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Weekend Warriors: Out and About on a Budget

in 2 min read

I’m broke. I pretty much lived July as if every day were “treat yo’ self day” and now I’m looking at a very sad bank balance. My guess is most people know how this feels once in a while (unless of course you have trust fund, in which case can we talk?).

It’s easy to live as if there’s a lotto win right around the corner but eventually I have to come back to reality and tighten the proverbial belt.

So this week I’m looking at the many things to do in this city that are free or at least very inexpensive.

First, there are lots exhibitions to see all over the city that have no admission fee —you might even find one close enough to walk or bike to for bonus savings. Below are just a few, you can find more by searching Visual Arts and checking the free events box on

This weekend also brings us the Ohio State Fair and the Dublin Irish Festival. While not free, admission is only $10 (for Irish Fest you need to buy online by EOD July 30 or it goes up to $12). That’s a good amount of entertainment for the price, and if you offer to be the designated driver for a group of friends, you can get them to cover your admission, parking and your food. Now to be perfectly honest, I’m a bit biased toward the Dublin Irish Festival because a friend of mine’s blood, sweat and tears go into making it happen each year (well probably not tears)—plus I’ve got a little Irish blood flowing in my veins. However, the Ohio State Fair also deserves my loyalty because they have an amazing art exhibition every year.

FYI: That DD advice is also great for Gallery Hop this weekend. The hop itself is free, and if you drive for your friends they should hook you up with dinner—ta dah, fun night out for the cost of gas. Or, if you decide to walk, ride or COTA to the hop, there are also plenty of awesome food and drink options that won’t break the bank (I’m looking at you Mikey’s Late Night Slice). Pro tip: When I need be frugal but know I’m going to see artist-made goods that I MUST HAVE, I take photos or make notes, and then I go back when I’m flush.

Of course the Summer Movie series at the Ohio Theater is only $4 a ticket and blissfully air conditioned.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Search out your own free events and never let a lack of cash get in the way of your fun. What ever you end up doing, share the fun at #artmakescbus

Photo courtesy of the Dublin Irish Festival.

Lacey Luce is a marketing, communications and events strategist of the Greater Columbus Arts Council who hopes to one day win the lottery, but refuses to buy tickets.