Posted September 11, 2015 by SmarterTravel.com
We've rounded up some of the sweetest deals available to autumnal travelers searching out a solid bargain. Beside the generous shoulder-season savings, also advantageous is the relaxed feel of fall with its uncrowded streets, shorter lines, yet bountiful number of exciting events.
San Diego, California
It may be starting to get balmy in your neck of the woods but perennially pleasant San Diego maintains its average temperature in the 70s during fall, and that makes for perfect weather to peruse the many celebrations taking over the city.
Peruse San Diego Restaurant Week during September 20 – 27 to get a savoring of the city's 180-plus participating restaurants.
If Italian cuisine is your favorite or if you like festivals, make sure to attend San Diego's 21st annual Festa—the largest Italian festival in the nation. Sunday, October 11 will be filled food, live music, bocce ball tournaments, and a flag procession, among other Italian-themed activities.
And on October 25, the Lodge at Torrey Pines will host the 13th annual Celebrate the Craft—a food festival showcasing Southern California's finest chefs, wine and craft beer makers, and food artisans. Proceeds of the event's earnings will be donated to the Slow Food Urban San Diego.
Throughout the month of October, the San Diego Museum Council invites families to explore the city's museums, gardens, and galleries—free of charge for tikes 12-years old and younger. Find among the more than 40 sites complimentary entry to the Japanese Friendship Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the New Children's Museum, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
Las Vegas, Nevada
With all its excesses, you can find yourself leaving Las Vegas burnt out and broke. But it doesn't necessarily have to be so to have a great time. Enrich your Sin City experience by taking advantage of all its world-class freebies.
It's easy to forget you're on the Strip when in the Bellagio. Close your eyes and you're suddenly transported to the Italian countryside and all of la dolce vita's fine indulgences, including musical fountains, botanical gardens, hand-blown glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly—all gratuito.
Make it to the Mirage at after the sun sets to be wowed by its Polynesian-themed fire show—Vegas-style. Complete with explosions, fireballs, heart-pounding music, and piña colada-misted air, the volcano show erupts at 8 and 9 p.m. Sundays – Thursdays and also 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Free attractions abound in Las Vegas; you just have to walk away from the craps table to easily locate them.
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Visitors to the Boston area during fall enjoy more than just gorgeous scenic foliage—they can also partake in all of the autumnal-themed festivities.
Not content with a single day, Witch City USA celebrates Halloween all month long. Among the treats you'll find throughout the month of October during the 34th annual Salem Haunted Happenings are parades, carnival rides, haunted houses, and bone-chilling tours. Salem, Massachusetts, is just a half-hour drive up the shore from Boston.
Fall festivals take on all forms in the Boston area. There's the popular and historic (nearly 200 years old!) agricultural Topsfield Fair running 10 days starting October 2; the Cape's annual cranberry bog harvesting festivities at the Nantucket Cranberry Festival on October 10; and Oktoberfest at Wachusett Mountain's Applefest during the third weekend in October.
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism does a great job of listing out the area events, filtering by date, type, and region.
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Americans looking to visit Europe this fall are sitting pretty right now. It's been nearly a decade since the dollar has been this strong against the euro, and all signs point to continued parity through at least the end of the year.
The most-affordable European cities this year are Bucharest, Romania; Sofia, Bulgaria; Kiev, Ukraine; and Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic—all riding around the $50 mark for daily expenditures at three-star living. But even ultra-popular cities like London, Paris, and Rome are more affordable this year as a result of the dollar's strength against the euro.
Home to the largest aquarium on the hemisphere and listed in the "1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die," Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium houses tens of thousands of sea animals in its 10 million gallons of water. Among the most popular attractions are the whale sharks, beluga whales, and dolphins. Enjoy all this marine-life viewing at a 20-percent discount if you book online or via the call center (404-581-4000) though the month of September.
Toronto is suddenly very affordable thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar.
Also load up on freebies like walking tours offered by the Royal Ontario Museum and musical performance from fall through spring at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
National Parks, United States
The National Park Service will be commemorating its 100th anniversary in 2016, but it doesn't take a birthday to celebrate, and it certainly doesn't have to be summer to visit any of its parks.
Travel to Bulgaria's capital city to unearth its many secrets. Find below Sofia the 1,800-year-old Roman city that lies beneath. At eye level, however, find some of Europe's most-affordable accommodations options, cheap transport, and free entertainment.
Due to the U.S. dollar 20 percent stronger than its Canadian counterpart, but also because the peak season's over, now's the time to visit Vancouver. Check out the bountiful travel deals at HelloBC, among them for mine expeditions, rafting excursions, and hotels stays.
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