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Five Tips for Tourists In Strange Cities

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for November, 2002
Vol. 6, No. 6: Five Tips for Tourists In Strange Cities

Some general strategies you can use no matter where you visit:

* Instead of paying big bucks for a skyline observation deck, go to an upper-floor restaurant and buy something inexpensive. At the Prudential Center in Boston, for instance, the 50th floor observation deck costs $7 per person. Our friend Simone took a party of nine people to the 52nd floor restaurant for cold drinks and cookies, spent only about $30 (or about half the cost of the observation deck) and got the same view plus food.

* Go a block or two away from the main tourist strip for restaurants and cafes--prices may be 30% to 50% lower--even more, if you order beverages. We've found this to be true in Greece, Mexico, and all around the U.S.

* Rather than take an expensive boat ride for tourists, find a working commuter boat. In New York, the Circle Line costs megabucks; the Staten Island Ferry offers fabulous views of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn and Verazano Bridges, and the Statue of Liberty--for free!

* Most tourist destinations have less expensive options that provide much the same experience as their more expensive cousins. In Niagara Falls, for example, most of the attractions for close viewing of the falls run $6 per person and up--but the Niagara Falls State Park Observation Tower is only 50 cents.

* It's easy to find free attractions. In San Francisco, it costs nothing to walk out on the pier and see the seals up close, or to visit most of the numerous attractions in Golden Gate Park. Zoos, museums, botanical gardens, natural and scenic features, beaches, art galleries and factory tours are often free, especially those owned and operated by local, state, or national governments.

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