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Nestled in the heart of scenic Northwest Arkansas, Rogers is a wallet-friendly getaway in the Ozarks. Recently voted one of the Best Places to Live by Money magazine, this city boasts a long list of entertainment options. Its walkable historic square has an eclectic blend of affordable shopping, art, theater, restaurants and museums. Many restaurants in Rogers offer fresh-from-the-farm foods and the live music and museums in Rogers are highly celebrated
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A Phoenix suburb with enough personality to hold its own, Tempe, Ariz. provides an affordable and enjoyable vacation destination with a climate to suit. Start your trip west at the pedestrian-friendly Mill Avenue District, where turn-of-the-century buildings house trendy restaurants, shops and entertainment. The district is home to the nationally recognized Tempe Festival of the Arts, held each March and December. Or strap on your lederhosen for the city’s free Oktoberfest celebration at Tempe Beach Park.
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Athens, Ga., is a picture-perfect postcard of the American South. Home to the University of Georgia, the city is a mix of Southern charm and cutting-edge art, music, and entertainment. The Georgia Museum of Art and Georgia Museum of Natural History offer a peek into the state’s rich culture. Or, relive the glory days of Georgia’s sports at the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall Sports Museum, home to Herschel Walker’s Heisman trophy and other Georgia sports memorabilia.
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If you can’t take the heat this summer, take to Boulder, Colo., for a mountainous Midwestern getaway. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder sits 5,430 feet above sea level and offers plenty both indoors and out. Award-winning restaurants and trendy shops lure visitors to Boulder’s pedestrian-friendly downtown. Street performers delight young spectators at the Pearl Street Mall, while the Boulder Fish Observatory lets kids observe and feed fish in a natural environment. The Wonder of Science at Twenty Ninth Street offers an interactive learning area with large-scale models of planets and a rocket.
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Rich history and big-city fun make Tulsa, Okla., a perfect vacation getaway. The nation’s 46th largest city is a haven for musicians and artists, stunning architecture, and around-the-clock family entertainment. Guests can visit more than 2,800 furry friends at the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, where tickets are only $4 for kids and $8 for adults. Admission is half price on Mother’s and Father’s Day, and parking is free each weekday.
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Chattanooga is fun to say and even more fun to visit. East Tennessee’s riverfront city is home to a plethora of nationally ranked tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping and an art district that rivals that any metro cities’. As an added bonus, Chattanooga’s free electric shuttle service means visitors can park once and forgo pricey hourly lots. Separated by the Tennessee River, the city’s north and south shores are connected by the world’s longest pedestrian bridge – a popular attraction for kids, runners and canines alike. Miles of riverfront walking and biking trails also await outdoor enthusiasts.
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You'll remember more than the Alamo after a vacation in San Antonio, Texas. From amusement parks and shopping centers to free historic monuments, festivals and museums, the city can accommodate all budgets. Downtown, San Antonio’s famed River Walk offers visitors a glimpse into Texas culture, art and commerce. Its latest addition is the Museum Reach, which stretches north from downtown and connects the existing River Walk to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Pearl Brewery complex.
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Minneapolis is a hands-down cool destination for family fun. The city's many parks and natural amenities, all free, make it a summer playground, and several major attractions are free or discounted. Spend a day (or three) at the Mall of America, where Nickelodeon Universe awaits thrill seekers with seven acres of attractions and entertainment. Promotions for 2012 include a Toddler Tuesday ride special and daily discounts on rides after 5 p.m. Discount tickets also are available online to the Mall’s Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, while massive Lego and American Girl stores are destinations in and of themselves.
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Rich history, modern culture, free attractions and deep discounts make Louisville, Ky., a prime vacation destination for families. Home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby, Louisville prides itself in all things equine. Take a historic walking tour of Churchill Downs with admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Kids under five are admitted free, and AAA members receive discounts. Join in the citywide Derby Week celebration at the Kentucky Derby Festival and Thunder of Louisville, the largest fireworks display in America.