Let’s face it: The sluggish economy has really put a damper on pretty much everyone’s summer plans. However, just because you vacation plans may be curtailed or put on hold, it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to doing nothing the August. There’s a whole slew of new things to try without going outside of your community. With a little research and some creativity, you make your staycation as exciting as any getaway with a fraction of the budget.
Here are five ways to find some summer fun right in your own backyard without breaking the bank.
1. Check out local events.
This is the time of year a lot communities hold tons of events. From ethnic prides days to weekly weekend fireworks to outdoor concerts, you should easily be able to find at least one event to attend every week. Most schedules can easily be found online, and the best part? Many events are free!
2. Hit up the neighborhood shops.
Tired of the mall and the same old stores? We suggest paying a visit to local merchants in your area. You’ll find a unique selection of products and often get treated to great individual service. While prices might be a little higher than places at the mall, some stores will offer discounts for locals, lay-a-way plans and other perks that can make merchandise more affordable. Ask your salesperson what benefits are offered. Plus, by supporting small businesses, you’ll be helping to jump-start your local economy.
3. Try a a new restaurant or coffee house.
We all have our go-to places when we want to grab a bite or get our java fix. After a while though, we get bored with the same old thing. Break out of your dining rut and unleash your inner foodie by trying out a new restaurant or bar in your neighborhood. Worried a place might be a bit too pricey? Check out Groupon and Amazon Local for great vouchers you can purchase. (You pay $20 for a voucher that gets you $50 dollars off your bill for example.) This way, you can really enjoy an appetizer and entree and still be able to get dessert. Yum!
4. See something at an independent theater.
With ticket prices skyrocketing and concessions costing as much as dinner at a restaurant, the big name movie theater chains are making almost unaffordable to catch a flick. However, you can still satisfy your movie craving by checking out an independent theater. You may not be able to catch summer blockbusters on their first-run, but you’ll be able to see the independent films not shown at the chains or a second-run of a movie you missed. Plus, you’ll score some great deals on tickets if you go on a weekday.
5. Play tourist.
Sounds cheesy, right? However, most people don’t realize how much there is to see and do where they live. Chances are there’s at least one local attraction like a museum or factory tour you pass a few time a day without even knowing it’s there. If your town has a visitor center, stop in. You’ll be able to find information on things to do and possibly coupons for attractions and restaurants. Don’t forget to take some pictures!