Cheap is good but free is better, and when planning a trip or looking for some daytime fun, free can be found- you just have to know where to look for it. Here are 10 attractions around the U.S. that’ll help keep your wallet in check.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
This isn’t your average national park. Instead of becoming one with nature, visitors are encouraged to get down and boogie in the birthplace of Jazz. Live music fills the air six days a week, there is a children’s music workshop held on weekends, and tons of musical exhibits, tours and documentaries outlining the history of jazz.
Conservatory at Bellagio, Las Vegas
Forget the casinos and seek out a fresher, more pristine Vegas scene with the gorgeous botanical gardens of the Bellagio Conservatory. The breathtaking 13,000 sq. foot garden is overflowing with seasonal blossoms, gazebos, bridges and topiaries assembled by world-class horticulturists.
The Alamo, TX
Everyone knows about the patriotic stand that went down in 1836 at the one and only Alamo located in San Antonio, TX. Now an official Texas State Shrine, this popular site attracts over 2.5 million visitors a year.
Harley Davidson Factory Tour
For a unique day trip, check out the Harley Davidson factory with tours offered in Kansas City, MO, Menomonee Falls, WI and York, PA. Learn the ins and outs of how these iconic hogs are assembled and leave the tour a Harley expert. You’ll get to sit in on production, check out testing and more.
Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago
Leave the big city and get a taste of the wild at the Lincoln Park Zoo, open 365 days a year. You can’t go wrong with the zoo- lions, tigers and bears? Sign me up. Take a stroll through the zoo’s rainforest gardens and savannas, hold a snake and get chirpy at the Bird House.
Freedom Trail, Boston
Walk your way from historic U.S. landmark to landmark on this red brick road, winding throughout one of America’s oldest cities. You’ll see the Boston Common, the Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre and more- there’s U.S. history bursting at the seams.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This infamous park is one of the few that doesn’t charge admission, and offers so much for the avid outdoorsman/woman to see and do. Enjoy the natural landscape and rugged mountains of the southern Appalachian region and get active with hiking, biking and horseback riding.
International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
Need to stop and smell the roses? Then there’s no better place to do so than the International Rose Test Garden. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sweet aromas and soft petals of over 10,000 roses at the four and a half acre site. The gardens have been used since 1917, producing new varieties of roses to this day. Don’t try to pluck one though, or you’ll get hit with a nice $500 fine!
Smithsonian Museums, Washington D.C.
Get your museum on at the National Zoo, National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. for a day of learning and exploration. The price is right, and visitors can happily enjoy the sites without breaking the bank.
Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs , CO
Check out one of three U.S. Olympic sites at the Colorado Springs center for some athletic lovin’. Tour the great facility that once held the world’s greatest athletic competition and take part in indoor sports such as fencing or swimming.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.