Cheap Ways to Enjoy Your Winter Free Time
Do you tend to hunker down at home once the temperatures dip below freezing? Winter may be chilly, but enjoying it doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of the most fulfilling activities near you might even be free. This year, bundle up and find out what free and low-cost activities are available so you make the most of your down time.
Consider some of the many benefits listed below of winter activities:
- Shorter lines at museums
- Smaller crowds
- Easier reservations at eateries
- More availability at certain indoor and outdoor activities
Here in the Midwest, we need to find ways to enjoy ourselves throughout the winter, both indoors and – if you’re up for it – out. Start with these ideas:
Take Advantage of Cheap Ways to Enjoy Cities Throughout the Winter Season
Do you become a hermit at the first sight of snow? Schedule an afternoon out in the nearest town or big city. You don’t need a reason to go. Exploring an unfamiliar place always has potential for adventure and even education. For example, Chicago never shuts down, and viewing the city’s many sites never gets boring.
Here are some things to put on your must-see list this winter:
- Free walking tours, such as Free Tours by Foot
- Window shopping
- Historic tours and architecture tours
- Outdoor ice skating
- Sledding at outdoor parks
- Free events at libraries
- Cooking demos at groceries stores and indoor markets
Volunteer at Theaters & Events
Is there something out of your budget you’d like to experience? If you can’t afford the cost of entry, find out if there are any volunteer positions available. For instance, theaters often rely on volunteer ushers and greeters. Perhaps you could finally see that musical you’ve heard about by volunteering for a couple hours before grabbing a seat in the back.
Get Outside & Appreciate Midwestern Activities in Nature
One way to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder – a condition brought on by lack of sunlight – is simply to get outside. You’ll also benefit from the extra vitamin D in your diet! As long as you dress properly, heading outdoors for a walk can be just as fun and invigorating as at any other time of year.
Some things do take a little research or advance planning. What historic sites are open in your neck of the woods? Are there shops, cafes, and other places to visit within those spaces? The Midwest is full of fun, family-oriented locales that are open year round. Check out their websites to find out about inexpensive, outdoor activities that are also easily accessible. For example:
- Outdoor walks on the lakefront
- Forest preserves
- Relaxing winter hikes in Illinois
- Nature trails
- Scenic drives
Stay Safe: Plan Your Transportation in Advance
Especially in winter, you want to map out your transportation before leaving home. If you plan to take public transportation, stop by a Currency Exchange to pick up a Ventra Card or take other necessary measures so you won’t have to deal with annoying kiosks while in transit.
Drivers should also plan ahead before any cold-weather outing. Be sure your stickers and registration are up to date to avoid pricey penalties. These auto-related activities can all be handled under one roof at the nearest Currency Exchange to where you live.
Keep Track of Your Money Using Services at Local Currency Exchange
Community Currency Exchanges (CCEAs) throughout the Midwest are full of smart ways to help you manage your finances wisely and safely. We help folks pay their bills on time electronically, cash checks in record time, and send their money safely around the globe.
Stop by your nearest location to find out what spending strategies we have in store for you in the new year!
With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.