Part of the fun in visiting an MLB ballpark is experiencing the city it’s in. It’s your chance to see some sights, try the local fare, and take in the culture. An ongoing joke with my friend Liz is that our pictures should always “capture our essences.” I found many times ballparks did just this- they captured the cities they’re in’s essence. Going to the park is great (obviously since its probably the reason you’re visiting) but don’t sell yourself short and miss out on the park’s inspiration! While I didn’t always get to fully explore the cities I visited since I was cramming in 30 parks, I did always make an effort to see what I could.
For those who are thinking, this is going to rack up my trip cost, I say “Not so fast my friend!” (yeah I just quoted Lee Corso, happens). Here are some ways to save when sightseeing in the cities of the NL East… and even some free activities!
- Atlanta’s tourism site does an amazing job highlighting free activities in the city like Centennial Olympic Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, The Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum, and the Historic Oakland Cemetery. They also list valuable information on free concerts, museum free days, gallery hops, and other festivals too!
- If you have some money to spare you can try the $10 and under page on the tourism site for fun places to visit like the Center for Puppetry Arts Museum & Special Exhibits or Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum.
- For discounted tickets to some of Atlanta’s hottest attractions like The World of Coca-Cola (loved this place!), the Georgia Aquarium, or CNN tours, visit CityPASS or click on the attraction link for special offers. The Atlanta tourism site has some discount offers as well as some deals on local restaurants and hotels.
- National Geographic did a phenomenal article on free things to do in Miami that includes everything from art and cultural events to attractions and even some clubs… Yes clubbing on a budget! There are also plenty of free family and outdoorsy activities as well.
- If you’re not too busy running around the city, relax at the beach! South Beach is kind of a big deal and there are plenty of others to choose from including Miami Beach if you’re looking for a pier.
- GroupOn.com is a great tool for getting discounted rates for fun activities, restaurants, and spas around town. The mobile app is particularly helpful when trying to find a deal the day of. If you buy in advance make sure you schedule to use your voucher asap so you don’t get closed out!
- For discounted admission to Miami’s most popular attractions, purchase a Go Miami Card. It will help you save up to 55%!
New York City: (Mets)
- There are so many free attractions for visitors to cram in- Times Square, Wall Street and the historical financial district, the 9/11 Memorial, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Governors Island, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or take the Staten Island Ferry for a fairly close up view of the Statue of Liberty.
- Free guided tours of the historical Grand Central Station are available every Friday at 12:30 pm.
- NYC is known for fashion so take a walk down 5th Avenue for world class shopping or stop by the Museum at FIT, a free fashion museum.
- A trip to The Big Apple isn’t complete without taking in a show on Broadway. There are plenty of ways to get discounted tickets too!
- Still need more New York? For discounted admission (and line cutting abilities) try the New York City Pass or Explorer Pass.
- Philly is brimming with history and lucky for you most of it’s free! Visit the The Liberty Bell Center, Congress Hall, the Declaration House, Independence National Historic Park, and more. Philadelphia’s tourism site breaks down the city’s free attractions into helpful catagories like historic, museums, and shopping.
- Though walk up tours of Independence Hall are free, it is recommended to purchase timed tickets in advance for $1.50 due to popularity. Something to consider if visiting is high on your list!
- Multiple venues hold free concerts throughout the year, perfect for a fun night out! Check Penn’s Landing, the Kimmel Center, and the Philadelphia Orchestra for upcoming performances.
- Look into buying the Philadelphia CityPASS if you want to save on admission to The Franklin Institute, Adventure Aquarium, Phila Trolley & The Big Bus Company, and Philadelphia Zoo.
Washington D.C.: (Nationals)
- D.C. is another city that can be explored on foot without spending a dime! The city’s tourism site breaks down 100 free (or almost free) activities down into easy categories like Family-Friendly, History & Heritage, Arts & Culture, Theater & Performing Arts, African American Culture, and GLBT. There’s something to see and do for everyone!
- Visiting The National Mall is a given but you don’t have to rely on your field trip knowledge of the buildings with DC by Foot. The walking tours are free, just make sure to make a reservation!
- If you do want to splurge on some tours, About.com did an excellent article highlighting the best tours the city has to offer.
- Need information on free concerts, gallery hops, museum free days, and even Supreme Court lectures? Check out National Geographic’s list of Free in D.C.
- For discounted tickets to countless tours and attractions, visit DC Tours. If you buy online you get a special rate!