coldplay live at Estadio Vicente Calderón in Madrid. Mylo Xyloto Tour 2012. Photo: Ana Morales – FlickrCC

Coldplay — A Head Full of Dreams Tour

Whether or not you’re sold on Coldplay’s new stuff, it is undeniable that they put on quite a show. Think confetti, surprise trips out into the nosebleeds, and the always-interesting antics of frontman Chris Martin. This is their first stadium tour since 2012, meaning you can expect tickets to sell out fast. The tour focuses on international venues (sure, we’d travel to Copenhagen for that), but they’re set to head to New York City mid-July and tour the U.S. from there. You can catch them in Chicago, Columbus, or Louisville, among others. 

Sting

Sting live in Bilbao in 2008. Photo: Alberto Cabel – Flickr CC

Sting and Peter Gabriel — Rock Paper Scissors Tour

Sting’s concerts are always very thoughtful and put-together, and therefore leave quite the impact. His music is moving and complex, making his concerts quite the deviation from those of the other pop stars on this list. This isn’t the first time that these two mega-stars have toured together, either—they hit the road together in the ‘80s in support of Amnesty International. This time, however, the icons will hit the stage both together and separately, exploring their greatest hits in new depths. The 19-date tour opens in Columbus, Ohio, before heading to Washington, D.C., Camden, N.J., and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Adele in Seattle, Washington

Adele in Seattle, Washington Photo: nikotransimission Flickr CC

Adele — Adele Live 2016

If the gods were smiling on you, you may have snagged tickets to Adele’s summer tour for a decent price. If not, you still have a chance to change your luck—they’re hard to come by, but there are still some tickets available out there, somewhere. We wish you luck. Adele is elusive. She doesn’t particularly love touring, which becomes obvious when you consider that this is only her third tour since she exploded into the limelight almost a decade ago. So her rightly rabid fans become even more desperate for tickets on the rare occasion they can see her live. That said, it’s totally worth fighting for those seats. She’s got some pipes on her, and her voice will literally blow you away. She’s set to stop by Chicago, Phoenix and Boston, to name a few.

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine performs at Coachella 2012. Photo: Jason Persse – Flickr CC

Florence and the Machine — How Big Tour

Most of Florence’s concerts this summer are being performed in conjunction with Of Monsters and Men, so it’s hard to see where you could go wrong. The tour focuses on “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” which came out last May, so everyone in the audience will have had plenty of time to learn all the words. Catch them in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Mansfield Mass., or headlining at Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati.

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Cheap Right Now gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

The novelty of rooftop patios and weekend festivals is starting to wane as the hazy days of the last full summer month sets in, and you are ready for a change of scenery. Austin is your place. Steeped in off-beat culture and the allure of the strange, this Texas town is probably the least stereotypically Texas place you could visit in the Lonestar State. The food scene is unbelievable, the youthful abound, and everything is relatively cheap since there’s no major music festivals happening there this month. So now’s the time. Go forth.

 

Guitar art near the baggage claim. Photo courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Guitar art near the baggage claim. Photo courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Plane, train or automobile — Plane is definitely the best way to get to Austin, unless you’re down for a really epic roadtrip. Find a cheap ticket into the AustinBergstrom International Airport, and make sure you check out the giant Gibson guitars on display near baggage claim. They were decorated by local artists and pay homage to the music culture of the city.

B-Cycling. Courtesy of Ann Harkness.

B-Cycling. Courtesy of Ann Harkness.

Cheap local transit — Austin B-Cycle is the bike share program in the city, and the rates are completely affordable. It’s $15 for a three-day pass and $8 for 24 hours. Austin’s public transit system Capital Metro is also affordable, and operates buses anda rail system. A single ride is $1.25 and a day pass is $2.50.

 

Carnitas and an avocado margarita at Curra's. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Carnitas and an avocado margarita at Curra’s. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Munch on Mexican food — The tacos in Austin are unlike any we have up north. They’re authentic, delicious, bursting with flavor, and hella cheap. And you can have them any time of day or night. Try Torchy’s for the breakfast tacos that cost only a buck or two, and Curra’s for lunchor dinner. Curra’s is known for it’s avocado margaritas, but you MUST try the carnitas. The pork is marinated in Coke, milk and OJ. A strange yet somehow perfect combo. Save a few bucks and share a serving, it’s quite grande.

 

An artist poses in front of her freshly finished work. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

An artist poses in front of her freshly finished work. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Gawk at the graffiti — The Graffiti Park at Castle Hills is like a living entity, constantly evolving and growing. Wear good shoes that will allow you to climb around the park and check out the art from all angles. You’ll likely see an artist at work during your visit.

 

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind," shown in summer 2014. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” shown in summer 2014. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Watch a movie under the stars — Parks throughout the city screen films starting in May and stretching through October (because it’s almost always warm and wonderful in Austin). A movie is showing somewhere in the city nearly every night at dusk, you just have to do the googling and find out where. The best part? They’re free. And don’t forget a blanket to lounge on.

 

Lights at a bar on Rainey Street. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Lights at a bar on Rainey Street. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Rendezvous on Rainey Street — If you’re a total bro or a 19-year-old who thinks it would be super cool to sneak into a club, go to6th Street for a good time. If you gel more with Austin’s hip vibe and just want something chill and low-key, go to Rainey Street. It’s lined with houses-turned-restaurants and bars, and there’s a food truck corral for late night eats. Don’t be surprised to see the next new alt rock band playing at one of the joints along Rainey.

 

Courtesy of Marc Majcher.

Courtesy of Marc Majcher.

Take shelter in the Greenbelt — Escape that Texas sun for a bit in the Greenbelt, a patch of green wilderness that stretches along Barton Creek. There are hikes and bike paths to explore, and even a waterfall. Bring your swimsuit and cool off in Barton Creek, but say a prayer to the rain gods first, as it’s been known to run dry on hot August afternoons.

 

Courtesy of Evan Bench.

Courtesy of Evan Bench.

Bathe in Barton Springs — The Barton Springs Pool is more like a Roman bath than a pool, minus the nudity of course. Natural springs feed the three-acre pool and keep it at an average temperature of about 70 degrees. Pro tip: Don’t go on Thursdays, that’s when they shut down the pool for cleaning. Admission is $3 for adults.

 

Tagged: Cheap of the Month, City, Food & drink, Tips & advice

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

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

Courtesy of Ally Marotti

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

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

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

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

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

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)Chicago, IL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)New York City, NY

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

 

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

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

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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Cheap of the Month gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

The Midwest is a fantastic place to visit in the summer. The humidity can be a pain some days (though nothing compared to the South), but you’ve never seen anything as green and verdant as an Ohio cornfield in the summertime, rising up to meet the cloudless blue sky. Columbus, Ohio’s capital city, is teeming with life in July, when summer is still exciting and folks haven’t yet grown tired of the heat. There’s plenty to do and lots to experiencein the heart of it all.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Plane, train or automobile — Port Columbus International Airport is a 15 or 20 minute drive from the city, and likely your best bet for incoming transportation (find your flight here), unless you can drive in. Traffic in Columbus rarely gets jammed, and parking downtown is relatively cheap. If you are patient enough, you can find free parking around downtown—just make sure to abide by the posted signs to avoid a ticket or towing, especially if you are near Ohio State University.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Cheap local transit — The Central Ohio Transit Authority buses run the length of the city. It’s $2 to ride once and $4.50 for a day pass. If you plan to stay near downtown, the CoGo Bike Share system might be a better bet. It’s only a few years old and offers a 24-hour pass for $6. Walking is doable to an extent, but with plenty of parking and uncongested streets, driving is the best way to get around Columbus.

Courtesy of Dustin Tinney.

Courtesy of Dustin Tinney.

Nibble on North Market — Summertime and farmers markets go hand in hand in Columbus. Farmers yielding homegrown strawberries, Ohio sweet corn and a slew of other Midwestern delicacies populate the white tents that speckle neighborhoods throughout the city, and they’re not just limited to Saturdays. The granddaddy of them all is North Market, located in Columbus’ Arena District near downtown. It’s open every day but Sunday and features permanent stands and restaurants. Come hungry for free samples.

Courtesy of Sali Sasaki.

Courtesy of Sali Sasaki.

Satisfy your sweet tooth — The award-winning Jeni’s Ice Cream hails from Columbus, and her one-of-a-kind, locally inspired creations are not to be missed. Find her shops throughout the city, and sample to your heart’s content. If specialty ice cream isn’t your thing, try some scoops from the Cincinnati-born Graeter’s Ice Cream. It offers selections a little heartier and cheaper than Jeni’s. For milkshakes, try United Dairy Farmers, a convenience store with exceptional (and exceptionally cheap) ice cream.

Courtesy of Bob Hall.

Courtesy of Bob Hall.

Stroll through the Short North — The city’s art district has surpassed its hip stage and grown wildly popular, featuring some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, art galleries and shopping. It’s walkable and quaint, and makes for a great free activity in window shopping. All the galleries extend their hours and open their doors on the first Saturday every month for Gallery Hop, another great free activity.

Courtesy of Marada.

Courtesy of Marada.

Catch a Clippers game — Hanging below the prestige of the major leagues are the Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. You may not know all the player’s names, but going to a game at Huntington Park is a cheap and fun way to spend the evening outside. Tickets for the lawn or bleachers can be had for as little as $7, and they have Dime-a-Dog nights on Mondays.

Courtesy of Mike Marotti.

Courtesy of Mike Marotti.

Rock climb with the skyline — A hidden gem on Columbus’ south side is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Nestled along the Scioto River, the park is a treasure chest of free activities, and all with the backdrop of the gorgeous yet understated Columbus skyline. Rock climb for free, play on the sand volleyball courts, run through the obstacle course (which is more like an adult playground), or just sit back and watch it all unfold.

Related: Cheap of the Month-Madison in May

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