Wednesday, August 21, 2013

America's Free Attractions

When you're on a vacation its always fun to find something free to do. After all you spent all this money to get there and then stay there for however long. I love taking advantage of a free museum or park. Below is a list of America's best free attractions in some major cities. Enjoy!

Original article can be found here.

Smithsonian Museums, Washington, D.C.
The National Zoo, National Museum of Natural History, and National Air and Space Museum — which displays The Spirit of St. Louis — are the biggest crowd-pleasers among the Smithsonian's 18 institutions in D.C.

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Most national parks encourage you to tune into nature; this one celebrates jazz in its birthplace, New Orleans. There’s live music at the visitor center in the French Quarter and the Old U.S. Mint six days a week, and a kids’ music workshop on Saturdays at Perseverance Hall in Louis Armstrong Park. The visitor center also hosts free talks, video documentaries, and exhibits on local jazz history. You can pick up one of two self-guided audio tours, “Jazz Sites in New Orleans” or “Jazz Walk of Fame.”
I am going to consider this if I take my Norwegian friend here when she visits!

The Getty Center, Los Angeles
Maximize your time at the Getty by visiting on a Friday or Saturday, when this sprawling hillside art complex is open late — allowing you to take in sunset views. The light-filled museum interiors display an impressive collection of European and American art. What they don’t tell you is that it will cost you $15 to park, or you can take public transportation for less.  

Conservatory at Bellagio, Las Vegas
Take a breather from the hectic atmosphere of Vegas at the Bellagio’s 13,000-square-foot Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. After, step out onto the Strip to witness the light-and-music show put on by the Bellagio fountains.
We stayed here last year when we took my brother for his 21st birthday. Check out the pictures from the fountain and the conservatory. 

Staten Island Ferry, New York City
Even in the most expensive city in America, you can find great deals like free admission nights at MoMA (otherwise $25), discounted Broadway tickets, and lower hotel rates in July and August. Then there’s the thrill of one of the world’s most beautiful ferry rides on the Staten Island commuter ferry — which also happens to be free 24/7. Board at sunset, when Lady Liberty is silhouetted against a pink-and-orange sky. You’ll pass the Statue of Liberty, with a panoramic view of glittering downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City.

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia
Folks line up to see the 2,000-pound Liberty Bell — enshrined in glass — and tour Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution drafted. (Look for George Washington’s “rising sun” chair.)

Royal Hawaiian Center, Honolulu
Free cultural programming sets the remodeled Royal Hawaiian Center apart from your average shopping mall. You can drop by for a traditional Hawaiian massage (lomilomi), lei-making, Hawaiian quilting, or a crash course in playing the ukulele or dancing the hula. There are also free performances, including Polynesian song and dance, and hula ‘auana, which is hula’s modern form. It’s an added bonus that parking is unusually affordable for Waikiki: free for an hour with validation.

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