Kelly McKeon / Courtesy MGM Resorts International
Harriet Baskas
February 01, 2018

Winter weather may seem to be shouting “Stay home and cuddle up with a book,” but there are loads of great deals, free festivals and cheap eats for travelers willing to venture out during the shortest month of the year.

2-for-1 bites of the Big Apple

Visit New York City during “NYC Must-See” week (January 29 to February 11), when dozens of attractions, museums, tours and performing arts groups offer 2-for-1 ticket prices for anyone using the code “MustSee18.” Participating venues range from the Bronx Zoo and Brooklyn Botanic Garden to the Circle Line sightseeing cruises, the Empire State Building Experience, the Museum of Modern Art and Yankee Stadium Tours. See the full list of participating attractions here.

Super Bowl freebies

Super Bowl 52 takes place in Minneapolis on February 4, but a free fan festival called Super Bowl LIVE takes place downtown along and around six blocks of Nicollet Mall for 10 days leading up to game day. In addition to a long list of free concerts, there will be an ice rink with free ice-skating, a dome offering an IMAX-style football movie experience, a Prince pop-up exhibit with artifacts on loan from Paisley Park, a Kitten Bowl played by two teams of adorable, adoptable kittens, plenty of warm-up spaces with snacks, and more.

Chinese New Year Celebrations   

The Chinese, or Lunar, New Year falls on February 16 this year and many cities will be celebrating the Year of the Dog throughout the month and, in some cases, into March.

In addition to free festivals with parades and fireworks taking place in Hong Kong, London and Sydney, Australia, don’t miss the elaborate floral display in the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Las Vegas featuring an 18-foot tall Siberian Husky as a centerpiece and the night illuminated parade on February 24th in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In New Orleans, which is celebrating its tricentennial, a free Chinese Opera is being performed on Friday, February 23 in Harrah’s Casino Theater.

Half-price culture in Seattle and San Diego

During Seattle Museum Month (February 1-28) guests staying at most any downtown hotel will be offered a pass good for half-off the admission price (for up to 4 guests per room) at more than 60 museums and attractions in Seattle, Tacoma and nearby towns. On the list of participating venues are the Museum of Flight, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Aquarium. Many Seattle-area museums also offer free admission for all on the first Thursday of each month.

During Macy’s Museum Month (February 1-28) in San Diego, CA, admission to more than 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums is half price for anyone who picks up a Museum Month pass at a Macy’s store in San Diego, Temecula or Imperial Valley. Each pass admits up to four people for half price at attractions such as the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Foodie February

New York City’s winter 2018 Restaurant Week runs from January 22 to February 9, with 3-course lunches for $29 and 3-course dinners for $42.

Virginia Beach Restaurant Week runs February 19-25, with dozens of dining venues in the region offering specially priced breakfasts starting at $5, 2-course lunches starting at $10 and three-course dinners starting at $20.

Concurrent with Madison (WI) Hotel Week (February 9-19), when participating hotels offer $75, $100 and $125 room rates, restaurants participating in Food Fight Foodie Week are offering special 3-course dinners priced from $15 to $35. 

Elsewhere, Restaurant Week in Minneapolis/St. Paul runs February 18-23, Denver Restaurant Week 2018 runs February 23 through March 4 and, in New Mexico, Santa Fe Restaurant Week takes place February 18-15 and Taos Restaurant Week will rolls out February 25 to March 4.

Half-price animal visits

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden offers half-price admission throughout February (and through March 9), with special animal encounters program each Saturday and Sunday. And nearby, during Winter Family Days (through February 28) at the Newport Aquarium, one child gets in free with each adult-priced ticket.     

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