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Maybe it’s the sight of so many folks in tight Levi jeans, strutting around with just the right amount of swagger. Or perhaps it’s that the romance of the Wild West still looms large in the American mindset. Either way, there’s something about Texas that messes with our sartorial senses, making us want to ditch our Dockers in favor of some show-stopping boots. Dallas is as much the cattle town as any, and here are 8 ways to kick it there the cowboy way. Giddy up!

RELATED: The only Texas barbecue road trip your summer needs

Cowboys Red River 

If the name isn’t a dead giveaway, surely the sound of two-stepping inside this bustling honky-tonk saloon and dance hall is. You may find yourself kicking up your heels to some live country music jams on the huge, neon-lit floor and tossing back drinks with the locals. Don’t know how to two-step? No problem. They offer dance classes onsite, or you can make a friendly wager with some ranch hands over a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker. And in case you’re wondering, you’re darn right there’s a mechanical bull.

Wild Bill’s Western Store

Walk in a city slicker, and walk out a real-life cowboy. The neon-boot sign outside of Wild Bill’s signals frontier fashionistas that they’ve hit the mother lode. This store has been a Dallas institution for more than 40 years, thanks to its vast selection of custom-made cowboy boots, straw hats, silver belt buckles and bolo ties. But it’s not just the accessories that make the cowboy—the store also outfits its patrons in bold, button-up shirts with retro Western prints.

Stampede 66 by Stephan Pyles

Stampede 66
If ever a restaurant was a love letter to the Wild West, this is it. Stampede 66 is like a temple to Texas cooking, and its dining room and menu are an homage to the Lone Star State’s pioneer past. Menu items like ranchero beans, served over an open flame, may conjure up images of a rancher’s campfire. But it’s the rawhide chairs, the abstract sculptures of charging stallions and the leather, belt-strap door handles that really show off this restaurant’s Texas Pride. Best of all, the kitchen is helmed by Stephan Pyles, a James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef accredited with reinventing Southwestern cuisine.

Fort Worth Stockyards

Neighboring Fort Worth may be a bit of a hike from Dallas, but the 45-minute drive is worth it if you want to soak up some authentic pioneer spirit. The Stockyards Historic District is a tribute to Texas’s cattle industry, and its streets look almost suspended in time, offering historical buildings, wooden corrals and more. You and your family can also step back in time and live out your Wild West fantasies at attractions like the Gunfighter Shootout, Cowtown Cattlepen Maze, a real rodeo and the twice daily Fort Worth Herd Longhorn Cattle Drive.

ALSO: Round up some CheapCash, good toward hotels—sign up today!

Gilley’s 

If the name rings a bell, it may be because it was the setting for much of the movie Urban Cowboy. Although the original Gilley’s honky tonk burnt to the ground in 1990, it was reopened in 2003 as a massive entertainment venue decorated with saddle stools, neon signage, and other Wild West ephemera. Here, you can ride El Toro, the film’s original mechanical bull, or head to the onsite Jack Daniel’s Saloon to play pool, grab some grub and catch live country music.

The Round-Up Saloon and Dance Hall 

In Dallas, LGBT travelers aren’t left out of the western revelry, thanks to this beloved bar. Known as the Home of Good Times and Good People, the Round-Up Saloon gives you a good indication of why Dallas is nicknamed Funkytown, offering karaoke nights, games of pool, dance lessons and, of course, plenty of dancing to country-western tunes—so start sharpening your line dancing, three-step and waltz moves.

Billy Bob’s Texas

Located in the Fort Worth Stockyards (see above), this honky tonk—the self-proclaimed world’s largest—has hosted the likes of Hank Williams Jr., Steppenwolf, ZZ Top, and countless country-music stars on its famous stage. Today, you can still enjoy some live music at Billy Bob’s, as well as stick-to-the-ribs Lone Star ‘cue (think meat dishes and lots of them) coupled with more original fare like quail sliders. But Billy Bob’s is also home to some of Texas’s most time-honored cowboy traditions, like line dancing and real bull riding (no mechanical bulls here).

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive

Artist Robert Summers tipped his hat to the Lone Star State in a big way with his series of Texan sculptures located in Pioneer Plaza. It also might be one of the coolest pieces of cowboy-themed art ever. At the corner of Griffin and Young Street, near the Dallas Convention Center, visitors are treated to massive bronze sculptures of cattle in mid-stampede being rounded up by a cowboy on horseback. Yee haw, indeed!

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Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Texas, Texas, Top 10 list

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Hotel Deals for Studio City
El Royale Gardens Near Universal Studios
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Nov 17 - Nov 17, 2018
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Before summer comes to a close, squeeze in one last feel-like-a-kid again experience. Here’s a roundup (pun intended) of America’s best carousel rides.

Carousel on the National Mall — Washington, DC

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

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

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

Jane’s Carousel ride — Brooklyn, NY

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

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

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

Flying Horses Carousel ride — Martha’s Vineyard, MA

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

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

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

The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel ride — Los Angeles, CA

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

Oaks Park Carousel ride — Portland, OR

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

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

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

Pleasure Pier Carousel ride — Galveston, TX

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

Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel ride — Cleveland, OH

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orbitz-Florida-Caladesi

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

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

Orbitz-George-StSimons

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

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

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

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

Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island, Texas

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

CheapTickets-Delaware-Rehoboth Beach

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

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

CheapTickets-NY-Long Beach

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

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

Folly Beach, South Carolin

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

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

CheapTickets-NC-Atlantic Beach

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

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

Pier at Grand Isle, Louisiana

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

CheapTickets-Hawaii-Oahu

Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawaii. Credit Wikipedia.

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

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

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All is calm, all is bright. In some cases, really bright.

Here are seven of some of America’s most over-the-top holiday light displays.

CheapTickets-St-Augustine-Florida-Christmas-lights

St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau.

St. Augustine, Florida: During Nights of Lights, the 450-year-old city illuminates its landmarks with white lights in a display that’s been called one of the world’s 10 best. The festivities include a bunch of special events, such as carriage and boat tours, outdoor concerts and more.

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado | Flickr Creative Commons: Amy Aletheia Cahill

Denver, Colorado: Denver Botanic Gardens sets the scene for a classy holiday with Blossoms of Light. The flora becomes even more inviting when it’s illuminated with thousands of lights, including a spot named the Romantic Gardensfull of aromatic plants and plum trees. (Can you say marriage proposal spot?) There’s also live entertainment on select nights, and visitors can purchase 3-D HoloSpex glasses to enhance their view of the lights.

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia | Flickr Creative Commons: Taber Andrew Bain

Richmond, Virginia: On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s annual list lovingly named the Tacky Lights Tour. Houses must have at least 40,000 lights to make the list; some are tasteful, some downright tacky. The newspaper alerts homeowners that they’ll be included, so when you embark on a self-guided tour of the eyesores, you’ll be laughing with them—not at them.

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada: There are drive-through light shows… and then there’s Glittering Lights at Sin City’s Motor Speedway. Roll down your windows, turn up your windows and cruise around the 2.5-mile track that proves the Vegas Strip isn’t the only part of town that glistens.

Christmas in Los Angeles

Christmas in Los Angeles, California | Flickr Creative Commons: Loren Javier

Los Angeles, California: Come to see the stars, but stay to see the lights. Downtown L.A. Walking Tours offers a nightly Holiday Lights Tour showcasing how the City of Angeles celebrates the season. Stops include the Broad Museum, Grant Park with its illuminated fountain, Nutcracker Village at California Plaza and more.

CheapTickets-Clifton Mill-Ohio-Christmas-lights

The lights of Ohio’s Clifton Mill combine old-school technology with new-school glitz. Photo by Tina Lawson/Flickr Creative Commons.

Clifton Mill, Ohio: Millions of lights brighten up this 19th-century the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges. The decor includes a Santa Claus Museum, light show synchronized to music on the old covered bridge, 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights and more. Legendary Lights is located about 40 miles southwest of Columbus.

CheapTickets-Austin-Christmas-lights

Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the holiday lights. Photo of Austin’s Trail of Lights by Mark Scott/Flickr Creative Commons.

Austin, Texas: The city’s Trail of Lights gets more elaborate every year. Zilker Park’s display now includes a 155-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree, ferris wheel and carousel. It’s one of the largest holiday events in Austin, with live performances, a lighted tunnel and more.

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Tagged: City, Family, Festivals, Florida, Holidays, L.A., Las Vegas, Seasonal

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then some landmarks should be downright charmed. If you don’t have the time or money to see the real thing, then opt for one of these faux versions of tourists attractions that are often imitated and nearly duplicated.

 Related: 5 stunning U.S. scenic drives 

Leaning Tower of Pisa replica in Niles, IL

Italy isn’t the only place where you can eat great pizza and take a selfie in front of an off-kilter landmark. At 94 feet tall, this suburban Chicago knockoff stands at about half the size of the actual Italian treasure. Built as a utility tower in 1934, in the late ’90s the tower added a fountain, reflection pool and other upgrades just in time for a visit from its sister city, which is—you guessed it—Pisa, Italy.

Leaning Tower is Pisa replica in Niles, Illinois. Credit Jimmy Thomas/Flickr.

Leaning Tower is Pisa replica in Niles, Illinois. Credit Jimmy Thomas/Flickr.

Trevi Fountain replica in Las Vegas, NV

What happens in Vegas… originally happened in Rome, Italy. Sin City is home to several clones of the Baroque masterpiece. The best-known sits outside Caesars Palace, where you can dine at—wait for it—Trevi Italian Restaurant. There’s also a lesser-known version of the ornate fountain inside the Fendi boutique at Crystals at CityCenter, where the handbags are legit but the fountain is most definitely a knockoff.

Trevi Fountain replica at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Credit Bert Kaufmann/Flickr.

Trevi Fountain replica at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Credit Bert Kaufmann/Flickr.

Statue of Liberty replica in Birmingham, AL

About 2 million tourists flock to Ellis Island each year. Skip the lines and ferry ride by heading south to this bronze duplicate that’s one-fifth the size of the real statue. Like the New York statue, Birmingham’s version of Lady Liberty was made in France and has a continuously burning flame. In 1958, businessman Frank Park Samford commissioned the clone to sit atop the building of his company, Liberty National Life Insurance. Today, the statue stands in Liberty Park.

Statue of Liberty replica in Birmingham, Alabama. Credit Wikipedia.

Statue of Liberty replica in Birmingham, Alabama. Credit Wikipedia.

White House replica in McClean, VA

You can’t buy an election, but you can buy the White House—or at least a private home just outside Washington, DC, that’s modeled after the real thing. The 15,000-square-foot replica has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, compared to the actual White House’s 55,000 square feet, 16 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms. In 2012, the foreclosured property sold for just $865,000.

Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, TX

Not everything’s bigger in Texas. This iron structure stands at 65 feet tall, compared to the French icon, which boasts a staggering 986 feet. But the Texas version is topped with a giant red cowboy hat, which makes for a kitschy photo op as you stretch your legs along U.S. Highway 82. The Boiler Makers Local #902 in built it there in 1995, more than a century after the French landmark was erected.

Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Texas. Credit Kevin/Flickr.

Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Texas. Credit Kevin/Flickr.

Parthenon replica in Nashville, TN

This Southern gem was built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition—which sounds old, until you realize that construction on the actual Parthenon in Greece began in 447 BC. But Nashville’s full-scale replica is more than just a pretty facade; it also houses the city’s art museum.

Parthenon replica in Nashville. Credit Will Powell/Flickr.

Parthenon replica in Nashville. Credit Will Powell/Flickr.

Stonehedge replica in Maryhill, WA

While the purpose behind England’s Stonehenge remain a mystery—altar? astronomical observatory? burial site?—the origins of this knockoff are more certain. In 1918, land developer Sam Hill erected his version of Stonehenge as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War 1. The Druids used actual stones, but 5,000 years later, Hill opted for the convenience of reinforced concrete slabs.

Stonehenge replica. Credit Wikipedia.

Stonehenge replica. Credit Wikipedia.

Tagged: International, Las Vegas

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In this age of online shopping, it’s easy to forget that our favorite goods come from actual, you know, places. See where everyday items are born during one of these made-in-America factory tours.

Crayola Factory in Pennsylvania

Photo courtesy of Frances MacLeod

Crayola Experience, Easton, PA

Let your imagination run wild through four floors of colorful fun at this attraction about a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia or New York City. Watch a live-action theater show that explains how crayons are brought to life, create custom crayons and run wild in the two-story color-themed playground.

Photo courtesy of Darah Thomas

Photo courtesy of Darah Thomas

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory Tour, Louisville, KY

This bat factory will score a home run with baseball fans. As you enter the building, you’ll walk past the world’s largest bat—a 120-feet-tall replica of Babe Ruth’s own Louisville Slugger. Then it’s onto the factory and museum, where you can watch bats being made, hold bats used by Major League Baseball legends and test out the batting cages. At the end of the factory tour, take home a free miniature bat or order a full-size personalized Slugger.

Photo courtesy of Jelly Belly Candy Company

Photo courtesy of Jelly Belly Candy Company

Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, CA 

You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store at this factory located between San Francisco and Sacramento. See what goes into making jelly beans that taste like buttered popcorn, toasted marshmallow and A&W Root Beer, and discover why it takes up to 20 days to create a single bean. But don’t fill up on the free samples; save room for bean-shaped burger or bean-shaped pizza in the Jelly Belly Cafe.

Stuffington Bear Factory Tour, Phoenix, AZ

Before there was Build-A-Bear, there was Stuffington Bear. Watch bears and other stuffed animals come to life as they are cut, sewn and stuffed, and learn about the history of teddy bears. After the tour, stop by the retail store to take home a cuddly companion of your own.

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour in Vermont

Photo courtesy of Nick Caruso

Ben and Jerry’s Factory TourWaterbury, VT

How could an ice cream factory tour not be fun? Learn about the history of the company, watch as sweet treats come to life on the factory floor and, yes, indulge in free samples. Find even more sweet treats in the Scoop Shop, which offers traditional ice cream treats and specialty desserts. 

Photo courtesy of: linearclassic | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of  linearclassic | Flickr Creative Commons

Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, DC, and Fort Worth, TX

Anyone can make money, but not everyone make money. In each of these tours, you can stand above the production floor as millions of dollars roll off the printing press, watch a video about the production process and, ironically, buy souvenir currency in the gift shop.

Photo courtesy of Becky Musgrove.

Photo courtesy of Becky Musgrove

Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory Tour, Avery Island, LA

The hottest tour in the South starts with a visit to this lush Louisiana island. Watch a film about the history of the spicy condiment, see where Tabasco is aged in white oak barrels and look on as the sauce is bottled and packaged to begin its journey to kitchen tables across America.

Photo courtesy of Harinder Singh

Photo courtesyof Harinder Singh

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing TourEverett, WA

Take your knowledge of air travel to new heights during this rare public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant just north of Seattle. Interact with exhibits, walk through tunnels and ride a freight elevator to a balcony high above the factory floor as you watch 747s and other aircraft being assembled.

Photo courtesy of Tillamook.

Photo courtesy of Tillamook

Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook, OR

Tillamook ages its cheeses for up to three year,s but you won’t need to wait that long to sample the goods during a self-guided tour of its Pacific Coast factory. Get a bird’s eye view as milk is transformed into 171,000 pounds of cheddar, pepper jack and more every day. After the tour, nosh on grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream and other dairy delights in the on-site restaurant.

Photo courtesy of: ooitschristina | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of ooitschristina | Flickr Creative Commons

Gibson Guitar Factory Tour, Memphis, TN

First come the instruments; then comes the music. Watch and listen as the legendary guitars are bound, neck-fitted, painted, buffed and tuned on at this famed Beale Street factory. After the tour, stop by the retail shop for a guitar of your own, and start singin’ the blues.

Photo courtesy of: Matt Lehrer | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Matt Lehrer | Flickr Creative Commons

Budweiser Brewery Tour, St. Louis, MO

Before the craft beer phenomenon took off, there was good ol’ Budweiser. Learn about the company’s century-old brewing process as you walk through its historic building. Save room for a cold one at the end of the tour. Additional tours are available at these Anheuser-Busch factory locations: Fort Collins, Colorado; Jacksonville, Florida; Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Fairfield, California.

Tagged: California, Family, Food & drink

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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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Lake Geneva EDIT

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Just north of the Illinois/Wisconsin border, this laid-back watering hole has become quite the Midwest getaway for slowed-down weekends of lakeside moseying through shops and finding a good patio at sunset to lazily sip on a beer. Personal boat rentals can cost you a few mackerels, so get your float on with a boat tour via the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Whatever you’re into–they’ve got a specialty boat tour for it: ice cream social, champagne brunch, jazz dinner. Step back on land (and back in time) at the Baker House, an 1885 mansion turned hotel, bar, and restaurant great for sipping a cocktail while overlooking the lake.

Click here to find the cheapest Lake Geneva hotel  

Lake Tahoe Edit

Lake Tahoe South, California or Nevada

Ski town in the winter; lake town in the summer. As far as “lake-cations” go, Lake Tahoe has made a name for itself as a “play hard, then play harder” destination. Daytime means plunging into crystal clear waters with your closest kayaking friends or finding yourself in a hot air balloon peacefully floating in a crystal clear sky. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the highly praised Base Camp Pizza Co. for a powerful pie (tease your taste buds with flavors like “Thai Curry Chicken” and “Pear & Gorgonzola”) and live music that will get you ready for an even livelier night ahead. There’s no time to relax because once you’ve eaten your weight in pizza it’s time to chug a cold one at local watering hole, Macduffs, bring your best poker face to Harrah’s casino, or dance the night away at Peek Nightclub. The best part? Wake up and do it all over again.

Click here to find the cheapest Lake Tahoe South hotel 

Lake Clark

Lake Clark, AlaskaBeat the summer heat with a cool Alaskan breeze and hangout session with Mother Nature. At Lake Clark you’ll find yourself exploring miles of untainted land and get up close with its local fauna. Silver Salmon Creek, Chinitna Bay, or Crescent Lake are the most popular areas to spot a brown bear from a distance. If befriending a bear isn’t quite your thing, find some inspiration at late, great nature enthusiast Dick Proenneke’s handcrafted cabin. Proenneke built his cabin by hand and lived independently with nature for roughly thirty years makinghim an Alaskan icon. At night, keep the serenity alive and find yourself sipping on a cold brew under the stars.

Click here to find the cheapest Alaska hotel 

Lake Placid

Lake Placid, New York

If you haven’t started to relax from just the name alone then that is reason enough to head here. Lake Placid literally becomes more placid in the summer months so grab the whole family for some “gentle” whitewater rafting(ahem, oxymoron much?) or step up the adventure with a rigorous hike up the tallest mountain in New York: Mount Marcy. If you are thinking about a winter trip, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the snowcapped great outdoors with man’s best friend as your guide; take a dog sled ride with Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours or Mike Arnold Dog Sled Rides. Still not convinced? The Breakfast Club, a crowd pleaser restaurant located on Main Street, offers breakfast all day long. Think about all of the bloodies! Sold? Thought so.

Click here to find the cheapest Lake Placid hotel 

Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

The only thing better than free stuff is free stuff on vacation. Lake of the Ozarks offers a ton of free attractions–it’s the adventure vacation that just keeps on giving. At Ha Ha Tonka State Park you’ll find your gaze stuck on the remains of an early 1900s castle; the product of a wealthy businessman’s crumbled dreams. At the Camden County Museum you can grab a quick history lesson at what fittingly wasa former school building. And at the Ozark Distillery you’ll find yourself with a free tour and tasting of spirits such as vanilla bean moonshine, vodka, and whiskey. Cheers to freebies.

Click here to find the cheapest Osage Beach hotel

crater lake

Crater Lake, Oregon

Forget “there’s no place like home,” and remember that Crater Lake is “likeno place else on earth.” Embark on a magical journey with the Wizard Island Tour, where you will set off by boat into one of the deepest lakes in the world and find yourself exploring the mysterious volcanic crater that lives in the lake. If you aren’t feeling adventurous, you can ditch the hike and take in the beauty of Wizard Island from afar on the Standard Lake Cruise. After working up an appetite all day, head to Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, known for its locally grown ingredients, to indulge in elk chops, bison meatloaf, or a rack of lamb.

Click here to find the cheapest Oregon hotel

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu, Arizona

You don’t need to hop over the pond to experience London. Instead you can jump in a lake. In 1968 the founder of Lake Havasu purchased the old London Bridge, moved it to Arizona, and the rest is well, history. Take a 90-minute walking tour of the bridge or grab your boat and drop your anchor right below. History lovers aside, Lake Havasu is also the place for those who are looking to party in paradise, minus the whole cost of paradise. Think brews, boats, bros, and babes on a budget. Forget water sports and hikes, this is the ultimate in finding your tan, your fun, and your friends all day (and night) long.

Click here to find the cheapest Lake Havasu hotel 

Lake Caddo

Lake Caddo, Texas and Louisiana 

At Caddo Lake you’ll find yourself amongst the alligators, swampy waters, endangered species, and Bigfoot. Wait, what? Yep, rumors swirl about Bigfoot leaving its footprint in the wetland and after researching reports of an “ape-like” figure you’ll soon want to join in on the hunt. If finding a mysterious creature isn’t your thing you can take an educational outing at the park headquarters. Here you can learn about Lake Caddo, the Great Depression, and prohibition (you’ll be thankful it came to an end if you do spot Bigfoot). And if the idea of Bigfoot traipsing the land around you is truly terrifying you can always head to the water and hop on a boat tour with Caddo Lake Steamboat Company. Bigfoot can’t swim, right?

 Click here to find the cheapest Texas hotel

Tagged: California, Family, Last minute travel, Off-season, Seasonal, Sports, Tips & advice

Ciara Collins

Ciara Collins

Ciara Collins

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