Monthly Archives: November 2014

A Guide to Staying and Playing in Tucson for Cheap

When heading off to Tucson for vacation, take a few tricks with you to help you get the biggest experience for the smallest cost. For example, find very affordable Tucson hotels around the Colonia Del Valle area. Several hotels, including La Quinta, Days Inn, and Hampton, are in the area and offer budget rates without skimping on amenities. Whether you want to visit museums, spend your days hiking in the Arizona wildlife, or checking out the city, Tucson is full of cheap or free activities.

Stay Downtown on the Cheap

Unlike many cities, hotel rates don’t go up in Tucson just for their proximity to the downtown area. You can find budget rooms and upscale rooms downtown. Several hotels on I-10, which borders downtown Tucson on its western edge, have affordable nightly rates. Try the Days Inn Tucson Convention Center or Motel 6 Tucson for basic amenities and reasonable prices. For something more upscale that still fits in a budget, the Tucson Marriott University Park has a pool, a restaurant, and spa services.

Walk the Turquoise Trail

Tucson Arizona

One of the coolest things about downtown Tucson is its free walking tour, the Turquoise Trail. It covers a 2.5 mile loop around downtown and passes by a number of historic structures, some dating back to the late 18th century. A downloadable map makes customization easy, since you can take the tour at your own pace and visit the sites you want. You’ll never get lost, either, because a turquoise stripe down the sidewalk marks the entire trail. The map provides historical detail about the sites you see while walking, but you can customize it further by looking up some of the structures in your hotel room before you go!

Low-Cost Museum Visits

University of Arizona Museum of Art

Two of Tucson’s museums offer admission for just $5. Visit the University of Arizona Museum of Art to see European works from the Renaissance era and Modern art by artists like Jackson Pollock. The Arizona State Museum has the largest collection of Southwest Indian pottery in the world. For a completely free museum visit, check out the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum.

Explore Neighborhoods or Hike Trails

Tuscson Arizona shops

If you want to stay in town, several of Tucson’s neighborhoods are walkable and home to great local businesses. Check out Campbell-Grant for some cool local shops, or Miles East West for Cherry Field, its big park great for youth sporting events.

For those who want to get out of the city and into nature, Tucson has five mountain ranges bordering it, and myriad national parks offering hiking opportunities. Hills displaying native cacti provide low-grade hiking opportunities for those who want to take it easy. Trails up into the mountains make great day trips for experienced hikers. Some parks have small entrance fees, but hours of recreation are worth a few dollars. When in Arizona, definitely don’t forget to experience the surrounding desert in some way. The beautiful landscape is unforgettable.

What’s your favorite free thing to do in the city? Share your favorite Tucson experiences in the comments.

Author Bio: Alexandra Shostak is a freelance writer and graphic designer who likes to go on adventures, whether they take her down the street or on a road trip to another state.

Nightlife in San Diego

It’s easy to name a host of things to do in San Diego during the day – the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway Museum are a few of the easy ones to name. But what about San Diego at night? Where does one go? What does one do? If you’re on the hunt for some excitement when the lights go down, check out these stellar options. A few new, and a few not so new, will give you a pretty good mix of San Diego at night, no matter what your tastes are.

Lucky Bastard Saloon

A relatively new addition to the San Diego nightlife scene, the Lucky Bastard Saloon is a massive biker-inspired sports bar offering up daily drink specials, theme nights, and the thrill of being a bad boy, without the threat of any actual bikers.

The American Comedy Company

If a biker bar is not your thing, perhaps a few laughs will be more to your liking. The American Comedy Company is an intimate and cozy environment to see some of the world’s best stand-up comedians perfect their craft. Located in the heart of historic downtown San Diego, previous comedians to grace the stage at the club have included Jay Mohr, Joel McHale, and Drew Carey.

Harrah’s Resorts Southern California

Old fashioned vintage slot machine

You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll have fun at this attraction. Actually, you can bet any amount you want. Just a short drive from downtown San Diego, Harrah’s Resort Southern California offers a casino with all the usual attractions – slots games, poker, roulette and all other forms of casino fun.

Drive-in Movie Theatre

Drive in Movie theatre -- nightlife in san diego

If your idea of fun doesn’t involve booze or casino chips, perhaps a night of old-fashioned fun is in order. The South Bay Drive-in Theatre offers new release films on three gigantic screens. A recent refurbishment of the projector system ensures state-of-the-art sound and film quality.

Miramar Speed Circuit Kart Racing

Gentleman (and ladies), start your engines! Even though most folks think of go-cart racing as a daytime activity, Miramar Speed Circuit Kart Racing is open until 11pm daily (midnight on weekends) and offers an adrenaline rush for big kids of all ages. There’s also a laser tag facility on site, just in case you feel like shooting something afterwards.

What’s your favourite from our list of San Diego Nightlife offerings? Let us know in the comments section below.

Planning a Trip to San Jose: What You Need to Know

If you are heading to San Jose, this guide will help you to make the most of your trip. Discover the best places to stay in the city, where the best restaurants are, and which of the area’s attractions and unique neighborhoods you should definitely include in your travel plans.

Choosing a San Jose Hotel

No matter what your budget might be, you will find a choice of San Jose hotels to meet your needs. If you are hoping for a little luxury during your stay, hotels such as the Sainte Claire Hotel and the Plaza Suites are a good choice. If you would prefer to stay in a cheaper hotel, take a look at options such as the Executive Inn Hotel and the Super 8 Motel. If you are flying into Mineta San Jose International Airport, you can save on transportation costs by considering hotels that offer a free airport shuttle such as Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Airport.

San Jose Dining Options

Whether you prefer casual eateries or veer toward fine dining venues, the San Jose dining scene is impressive. Try La Victoria Taqueria on Santa Clara Street for delicious burritos or Scott’s Seafood on Park Avenue for the freshest oysters. Head to San Pedro Square, another of the city’s foodie hot spots, where you will find local favorites such as Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, 71 St. Peter, and the Hedley Club. If you still have room, there is an abundant supply of street food joints around San Carlos and Third Street.

Must-Visit San Jose Attractions

San Jose Museum of Art San Jose California

San Jose boasts more than a few attractions that will keep you entertained during your visit. Many of the best known attractions such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, the San Jose Museum of Art, and City Hall are found in and around the downtown area, but venture further afield and you will find lesser-known gems such as the Mexican Heritage Plaza, the Latimer Community Garden, and the Portuguese Historical Museum. If you like to enjoy the outdoors, the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve and the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve are also nearby.

Explore San Jose Neighborhoods

San Jose California

While in San Jose, make sure that you allow time to explore the city’s neighborhoods, each one boasting a charm of its own. Discover the stunning Buddhist Church Betsuin and bustling Santo Market in Japantown, sample authentic 19th-century charm in historic Los Gatos, and savor traditional Vietnamese food and the unique vibe in Little Saigon. A visit to see the 4,000 rose shrubs at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is a must, as is a stroll along the pedestrian-friendly streets of Campbell on your way to explore the Santa Cruz mountain vineyards.

Find out more about San Jose attractions on Hipmunk.com, discover more of the area’s hotels, and take advantage of cheap flight deals. If you have your own San Jose travel stories to tell, why not share your tips below? Your fellow travelers would love to benefit from your experience.

Linda Forshaw likes to write about local haunts and far-flung places. She lives in Liverpool, England, and spends her free time exploring new places, going to live gigs, and planning her next adventure. She is currently working on the #HipmunkCityLove project.