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More Cool Places To Go Without Breaking the Bank

Cool Places to Go Without Breaking the Bank, budget outings in middle age, going out over 50
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BY JULIA SORIANO

Last week my focus on places to go focused on places to go as a family. What about places to go and things to do for adults? How about adults you want to impress? Like dates? Or someone you’re going to ask for a job?

Dining out is a common activity. The tips given in our post two weeks ago apply with one major exception.  Leave the coupons at home. A coupon binder in the car and/or saying, “Let’s eat here; I have a coupon.” will not impress anyone except a person you are asking for a job writing about couponing or the family member you are just about to ask for money.

Gift cards and gift certificates are fine, however. They say to your guest, “I have friends who give me gifts. If I were in the market for a job or a date, I would stock up on cards for restaurants with universal appeal. Buy those ahead of time when your grocery store is giving extra points or the restaurant has a gift card/certificate special. You don’t have to tell your guest who bought the card/certificate.

Besides dining, what else can you do? Get creative. If the two of you have a favorite author or style of literature in common, go to a reading at a bookstore. A common interest? A lecture at the library or local university. What about parks? The summer is rife with free concerts and plays in parks or downtown. I’ve seen some amazing (and free) musical concerts in churches. For a spectacular view, go to the lobby of the fancy restaurant on top of the skyscraper. Subscribe to the e-mail databases of your chamber of commerce, park system and libraries.

Public art is all around: government buildings, conference centers, library and parks. Visit one for the express purpose of looking at art. Imagine the life of the artist why he or she chose to have it displayed in that location. Why did the organization select that work?

In 1987, United Airlines opened a new terminal at O’Hare, designed by Helmut Jahn, which featured a vast neon sculpture above the moving sidewalk. It’s very Hollywood-first-date-esque to go to view that sculpture, then go to the airport foodcourt for desert.

Now I live in Cincinnati and I’m planning to go to the observatory late at night. That’s a romantic date with my husband or slightly funky thing to do with my teenage step-sons.

Magical things are everywhere, and many of them cost little else than paying attention.

Julia Soriano has been having fun and living well on a limited budget for decades. She is an overeducated editor, writer, kitchen enthusiast and minister. Julia lives in Cincinnati with her husband and about a thousand books.

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