Cheap Summer Events Calendar: Guide To Restaurant Week, Concert Tickets, Outdoor Movies & More


With Memorial Day behind us and the Fourth of July coming up, it’s solidly summer now. This season is all about picnics in the park, outdoor concerts, good food, and quirky public art.

…On a budget?

Head Out To Rock Out.

Some of our favorite summer memories are from brilliant outdoor concerts, many of which are free. Many cities have outdoor concert series; Los Angeles’ outdoor concert calendar is particularly packed. Other cities with cool concert rosters include Washington, D.C., San Diego, and New York. Even Buffalo has a free outdoor concert season! One of the most comprehensive guides for free and cheap events in New York is Vanity Fair’s yearly Summer Agenda. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone from Norah Jones to St. Vincent to the Black Keys this summer in New York.

Wine And Dine (Well, Dine, At Least).

One of our favorite times of year is Restaurant Week, when high-end restaurants offer more affordable prix fixe menus in cities around the country, from New York to Baltimore to Boston. Last time we went to Restaurant Week, we had delicious cucumber soup, grilled bronzino fillet, and a mascarpone pot de crème that we’ll never forget. Past Restaurant Weeks have included highly celebrated (and expensive) restaurants like L’espalier in Boston, Nobu in New York, and The Capital Grille in Baltimore. Sadly, wine is generally not included in the fixed price menu.

Find Time To Wine, Too.

Many art gallery openings provide free wine to attendees, so soak in the culture and soak up the drinks. One of our favorite resources is My Open Bar, which helps New Yorkers and Chicagoans find open bars around their cities. Because of this website, we’ve had a few really awesome nights at free open vodka bars in really cool neighborhoods. No matter what city you live in, check out our article on the best ways to find happy hours in your neighborhood.

When You’re Done Eating, Get Fit For Free.

In addition to running and biking (which you can do for free on your own), some cities offer free outdoor fitness classes that meet up in the summer. Whether or not you have access to free yoga and other classes, check out our article with lots of ways to get fit for free outdoors. Since you’ll already be sweating from the summer sun, you might as well make it worthwhile.

Outdoor Entertainment, In A Flick.

Last year we watched The Dark Knight on the pier and Harold and Maude in the park, along with hundreds of other people (and an awkward ex-boyfriend who was really into the “still friends” thing). Outdoor films are classic, and they don’t only happen in big cities like New York and Washington, D.C. This year’s selections include Goldfinger and Bonnie and Clyde in D.C. and Say Anything and The Hangover in New York. Check out the outdoor film festivals in places as diverse as Kansas City, Boulder, and Bellevue, Washington.

It’s Okay To Watch Movies Inside, Too.

If you have a kid (or just like acting like one), check out Regal Movies, which shows free G and PG movies on Tuesday and Wednesday summer mornings. Sure, it’s not outdoors, but in August, you might not want to be outdoors any more. Similarly, AMC hosts $1 Tuesday morning movies. For more, check out our article on the best ways to save at the movie theater.

When all is said and done, we know how much you’ll appreciate that cold shower in the end.


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