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Hometown Tourist: Frugal Family Fun

I’m a suburban mom. I steer clear of the city — the traffic, the parking fees, the chaos — it’s just not my thing. This week? I’m making an exception. Repeatedly.

You see, there’s this little thing going on called the Super Bowl. And, it’s in my city!

Indianapolis is a flurry of activity surrounding the Super Bowl, with fun things to do every day.

I checked it out on my own last week, as the Super Bowl Village was coming to life. The hubby and I returned later that night for the kickoff concert with Bret Michaels.Yep, I still know all the Poison lyrics. I cannot wait to take the girls later this week.

When in their lives will they ever get to experience this again? That question got me thinking about all the other amazing things Indy has to offer, that we ignore on a regular basis.

Oh, sure, we visit our children’s museum all the time (If you’re ever in Indy, the world’s largest children’s museum is a must see!), but that’s about as far into the city as we venture as a family. And, I know I’m not alone — how many New Yorkers have you heard mention they’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty?

But, you don’t even have to live in a big city to be a hometown tourist. Look for these fun opportunities in your own area:


  • Fairs & Festivals 1 of 8
    Fairs & Festivals
    Even the tiniest towns often have festivals each year. (Hello, Stars Hallow!) It's a fun way to experience a little local flavor.
  • Museums 2 of 8
    Museums
    Museums aren't exclusive to big cities, either. This is George Rogers Clark Memorial, in my small hometown. A place I have only recently realized my girls have never actually visited. Oops.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Parks & Playgrounds 3 of 8
    Parks & Playgrounds
    I'm sure you have your favorite parks, but step out of your comfort zone a bit and explore something new in your area. Last year, my friends and I participated in a park tour. Each week, one of us selected a park or playground near us that was often new to the others in our group. It was a fun way to explore hidden treasures a little outside of our box.
  • Plays & Concerts 4 of 8
    Plays & Concerts
    Check with community theaters, local symphony orchestras, and schools for inexpensive options in your area. We have attended free concerts at our local museum as well. (All Star Weekend was a big hit — and totally free!)
  • Signature Food 5 of 8
    Signature Food
    When I hit San Diego for the first time last year, the first thing I did was find an In & Out Burger. I'd heard about it so many times from west coast friends that it was top of my list of things to do. But, there are plenty of signature restaurants right here in Indy that I've never tried, as Adam Richman showcased a couple years ago.
  • Special Events 6 of 8
    Special Events
    You may not get a shot at the Super Bowl, but if there is something going on in your town, be sure to participate! I can't imagine missing anything of the Super Bowl activities this week, since it's such a fleeting opportunity.
  • Sporting Events 7 of 8
    Sporting Events
    In the last year, we've taken the girls to basketball, races, hockey, and baseball. I seek out free tickets, daily deals, and group options to share these local events with the girls.
  • Zoos & Animal Entertainers 8 of 8
    Zoos & Animal Entertainers
    We've been to the Indianapolis Zoo a few times, but we have our most fun at smaller, local petting zoos. The girls also love to see traveling animal shows. We've seen snakes, reptiles, birds of prey, and more at free events through parks & libraries.

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