Day 19 of the January Money Diet – Explore Your City

Denver Botanic Gardens at Happy Simple Living blog

Denver Botanic Gardens – photo by ChrisMeyer67

If you’ve lived someplace for a while, it can be surprising to discover all the interesting things there are to do.

Have you ever checked out your city’s Tourist and Visitors’ Bureau website? Here in Denver we have the aptly-named “Visit Denver,” and along with tons of information about sports, recreation, arts, culture, events, festivals, museums and venues all around the Mile High City, I discovered a list of free factory tours:  Anheuser Busch, Boulder Ice Cream, Celestial Seasonings Tea, Coors Brewery and Hammond’s Candies, among others. I bookmarked this site, not only because ice cream and beer tastings sound extremely appealing, but because it contains so many great ideas for free outings.

Another opportunity to get to know your town or city is to make a stop at your local historical society. Many history museums have exhibits that will captivate people of all ages. It’s always fascinating to see how people lived in times past, gain a new appreciation for our modern conveniences and see what architectural landmarks are still standing today.

Speaking of landmarks, when was the last time you toured your state capital or visited a prominent local attraction? Denver is home to a United States Mint, and the last time I visited was during a field trip in the 5th grade. It’s time to take my son and let him experience the dazzling sight of money being made. Perhaps your city offers a free walking tour with stops along the way to hear stories about buildings you’ve passed countless times and wondered about.

Do some research and you’ll probably find free concerts, art shows and author events. Many of our cultural attractions here in Denver have free days throughout the year, like the Denver Botanic Gardens, above, which offers free admission this Monday, January 21.

You can find more ideas by visiting the local travel section of your library. Check out some books and see what travel writers are suggesting to tourists; it’s a sure bet you’ll find some new ideas for inspired outings.

Homework Assignment #19:  Research some new fun and free things to do in your town, and let us know what you find. If you have the day off this Monday, perhaps you could take a field trip to explore new sights in your city.

Here’s to new adventures, and be sure to tell us what you discover!

P.S. In case you’ve just joined us, the January Money Diet is a challenge to take a 31-day break from nonessential spending. You can learn more about the money diet here — and jump right in!


Win a Deluxe Happy Simple Living Gift Basket

In honor of the January Money Diet, I’ll be giving away a gift basket chock-full of home and garden goodies plus a signed copy of my latest book 101 Things To Do With Bacon. On January 31, 2013, I’ll draw one random name from everyone who commented during the month and that lucky person will win the gift basket. I hope you’ll stop by often this month and share your own ideas, thoughts and experiences about taking a 31-day break from nonessential spending.


About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Day 19 of the January Money Diet – Explore Your City

  • Lisa

    Did you know that the Denver Post publishes free days, at cultural spots, weekly? Museums and the zoo for example!

  • About two months ago a friend told us about a farm in our community where we could volunteer to work. We are paid in fresh organic produce and the kids can learn everything that goes into farming. Something most of their friends will never know, because we are in the LA area and farming is “beneath” most people here.

  • Martha

    This idea came straight from my 6 year old daughter who reminded me about her coupons from donating to a local cause. We found them–they expire in a month–and she and her dad had a great afternoon of free swimming with the coupon to the local pool.

  • Christina

    This is a great idea for some ‘date’ stuff to do!

  • Cynthia

    Deborah, I too have used the Chamber of Commerce. They have a lot of free maps and brochures pointing to many interesting local activities. My favorite free one is a map of the public art in our city. For the cost of bus fare you can take a great self guided art tour. Our local library also has an historical walking tour to check out. It has great photos of what spots looked like 100 years ago to help children imagine walking along in old fashioned clothes on wooden sidewalks.You can also find maps of your city that highlight “urban hikes”. Can’t get much cheaper than that.

  • Deborah Gore

    I live between two small cities near the South Carolina coast. I checked with the chamber of commerce in both cities and found several interesting things to do. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Eliza, I feel like you write your daily posts just for me. I don’t get around to checking my email until evenings most days, today being one, so had to laugh when I saw your title.

    We had unusually warm weather today, and I had a surprise guest for the day (my grand daughter), we decided to head into town, where we happened on a dog show taking place. The people were friendly bringing their dogs over for us to pet, then we went into the local book store and curled up in the children’s reading room with a few books and a couple stuffed animals before heading out to see where the ice was the thickest on the lake. We may see the lake every day, and visit it regularly in the summer, but it’s not often we stop to watch the way the water has frozen in the different spots.

  • Diane

    Last fall we received some “Living Social’ & Groupons for Twin Cities Tours. We took my parents on a 4 hour motorcoach tour of the twin cities – both Mpls and St. Paul were included. It was both beautiful and interesting, we saw places and heard stories totally new to us. Another time we took the “St Paul Gangster Tour by Trolley”. That too was really interesting.

  • Dina Johnson

    Jealous! I have been to everything around Rigby, Idaho falls and Rexburg Idaho! Mostly sagebrush for many miles! All three towns combined have a population under 100,000!
    I have a love/hate relationship with the area.

  • GC

    Just yesterday found some amazing peace sculptures right in the middle of the city…..never, ever noticed them before. Amazing inscriptions written on them.

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