Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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CrossOverGuy
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Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by CrossOverGuy »

For frugal Bogleheads who, perhaps because of economizing or saving some money, but who don't want to just stay at home, I've compiled a list of places one can go get away from home and not spend any or too much money (unless, of course, you want to). Sometimes people think they need to shelter at home when they are trying to save money which can lead to, among other things, depression and social isolation. Hopefully this list can help. Feel free to add some suggestions to my list.

Work - (other than transportation + food if eating out)

If unemployed, going out to find work like interviews, applying in person, etc. – (other than transportation + food If eating out)

Library

Gym (might already be paid for in monthly credit card bill)

Take a walk or run (try to avoid shopping or getting food if looking to save money)

Volunteering

Visit friends/family (though one sometimes brings a gift or food)

Linger downstairs in building lobby or hanging out on the street – to socialize with neighbors perhaps and/or check mail

Free museums/attractions (though sometimes costs for travel-subway/bus/car)

Local recreation center (senior center) – sometimes have bargains for food/gym/pool

Some places like universities have free or reduced price classes for seniors to audit

Any organizations you already belong to that offer perks like free movies, lectures, etc.

Houses of prayer (memberships already probably paid for)


Otherwise, typical places where one might spend money when you go out:

Marketing (granted, you have to eat!)

Restaurant

Shopping (clothes, electronics, bookshop, etc.)

Theatre/movies/bar, etc.

Doctors/therapy, etc.

Vacation or Business Travel

Classes
Last edited by CrossOverGuy on Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.
livesoft
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by livesoft »

Since I have all the gear already: Backpacking. Generally, free with annual national/state park passes.
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mhc
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by mhc »

I didn't see these in your list:

1. public parks/trails
2. lots of government land is open to public at no cost (hike, trail run, sit, climb a tree, ...)
3. walk around stores and just people watch
nguy44
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by nguy44 »

Hotels. Some have free parking, very nice lobbies or public spaces, and places where you can sit or use a laptop comfortably (some provide fee WiFi in their public spaces). It helps if you are a member of the hotel guest rewards program.

Some transportation centers, like Airports or train stations, are also possible. There are parking costs, but there can be ways to minimize them, depending or where the center is located and how accessible it is.

The most important thing for all of these places, including the one the OP mentioned: DRESS NICELY, look pleasant, and do not make noise. Don't look like a homeless person, or someone who just got out of bed, did not bathe, shave, and brush their teeth and threw whatever they found in the dark on before going out.
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dm200
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by dm200 »

Yes - I like this list and topic very much. I do several of the things listed, but am always looking for more.

This place has now closed, but a few years ago, my wife and I would occasionally go out to dinner at this Chinese restaurant - that was operated by Vietnamese owners (very common in this area). On almost every Saturday evening, they would shrink down the restaurant area and most of the restaurant was configured for a large Vietnamese wedding reception - with live entertainment and a full sit down Chinese style (or perhaps Vietnamese) dinner. It was very entertaining as we would have dinner. Many of the songs played had recognizable tunes - but the words sung were in Vietnamese.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by dm200 »

A woman we know spent several weeks volunteering/working in a Western National Park. I don't know what she did, exactly, but she was provided a place to stay and, I think, basic meals. That appeals to me, if I could find a park not as far away.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by chevca »

"Work" is going out... and, at the top of your list?! :shock: I almost choked... :happy

Bike ride, walk in the woods, hanging out near the water, a drive in the country (for a little bit of gas money).
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by marcopolo »

CrossOverGuy wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:20 pm For frugal Bogleheads who, perhaps because of economizing or saving some money, but who don't want to just stay at home, I've compiled a list of places one can go get away from home and not spend any or too much money (unless, of course, you want to). Sometimes people think they need to shelter at home when they are trying to save money which can lead to, among other things, depression and social isolation. Hopefully this list can help. Feel free to add some suggestions to my list.

Work - (other than transportation + food if eating out)

If unemployed, going out to find work like interviews, applying in person, etc. – (other than transportation + food If eating out)

Library

Gym (might already be paid for in monthly credit card bill)

Take a walk or run (try to avoid shopping or getting food if looking to save money)

Volunteering

Visit friends/family (though one sometimes brings a gift or food)

Linger downstairs in building lobby or hanging out on the street – to socialize with neighbors perhaps and/or check mail

Free museums/attractions (though sometimes costs for travel-subway/bus/car)

Local recreation center (senior center) – sometimes have bargains for food/gym/pool

Some places like universities have free or reduced price classes for seniors to audit

Any organizations you already belong to that offer perks like free movies, lectures, etc.

Houses of prayer (memberships already probably paid for)


Otherwise, typical places where one might spend money when you go out:

Marketing (granted, you have to eat!)

Restaurant

Shopping (clothes, electronics, bookshop, etc.)

Theatre/movies/bar, etc.

Doctors/therapy, etc.

Vacation or Business Travel

Classes

The vast majority of those sound like going "in", we prefer to go "out".
Hiking, biking, beach, swimming, playing outdoor sports, nature walks, even scenic drives.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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GerryL
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by GerryL »

If you live in or visit a walkable city … walk.
When I visit Paris I spend most of my time just walking and sitting in parks. Sometimes cafes. It's not that I don't want to spend money, I just enjoy walking around different parts of the city.

Library was mentioned. That locale came in very handy in the hot summer of 2018 as I have no air conditioning at home.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Rain »

If you happen to live near a college or university campus, look for public talks. They will usually have a calendar somewhere on their website--although sometimes you'll need to check calendars maintained by different departments. Usually free. Almost always fascinating.
123
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by 123 »

Visit a cemetery. Normally they are quiet and other visitors generally won't disturb you.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by drawpoker »

I didn't see the zoo on the list.

That is what I miss most about living here in the boondocks. :( :( Not any close by.
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GerryL
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by GerryL »

drawpoker wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:17 pm I didn't see the zoo on the list.

That is what I miss most about living here in the boondocks. :( :( Not any close by.
Unfortunately, entry at many zoos is getting pretty pricey. I have long had a membership at my local zoo, but the free entry at partner zoos is no longer available.
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CrossOverGuy
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by CrossOverGuy »

The vast majority of those sound like going "in", we prefer to go "out".
When you live some place with rather cold weather in the winter or rainy days at other times of the year, going "in" someplace else is indeed going "out"! :)

Going to work brings more money in, even if you do buy lunch and have to pay for transportation, plus it provides, depending on the office culture/environment, some kind of social interaction usually. That's why I put it at the top of the list, but feel free to ignore it if you'd like. Some folks can't wait to get out of their house/apartment, and work is a refuge, or at least a change of scene. :happy
dalbright
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by dalbright »

My gym has a small cafe area that I work in for a little while early in the morning with free wifi and free coffee. I work remotely so i get to people watch while working and then get my work out in after. I normally trade places with the retirees. Sometimes working from home can get a bit lonely so its nice to get out and i save a few cents recharging my phone and computer!
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by drawpoker »

GerryL wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:38 pm Unfortunately, entry at many zoos is getting pretty pricey. I have long had a membership at my local zoo, but the free entry at partner zoos is no longer available.
The National Zoo in DC is still free; every Wednesday is free admission day at the Bronx zoo. And lots of the good zoos have sr. citizen prices, $10 at the Detroit zoo.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by AlphaLess »

What is the purpose of this thread?

Without an objective, this is not actionable.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Car shows. Many shows and most cruise nights are free.

The highest end car show I've gone to was Dream Cruise in Farmington, CT. I believe the tickets to get in were $5. The first car my son and I looked at was a $15M Pagani. Yes, fifteen million dollars. There were another 15 or so Paganis, 3 Koenigseggs including the Jesko introduced at Gemeva.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by drawpoker »

AlphaLess wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:06 pm What is the purpose of this thread?

Without an objective, this is not actionable.
Purpose is to share knowledge of how to enjoy life without overspending. What can be more BH than that?

Actionable? Maybe if you don't act on any of the suggestions, well, yeah, not actionable for U :happy
Alaric
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Alaric »

I can't believe no one has said this yet - I assume it's just too obvious - but the simplest answer is the old reliable: Go shoot rats at the public dump.

It's free, it's societally beneficial, and it sure is fun.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Dottie57 »

Minneapolis institute of Arts is free for the museums owned displays. You have to pay for the visiting exhibitions - usually well worth the money.

Nature centers can be lovely even in winter - you have to dress appropriately in winter.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Dottie57 »

Alaric wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:35 pm I can't believe no one has said this yet - I assume it's just too obvious - but the simplest answer is the old reliable: Go shoot rats at the public dump.

It's free, it's societally beneficial, and it sure is fun.
Ummm. You have lived a life vety different from mine...
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by sailaway »

Alaric wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:35 pm I can't believe no one has said this yet - I assume it's just too obvious - but the simplest answer is the old reliable: Go shoot rats at the public dump.

It's free, it's societally beneficial, and it sure is fun.
What are you shooting them with that the ammo is free?

These days, they charge you to get into the dump, as well.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by 123 »

sailaway wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:39 pm These days, they charge you to get into the dump, as well.
I guess some bogleheads live near some pretty fancy dumps. Perhaps they need reservations as well. Can you buy a membership?
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yangtui
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by yangtui »

Hangout in Costco and eat free samples. You can also people watch and relax on the furniture. If you are feeling flush you can splurge on 1.50 dollar hotdogs and sodas.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Dottie57 »

I think a coffee shop can be fairly thrifty. Pay for a small coffee and people watch, read, surf the web. Get free refills too.
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celia
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by celia »

Walk on the beach, build "sand castles" or what-not

Go find a "Little Free Library" and check out the books. If there isn't one near you, why not start one? Start by looking for unusual books at someone's garage sale or the library discards.

Walk thru a neighborhood and walk in to see the homes with Open Houses. Talk to the realtor about their perspective on the neighborhood and share yours.

Check out local public gardens that are usually free (since the taxpayers are paying for their upkeep).

Take out your bike and go for a ride.

Take a plastic bag with you and pick up some trash along the way.

Check out the Christmas lights in your neighborhood after dark to find your favorite one.

Attend a city council or other community meeting to find out what's currently going on.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by bhsince87 »

I love to go to antique stores. Thankfully, I live in an area that's thick with them.

And I always look for bargains/mispriced items. Every store is like a treasure hunt!
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CrossOverGuy
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by CrossOverGuy »

Another one: walking tours. There are professionally-led ones by a guide, for which can one can be charged a fee or sometimes they are free (usually nice to leave a tip) or you can google or get from a guidebook various tours pointing out historic buildings, places, etc. in various cities and towns that interest you and you can do them on your own.

In NYC where I am, there are lots of free or pay-what-you-will nights or hours at various museums. You can google to find the current days and times. Among those I know that do this are The Morgan Library, Museum of Modern Art, the Frick Museum, among others. There are probably similar kinds of bargains in other cities as well.

Thanks for the all of the suggestions, folks! Keep 'em coming. :D
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by willthrill81 »

This has been referred to in passing, but bodies of water either with public access or at least a nice viewing area can be great. We live half a mile from a nice river very much enjoy walking or cycling along side of it about sevens months out of the year.
yangtui wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:09 pm Hangout in Costco and eat free samples. You can also people watch and relax on the furniture. If you are feeling flush you can splurge on 1.50 dollar hotdogs and sodas.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Speckles »

Browse the new (free) information at the local cooperative extension office. These days they also have fitness classes. Free in most cases.
sg2060
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by sg2060 »

Tour senior housing facilities and get a free lunch. Probably need a separate phone number to deal with the marketing people hounding you. I work in the industry, so throwing that option out there.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by sailaway »

sg2060 wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:22 pm Tour senior housing facilities and get a free lunch. Probably need a separate phone number to deal with the marketing people hounding you. I work in the industry, so throwing that option out there.
I have enough trouble passing for my own age without trying to add a few years on to it.
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GerryL
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by GerryL »

yangtui wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:09 pm Hangout in Costco and eat free samples. You can also people watch and relax on the furniture. If you are feeling flush you can splurge on 1.50 dollar hotdogs and sodas.
:? I have to admit that Costco is a destination for me to "get out of the house and get a little exercise." Sometimes I'm going to buy a specific item. Sometimes just walking. I don't always leave empty-handed, though. (Just bought my first ever set of LEGOs last month! Great price.)
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by squirm »

We just go spend time down in our forest and enjoy nature.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by quadog »

Pokeman Go might be for you.
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celia
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by celia »

sg2060 wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:22 pm Tour senior housing facilities and get a free lunch. Probably need a separate phone number to deal with the marketing people hounding you. I work in the industry, so throwing that option out there.
Or go to one of those "free" dinners sponsored by financial planners. <I'm ducking now before the tomatoes start flying. :D >
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by ohai »

I'd probably go to the SPCA and volunteer to play with all the animals. They actually want people to do that.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Pigeon »

To expand a bit on the library, many have a lot of programming for adults. They may have book clubs, craft clubs, musical performances, talks by local authors or scholars, film showings and discussions, classes on various topics, etc. Read the newsletters of the libraries in your area as to attend some of these activities you may not need to belong to the library you want to visit. Also, your library may have passes to local museums you can borrow for free admission.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Soul.in.Progress »

If you have a disc golf set (can get one fairly cheap), I believe disc golf courses are free all around the country.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Capricorn51 »

celia wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:31 pm

Attend a city council or other community meeting to find out what's currently going on.
for that matter, if you are near a courthouse, go listen to a trial
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

If you live in a city, buy a full day public transit pass, take a ride, get off at any interesting place and explore, get back on a ride, ... You will be amazed to realize that you are a stranger where you live.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by GMCZ71 »

Smithsonian Museum Day, an annual event in which hundreds of museums across the country offer free admission. Once a year in September we try to utilize this and search the participating museums around us.
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GerryL
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by GerryL »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:36 am If you live in a city, buy a full day public transit pass, take a ride, get off at any interesting place and explore, get back on a ride, ... You will be amazed to realize that you are a stranger where you live.
Yes. And with senior (65+) discount that all-day pass costs only $2.50 in Portland, OR and suburbs.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by 22twain »

Rain wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:24 pm If you happen to live near a college or university campus, look for public talks.
The music department probably has recitals that you can attend for free. The quality of student musicians can be pot-luck at smaller schools, but you might get lucky and catch a future Yo-Yo Ma.

Also many sports matches may be free, especially at smaller schools. At the college where I worked, I think only football and basketball charge admission. For baseball, softball, etc., I can simply walk up and sit in the bleachers.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

A famed physicist's favorite pastime: take a LONG walk all day and take a public transit back home.
mtmingus
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by mtmingus »

123 wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:11 pm Visit a cemetery. Normally they are quiet and other visitors generally won't disturb you.
Most of these are private properties!
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

GerryL wrote: Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:04 am
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:36 am If you live in a city, buy a full day public transit pass, take a ride, get off at any interesting place and explore, get back on a ride, ... You will be amazed to realize that you are a stranger where you live.
Yes. And with senior (65+) discount that all-day pass costs only $2.50 in Portland, OR and suburbs.
If it includes MAX, it is a steal. You may also take a free aerial tram to/from OHSU.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

mtmingus wrote: Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:16 am
123 wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:11 pm Visit a cemetery. Normally they are quiet and other visitors generally won't disturb you.
Most of these are private properties!
I have visited a number of cemeteries and most of them seem to allow me to walk the grounds. There are some that have fences with locks.
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Re: Places to Go Out When You Don't Want to Spend Much or Any Money

Post by InMyDreams »

Watch local museums and exhibits for deals - my local natural history museum has $5 entry on Wednesdays after 5pm.
Watch for local exhibits in galleries, including gallery strolls on a particular night each month.
An association of music lovers may arrange for low cost concerts.
Local churches sometimes host periodic music events, such as Sunday Jazz vespers.
Meditate with a local sangha.
Watch for craft exhibits. Often guilds will have true craftsmen's work to display.
Keep an eye on events sponsored by AARP or your local library.
My local county and city governments sponsor various performances and exhibits for free.

Use your city/county/state/national parks!
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