Posts Tagged ‘staycation’

Staycation around the country!

May 22nd, 2013

Maybe you’re sticking around Chicago, and maybe not. Here are some ideas from all over the country if you are looking for fun, frugal ideas wherever your family might find itself this summer.

Feel free to check out the links on pinterest if you are more visually stimulated:

Mid Atlantic

NW (or all), Connecticut :: Parenting Miracles

Boston (or all), Massachusetts :: Maven of Savin

Central, New Jersey :: Our Good LIfe

Adirondak Mountains and Central, New York :: For This Season

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Ann’s Entitled Life

Syracuse, New York :: I am THAT lady

Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry

Greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet

Hershey, Pennsylvania :: Good Deal Mama

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania :: Beyond the Cover

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania :: The Coupon “High”

Poconos, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains

Scranton, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains


Des Moines, Iowa :: Make the best of everything

Aurora, Illinois :: A Savings WOW!

Central, Illinois :: The Homeschool Scientist

Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network

Naperville, Illinois :: The Sensible Mom

Schaumburg, Illinois :: Ravings By Rae

Fort Wayne, Indiana :: Simplified Saving

Indianapolis, Indiana (Metro Area) :: In Good Cents

Muncie, Indiana (Central IN) :: the daisyhead

Northern Indiana :: So Dough Savvy

Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas

Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense

Grand Rapids, Michigan :: Give Me Neither

Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom

Minneapolis, Minnesota :: Creative Couponing

Rural Minnesota (either Southern our Lake Country) ::

St. Cloud, Minnesota :: Frugal Finders

Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas :: Kosher on a Budget

Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom

Cincinnati, Ohio :: Family Friendly Cincinnati

Columbus, Ohio :: Cleverly Simple

Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle: Dayton

Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters

NE Ohio :: Raising Lifelong Learners

Northeast Ohio (Canton, Akron, Cleveland) :: Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring

Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living

South Dakota :: Moms Mustard Seeds

Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom


Phoenix, Arizona :: Mom Endeavors

Scottsdale, Arizona :: Saving For Someday

Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings

Colorado Springs, Colorado :: The Greenbacks Gal

Denver, Colorado :: Bargain Blessings

Helena, Montana :: The WiC Project

Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors

Reno, Nevada – Lake Tahoe (Northern Nevada) :: Saving in Nevada


Fresno, California (Central Valley) :: NerdFamily Blog

Los Angeles, California ::

San Diego, California :: Good Cheap Eats

San Diego, California :: Life as MOM

Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW

Seattle, Washington :: Thrifty NW Mom

South Atlantic

Arkansas :: Discovering Arkansas

Washington, DC :: Kidventurous

Clearwater Beach, Florida :: Bargain Briana

Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money

Southwest Florida (Ft. Myers area) :: Chaos Is Bliss

St. Augustine, Florida :: Simply St. Augustine

Tallahassee, Florida :: SwagGrabber

Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: Hodgepodge

Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: The Couponing Couple

Annapolis, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife

Hagerstown, Maryland :: Cheryl Pitt

Asheville, North Carolina :: Paradise Praises

Charlotte, North Carolina :: from our front porch lookin’ in…

Raleigh/Southeastern, North Carolina :: Upside Down Homeschooling

Upstate South Carolina :: The Tween & Me

Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All

Richmond, Virginia :: Teachers of Good Things

Smithfield, Virginia :: Walking in High Cotton

Virginia Beach, Virginia :: The Coupon Challenge

South Central

Coastal Alabama :: Meet Penny

Huntsville, Alabama :: The Traveling Praters

Northern Kentucky :: Simply Sherryl

Chattanooga, Tennessee :: Living Chic on the Cheap

East Tennessee (Smoky Mountains, Knoxville) :: Finding Joy on the Journey

Nashville, Tennessee :: Montessori Tidbits

Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE

Austin, Texas (Hill Country) :: Ponder the Path

College Station, Texas :: How to Homeschool My Child

Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores

East Dallas, Texas :: Funky Faith Girl

Fort Worth, Texas :: Coupons & Freebies Mom

Houston, Texas :: MomsToolbox

Houston, Texas :: MyLitter

Katy, Texas :: Moms Confession

McAllen, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) :: iLoveMy5Kids

San Antonio, Texas :: Melissa’s Bargains

Staycation 2012 full list

June 5th, 2012

Whether you are staying in the area or traveling this summer, here are some great links to check out and share with friends. Hopefully we can all discover something new to keep our summer sizzling.


Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Coupons, Deals and More
Central New Jersey :: Philzendia (formerly Oh diane)
Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet


Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living
Central Indiana :: In Good Cents
Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Cincinnati, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Cincinnati
Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Dayton
Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas
Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters
Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense
Mount Vernon, Ohio :: Living Better One Day at a Time
North Central Indiana :: Parenting Miracles
Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom
Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors
Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: A Little Bit of This and That
SE Minnesota :: Everyday Notions
Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom
springfield, Missouri :: I Think I can, I think I can
St. Louis, Missouri :: Our Four Letter Words

South Central

Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE
Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores
Grapevine, Texas :: My Crazy Savings
Houston, Texas :: MomsTravelTales

South Atlantic

Baltimore, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife
Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All
Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida :: Orlandos Best Deals
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia :: Life Your Way
St. Augustine, Florida :: Jypsie Visions
Washington, DC :: Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling


Arizona (all) :: Mom Endeavors
Colorado Springs, Colorado :: Springs Bargains
Denver, Colorado :: Denver Bargains
Phoenix, Arizona :: Saving For Someday
Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings


Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW
San Diego, California :: Life as MOM
San Diego, California (The Eating Tour) :: Good Cheap Eats
Seattle, Washington :: Queen Bee Coupons

Staycation Take 2

May 31st, 2012

Each year our vacation budget seems to shrink a little more and we need to get a little more creative with how we spend those hard earned dollars. Fortunately, living in the Chicago area you don’t need to go far to enjoy a lot of life and experience for not a lot of money.

My post last year summed up lots of unique spots to check out around the area and I don’t want to just duplicate that (but feel free to check it out here as much of that still applies), so this year we will look at different categories of attractions that even some Chicago residents might not think about while making the most of life in this great metroplis.

Because I’m a list maker and categorizer, we’ll break this down into Get Active; Grow ‘n’ Learn; and Give Back.

Get Active

Of course there are the obvious: parks, forest preserves, bike trails, swimming pools, and sports teams.  But here are a few places to definitely check out to add active fun to your staycation.

- Trampoline parks. A newer addition to the bouncy world of fun, these parks take trampolining out of the backyard and turn it into a group activity. Many include areas with trampolines made into activity specific areas like dodgeball, basketball, jumping into foam pits, just jumping and smaller tramps for little ones. This is not generally a cheap outing, but check for after hours and holiday specials throughout the summer. This is a great way to spend a rainy day when the kids are bouncing off the walls at home anyway.  Check out different centers (different owners, but similar facilities) in Buffalo Grove and Carol Stream, Niles, South Elgin, and Naperville (note that trampolines do bring an element of risk with them. Encourage kids to jump safely, watch the safety videos, and you should expect to sign a waiver in order for them to jump)

- Disc Golf. Not your mother’s frisbee game, and growing in popularity especially among older “kids.” This is a great activity for families with kids that are a bit older and ready to take on a challenge.  There are currently 163 courses in Illinois, although not all in the Chicago area. Perfect for those cooler days with friends or just family. Check out the Disc Golf Course list with links to locations and more details on some of the courses.

- Bowling. Not as heart pumping or muscle building as the others, but a fun afternoon of bowling keeps a wide range of ages happy and offers a great environment for active fun together. Brunswick offers free bowling to kids all summer long, one game per day per child. Of course you’ll have to rent shoes (unless you’re lucky enough to find them at garage sales or thrift stores), but still a nice deal. AMF also has bowling lanes in various cities. Many cities will have a local bowling alley, but another popular destination is Funway in Batavia which offers many activities from bowling to go carts to roller skating.

Grow ‘n’ Learn

The library deserves a section all its own because it is a huge doorway to tons of fun right in your backyard, most of it already paid for by your tax dollars, but I’ll highlight our favorites. Be sure to check out your own local library for programs, movies, outings, speakers, displays, and reading incentives to keep you learning all summer long.

- Summer reading program (and winter one if they have it, too, but that is not coming soon). Get your kids reading and earn free family outings. From the summer reading program we earn at least 3-4 of our family staycation outings. Each year we get a pass to DuPage Children’s Museum, baseball tickets, Medieval Times passes, water park tickets, meal coupons, and many more exciting and free passes to keep our summer fun at an all time high.

- Museum Adventure Pass. I mention this periodically, and it should not be overlooked. Each museum or location has a different deal that you activate through your library card. Stop in to see your librarian and with a few clicks she presents you with a pass for the Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Cantigny, Brookfield Zoo, or a variety of other places. We have used these a few times now and have really enjoyed each one.

- Summer classes. Many colleges offer classes for various ages through the summer. Check out the closest one, and also take a look other places like Fermilab for keeping learning alive through this break in the traditional school year.

- Donley’s Wild West Town. Part fun, part learning, Donley’s will teach you to use a slingshot, entertain you with a gun fight drama, take you on a pony ride, and let you pan for gold. Younguns won’t quickly forget all the fun and adventure as they travel back to a little less tame period of history.

Give Back

Hanging with friends, relaxing, and stimulating your intellect are all great parts of vacation, but you can also spend part of your staycation giving back to those less fortunate. We may worry about having enough money to make special memories with our kids this summer, but others worry about just having the necessities of life. Look for a way to lend a hand this summer.

- Feed My Starving Children. We have enjoyed taking part in this program a few times now and cannot believe how quickly 2 hours flies by. Sign up for a 2 hour time slot of packing nutrient dense meals to ship to countries in need. By the end you are chanting, “Chicken, veggies, soy, rice,”  and in so doing are providing food for the hungry. My daughter enjoyed herself so much she wants to have her birthday party there this year. Kids 5 and over can attend with adult supervision. I loved watching my 6 year old scoop, weigh, and count, having fun in the process of making a difference. They have locations in Schaumburg and Aurora, so make sure to get a group together and find a couple hours to spare for this worthwhile cause.

- Food bank. Meeting a need closer to home, area food banks are also always looking for volunteers. Northern Illinois Food Bank is one with multiple locations that are always seeking volunteers of a variety of ages.  Check out their page for other local food pantries that might be able to use your help as well.

- Check out other volunteer positions around the Chicago area at They have listings for forest preserves to museums and more.

This post may spark your thinking for some special ways to spend your staycation this year and may even begin a relationship that will open new opportunities and experiences for years to come. Vacations shouldn’t end with summer. Build some memories that will take you full force into the next school year and beyond. Hope some of these ideas will help your staycation stick with you a little longer.

Staycation — nation wide

May 24th, 2011

All across the country, bloggers are sharing the great things to do right in their home town, or somewhere they called home at one time. You can now easily jump around to all of these posts and read about great ideas for vacationing or staycationing in any region of the country. Whether you are staying here in Chicago or have trips planned to visit family in nearby states, we can all use some fresh ideas for enjoying life right where we are.

Here they are, the rest of the country at your fingertips:

New England

Connecticut – Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts – ‎ Maven of Savin’
Manchester, New Hampshire – Common Sense with Money
Western Maine – Bubblegum and Lollipops


Erie, Pennsylvania – Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York – Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey – Oh! Diane


Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio – Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio – Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio – Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio – Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan – Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan – “Cents”able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan – Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan – Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota – Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana – Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana – Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri – Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri – The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri – Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri – I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota – Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska – Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska – Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin – Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin – A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois – Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois – Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota – Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma – Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama – Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas – Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas – Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas – Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas – Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas – Stetted
Houston, Texas – Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas – Wisdom Begun
East Texas – The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee – Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee – The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama – A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama – iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia – Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia – Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia – See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia – Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi – Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas – It’s Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina – Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina – The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina – The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina – Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida – Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida – Orlando’s Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia – The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia – Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia – A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia – How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia – Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida – The Cardamom’s Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida – Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina – Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC – The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland – The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia, Teri Lynne Underwood


Tucson, Arizona – Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona – Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico – The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana – Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah – Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming – The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado – Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado – Colorado Springs Bargains


San Diego, California – Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington – Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington – Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon – Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon – An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget – Eat at Home

The Staycation — Chicago style

May 23rd, 2011

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again — we live in an amazing area! As I continue to look for fresh ideas for field trips, family outings, and meetups with friends  — I keep finding them. New places, new ideas, new experiences, and all within an hour or so driving time, which is a good thing. With gas flirting with $4.50 we need close to home and cheap. If you are looking to spend your summer mostly in the Chicago area but still want to vacation, keep reading for enough staycation ideas to keep you going through Christmas.

If you want my more complete list of where you can visit in the Chicago area check out the detailed listing of field trip ideas. If you want something a little less overwhelming, let’s break it down into some favorite fives. We’ll explore the Chicago area with my top five: outing genres, free spots, deal websites, city sites, suburban sites, on our agenda for this summer, and tips to save money while seeing the world (or at least Chicago). Remember, I can not share everything there is to do. Chicago is monstrous and I found over 100 places when I compiled my field trip listing, and I’m sure I missed plenty. So, I just want to share some family favorites to hopefully help you find something new.

Favorite Five Outing Genres

Alright, so I usually think of genres when it comes to books, but a lot of our favorites definitely fall into categories as well, and genres just sounds so much better than categories.

- Historical Farms — These seem to dot the landscape around here, and they each have something different to offer. Many hover around the mid-1800s and offer lots of free family fun on weekends throughout the year. Check out just a few of these around the area: Kline Creek Farm, Bonner Farm, Garfield Farm, Blackberry Farm, etc.

- Water related fun — (of course there is your neighborhood or park district pool, or . . .) Splash parks are a great, often free, fun.

- Tours – when it is too hot to enjoy playing outside we love to schedule a tour with a group of friends. Costco offers great tours with locations all around the Chicago area. Also check out nearby factories. We have enjoyed tours in nut factories, jelly bean factories, Oberweis, and other food related products.

- Nature Trails — If we are up for a drive we might head out to Starved Rock or White Pines State Park (gotta drive through the water at least once each summer), but there are plenty of closer places to enjoy as well. Check out some lesser known Forest Preserves in your area for a new look at the world around you. Many have little nature centers with enthusiastic volunteers staffing them in the summer.

- Non-professional sporting events — you probably have one not too far from you and they are way cheaper than driving into the city, paying for parking, and fighting the crowds. Our standing favorite is the Kane County Cougars. You can often get BOGO tickets on Mondays and with free parking it is one of the best sporting deals around. Lake County has a team as well, but I have not been to theirs yet to comment on it.

Favorite Five Free Spots

- Cosley Farm in Wheaton — Farm animals in a stroller friendly park. Great for younger kids or big animal lovers. My best memory there, my oldest was just a few years old and we stopped in there in March sometime. A baby cow just a couple hours old was there to greet us. An amazing experience. And, at the time we had the place to ourselves, but that is a rare occurrence nowadays. ***Edited to add: Apparently Cosley is no longer free for non-Wheaton residents. Kids are still free, but adults have a $3 admission fee. Thanks to Kate for letting me know!***

- Independence Grove — wonderful natural setting in Libertyville. Swimming lake, playground, lots of space to enjoy. There is sometimes a small fee if you are not a Lake County resident.

- Fermi lab – Science lovers should be sure to schedule a visit to Fermi Lab. They have an annual open house in the winter, but visitors are welcome during other times of the year as well. They have an educational center, a buffalo herd, walking trails, and more.

- Peck Farm — We discovered this beautiful place a few years ago and enjoy the old estate house with hands on fun for the kids, walking trails, an observation silo, and in the summer a little butterfly house (donation admission suggested).

- Air and Water Show — How could I almost forget this? Amazing! You can’t just do this whenever you want to, but it is worth the crowds and the heat to enjoy the impressive displays.

Favorite Five Deal Locators:

- Free Things To Do in Chicago — They list everything from concerts to paper shredding events to free food giveaways. Not always free, but at least once a week I find something worthwhile on this site. I get it sent to my inbox so I never miss a deal.

- Jill Cataldo — mostly about saving money on groceries, but look here for other great tips, like how we could get free Brookfield Zoo tickets

- Groupon — You’ve gotta know about groupon. Daily deals, buying in bulk with the rest of Chicagoland. Get your group-on . . .

- Ever Save — Another daily deal site (there are even more of these out there. If this is your thing, google for others). Fun activities, good food, discount prices.

- Smart Destinations — This site allows you to build on the tickets you want to well known attractions and by purchasing in bundles you get a better price (or you can buy their premade card). You only add the attractions you want, and the more you buy the more you save. It looks like they are useable for a year after purchase, too, but must be all used within 30 days of first use.

Favorite Five tips to save money while seeing the world (or at least Chicago)

- Museum Adventure Pass — if you have a library card you also have access to a whole host of great place for free or at a discount. Ask your library if they participate. Each week you can print up to one pass for a place of your choice. You then present the pass and your library card at the location you are visiting for free admission according to the terms of the particular place. Each deal is different, so make sure to read them carefully. Some are for a certain number of admissions, most don’t include any parking fees that might apply. Our favorites on here are the Chicago Botanica Garden (one car in free), and Cantigny (one car in free). Okay, so we have a lot of kids, so if I can get them all in for the same low price of free it’s going to be a favorite. :)

- Pack your lunches — Not a place, but we save a bundle by bringing our lunches along. If my aim is to have a great time on a budget I just can’t stomach shelling out $50 for everyone to eat lunch. Sandwiches in the car or at a playground — $5 for everyone. I need the other $45 for gas anyway.

- Reading incentives — If you homeschool you can sign up for these on your own and encourage your kids to read while earning great rewards for family outings. If your kids are in traditional school and they don’t do these, check into it. Great America tickets, Pizza Hut (during the school year), baseball tickets (Kane County Cougars have a great program), and more.

- Explore Chicagoland — a book that you can buy with admission to lots of places around the area. Kind of expensive up front, but if you will make use of one ticket every couple weeks you can easily make your money off of it.

- Think free — Brookfield Zoo may be one of the best in the world, but there are other great zoos in the area when all your money is going in your gas tank. Philips Park in Aurora, Lord’s Park in Elgin, Randall Oaks in Carpentersville (fee on the weekends), Cosley in Wheaton, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and Lincoln Park in Chicago are a few. Not the same as Brookfield, but still lots of family fun and most with playgrounds nearby to keep everyone happy on a beautiful summer day.

Favorite Five on our agenda for this summer

- Believe it or not, I have never been to Millenium Park, stared up into the bean, and played in the giant water-spitting faces. I would really like to get down there with my kids this year.

- Another “one of these years” plans is to get to the Eyes to the Skies festival around Fourth of July weekend in Lisle. I can’t imagine much more breathtaking than watching a field of hot air balloons take to the skies. The morning lift off is free for viewing (but it is at 6:00 am . . .)

- Great America. Not cheap, I know, but my kids each have tickets from reading incentives, so it works out to not be too bad. Parking is all we pay and then we bring our food in a cooler in the car. Our kids absolutely love the water park there and stay there pretty much from the time they open until they close.

- Summer reading program. Free fun, better than free. Check out books, enjoy reading together with your kids, and then earn free tickets and passes. I could not imagine summer without the library’s summer reading program. Your library likely has a summer reading program with more goodies to outfit your staycation as well.

- Summer movies. Lots of theaters offer $1 movies, or even free ones. We love these, especially on a hot day or when we just need to get out of the house and don’t feel like taking a long drive anywhere. Classic Cinemas is one company with a number of theaters across the Chicago area. They have $1 movies every Wednesday morning during summer months. Check for times and locations, and they even have the movie listings up already.

A couple miscellaneous  items that just didn’t fit nicely anywhere:

Explore Chicago — a website that has all the happenings in the city

Famplosion – lots of family fun all listed in one place.

Do you have a favorite that you don’t see here?

Please leave a comment and let us know your secret getaway in the Chicago area.

And, be sure to check back in here tomorrow when I will post about a hundred other links for other cities around the country. If you do have a chance to travel a bit you can find inexpensive activities in just about every state. Don’t miss the great staycation

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